#1. Sex and Hormones:
Hormones – Testosterone is the hormone in both men and women that supports sex drive, and it can definitely be low! The best way to determine testosterone levels is with a blood test. Interestingly, testosterone is diurnal, meaning that it is higher in the morning than in the evening. This means that patients need to have a morning blood draw to get an accurate testosterone reading. There are MANY herbs and nutrients we use to support the body’s natural testosterone production before we consider exogenous testosterone hormone therapy.
Thyroid – Thyroid dysfunction can make you tired. It you’re tired, you probably aren’t all that excited about sex. Again, with a little herbal and nutrient support, patients can see improvements in thyroid function and an increase in their sex drive. I always test thyroid health when considering a case of low libido.
Comfort – One major aspect of low sex drive, especially in female patients, is pain or discomfort with intercourse (also know as dyspareunia.) As women age, their estrogen levels decrease and estrogen-sensitive tissues become less supple. Vaginal tissues are sensitive to estrogen, and vaginal dryness on account of falling estrogen levels is very common. This can happen after pregnancy, too (not just with age!) Vaginal suppositories or creams can be supremely useful in making sex less uncomfortable which usually makes it much more appealing! I can’t tell you how many patients I’ve treated for low libido who have adequate testosterone and thyroid function, but discomfort with intercourse. As soon as we address the underlying cause and it doesn’t hurt anymore, their sex drive improves!
#4. Physical Touch:
Physical Touch – Fostering connection with your partner outside of sex is so important for making sex comfortable, enjoyable, and desirable. Holding hands, cuddling, and hugging are all lovely ways to nurture intimacy without having actual intercourse. Sometimes, we need to start with more caring touch, and build the physical connection back into a relationship before getting into to the more sexy stuff.
#5. Sex and Herbs:
Favorite Herb – My favorite herbal medicine to support sex drive is Lepidium meyenii, also known as Maca. This herb has seen recent rise in popularity, and many of my patients report adding powdered maca to their morning smoothies. I caution my patients that too much Maca can cause elevated blood pressure, so please always consult your physician before taking an herbal medicine. Also, herbs tend to work better, longer, when taken in combination, so I rarely use this herb alone. Studies have shown that patients on SSRI antidepressant medication (which has caused low libido), experience increased sexual desire when supplementing with Maca. In my clinical practice, I have seen an increase in serum testosterone levels in both men and women in whom I have prescribed Maca (among other things.)
Have questions about sex drive, libido, hormones, or other aspects of how to have a healthy, happy sex life? Send me a message, or call Spring to schedule a consult! 406-586-2626.