Jane Fonda's Aging Secret Is Just Plain Dangerous

jane fondaAt 73 years old, fitness queen and political activist Jane Fonda is still the picture of health and youth, but it's pretty clear she's not just leaning on Botox. So, it's no wonder women of all ages the world over want to know her secret. Recently, Fonda revealed that the key to looking and feeling amazing into her 70s comes in the form of a drug. (No, not pot. Although, it seems Fonda is still very much a fan of that, too.) Try ... testosterone! Yeah, the manly-man male hormone has supposedly been Jane's savior -- in and out of bed. 

She claims that she started taking the sex hormone from the age of 70, and she's raving that it makes "a huge difference if you want to remain sexual and your libido has dropped." She advises women to use it in various forms: a gel, pill, or patch.

Doh! As much as I love that Jane is encouraging women to embrace sexuality into their golden years, I'm really disappointed in her for sending this oversimplified message to the masses.

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It almost sounds as if she's signed up with Big Pharma to set the stage for a new "female Viagra" or some such. (Actress Lisa Rinna did something similar about a year ago, and thankfully, the dangerous drug got the boot before it hit the market.) Even if that's not the case, it's a shame. You'd think Jane would be all about the natural, DIY fix -- not prescription drugs.

The problem with her suggestion that women look into testosterone as an option for libido-boosting in middle age is that it's NOT an every-woman fix. Yes, the sex hormone drops off for many women after menopause. (It's half as high in your 40s as it is in your 20s.) Yes, it can boost libido. But not everyone has the same hormonal "profile." It's why birth control affects all of us differently, because some of us have naturally higher testosterone or estrogen levels, and when you add either bioidentical or synthetic hormones to the mix, you could be setting yourself up for either delight OR disaster, depending on your baseline.

What's more, Jane's not acknowledging what many women with naturally high androgens or who haven't benefited from the drug unfortunately already know -- the side effects of too much "T," such as abnormal facial and body hair growth, acne, or male-patterned hair loss from the scalp. It's also contraindicated for women who have or have had breast or uterine cancer. Uh, not exactly sexy, right?

I do appreciate that Jane's drawing attention to bioidentical, compounded hormones as a way to boost libido and well-being. Because individualized hormonal treatment may help many women. But it's just plain irresponsible of her to treat testosterone -- which, FYI, isn't yet FDA-approved for "treating sexual problems in women" -- as a magic bullet for every middle-aged woman. We're each far too unique for that.

What do you think about Jane's advice?

 

Image via Jemal Countess/Getty

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