Images of Cupid and hearts all around us, reminders of Valentine’s Day and romance abound this time of year. Celebrating love and those we care about is fun, and it’s also a good time to point out that for MANY adults, amorous thoughts are not always accompanied by strong sex drive! It is important for those experiencing low libido to understand that they are NOT a small minority, that it is a very COMMON occurrence among women and men. So often people drop by the store seeking a remedy. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet – many factors may be at play. I hope to emphasize how common an issue this is and not one people should feel alone with.
What are some of the factors, for both males and females? To name a few:
-Stress / Overall Health – from both a physiological and mental standpoint
-Medications – potentially by blocking hormones, affecting brain chemicals and thereby mood, and by lowering energy
-Non-optimal Testosterone – women naturally produce much lower levels than men, but in both a drop in levels (and sometimes inordinately high ones) can produce a marked loss of drive
-Trauma – more a factor for women following childbirth, however in both sexes abdominal surgery or physical damage can affect nerve response involved in orgasm
So what can be done?
For women, a good place to start is by reading this article to gain some persepectives which may prove interesting: http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/07/how-strong-is-the-female-sex-drive-after-all/277429 . Be sure to read it to the end as it offers the theories of several psychology researchers which may offer insight in individual situations.
Then contemplate the four factors listed above, and see your physician to discuss and potentially test whether low (or high) testosterone may be contributing. Evaluate your lifestyle and overall energy. Is stress a factor for you? Keep in mind that the very same glands which produce cortisol, the stress hormone, are also responsible (especially in peri- to post-menopausal women) for making at least some of your testosterone. If you are forcing those little glands to make too much cortisol they will not be able to produce optimal levels of testosterone! Think about your sleep – if it is not restful, it presents an additional stress to your system which can prevent hormone pathways from functioning properly.
If you are on medications, check with your pharmacist as to whether any of them may be contributing to low testosterone or affecting libido by some other mechanism. Another practitioner to consult may be a pelvic floor physical therapist, who can evaluate the nerve function of the pelvic area and determine whether a prior trauma may be impacting your sex drive. Oftentimes, they can also help to correct or at least lessen the impact with treatments and exercises.
There are just no quick and easy answers to this issue. Perhaps just knowing how widespread it is serves at least as some reassurance to some. If we can be of any assistance in examining whether medications may be involved, don’t hesitate to call and speak to our pharmacist!