The 5 Biggest Libido Crushers
By: Dr. Emma Pollon-MacLeod, ND
Low Libido? Here are 5 key factors that could be sabotaging your libido this summer.
- Low Vitamin D
The sunshine vitamin (which is actually a hormone) has a huge impact on sex hormones. 40% of Canadians are deficient in Vitamin D in the winter months and 25% remain deficient even throughout the summer. Inadequate vitamin D levels are associated with lower testosterone in men. Supplementation with Vitamin D in deficient men was shown to increase testosterone levels and improve erectile function.
What to do? Get your vitamin D levels tested!
Chronic elevations in your stress hormone, cortisol, can put a major damper on your sex drive. Stress and anxiety have been shown to diminish libido and sexual arousal in both men and women. [This makes sense if you think about it from an evolutionary standpoint – thousands of years ago if cortisol levels were high that would mean there is danger around – which is a less than ideal time to procreate]. Increasing stress relieving activities such as yoga and mindful meditation has been shown to bring down cortisol levels and in turn, increase libido.
What to do? Up your down time- Sign up for that meditation or yoga class you have been putting off.
Transitioning through peri-menopause/menopause can lead to major changes in hormones. Declining estrogen levels not only can decrease libido but can also affect sexual function. Many women experience severe vaginal dryness, loss of sensation ‘down there’, and/or inability to achieve orgasm when local estrogen in the vaginal area starts to decline. The journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology cited that the percentage of women reporting sexual dysfunction increased from 42% to 88% as they transitioned from early to late menopause.
What to do? Replenishing vaginal estrogen can help restore and moisturize vaginal tissue and help regain sensation (must be prescribed by a Medical Doctor or Naturopathic Doctor).
Several commonly prescribed medications have side effects of decreasing sexual function and libido.
Birth Control Pill – Most birth control pills (especially the anti-androgenic ones that are commonly prescribed for acne) decrease testosterone and androgens in women – leading to a lower libido and loss of sexual desire.
Anti-depressants- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) are known to cause loss of sexual desire and function in up to 40% of patients who use them.
What to do? Talk to your Medical doctor or Naturopathic Doctor if you suspect your loss of libido may be due to a medication you are taking.
- Weight gain
Exercise has been shown to improve sexual function and desire in both women and men. However, there is such thing as too much of a good thing – a recent study from the University of North Carolina found that high levels of chronic intense exercise and long hours of endurance training were associated with decreased libido scores.
Weight loss – through diet and exercise, has also been shown to increase sexual function and libido in both men and women.
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