A reader asks: I’ve been on HRT for a couple of years. Though it helped with my flushes and sweats, it didn’t help with my non-existent libido – so my GP prescribed testosterone gel a couple of months ago. So far it’s not made any difference, but I’m getting what looks like acne where I put it on my arm. I’m thinking of giving it up. Is there anything else I could try?

Dr Rosemary Leonard replies: Testosterone gel has been shown to improve libido in about 50 per cent of women along with HRT, but it can take up to three months to be effective. So give it a bit longer before assuming it isn’t working.

Unfortunately side-effects can include greasy skin, acne and increased hair growth, but these can usually be minimised by applying the gel to a different part of the skin each day. It’s also important to check how much gel you are using.

Products available in the UK are all designed for men with testosterone deficiency and women only need a fraction of their dose so it can be easy to accidentally use too much.

Check with your GP exactly how much you should be using and, if you find it hard to use the right amount, ask about a different formulation. Although low libido can often occur when hormone levels drop after the menopause, there are lifestyle factors that can also contribute to the problem.

Many women around 50 are juggling work and running a home with looking after teenage offspring and parents growing old and infirm. So it’s no wonder that when you finally get into bed at the end of a long day its sleep, rather than sex, that is the priority.

Tackling these lifestyle issues can be difficult, but asking for more help around the house and making some time for yourself could make a difference to how you feel.

If you have a health question for Dr Leonard, email her in confidence at [email protected]. She regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence or reply to everyone

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