Testosterone in Women - A Commentary
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP - Women's International Pharmacy
Woman Smiling

Professor Susan Davis is a women's health researcher. In 2005 she became the inaugural Chair of Women's Health in the Monash University Department of Medicine at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. In addition, she is a consultant endocrinologist at Alfred Health and Cabrini Medical Centre, also in Melbourne.

Professor Davis has been involved in the study of the role of estrogens and androgens (e.g., testosterone and DHEA) in women.  She has been investigating the effects of hormones throughout the body, rather than just how they affect reproductive functions. She has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles.  She is indeed a giant in the world of research involving the use of testosterone in women.

In December of 1999, Dr. Davis published a commentary on the nature of testosterone replenishment in women. Almost 20 years has passed since this commentary was published, yet not much seems to have changed. Scientists and physicians are still unclear on what actually constitutes a deficiency of testosterone in women.  The clinical picture of a woman with adequate testosterone has not been established or agreed upon. And, there is no agreement on how low testosterone levels must be before action is taken. 

Why Do We Get Hemorrhoids?
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP - Women's International Pharmacy

Hemorrhoids are very common.  At least we think so.  It is difficult to get a handle on the prevalence of hemorrhoids since they can come and go.  Many hemorrhoid sufferers will find relief from over the counter and home remedies, but some will be so miserable they will seek help from a health care practitioner. Hemorrhoids tend to be a sensitive subject. People just don't like to talk about them.

Hemorrhoids Defined

Hemorrhoids can form above and below the rectal sphincter.  If you can imagine, hemorrhoids are like varicose veins in the rectum.  The veins weaken and swell.  If the swollen veins are located above the rectal sphincter, they may cause few problems, but you might see bright red blood in the stools if they happen to bleed. Hemorrhoids above the rectal sphincter may begin to cause pain if the tissue prolapses which means the hemorrhoid falls below the rectal sphincter.

Hemorrhoids can also form outside of the anus below the rectal sphincter. These hemorrhoids tend to cause the most problems with pain and itching.  They can also bleed.  And, it is possible the pooling of the blood in the swollen veins may cause a blood clot or thrombus to form.  The common name for hemorrhoids "piles" (from Latin pillae meaning balls) comes from the observation of the small balls these clots form in the swollen veins.

Can Testosterone Protect Against Breast Cancer?
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD - Women's International Pharmacy
Pharmacist Corner
Compounded testosterone therapy for women has been prescribed for years in this country. Since testosterone can convert to estrogen in the body, practitioners are sometimes hesitant to prescribe it, thinking that testosterone might increase a woman's chance of getting breast cancer. 

Dr. Rebecca Glaser and her colleague Constantine Dimitrakakis set out to examine this assumption. They designed The Testosterone Implant Breast Cancer Prevention Study to explore the relationship between testosterone subcutaneous implants and breast cancer. This study looked at 1,268 pre and post menopausal women who received either testosterone or testosterone + anastrozole (an estrogen blocker) implants. These same women were not using systemic estrogen therapy.

While the time period for this study is 10 years, an analysis conducted at the 5 year mark reported a breast cancer rate that was less than 50% of the rate reported in previous menopausal hormone replacement therapy studies. Study participants who most closely adhered to the testosterone regimen experienced an even lower rate of breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute's surveillance program, more than twice as many cases of breast cancer would be expected in this particular study population if no specific interventions were made.



Women's International Pharmacy



In This Issue
Testosterone in Women - A Commentary
Why Do We Get Hemorrhoids?
Can Testosterone Protect Against Breast Cancer?

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