No Sex Drive


 Dear Doctor I am a 48 year old female with normal thyroid levels and no indication of menopause yet. I have absolutely no sex drive. Ive been like this for about 5 years. The only factor I can think of is over the past 10 years Ive been on a lot of antidepressants and antianxiety medications. Over the past year the amounts of meds and dosages have been substantially reduced. Could all those years of medication cause the lack of libido?

 

One of the most common side effects of antidepressant and antianxiety medications is loss of libido.  Although it sounds like you have decreased the amount of mediation you are taking, even small doses can affect sexual desire. 

It is also important to consider other factors that might be related to a decrease in sex drive.  You must understand that from your body’s perspective sex and reproduction is a luxury only to be engaged upon when all other aspects of health are ideal.  Overstress, fatigue anxiety and depression can all give your body cues that it is not a good time to engage in reproduction.  Becoming pregnant and raising young is extremely taxing to the body and ideally requires that optimal health is present.  Increased levels of stress influence hormone balance in such a way that the body focuses more energy on stress hormones like cortisol than on sex hormones like DHEA, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.  

In addition, if you are suffering from any symptoms related to fatigue sexual desire will certainly be diminished.  Make sure you are getting good quality sleep each night.  Using herbs and nutrients that support the stress response and energy production can be way to start recovering some of your sexual desire.  B-vitamins are very important for supporting the body through times of stress. Herbs such as ginsing, rhodiola, holy basil and ashwaganda help the body to deal with stress which in turn supports the normal balance of stress and sex hormones. 

It would also be wise to have a physician measure your hormone levels including estrogen, DHEA, progesterone and testosterone.  It is widely thought that testosterone is the most influential factor in determining sexual desire in females.  What is also paramount to consider is that the other hormones must also be in correct balance for the system to function optimally.  Simply raising testosterone levels is not always the answer. 

I know you mentioned that your thyroid is “normal”, but there might be some additional tests that are worth doing to verify this.  Likely the TSH was measured, but be sure to check the values.  An ideal range is 1.2-2.5.  Anything over 2.5 might suggest that your thyroid function is LOW (just to clarify, the higher the TSH, the lower the thyroid function. read http://www.vitabase.com/blog/energy/sub-clinical-hypothyroidism.aspx for an in depth summary about sub-clinical hypothyroidism).  This article also talks about the importance of two other thyroid tests (Free T4 & Free T3) and how they can reveal information about thyroid function that is missed 90% of the time. 

Because the thyroid is so intimately related to metabolism and energy, a deficit here may influence sexual desire. 

The last, but very important thing to consider is the aspect of relationship dynamics.  Sexual drive is so much more complicated that just sex and thyroid hormones.  Being connected to your mate, body image, mental stimulation and previous sexual trauma’s are all examples of important factors when considering this delicate issue. 



Back to all Questions     View More by Dr. Kevin Passero

Lead Medical Director

As a certified and fully trained Naturopathic Doctor, Passero has trained and preceptored with some of the nation's leading doctors in the field of natural medicine, working under the guidance of MD’s, Chiropractors, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists. Furthermore, he is currently the Vice President of the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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