A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that 31% of men and 43% of women suffer from sexual inadequacy at some point in their lives. Lack of desire, performance anxiety, premature ejaculation or pain during intercourse are all common symptoms of sexual dysfunction in men and women. Low libido does cause a lack of sexual desire, however, it can also affect your life in other ways. Libido is the life energy that fuels motivation and provides a sense of well-being. Low libido may also be an indication of a more serious condition such as thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, cancer, heart problems, or kidney disease. It is the libido that is commonly used to measure one’s state of health.

Symptoms of low libido may include a lack of the desire to engage in any form of sexual activity, lack of sexual fantasies, and low energy, or lack of motivation. Low libido can be the result of different physiological, emotional, or lifestyle factors. The body reacts to stress by releasing adrenaline and cortisol. Chronic stress, in particular, can interfere with your body’s hormone levels, and result in a low libido.

Depression can change the body’s biochemistry and therefore reduce libido and some medications commonly used to treat depression may also lower libido as a side effect. Too much alcohol can impair your nervous system and lead to fatigue — making it difficult to become aroused. Other drugs like marijuana suppress the pituitary gland, which regulates the production of testosterone. Lack of sleep can elevate cortisol levels, which also leads to low libido. Erectile dysfunction often generates low libido as well, as do hormonal imbalances.

Women may experience low libido during menopause for a number of reasons. Estrogen levels drop suddenly during these years, causing vaginal tissue to become dry. That, in turn, can lead to discomfort and pain during intercourse and discourage a woman’s sexual desire. Menopause can also lower testosterone, the hormone that boosts libido in women as well as men. Serious health conditions, such as cancer or kidney disease, can suppress testosterone levels and reduce sperm production.

A lack of testosterone is a very common cause of low libido in both men and women. Women also possess the testosterone hormone, which creates a sexual desire in both sexes. In diagnosing low libido, blood tests will be performed to check hormone levels, thyroid imbalance, diabetes or to screen for high cholesterol. Once the cause that is creating low libido is determined, safe and effective treatments can be implemented. By determining the cause of low libido, many are surprised to find that there are several treatment methods. Some of the methods we use are discussed below, including both prescriptions and natural remedies that can increase libido and sexual satisfaction:

  1. Oxytocin, a hormone that peaks at orgasm and can stimulate libido, climax sense of closeness and bonding. It is active in both sexes and helps stimulate pleasurable sexual interactions between males and females and is also involved in and social interactions between family and friends. It can be prescribed by a physician and can be made into a nasal spray to be used before intercourse. It can also be effectively used on a daily basis for anxiety and depression and to counteract the loss of libido associated with antidepressant use.
  2. Testosterone is not just a male hormone and is important for sexual desire in both sexes. Supplementation to more youthful levels can dramatically increase libido, sense of well-being, energy and quality-of-life. A common cause of low testosterone in men is stress and exposure to environmental contaminants such as bisphenol-A, which is a component in many plastic containers including plastic water bottles, In women, a major cause of suppressed testosterone levels is the use of birth control pills. Unfortunately, testosterone levels will usually not return to normal even after stopping the birth control pills. A knowledgeable physician can test the total and free (active) testosterone levels in the blood and prescribe appropriate replacement for both men and women.
  3. Studies show that even slightly reduced thyroid levels, even considered still in the “normal” range can dramatically decrease libido in women as well as causing fatigue, weight gain and depression. The problem is that this almost always goes undetected by standard blood tests based on the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which is used as a simple method by most physicians to test thyroid levels. People need to find a doctor that uses the more sophisticated method of testing that includes the freeT3/reverse T3 ratio.
  4. Menopausal women will often complain of low libido. Unfortunately, synthetic hormone replacement will often not alleviate the problem. The use of bioidentical hormones, hormones that are exact copies of hormones naturally produced by the body, can be very effective at returning the vigor and sex drive of youth.
  5. Amino acids such as L-arginine can boost nitric oxide, a compound that works to relax blood vessels and allow more blood to flow through arteries and this of course includes to the sexual organs. Supplementation can improve sexual satisfaction in women and erectile function in men. Ginko may also be of some, although mild, benefit, as well.
  6. Viagra/Cialis/Lavitra, we have all been inundated with the commercials for these products to treat male erectile dysfunction. They typically do not increase libido in men, but desire and orgasm is more complicated in women than in men. These medications can effectively improve the cascade of arousal in women and can increase libido and sexual satisfaction for about 30% of women and also can help women suffering from sexual dysfunction due to use of antidepressants.
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