Low libido in women, otherwise known as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), is a condition where there is either no sexual drive or a decreased amount. It’s estimated that about 40% of women experience this at some point in their life. It can be accompanied by distress and frustration due to the lack of interest in sexual activities.
Causes of low libido can be physical, psychological, or hormonal. To determine what may be causing it and initiate treatment, a doctor should be consulted.
This guide will provide information on:
- Causes of Low Libido in Women;
- Available Treatments;
- Self-Help Strategies for Improving Libido.
Causes of Low Libido
Women may have low libido due to various factors, like stress, hormone imbalance, lifestyle, and underlying health issues. Also, physical, mental, and emotional matters can prevent women from having fun and wanting it. Thus, in order to help find a solution, it is important to discover the root cause of this issue.
Hormone imbalances can have a major effect on libido in men and women. For instance, after menopause, estrogen levels might be low, leading to uncomfortable sex due to a lack of lubrication. In men, hormonal changes can cause a decrease in testosterone and thus, reduced libido. Other issues may stem from decreased progesterone and/or thyroid hormones.
Studies have highlighted that psychological elements such as stress and depression can also be factors for a lack of sexual desire. Women may have negative feelings about their bodies or worry that they are not pleasing their partner. Additionally, communication between partners is a frequent factor for decreased libido and sexual frustration.
Certain medicines, such as birth control and antidepressants, can potentially cause hormonal imbalances. Therefore, it is important to discuss any signs of hormonal imbalance with your doctor, such as hot flashes or night sweats. With the help of a health professional, you can identify the main cause of your symptoms and create a plan to restore balance and improve sexual response over time.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can have a big impact on your libido. Studies show that stress affects your body’s hormone systems, including testosterone – the hormone that controls libido. When you have too much stress, your testosterone levels drop, and your desire for sex decreases. Plus, mental issues like feeling bad about yourself or guilt around sex can affect your libido too.
Stress also makes it hard to get aroused during sex. Anxiety can interfere with performance by making you overthink or worry. It can even lead to physical symptoms like no appetite or trouble getting aroused or having an orgasm.
Talking to your partner about your stress levels can help them understand why you don’t want to have sex. Addressing any underlying issues can also help. Relaxing together and doing enjoyable things outside of sex can help shift the focus away from performance and create a deeper connection. Relaxing together can:
- Reignite intimacy
- Make it easier to be aroused
- Give you more confidence
- Improve your satisfaction with your relationship
Relationships bring joy and support—but can also be stressful. Disagreements and disconnection can lower sexual desire for either partner. Anger and anxiety can do the same. Job loss, financial problems, or medical issues can create tension, fear, and distrust. This may lower libido and spoil intimacy. Unresolved past trauma can also affect relationships.
It’s important to talk and seek help if needed. Balance between time together and apart is also important. If desire levels differ, communication is key—without blaming each other. Otherwise resentment or break-up may follow.
Certain meds can negatively influence a woman’s libido. It’s important to check the side effects of any meds you’re taking to see if they’re causing your low libido. A few drugs that can reduce libido in women are:
- SSRIs, a type of antidepressant. They cause a decrease in sex drive, plus other side effects like fatigue and weight gain.
- Beta blockers and ARBs, which are pills to control blood pressure, can also reduce sexual desire.
- Hormonal contraception like birth control pills, implants, injections, and patches are known to decrease desire.
- Sleeping pills and sedatives may be connected to reduced libido due to their sedative effects.
- Antiandrogens like spironolactone or cyproterone acetate can lower testosterone levels, which can affect sexual motivation and arousal.
- Opiate painkillers can interfere with arousal since they make you drowsy.
Diagnosing Low Libido in women can be tricky. It starts with physicals and getting a medical history. Your doc might also arrange blood tests for hormone levels, since imbalances could be involved. There may also be a need for psychological evaluation to rule out mental causes. Other tests may be needed, depending on the suspected cause.
When a patient has low libido, a physical examination is necessary. This includes checking overall health and physical functioning with vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, palpation of endocrine glands may occur. A mental health assessment and review of medications can also be part of this.
In some cases, blood tests or imaging scans can be done to check for possible hormonal causes or underlying medical issues affecting libido. These tests may measure testosterone, estrogen, thyroid functioning and more. Pelvic exams may be part of the evaluation process if the patient has a history of pelvic pain or sexually transmitted infections.
A lab test can uncover physical conditions that might impact your libido and sexual health. Tests can include:
- Hormone Tests: Your doctor will measure hormones to detect menopause and the effects of testosterone supplementation. These tests are crucial to figuring out the connection between hormones and libido.
- Bio-identical Hormones: When hormone levels are unbalanced, bio-identical hormones may help restore balance and improve sexual desire.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests may reveal medical conditions that can affect libido, such as thyroid disease or diabetes.
- Genetic Testing: Genetic testing for genes linked to fertility can provide info about your reproductive health and libido.
These lab tests can help create a personalized treatment plan for you.
Low libido in women can have many causes. To treat it well, you need to know what the cause is. A psychological evaluation is often needed. This begins with a physical check-up. It includes questions about physical health, way of life, diet, medicines taken, sex life, and psychological symptoms.
A mental status exam is done. Here, they ask questions to know the mood and if there are any thought problems. Memory and problem-solving are also checked. If psychological causes are thought of, they do a stress test and a personality test. They look at the social situation like relationships with family and partners to get the full picture. This helps give an exact diagnosis so the right treatment can be done.
A woman with low libido may struggle to feel excited about sexual activity. Or, intimate physical contact. Factors causing low libido include hormonal changes, psychological issues, and medical conditions. Speak with your healthcare provider to decide the best treatment for you. Treatment options range from medication to lifestyle changes. Here are some of the most common treatments for low libido in women:
- Lifestyle changes
- Hormone therapy
- Herbal supplements
Hormone therapy is a treatment for low libido in women. It might involve supplementing hormones that are deficient to balance them and raise libido. It can be combined with medication and/or lifestyle changes, as suggested by a doctor.
Common hormone therapies include:
- OCPs (oral contraceptive pills) to increase estrogen levels.
- Testosterone to increase arousal and desire.
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) to raise the sex drive.
- Progesterone to increase vaginal lubrication.
These must be accompanied by medical advice or supervision by a doctor, for effectiveness and safety.
Stress management is a must if one wants to address low libido in women. Unmanaged stress can deplete energy, resulting in hormone imbalances that can interfere with sexual desire, arousal and satisfaction. Our modern lifestyles can add to the depletion of energy and enthusiasm for sex.
Medications and therapies may not be enough for those dealing with low libido due to chronic stress or fatigue. It is important to focus on restoring balance through lifestyle changes. Diet modifications, exercise, yoga, and relaxation techniques like meditation can help. Creating a regular routine that helps with physical wellbeing will help bring libido back to normal.
Other ways to reduce stress are:
- Leisure activities
- Meaningful relationships
- Creative pursuits
- Therapeutic counseling
It is important to remain patient as psycho-emotional issues take longer than physiological ones to resolve. With gradual adjustments in lifestyle habits, plus help from healthcare professionals if needed, relief from persistent stress can restore libido.
Couples dealing with low libido in women can benefit from relationship counseling. It supports better communication, understanding and appreciation of differences. This encourages a trusting, intimate atmosphere. In addition, counseling can reveal individual issues that might be causing low libido.
Couples can also work on strategies to better communicate and resolve conflicts. Learning to respect each other’s feelings can help address issues and improve the relationship quality.
Medication can be a successful way to treat low libido in women. The type of medication will depend on why a person has low libido. For example, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help restore hormones and tackle libido issues. Antidepressants might also be used to reduce anxiety and depression, which can lead to low libido.
As well as medications, there are lifestyle changes that can help. This includes:
- Having good sleeping habits
- Having a good diet
- Not drinking too much alcohol
- Doing relaxing activities like yoga and meditation
Also, couples can go to counselling to communicate better and build intimacy in their relationship.
In summary, numerous elements can lead to low libido in females. These can be physical like hormone imbalances, drugs, or persistent diseases. Psychological problems such as stress, depression, and partnership issues can be causes too. Diet, exercise, and sleep habits also play a role.
There is no universal cure for low libido in women. It is essential to know treatments are available. These may include lifestyle changes and medical treatments like hormone therapy or counseling.
Ultimately, the best resolution is up to the female in question.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is low libido in women?
A: Low libido in women refers to a decrease or complete lack of sexual desire or interest, which can lead to difficulties in sexual relationships or frustrations with personal and romantic feelings.
Q: What are the common factors that cause low libido in women?
A: There can be many factors that contribute to low libido in women including physical and emotional issues, hormonal changes, childbirth, menopause, medical conditions, relationship problems, depression, and anxiety among others.
Q: How can women improve their low libido?
A: Women with low libido can improve their sexual desire through counseling, lifestyle changes, hormone therapy, medication, and behavioral therapy, among other treatments. It is recommended to talk to a healthcare provider to identify the right treatment that suits their specific needs.
Q: How can partners help in supporting women with low libido?
A: Partners can support their significant other by providing emotional support and understanding, engaging in open communication, exploring new ways to strengthen intimacy and building a positive sexual relationship that works for both partners.
Q: Is low libido common in women?
A: Yes, low libido in women is a common sexual disorder that affects many women and can occur at any age. It is estimated that around 30-50% of women experience low libido at some point in their lives.
Q: When should you see a healthcare provider for low libido in women?
A: If low libido in women persists for a long time or starts to impact daily life, it’s recommended to talk to a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Low libido can be a sign of underlying health issues that need to be addressed.