Sunday, October 2, 2011

Statins and Sex Hormones

Last week, a concerned patient brought in a newspaper clipping. She was worried that her statin might be lowering her sex hormones and reducing her libido.
The authors of that newspaper column wrote that statins could lower sex hormones. 
And those lower sex hormones would mean reduced libido.

That column and many others written by those authors is one example of sloppy scientific analysis in the media.
Such poorly researched columns do a lot more harm than good. 
And these people have a radio show too!

So what about statins and sex hormones?

Testosterone is the sex hormone that tends to increase sexual desire.
But many factors affect sexual desire or libido.
And most women with reduced sexual desire have normal testosterone levels.

But do statins lower levels of testosterone?

The best evidence from randomized placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trials is that in women and men statins cause no significant effects on testosterone. These studies were published in 1994, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2009, and this year.

But as always, the story is more complicated than you’d think. So in women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (abbreviated PCOS) and excess testosterone, statins actually may lower their elevated levels. These women with PCOS often are troubled by excess facial hair. So women with PCOS don't want to have those high levels of testosterone.

But for all of those others who are on statins, rest assured that your testosterone level is not likely to be affected by the statin you are taking.

And lots of other factors, besides testosterone, impact your sex drive. 
Like worrying about your job, money, the kids.

And how well do you two communicate?
Did you come to an improved understanding after your last argument?

I hope so. 


  1. Statin levels vary according to each person. This makes the hormone study not a general overview about the medical condition.

  2. Chiropractor: I find your statement confusing. The multiple studies I have cited in the post, by their design take individual variations into account.