Has your sex drive dwindled? A low libido can be caused by a number of factors including stress, hormonal imbalance, and drinking too much alcohol. The good news is there are ways you can heighten your libido and bring the spark back into your sex life. Marie Stopes offers Women’s Wellness services that can help recommend the best course of action.
However, make sure that you practice safe sex by using contraception to prevent an unintended pregnancy.
Here are five reasons you may be suffering from a low libido.
1. Hormonal imbalance
Sex drive can be affected by an imbalance in levels of the hormones: cortisol, oestrogen, testosterone, and thyroid.
- Cortisol: This hormone is secreted during time of high stress, causing fatigue and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Interestingly, cortisol can also cause you to crave unhealthy foods due to its link to blood sugar levels. Bingeing on high-fat, sugar-rich foods can lead to weight gain and low self-confidence.
- Decrease in oestrogen production: As you age, and especially when you go into menopause, oestrogen levels decrease, causing a low sex drive. Interestingly, menopause also causes a decline in testosterone (yes, women have it, too) and this also contributes to a lack of sexual desire.
- Thyroid: An underactive thyroid (a condition called hypothyroidism) can cause severe fatigue, affect mood and rapid weight gain.
How to fix it
Hormonal imbalances can be controlled by medication and lifestyle changes. Speak to your doctor about available options.
According to mobile health app, Flo, “Stress is one of the most frequent causes of low sex drive. Common stressors that affect the women’s overall wellbeing including her sex drive include:
- Financial problems such as debt and low income
- Stress at work: hostile and dysfunctional work environment, long hours, overworking, lack of motivation and appreciation for the made efforts.
- Relationship problems: unaddressed relationship issues, lack of communication about sex, lack of emotional support.
- Family issues: parenting and pregnancy, or not having enough help and support with children and housework.”
How to fix it
Exercise: Interestingly, stressing your body through physical activity releases endorphins which alleviate mental stress.
Reduce your caffeine intake: Coffee and tea contain caffeine, which is a stimulant and in high doses, can increase anxiety levels.
Laugh and spend time with friends and family: Laughing helps relax your muscles and releases oxytocin, which reduces stress. The support of your family and friends can increase your sense of self-worth and really helps you through tough, stressful times.
Certain prescription drugs, especially antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Fluoxitine (sold under the brand name, Prozac), are known to lower the sex drive.
How to fix it
An article written by Very Well Mind recommends:
- Speaking to your doctor about taking a lower dose
- Taking your antidepressants after sex
- Chat to your doctor about taking an alternative antidepressant such as Wellbutrin which is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) and doesn’t have such a strong effect on libido.
4. Drinking too much alcohol and/or smoking
Did you know that smoking and drinking not only affects sex drive, but also may lead to impotence?
According to AlcoRehab, women who drink too much alcohol can experience:
- Dehydration: This lowers the blood volume flowing in organs such as the vagina. Lubrication of the vagina is vital for healthy sex as it lowers the risk of abrasions and bruises caused by too much friction. Lower blood volume means lower lubrication of the vagina.
- Sexual dysfunction: some women tend to lose their interest in sex after a session or sessions of alcohol-induced intercourse. Causes could vary from psychological factors causes by unplanned and, or unwanted sex while they were drunk.
- Delayed orgasm: Like men, women tend to experience delayed orgasms during sexual intercourse if they are drunk.
How to fix it
Stop smoking completely. Besides affecting libido, it also causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). Cut back on your alcohol consumption.