A change in your libido could be due to hormones
From time to time, it is common for your interest in sex to not synchronize with your partner’s. It is also normal for your general interest in sex to occasionally fluctuate. However, for some, a decreased libido over a long period of time may be cause for concern. It turns out that hormones, a decrease or increase in them to be more specific, may contribute to a decrease in libido for both women and men.
For men, the hormone that can cause a decrease in libido is testosterone. Low testosterone levels can result in a noticeable decrease in desire or a complete absence of desire. Worse, prolonged low testosterone levels can lead to erectile dysfunction. However, it is normal for men to experience a slow decrease in libido following the teen years through the early twenties. It is also important to note that libido varies widely across men and each individual must determine when a decrease in libido is cause for concern.
It is a little more complicated for women as there are four primary hormones that may contribute to a decrease in libido: cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland and is released into the body in response to stress. Abnormally high, low, or fluctuating levels can wreak havoc. Long periods of high stress will potentially release high levels of cortisol, and over time, elevated cortisol levels can cause adrenal fatigue. Ultimately, adrenal fatigue leads to the body not being able to produce enough cortisol, and the resulting low cortisol levels contribute to a decreased libido.
Estrogen is the main female hormone. Too much, too little, or fluctuating levels can have harmful effects on mood which can, in turn, decrease libido. When estrogen levels are not optimal, it can lead to anxiety, insomnia, and irritability—all of which can affect sexual desire.
Progesterone is a sex hormone involved in an increased libido occurring 12 days after ovulation. As women age, progesterone production decreases. This decrease in production can cause hormonal imbalances, and the imbalances can result in decreased libido.
As with men, testosterone levels have the biggest effect on libido. Abnormally high, low, or fluctuating levels can cause a variety of problems for the female body. More specifically, too low levels can cause a noticeable decrease in libido. Low testosterone can also cause vaginal dryness resulting in painful sex. Understandably, vaginal dryness and pain-associated intercourse can have a negative effect on women’s desire for sex.
The thyroid gland produces two hormones integral to libido: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). When thyroid hormone production is low, you can experience a myriad of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, and depression. Each of these conditions can result in a decrease in libido. Additionally, an underactive thyroid can have an effect on sex hormone production which in turn can negatively affect your libido.
Both men and women experience a change in hormone levels over time, and these changes can have a significant effect on libido. Whether you are a male or female, if you are experiencing a decrease in libido, you should consult your doctor. Decreased libido can be frustrating for everyone concerned, and it is important to understand that effective treatments exist to meet your personal needs.