The 5 Biggest Libido Crushers

July 15, 2017

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.

  1. 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!  

  2. Stress!

    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.

  3. Hormones

    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).

  4. Medications

    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.

  5. 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.

Maturitas. 2017 Feb;96:95-102.  Serum vitamin D and sex hormones levels in men and women: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Zhao D1, Ouyang P2,

Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2015 Jul 16;13:74.  Vitamin D is associated with testosterone and hypogonadism in Chinese men: Results from a cross-sectional SPECT-China study.

Wang N1, Han B2, Li Q3, Chen Y4, Chen Y5, Xia F6

Aging Male. 2017 Mar;20(1):9-16.  Vitamin D treatment improves levels of sexual hormones, metabolic parameters and erectile function in middle-aged vitamin D deficient men.

Canguven O1, Talib RA1, El Ansari W2, Yassin DJ3, Al Naimi A1.

Behav Res Ther. 2006 Aug;44(8):1067-77. The impact of anxiety on sexual arousal in women. Bradford A1, Meston CM.

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1986 Apr;54(2):140-8. Causes of sexual dysfunction: the role of anxiety and cognitive interference. Barlow DH.

Drug Healthc Patient Saf. 2010; 2: 141–150. Antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction: impact, effects, and treatment Agnes Higgins, Michael Nash, and Aileen M Lynch

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2016 Oct;21(5):395-400. doi:  The effect of a drospirenone-containing combined oral contraceptive on female sexual function: a prospective randomised study. Čiaplinskienė L1, Žilaitienė B1

J Sex Med. 2014 Feb;11(2):471-80.  Clitoral vascularization and sexual behavior in young patients treated with drospirenone-ethinyl estradiol or contraceptive vaginal ring: a prospective, randomized, pilot study. Battaglia C1, Morotti E, Persico N, Battaglia B,

Post Reprod Health. 2016 Mar;22(1):34-40 The concomitant use of fesoterodine and topical vaginal estrogen in the management of overactive bladder and sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women. Chughtai B1, Forde JC2, Buck J2, Asfaw T3, Lee R2, Te AE2,

J Sex Med. 2011 Oct;8(10):2868-75 Comparing effects of a low-energy diet and a high-protein low-fat diet on sexual and endothelial function, urinary tract symptoms, and inflammation in obese diabetic men. Khoo J1, Piantadosi C, Duncan R, Worthley SG,

Depress Anxiety. 2014 Mar;31(3):188-95. Exercise improves sexual function in women taking antidepressants: results from a randomized crossover trial. Lorenz TA, Meston CM.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Feb 13.  Endurance Exercise Training and Male Sexual Libido.

Hackney AC1, Lane AR, Register-Mihalik J, O'Leary CB.

Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2012; 5(1): 16–27. Sexual Function in Elderly Women: A Review of Current Literature Dana R Ambler, DO,1 Eric J Bieber, MD,

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