Low libido is subjective, with the patient identifying lack of desire as a problem with having little or no sexual interest or arousal. The Mayo Clinic Defines Low Libido as:
A woman’s sexual desires naturally fluctuate over the years. Highs and lows commonly coincide with the beginning or end of a relationship or with major life changes, such as pregnancy, menopause or illness. Some antidepressants and anti-seizure medications also can cause low sex drive in women.
If you have a persistent or recurrent lack of interest in sex that causes you personal distress, you may have hypoactive sexual desire disorder.
But you don’t have to meet this medical definition to seek help. If you are bothered by a low sex drive or decreased sex drive, there are lifestyle changes and sex techniques that may put you in the mood more often. Some medications may offer promise as well.
What Symptoms Patients Report
Most patients report a lack of interest in sex, often causing a problem with their partner. Most patients report a lack of desire and/or arousal; some patients suffer from painful intercourse which is often related to hormones decreasing as we age. In addition if you want to have sex less often than your partner does neither one of you is necessarily outside the norm for people at your stage in life — although your differences may cause distress. Similarly, even if your sex drive is weaker than it once was, your relationship may be stronger than ever. Bottom line: There is no magic number to define low sex drive. It varies from woman to woman.
A woman’s desire for sex is based on a complex interaction of many components affecting intimacy, including physical well-being, emotional well-being, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle and current relationship. If you’re experiencing a problem in any of these areas, it can affect your sexual desire.
A wide range of illnesses, physical changes and medications can cause a low sex drive, including:
Sexual problems. If you experience pain during sex or an inability to orgasm, it can hamper your desire for sex.
Medical diseases. Numerous nonsexual diseases can also affect desire for sex, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and neurological diseases.
Medications. Many prescription medications — including some antidepressants and anti-seizure medications — are notorious libido killers.
Alcohol and drugs. A glass of wine may make you feel amorous, but too much alcohol can spoil your sex drive; the same is true of street drugs.
Surgery. Any surgery related to your breasts or your genital tract can affect your body image, sexual function and desire for sex.
Fatigue. The exhaustion of caring for aging parents or young children can contribute to low sex drive.
Changes in your hormone levels may alter your desire for sex. This can occur during:
Menopause. Estrogen levels drop during the transition to menopause. This can cause decreased interest in sex and dryer vaginal tissues, resulting in painful or uncomfortable sex. At the same time, women may also experience a decrease in the hormone testosterone, which boosts sex drive in men and women alike. Although many women continue to have satisfying sex during menopause and beyond, some women experience a lagging libido during this hormonal change.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding. Hormone changes during pregnancy, just after having a baby and during breast-feeding can put a damper on sex drive. Of course, hormones aren’t the only factor affecting intimacy during these times. Fatigue, changes in body image and the pressures of carrying — or caring for — a new baby can all contribute to changes in your sexual desire.
Your problems don’t have to be physical or biological to be real. There are many psychological causes of low sex drive, including:
Mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
Stress, such as financial stress or work stress
Poor body image
History of physical or sexual abuse
For many women, emotional closeness is an essential prelude to sexual intimacy. So problems in your relationship can be a major factor in low sex drive. Decreased interest in sex is often a result of ongoing issues, such as:
Lack of connection with your partner
Unresolved conflicts or fights
Poor communication of sexual needs and preferences
Infidelity or breach of trust
What Most Primary Doctors Say
Doctors who do not specialize in sexual health and/or aging may be uncomfortable or dismissive when they encounter patients with low libido. Unfortunately many primary care doctors attribute low libido in women as a normal part of aging and will not work towards a solution for the woman with low libido. In other cases some primary care will prescribe Erectile Dysfunction drugs to women. Unfortunately this is addressing the symptom and not the cause.
Cure don’t cover up the Symptom
Doctors need to understand the reason for low libido before prescribing medication or doing nothing.
If the underlining issue is coming from medications, alcohol, fatigue or surgery then many options are available. The best solution will be to eliminate the physical issue. Normally this will cure the symptom of low libido.
The majority of low libido cases in women over 35 is normally attributed to a decrease in critical hormones. Just as producing hormones in our teens leads to sexual interest, declining hormones later in life often lead to waning sexual activity. Normally it is not just one hormone that needs to be adjusted but it is a combination of hormones. Achieving Medical Optimal is critical for overall medical health but is also critical in relieving age related symptoms such as low libido. Although a holistic approach is critical however three hormones normally have the biggest impact for woman with low libido. Woman with Excess Estrogen or Excess Progesterone or Thyroid Deficiency may result in the symptoms of low libido. In addition Stress will result in excess cortical production which may result in low libido in addition to a number of other negative symptoms like weight gain. Replacing the hormones that we lose leads to greater desire and interest in sexual activity. Hormone replacement therapy also improves sexual performance and increases sexual satisfaction. Hormones also increase vaginal lubrication. Women with low libido should not assume it is a normal sign of aging but should find a doctor specialized in treating the cause. Prescribing drugs that only address the symptom should never be the primary treatment.