Article by Mila McManus MD
Many factors affect one’s sex drive, including:
• Testosterone deficiency (male or female)
• Progesterone or Estrogen deficiency
• Certain medications (e.g., anti-depressants)
• Birth control pills
• Poor Self-image (e.g., due to weight gain)
• Strained relationship
• Painful intercourse (e.g., due to vaginal dryness)
Low libido is often dismissed by doctors, but it is a serious concern for many people. It can strain relationships, leading to stress, which everyone knows will adversely affect the body. Stress, over time, negatively affects your immune system, which in turn will predispose you to all types of disease. If low libido is affecting your relationship, please read on.
HORMONES: More often than not, improving one’s sex drive requires addressing several causative factors simultaneously. It may take several months to tackle all of them, but it can be done. First, you should be evaluated for the need for supplementation /replacement with hormones. Moreover, when I say hormones, I’m talking about the use of bio-identical hormones, not synthetic ones. In our practice, we’ve found that blood tests for diagnosing hormone deficiencies are rarely helpful. Normal reference ranges for hormone levels are large and can often be misleading. I find it to be much more useful to evaluate one’s symptoms in determining hormonal imbalances and deficiencies. Click here to test yourself for hormonal imbalance and deficiency.
If you take an ANTI-DEPRESSANT, it’ll be important for you to address the underlying causes of your depression, so that you’ll have a chance to successfully wean off your antidepressant. Antidepressants are used to mask the symptoms of depression, but aren’t going to cure your problem. Hormonal deficiency is a very common cause of depression. Many of our patients have successfully weaned from their antidepressants after being on our wellness program for only a short period of time.
POOR SELF-IMAGE: If you feel your libido is down because of a poor self-image, then consider doing something about it. If you’ve gained weight and haven’t been able to lose it on your own, seek help. We offer several programs at TWIHW to help you reach your goals. You should also consider being evaluated for hormonal imbalance, as this could be working against you.
STRAINED RELATIONSHIP—There’s not enough progesterone or testosterone on Earth to make up for a bad relationship. Consider counseling. I’ve seen it make a huge difference in the lives of many people. Maybe you are harboring some subconscious resentment towards your mate and you don’t even realize you’re being passive aggressive.
PAINFUL intercourse will certainly affect one’s desire. If you suffer with vaginal dryness, there are treatments. If you suffer with vulvodynia/vaginismus (if you don’t know what these words mean, then you probably don’t have these conditions, or at least you haven’t been diagnosed with them yet), there are treatments for these as well. Biofeedback may help.
STRESS and FATIGUE are common contributing factors to low libido. You must take time for yourself. Take a day off, get a babysitter, plan a date with your mate. If life is dragging you down, your problems run much deeper than libido. Addressing the fatigue is certainly a good place to start. Discussing the causes of, and treatments for, fatigue is beyond the scope of this article, so please visit our website for more information.
OTHER ways to enhance sex drive include various herbal blends you can find on the internet (e.g. Maca root), certain foods (e.g.chocolate), and novelty (e.g. hotel getaway).