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Patch Could Bring Back Excitement

Since Viagra burst onto the market in 1998, men experiencing sexual dysfunction have had a tool to treat it. But the same cannot be said for women -- until now.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists released a study about treating women with sexual dysfunction.

On Tuesday, The Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay introduces 51-year-old Freda Gough who was part of the study. Gough was treated for sexual dysfunction and says her life has undergone a complete change since undergoing treatment.

Cruising around on the back of a Harley Davidson, Gough doesn't look like your typical grandmother of five. But she did have a problem that is typical of many women her age -- a lack of sexual desire.

"Before I started going through menopause, I was very sensitively sexually satisfied," says Gough. "Then, when going through menopause, I just felt dead."

Wanting to feel alive again, Freda enrolled in a study with Dr. James Simon of George Washington University. The research looked at the effects of the male hormone testosterone on female sexuality in women who went through menopause because they had their ovaries removed.

"We found, for the very first time, a highly significant improvement in women's sexual desire with the testosterone patch," says Simon.

Women normally produce a small amount of testosterone, a hormone known to fuel sexual desire in both men and women. After menopause, testosterone levels go down. The experimental patch replaces depleted testosterone in women whose ovaries were removed.

"The amount of testosterone delivered to a woman on the active patch was no more than they had when they were younger," says Simon. "Because the results are so good, it will be much more likely that women will use it without fear of side effects, like hair growth and loss of hair."

Satisfied with the results, Freda Gough says she would recommend the treatment to other women who suffer from a sexual dysfunction.

Senay notes there weren't any significant short-term side effects of using the testosterone patch. But, further studies will be needed to determine the longer-term risks of the treatment.

The patch is currently not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Senay says if FDA approves the testosterone treatment, it could be available within the next few years.

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