Low libido is a term used to describe a decrease in sex drive which may interfere with sexual activity. While low libido in a relationship can cause tension, fostering doubt and guilt in both partners, if the underlying cause is identified, it can often be treated.
While the two conditions may coexist, low libido should not be confused with erectile dysfunction (ED). For a couple to cope while identifying possible causes, communication and honesty are needed. Treatment can vary, including psychotherapy, hormone replacement, changes in lifestyle, and drug therapy adaptation.
Sometimes low libido can be caused by a single factor but is more often associated with multiple factors that each contribute in their own way. Low testosterone, medications, depression, chronic disease, and stress are some of the most common causes.
Low testosterone (hypogonadism) occurs commonly as a man ages, but can also affect younger men for a variety of reasons. Testosterone is the male hormone essential for development, strength, and sex drive.
While testosterone replacement therapy may be helpful in restoring male sexual drive, it may increase the risk of blood clots and strokes in men with an underlying cardiovascular disorder. Other common side effects include sleep apnea, acne, and breast enlargement (gynecomastia).
Medication side effects in men are common causes of low libido. These may include whole classes of drugs that may vary in degree affect the sex drive of a man. Common culprits include statins, beta-blockers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines.
When used over long periods of time, even over-the-counter drugs such as Tagamet (cimetidine) can cause problems. Stopping or altering the suspected drug may reverse the condition, although with certain chronic medications this is not always possible. An adjustment of the dosage can also help. As always, without first talking to your doctor, do not change your medication or dosage.
Depression may go hand-in-hand with low libido. Depression is often the cause of a decreased sex drive, but it can also lead to an aggravation of a difficult situation. While psychotherapy can be effective in treating depression, antidepressant drugs can often exacerbate the loss of libido rather than improve it. Switching drugs or reducing dosage can sometimes help, but the side effects are not immediate and it won’t help to skip or delay a dose. If you’re depressed, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your libido and how drugs can affect your sex drive.
Stress and Sleep Disorders
While stress can hinder sexual interest by physically distracting you, it has a more subtle impact on the sex drive. Stress causes cortisol development, a hormone that acts like the built-in alarm system of a body. Not only does cortisol cause blood vessel constriction and contribute to ED, it can also lead to a precipitous drop in testosterone.
Stress is also associated with insomnia and other disturbances in sleep, which may increase the risk of exhaustion and make you less interested in sex.
There are factors in lifestyle that can make a significant contribution to men’s low libido. These tend to be remedied more readily by simply changing the behavior or stopping it.
Smoking According to a 2012 study by the University of Texas Austin, smoking not only directly increases the risk of ED but also indirectly impairs sexual arousal.
Alcohol redirects enzymes necessary to synthesize testosterone from the tests to the liver when used in excess or over the years, resulting in reduced testosterone levels.
Obesity impairs the metabolism and hormone function directly, resulting in a significant reduction in total and free testosterone. By contrast, exercise and weight loss not only improve levels of mood and energy but also improve sexual function and self-image.
While the detrimental effects of these habits are obvious, it is never prudent to “pin” low libido on a single lifestyle variable without first conferring any other possible causes with a doctor.
A Note From Very well
If your relationship is impaired by the loss of libido, you must be careful not to blame yourself or your partner. Instead, as a couple, you would be well-served to approach solutions, not assigning them as your issue or my issue, but rather one to which you are both actively involved.
It needs open and honest contact not only about low libido physical symptoms but also emotional symptoms. This allows you to identify which doctor or doctor is needed to diagnose the condition and, hopefully, to treat it.
An endocrinologist, urologist, specialist in chronic disease, psychiatrist, sex therapist, or another health professional may be involved in this. There may not be a quick fix, but a solution can be sought with time and patience.
While trying to remember that the loss of sexual desire is not the same as the loss of intimacy desire. Even if you have sexual dysfunction, make every effort to communicate physically and emotionally. By doing so, you can forge a closer bond, and your relationship can even be improved.
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