"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

A lady's testosterone-based vaginal cream is linked to elevated testosterone in her husband

By Charlie Schmidt

Testosterone is sometimes called the male hormone. But women's bodies make it too, albeit in smaller amounts than men's. In each ladies and men, testosterone levels naturally decline with age. It can reduce a lady's sex drive, just as it may well a person's. Some women try boosting a waning sex drive with a testosterone-based vaginal cream, which will be combined to order from a compounding pharmacy with a health care provider's prescription.

This can have a downside for his or her male sexual partners with prostate cancer.

I Journal of Clinical Oncology, doctors on the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute report the bizarre case of a 68-year-old man who was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and had his prostate removed. After the surgery, the person's PSA level dropped dramatically, an indication that the treatment had worked. After he recovered, he “continued to have sex with his wife three or four times a week,” said his ophthalmologist, Dr. Joseph Dribak.

A yr later, the person's PSA began to rise. He continued to climb even after undergoing radiation therapy, which is commonly used to treat prostate cancer that recurs after surgery. Meanwhile, his doctors could find no physical evidence that his prostate cancer had returned.

They found that the person's testosterone levels were abnormally high—at first 780 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), rising to 908 ng/dL a few yr later. A traditional testosterone level for a person about 70 years old is within the range of 500 ng/dL. Excess testosterone can increase the expansion of hidden cancer cells within the body.

The man told his doctors that he didn't take testosterone supplements. However, his wife said she had been using a testosterone-based vaginal cream as a sexual lubricant for greater than a yr. After she stopped using the cream, her husband's testosterone level dropped, although his PSA level continued to rise. He was eventually treated with androgen deprivation therapy, a hormonal method for treating recurrent prostate cancer.

Dr. Drebak hypothesized that the person absorbed testosterone into his penis during intercourse. Can it help with prostate cancer reoccurrence? “He was going down that path anyway, but he may have accelerated…. His blood levels of testosterone were much higher than what his testicles could produce,” Dr. Dribak said. Dr. Drebak said.

The FDA has never approved testosterone-containing products, including topical testosterone formulations, for noncancer use in women. At the identical time, the FDA doesn't regulate off-label use for legally marketed drugs corresponding to testosterone. So women can, and do, easily and legally obtain testosterone-based creams.

Whether the exposure was contributing in any approach to the patient's medical course is, after all, speculative, Garnick said. “But it really increased the testosterone value that Dr. Dribak measured.”