Decreased libido is a complicated women’s health issue that requires a thorough conversation of social, psychological and physical factors in order to treat it. Libido can be hindered by depression, kids, finances, bad job, perception of intimacy, insomnia, health issues, hormonal alterations, pain, poor body image or relationship issues. This is just a short list of ALL that can contribute. What can you do?
1. Optimize health:
Women with health issues don’t feel like having sex. Regardless of your medical issues, some simple dietary changes may improve your health and how you feel. Don’t roll your eyes at me. I’m serious! Diet and weight loss are not synonymous! Diet makes a HUGE impact on body function. Major improvements can occur in patients who do small things such as remove processed foods, dairy, corn, wheat or sugars! If weight loss occurs, great! However, it’s not the goal. As one of my functional medicine professors once said, “We are not designed to be stressed, toxic, inflamed, infected, malnourished and unrested, AND YET, still easily thrive, grow, reproduce, be thin, feel well, eat anything we want, enjoy perfect BMI’s and have great sex. This combination would not be natural.”
2. Optimize hormones:
Hormones can make a difference. Sluggish thyroid, sluggish everything else! Saliva testing to assess estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and adrenal balance might really improve energy and libido! Work with a functional medicine provider. Traditional medicine physicians treat disease. Functional medicine practitioners treat lack of optimization that eventually leads to disease.
3. Optimize sleep:
Sleep is important for detoxing and restoring our bodies. Certain vitamins can be used in the evening to make sure your body has the appropriate raw materials to detox and restore. You need at least 7 hours of sleep. Meds such as ambien or klonopin increase your risk for early onset dementia. There are better options that help sleep, restore neurotransmitters, improve mood and libido!
There are two medications for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) available for women at this time, Addyi and Vyleesi. HSDD means the loss of sexual desire, for 6 months or more, in a premenopausal woman that once had desire, causing distress in her relationship, but is not caused by relationship issues, health issues, meds or a psychiatric diagnosis. These medications are not indicated in women not matching this definition. However, one size does not fit all. Libido is complex. Addyi is currently being studied in postmenopausal women; preliminary results are good. I prescribe it “off label” for postmenopausal ladies. For more info on Addyi and Vyleesi, please visit my blog, Health With Hood, at www.healthwithhood.com.
5. Plan it:
Many ladies tell me they don’t think about having sex, but if they engage, they are able to enjoy it. For this to be effective, you need to socialize with your significant other. Date nights and getaways are super important. Many couples live in the same house, but never really connect because life can be super distracting!
Remember, libido in women is complicated. The five recommendations listed are a few things I’ve seen help. However, there might be more that needs addressing. Don’t ignore decreased libido. Speak to someone with experience in helping with libido issues. Sex is too important for a good relationship, for good mental health and for a long healthy life.