Stress, medications and other reasons behind low libido; six tips that can help treat it
A lack of libido or sex drive, while distressing, is actually a very common problem and occurs to men, women and even people on the LGBTQ+ spectrum
A lack of libido or sex drive, while distressing, is actually a very common problem and occurs to men, women and even people on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Understanding why it occurs is the most important part of learning how to cope with a low sex drive. What you need to understand primarily is that fluctuations in your sex drive are normal and can happen because of a number of reasons.
Causes of low libido
The underlying reasons behind a low libido can be anything from the nature of your relationship to the medications you may be on. According to the UK’s National Health Service, if your low libido is too distressing, severe or affecting your relationship with your spouse or partner, you should consult a doctor to find out which of the following reasons might be behind it. It’s important to remember though that having a low sex drive is natural and nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about.
1. Relationship issues: Being over-familiar with your long-term partner, loss of sexual attraction, unresolved conflicts, poor communication, trust issues and physical discomfort during sex can lead to a loss of sexual desire.
2. Sexual dysfunction: Your low libido might be the result of an underlying sexual health issue. This could be premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction in men, and vaginal dryness, vaginismus (involuntary vaginal tightening), dyspareunia (pain during sex) and anorgasmia (the inability to orgasm) in women.
3. Stress: Chronic stress, anxiety and exhaustion can take a heavy toll on your sex life, and is likely to lead to a low sex drive too. Sexual performance anxiety can also cause low libido, among other things.
4. Depression: The inability to feel happy or positive about yourself, people around you and the future is a symptom of depression and can also cause low sex drive. Getting help from a mental health expert is very important.
5. Ageing: As women get older and closer to menopause, their estrogen and testosterone levels tend to decrease, which can lead to depleting sexual desire. Similarly in men, ageing can lead to a drop in testosterone, which can cause low libido.
6. Underlying health issues: Man or woman, if you have an underactive thyroid, your sexual hormone production can be disrupted, which in turn can cause low libido. Other underlying health issues like heart disease, cancer and diabetes can also affect your sex drive.
7. Pregnancy: For women, pregnancy is a time of hormonal and bodily changes, which might not leave them in the mood for sex. The same goes for childbirth and breastfeeding phases, which can lead to exhaustion and lack of sexual desire.
8. Medications: Whether you’re taking contraceptives or prescribed medications for hypertension, diabetes, prostate cancer or antidepressants, your medicinal intake can have a negative effect on your sex drive.
9. Alcohol, smoking and drugs: Long term substance abuse has been linked with a low sexual desire and other dysfunctions.
Tips to improve libido
Nothing beats consulting a doctor when it comes to sexual health issues like low sex drive. In the meantime, you can also try the following to improve your sex drive.
- Improve communication in your relationship and work on doing things that give your partner pleasure while insisting they do the same for you. Sex can be pleasurable and exciting when both of you are working on it.
- Manage your anxiety and stress levels by meditating, exercising regularly and taking time out to engage in activities that give you pleasure.
- Getting enough sleep can improve your overall mood and alleviate exhaustion as well as stress, and this, in turn, can improve your sex drive.
- You might not associate them with your sex drive, but eating plenty of fibre in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables can improve your hormonal balance and blood circulation — both of which are important for your sex drive.
- Regular exercise can improve testosterone levels in both men and women, which is very important for a healthy libido.
- Quit smoking, drug abuse and limit your alcohol intake to a minimum and you’re likely to see an improvement in your sex drive.
For more information, read our article on Low libido: Symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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