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What Causes Low Libido In Men And What Can You Do About It?

An image of a frustrated man and woman sitting on their bedWhen talking about low libido in men, you are talking about a decrease in a man’s sex drive that could interfere with his sexual activity. This could cause strain in any relationship.

Please do not confuse low libido in men with erectile dysfunction even though both of these conditions may occur at the same time. Erectile dysfunction has to do with an inability to get or maintain an erection and may be due to psychological or physiological reasons. Low libido in men refers to the lack of a need for physical intercourse for various reasons even though you can get an erection.

Causes of Low Libido in Men

Low libido in men may result from one or multiple issues. The most common of these issues include, amongst others:

  • Low testosterone hormone levels
  • Aging
  • Stress
  • Sleep issues
  • Depression
  • Certain medications
  • Chronic health problems
  • Lifestyle issues like obesity, smoking, or over- or under-exercising

Please remember that low libido in men from time to time is nothing to worry about. But if it persists, you may need to find the cause and address it because it may indicate certain health issues you are not aware of.

Low Testosterone

In men, testosterone is primarily produced in the testicles. This hormone, which plays an important role in sperm production stimulation and building bone and muscle mass, largely determines a man’s sex drive. A low testosterone count may result in low libido in men.

Aging

A man’s testosterone levels tend to decrease with age. This results in an accompanying decrease in sexual desire. This is a normal process but it would probably take years before you would say you have libido issues. In men, testosterone levels are typically highest during the late teen years. This is also the time when a man’s libido is at its highest.

Stress

Stress plays a major role in the occurrence of many health-related issues, including hormone production. The reason is that stress, perceived in your brain as a threat, results in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis sending a series of chemical messengers to various parts of your body, including your adrenal glands. In the adrenal glands, more cortisol is released in order to ready your body for fight or flight and to deal with the stress itself. This response to stress is known as the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response. You have no control over this response.

One of the results of the NEM is not only an increase in cortisol production but a decline in other body functions during this time of stress. One of these functions affected is a decrease in other hormone production as this may not be necessary for your imminent survival. In other words, your body may produce less testosterone due to stress.

Sleep Issues

An image of a man laying in bed unable to sleepVarious sleep issues are linked to low libido in men. Up to a third of men with sleep apnea may have lower testosterone levels, while men who sleep too little also have this issue.

One of the issues discussed, i.e. stress, has a major impact on your sleep, with evidence suggesting that it is linked to insomnia and heightens your risk of developing sleep apnea.

Depression

Depression may be the cause, as well as the result, of low libido in men. While depression itself is the result of a chemical imbalance in your brain, the reasons for this happening are very complex. They may include a genetic vulnerability towards the condition, other underlying medical issues, a stressful situation you are dealing with, and even certain medications, amongst others.

Medications

Certain medications may cause low libido in men by lowering a man’s testosterone levels such as hormone treatment for prostate cancer, corticosteroids, certain antidepressants, and even certain pain relievers. Others may prevent a man from getting an erection, like certain blood pressure medications.

Chronic Health Problems

Chronic health problems can break you down not only physically, but emotionally as well. This is especially true of conditions associated with chronic pain and/or fatigue. The constant pain and stress you are going through, may result in depression, interfere with your normal hormone and other body functions and thus negatively affect your libido.

Chronic health conditions often associated with low libido in men include chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, Type-2 diabetes, and many others. Please note that many, if not all, these health conditions are also indicative of adrenal fatigue.

Lifestyle Issues

Many lifestyle issues could cause low libido in men.

Weight

Obesity, for example, directly affects your body’s metabolism and hormone production. In doing so, you may have low testosterone levels due to the fat cells producing higher levels of estrogen, offsetting the balance in testosterone.

Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is often the result of a poor body image. This may result from being obese, being too skinny and not muscular enough in your own opinion, or even due to certain body characteristics you hate. Whatever the cause of your self-esteem issues, the result is that you feel unattractive. These feelings may lead to low libido in men. You may just not feel "good enough" for whatever reason. These feelings run the danger of resulting in certain health issues like anxiety and depression as well as alcohol abuse if not looked at and sorted out.

Alcohol and Smoking

Another lifestyle factor that directly affects testosterone production in men is alcohol. The excessive use of alcohol over a long period results in a reduction in testosterone production. The enzymes needed to manufacture testosterone are rather used by the liver in an effort to function correctly.

With regard to smoking, a 2015 study shows that doing so may negatively affect your body’s ability to become aroused for sexual intercourse.

Exercise

An image of an overweight man staring at a hotdogEveryone is probably aware that exercise is good for you on a physical and psychological level. Many a couch potato is aware he needs to get up and start moving. But did you know too much exercise may be just as bad for your libido as no exercise at all?

Regular, moderate exercise, i.e. the good kind, may reduce your risk of various chronic conditions like high blood pressure and even Type-2 diabetes. It lowers your cortisol levels during the evenings and may even reduce stress. These are good for your sex drive.

Too little exercise, on the one hand, promotes obesity and other chronic health issues that may lead to a lack of sex drive. On the other hand, over-exercising, such as regular endurance training, may lead to a loss of libido in men.

Addressing Low Libido in Men

Very often addressing the issue is as simple as finding and addressing the cause of the problem. If you have health issues, for example, you may find your libido steadily increasing as your health improves. Where libido issues stem from medications you are using, you may decide to talk to your healthcare practitioner. Switching medications may improve the problem.

If you find that your lower libido is because of low testosterone levels for whatever reason or because of the aging process, testosterone supplementation may help. Do, however, make sure that you talk to your healthcare practitioner about this before embarking on any course of action.

Where psychological factors come into play like anxiety or depression, talking to a qualified person may help. Conventional medicine practitioners may also recommend the use of certain drugs. Please note that certain antidepressants may cause a loss of libido in men. Do, therefore, make sure you're aware of the possible side effects.

Lifestyle factors leading to low libido in men is something anyone can address at any time. If you smoke, quit. A heavy drinker may need to consider their alcohol intake and stop, if necessary. If you are a couch potato, take up some form of moderate exercise. If you are an extreme exerciser, do consider less exercise. There is only one course of action, besides moderate exercise, for someone who is overweight – follow a healthy diet plan and lose the excess weight.

You could also try making up for your libido issues by taking supplements and incorporating certain foods into your diet.

Foods and Supplements That Counteract Low Libido in Men

Not surprisingly, nature has a plethora of foods that may help improve your libido in various ways.

  • Oysters are high in zinc which helps with sperm production. They are also high in amino acids that may boost testosterone levels.
  • Bananas are a great source of potassium and are high in a compound necessary for testosterone production.
  • Dark chocolate holds large amounts of a compound that stimulates dopamine and endorphin release. These hormones lower your inhibitions and make you feel good.
  • Certain spices like cinnamon or cayenne pepper, for example, increases blood circulation throughout your body, even in the pelvic area. This may increase a man’s chances of an erection.
  • Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids that boost your arginine levels. This amino acid increases blood circulation and supports arousal.
  • The high levels of vitamin D in tuna, milk, beef liver, beans, and egg yolks may help boost testosterone levels.
  • An image of supplements in a spoon with various vegetables in the background

  • Vitamin D in its active form acts as a steroid hormone in your body and plays a role in testosterone production.
  • Fenugreek, an herb that may promote fat loss, also plays a role in boosting your body’s testosterone production.
  • Ginger, according to research, may help reduce inflammation, boost testosterone production, and improve your sex drive.
  • Zinc may play a role in testosterone production as many men with low testosterone levels tend to have a zinc deficiency.
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone that occurs naturally in your body. When taken as a supplement it may boost your testosterone levels and thereby improve your libido.

Conclusion

Low libido in men may result from something as simple as medication to something more serious like a chronic health condition. The first course of action in addressing the issue may be finding the root cause and taking steps to overcome it or manage it.

If you are a man and suffering from low libido, please consider the following:

  1. Try to find out the cause of your problem and address it.
  2. Try making the necessary lifestyle changes in order to live a healthier life and increase your libido.
  3. Consider changing your diet, incorporating certain testosterone or libido-enhancing foods, and using supplements. Please remember that the use of supplements is best supervised by a qualified healthcare practitioner. They will advise on suitability and dosage.

If you would like to know more about, or need any 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 various options. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.

© Copyright 2021 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam's Key Question

Many factors could cause low libido in men. Adrenal fatigue is one of these as it may cause a hormonal imbalance that could negatively affect a man’s testosterone levels. Thus it is a good idea when addressing low libido in men to keep adrenal support in consideration.

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