July 22, 2013

Lost that Lovin’ Feeling? It Could Be Your Hormones.

Photo: Nina Matthews Photography

Regardless whether one thinks it is a good thing or a bad thing, it’s far easier to talk about sex and sexual dysfunction than it ever has been.

The latter is an especially a popular topic. Ads for Viagra and other drugs to cure erectile dysfunction are so common that they hardly raise an eyebrow anymore.

At times, we can seem like a culture obsessed with sex, but it’s no surprise. As humans, we are meant to like sex. Sex is an important part of relationships whether they be gay, straight, etc.

However, one thing that is under discussed is female sexual dysfunction.

Despite the myths and pop culture, it isn’t “normal” for women to lose interest in sex after a certain age. Research indicates that people of both sexes, well into their 70s and 80s, continue to engage in and enjoy sex. Often times, a loss of enjoyment may be linked to hormones, except in cases where an accident or extreme emotional trauma has occurred. 

You don’t need to be a doctor or a medical professional to grasp the importance of hormones when it comes to regulating a woman’s sense of well-being. Simply put, the body is a pretty amazing thing. When the hormone levels are correct and everything is operating smoothly, we tend to feel good. However, even slight changes in hormones can have a pretty dramatic effect on mood and sexual desire. Ask any woman who experiences or ever experienced PMS and she’ll tell you that it’s not uncommon for many women to feel much more moodier or one edge and/or desire more sex right before her period. Again, that is all thanks to hormones.

Many women are aware of hormonal changes following big events like the birth of a baby, a hysterectomy or menopause, but some are unaware that hormone levels can shift dramatically due to stress and entering that period right before menopause known as perimenopause.

In her book, Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life, Dr. Claudia Welch states that perimenopause may occur as early as age 35 when progesterone levels start to drop. It’s also worth noting that this is often a time of a lot of change and stress in many women’s lives, where they attempt to balance personal and family life, raise young children, and/or begin or end new relationships. These things can also affect hormone levels. Lower progesterone plus any of these stressors may make some take some women’s sex drive to an all-time low. Often times, women may be so busy or preoccupied with other things, they may not even be aware that their libidos are low. However, if you do notice and realize it’s been a long time since you desired sex and/or enjoyed it, then make an appointment with doctor and see about getting your hormone levels checked.

If the test comes back and your hormones levels are off, it may be worthwhile to spend some time researching your options. Some women may want to take a medical approach, some may wish to find a more natural/holistic way, and some may want to do nothing. It’s truly up to an individual.

When taking the first or second option, finding the right doctor or health care practitioners with the right background is essential. As most already know, not all doctors or healthcare practitioners—even those who bill themselves as holistic—are created equal. Some doctors automatically reach for the Rx pad and write a prescription for estrogen replacement. However, this may not be the right solution for all women. Not only is there controversy between estrogen replacement and a possible link with some types of cancer, but some like Welch claim that simply adding estrogen without addressing other hormones and stress factors is not beneficial. Likewise, some holistic health care providers will recommend bioidentical hormones and/or some other therapies like acupuncture or herbs. Again, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It may even take some trial and error to see what works for you and your body.

In the meantime, share what you’re going through with your spouse or partner. It’s important to let them know that this isn’t about you not finding them sexy or desirable anymore. Even if you are currently not in a relationship, you owe it to yourself to have a healthy sex drive. You may end up losing a lot of things as you get older, but your sex drive doesn’t have to be one of them.


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Ed: B. Bemel

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