Back home after a hard day at work, you still have to cook dinner, wash dishes, help with homework, give the kids a bath and tell stories before you even think of relaxing. Your husband gives you that look and points at your bedroom but you are too tired and prefer to quietly relax in front of the television.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Lack of libido is one of the most frequent medical complaints of women. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that 43 % of women have sexual desire issues.
WHAT’S GOING ON?
Fatigue, stress, hormonal imbalances and psychological factors can decrease your libido. Anxiety and depression contribute to this problem and, ironically, several medications to treat them do too. Antidepressants, the pill and tranquilizers are all medications that can affect your sex drive. In the past decade, researchers have found that hormonal contraceptives including the Pill, the Patch, and the vaginal ring, can dampen how often women want, think about, and even respond to sexual stimulation. And an online Women's Health poll backs that up: They found that 36 percent of you firmly believe the Pill muffles your mojo.
Unfortunately, no official stats are available on how prevalent this problem really is. When asked to estimate how many of their patients on the Pill have suffered a blow to their libido, doctors' answers range from 10- 40%--though some sexual-health specialists argue that 40 percent is a lot closer to reality.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
First things first, have your hormones measured. Ask your doctor to analyze your hormone levels. A registered naturopathic doctor may suggest a salivary hormone test to assess your cortisol level (the stress hormone), your DHEA (anti-stress/anti-aging hormone), estrogens, progesterone and testosterone. Before starting any supplements for sex drive you must determine WHY the drive has decreased. Just blindly taking herbs like maca or horny goat weed an actually be harmful in some cases.
A decrease in sex drive is seen in about 25 to 40 % of post-menopausal women. In these women, increased levels of testosterone has been positively linked to their libido. Several studies have shown that testosterone can increase the sex drive of post-menopausal women.
Several natural plants and vitamins can be useful to balance your hormones. In general, women who have a low libido can have one or several of low progesterone, testosterone and DHEA levels. Estrogen and cortisol levels may also be imbalanced.
Be sure to have your thyroid function tested as well. A sluggish thyroid can slow your metabolism and affect your energy, your weight and decrease your sexual desire.
Let’s get the conversation started, and get the information you need to properly address your sex drive.
Dr. Katie Coombs, ND
Westbrook Momentum Health 403-454-1600
Creekside Momentum Health 403-239-6773
Frances Wang, ND
A naturopathic doctor and a mother who loves life, the outdoors and exercise.