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What Your Low Libido Means and What to Do About It

Low libido generally means you don’t have as strong a desire for sex as most other people do. Several potential causes may be pointed out for this lack of sexual desire. Medical and physical problems may lead to low libido, psychological issues may cause this condition or stress may lie at the root of low libido. We will discuss one major reason for low libido and what you can do about it.

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)

The label HSDD describes a sexual dysfunction causing lowered sexual desire in women. Although recognized as a genuine disorder, HSDD may not get the attention from women it should get. Many women pass off the symptoms of HSDD as normal responses to aging or changes in their bodies.

If your lack of sexual drive or desire lasts for six months or more and causes you distress, you may suffer from HSDD.

Symptoms of HSDD

In addition to a lowered sex drive lasting at least six months and causing distress, the following comprise symptoms of HSDD:

  • Not interested in initiating sex
  • Seldom get pleasure from sex
  • Little or no thoughts of sex
  • Few, if any, sexual thoughts or fantasies
  • Little, if any, pleasure from the stimulation of genitals

Diagnosis of HSDD

While HSDD is a recognized disorder, there is no specific evaluation to adequately assess whether you have the disorder. Your medical professional will ask you questions to determine the impact of your low libido on your life. During this time, you must tell your doctor all about your symptoms. With this information, your healthcare professional will determine an underlying cause of your symptoms, either physical, emotional, relational, or some combination of them.

Your doctor may perform a pelvic exam to determine whether some physical change may be the cause of your symptoms. Genital tissue thinning, vaginal dryness, or spots that trigger pain may lead to lowered sexual desire.

Your medical professional may recommend testing for hormone levels, diabetes, liver disorders, thyroid problems, or high cholesterol.

A referral to a specialist may result. Specialists such as sex therapists or relationship therapists may point out emotional and relationship issues that play a part in your lack of libido.

Physical and Medical Causes of HSDD

Sometimes, a physical or medical condition may cause your symptoms of low libido and/or HSDD. The following are some of those conditions and some medications that may cause your symptoms.

  • Injury to nerves or blood vessels following surgery involving reproductive organs
  • Obesity
  • Incontinence
  • Hormonal changes during or after pregnancy
  • Hormonal changes occurring around menopause
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Other chronic health conditions
  • Pain which may be chronic or associated with a medical condition
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Decreased levels of testosterone or estrogen
  • Lowered blood flow to the vagina or uterus
  • Conditions that make sex painful
  • Some medications for depression or other conditions
  • Fatigue due to work, family, or other stresses

Emotional and Relationship Causes of HSDD

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of trust with your sexual partner
  • History of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Infidelity
  • Power issues in your relationship
  • Built-up anger or resentment issues
  • Desire to punish or control your sexual partner

Personal Causes of HSDD

  • Women who are physically exhausted due to the pressures of taking care of children
  • Focusing more on your children than your relationship
  • Body changes due to pregnancy or other factors
  • Work stress that leads you to desire rest rather than sex at the end of the day
  • Smoking, drinking, or other addictions

How Do I Address My Low Libido?

A man taking a pill for low libido, not realizing libido itself is not the root problemIn general, two methods of dealing with low libido have been used: Those based on medications and those based on other interventions.

Medication Based Interventions

Only two medication-based interventions for dealing with low libido currently are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Eros clitoral therapy device, Eros-CTD, uses a vacuum system in a hand-held device to increase blood flow to the clitoris and genitalia. This increased blood flow should increase a woman’s sexual pleasure from either sex or manual stimulation.

The other FDA-approved medication for low libido is flibanserin (Addyi). This medication works to improve women’s libido by working on brain chemicals to increase the desire for sex. However, some side effects come with the medication. Dizziness, low blood pressure, and fainting have been reported. If you drink alcohol or combine this medication with Diflucan, often given for yeast infections, these side effects will increase.

A non-FDA approved medication, the O-shot, administered by injection into the vagina increases blood flow and circulation.

Other ways to improve blood flow to the vaginal area involve estrogen creams, suppositories, or rings to release estrogen into the vagina to replace the loss of estrogen due to issues around menopause.

Your healthcare professional will also evaluate any current medications you take to determine whether they may cause low libido as a side effect. If you currently take any of these, other medications may replace them.

Non-Medication Based Interventions

One of the non-medication based ways of dealing with low libido involves talking to a trained sex therapist or relationship therapist. This may include education on sexual techniques, improved communication with your partner, and resolving conflicts or misunderstandings.

Other ways of dealing with low libido that do not involve medications include:

  • Exercise. This will work to improve your self-image and self-esteem, improve your mood, and increase your libido.
  • Decrease stress. Work to lower stress levels from any source to improve your libido.
  • Improve communication with your partner. Talking to your partner openly and honestly about any and all issues involving sex will improve your relationship and increase libido.
  • Schedule times for intimacy. This may sound mechanical, but it will help you keep sex as a priority in your relationship.
  • Get rid of bad habits. Drinking to excess, smoking, and using substances all work to decrease your libido.
  • Experiment. If you feel open to the possibility, try different sexual positions, use sex toys, and use fantasies to increase libido.

Low Libido? Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome May Be to Blame

A man and woman couple in bed, with the woman seemingly uninterested possibly with low libidoIf you experience an unusual lack of sex drive or low libido, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) may be the culprit. In fact, this is one of the most common hormonally related symptoms associated with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Looking at the problem of decreased sex drive from a scientific viewpoint, it makes sense that Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome lowers libido since the body tries to do everything it can to conserve energy. When low on energy, reproduction does not constitute a high priority for your body. It’s more important to recover and survive first. Thus, your body will do any and everything it can to conserve energy, including slowing down non-essential functions such as your libido.

Why Does Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome Cause Low Libido?

As the body works to conserve energy, it must also determine which functions are essential and which can be sacrificed in the energy-saving effort. Of course, the functions performed by the heart and cardiovascular system must always be maintained, so large quantities of energy are directed there. Functions of the brain and nervous system are also critical to survival, and so the body supplies the energy necessary to support their functioning. The reproductive system, however, is not crucial to immediate survival, so it is placed on the “do not expend energy on” list.

The body will begin to redistribute and rebalance the way it uses energy and produces hormones accordingly. When the body cuts energy to the reproductive system, production of estrogen and testosterone—the hormones responsible for libido—will dramatically lessen, and in some cases, production of these hormones stops completely. When this happens, a drop in libido is a natural side effect of the lowered hormonal activity.

Is Low Libido Always Caused by Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome?

Depiction of an eraser removing lipstick, signifying low libido and diminishing interestNow that you understand why Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome causes low libido, you may be wondering if a decreased sex drive is always an indication of the presence of adrenal issues. While a lowered, or even nonexistent, sex drive is often an indication of adrenal problems, a low libido alone is not a concrete indication that you are suffering from adrenal problems, as there are many other reasons for low libido.


NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response

To assess that, you need to consider your overall health to see if there are any other symptoms. In particular, those with Adrenal Fatigue often have problems relating to their NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response System, which includes all of the body’s coping mechanisms for stress. Examining each of the components of the NEM response is a good way to evaluate your body’s functioning, especially in situations of chronic stress. Low libido is but one part of the hormonal system that is regulated by the adrenals, thyroid, and reproductive system, which work together to regulate many hormones in your body and to balance your metabolism and reproduction. When you assess your overall health, you should be aware of the symptoms that may indicate adrenal problems. Adrenal Fatigue may be at play if you regularly experience any of the following:

  • Extreme difficulty getting out of bed, even after a full night's sleep.
  • Unusually high levels of fatigue every day regardless of your activity level.
  • Sudden or intense cravings for salty foods.
  • Intolerance to exercise or feeling extremely tired about an hour after the workout ends.
  • A marked inability to handle stress. This can include feeling anxious, depressed, apathetic, or irritable. It can also include an inability to focus even when you are trying to concentrate on specific things or tasks.
  • A weakened immune system. This can include frequent colds, infections, increased allergy symptoms, and autoimmune diseases.
  • An unexplained increase in energy levels late in the evenings.
  • Dizziness.
  • Numbness in your fingers or other indicators of poor circulation.

In addition to these symptoms, there are a few physical markers that may indicate an underlying adrenal issue. These include:

  • Dry skin.
  • Dark circles under your eyes.
  • Lines in your fingertips.
  • Weight gain that is unexplained by diet or lack of exercise.

If you notice several of these symptoms and you have a low libido level, you may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.

There is good news, however. You can address your adrenal issues and enjoy an increased libido through the use of natural compounds that are non-stimulatory, along with lifestyle and dietary adjustments. Unlike artificial stimulants, which only mask the issues while giving temporary benefit at best, several extremely effective compounds can be used to actually heal the adrenals and restore your sex drive. In fact, one of the tools used to gauge how the compounds are working for you and how well your body is healing involves monitoring your sex. In the context of AFS, low libido does not need to be handled separately from Adrenal Fatigue: as your adrenal glands become healthier, your libido will also improve spontaneously.

Conclusion

Low libido can be caused by a number of issues, including AFS. Regardless of the cause, there are methods of dealing with low libido that prove useful in increasing sexual drive and desire. Some of the interventions involve medications while others utilize lifestyle changes or professional counseling.

If you suffer from low libido due to HSDD, there are some things you can do.

  1. Medically-based interventions include flibanserin (Addyi), Eros-CTD, and estrogen creams to increase estrogen
  2. Exercise, decrease all forms of stress, increase communication with your partner
  3. Stop smoking, decrease consumption of alcohol, stop any illegal drugs

If you would like to know more or need more assistance with low libido, the team at Dr. Lam Coaching can help. We offer a free** no-obligation phone consultation at 1-626-571-1234 where we will privately discuss your symptoms and what your options are. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.

© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

A man and woman couple in bed, with the woman seemingly uninterested possibly with low libido

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