Women who are experiencing a loss of sexual desire should be given testosterone through the NHS, according to a leading doctor.

Dr Nick Panay, who is from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said testosterone could improve not only a woman’s sex drive but also her energy levels and mood.

But he said there were currently no licensed testosterone products designed for women, who needed much lower doses than men to see an effect, so he had to prescribe the hormone “off label” in his own practice.

Dr Panay, who works as a consultant gynaecologist at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said all women should be made aware of the potential benefits of taking the hormone.

A third of women are believed to suffer loss of libido at some stage in their lives, with those who have gone through the menopause more likely to be affected by a loss of sex drive.

Dr Panay said testosterone was not a cure for everything, adding: “We’re not saying it is a female Viagra. Women are, after all, much more complex creatures than men and do not respond to the on/off button that Viagra offers. But I think it should be part of the counselling process.”

A loss of sex drive can be caused by all sorts of factors including illness, mental health problems, hormonal or relationship issues.

But Dr Panay said patients he had prescribed testosterone to had seen a range of benefits including an improvement in their mood, energy, muscle strength and stamina. In extreme cases, he said: “They go from feeling drained to being able to run marathons again.”

While testosterone is often described as the “male hormone,” it does occur naturally in the female body too, albeit in lower quantities.

There are several tell-tale signs that a woman may be suffering from low testosterone levels.

Those with poor testosterone levels may find themselves wanting sex less and less, even though they still find their partner desirable. It can also lead to problems losing weight even if you are dieting and exercising, and to feeling continually tired.

While low testosterone isn’t likely to be the sole cause of depression, it can play a part in feeling depressed or anxious. Another symptom can also be a weak handshake as this can be a sign of decreasing strength.