Low libido in women - symptoms, causes and treatment

couple in the bed having sexual problems

Naturally, every woman’s sexual desire fluctuates during the different periods in her life. Major changes in her sex drive can be experienced at the beginning or end of a relationship, during pregnancy, during the menopause transition, in case of a major illness, etc.

Let's have a brief look at the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of low libido in women.

Symptoms of low sexual desire in women

Following are some of the symptoms of low libido in women:

Although these symptoms are usually signs of low sex drive in women, there are no hard and fast rules for diagnosing this problem. The symptoms may vary from one woman to the other. For example, you may not have had sex with your partner for days, but your relationship may be strong and both of you may not be bothered with the lack of sex. Similarly, you may have been having regular sex, but you are not happy with the pleasure that you derive from it.

This basically means that if you are not happy with your sex drive, do not consider your sexual activities to be pleasurable for you, or are just not happy with your sex life, you should think about consulting a doctor.

Causes of Low Libido in Women

Your desire for sex can be affected by a combination of various factors. Anything that affects your physical and emotional well-being can have an impact on your sex drive. The causes can be either physical or psychological and can vary from one woman to the other. Here are some of the reasons that you may be facing problems of low libido.

Physical Causes

Physical causes may include sexual problems such as pain during sex or inability to reach orgasm. There are various illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, or cancers that can affect your sex drive.

Surgeries to your breasts, genital tracts, or uterus and other female organs can reduce the desire for sex. Women also face this problem after childbirth. The general trauma of giving birth to a child and hormonal changes may turn you off sex for a little while or for a longer time.

Painful intercourse due to dyspareunia (pain during vaginal penetration), vaginal dryness, pelvic infection, tumors or cysts in the genital area, and endometriosis may also turn a woman off sex.

A condition called vaginismus may also make having sex difficult or impossible, resulting the woman losing interest in sex. This condition, which is a spasm of the lower vaginal muscles, makes penetration almost impossible and may be either psychological or physical in nature.

Medications, alcohol and drug abuse can also have negative impact on your sexual health. Antidepressants, anti-hypertensive drugs and medicines used to treat cancers will surely kill your sex drive. Similarly, if you drink too much or abuse certain street drugs, your libido may be affected.

Hormonal Changes

menopause symptoms

Menopause is probably the most common condition that brings about hormonal changes in your body, affecting your libido. During menopause, a woman's ovaries stop producing estrogen, a female sex hormone responsible for maintaining vaginal lubrication and the health of the vaginal walls. This can lead to vaginal dryness and thinning of the walls, causing intercourse to be painful.

Low levels of testosterone during menopause, a sex hormone responsible for maintaining sex drive in women can also decrease your desire for sex.

Hormonal changes also occur during pregnancy and breast-feeding. These can reduce your sex drive. These changes impact a woman's body both physically and emotionally. The tiredness of caring for a new-born child may also turn you off sex.

Psychological or Relationship Problems

Psychological factors such as sexual abuse, anxiety, depression, chronic stress, poor body image or low self-esteem may also act as a damper on your libido.

Women need to feel emotionally close with their partner to develop sexual intimacy. Problems in relationship, lack of communication with your partner, or even infidelity can result in lack of emotional closeness, causing loss of interest in sex.

Treatment for Low Sex Drive in Women

If a visit to your doctor reveals a persistent or recurrent lack of interest in sex, including lack of sexual fantasies and sexual activity, you may be diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Your doctor will ask about your medical history, perform a pelvic exam, and recommend tests such as thyroid test.

Once the diagnosis is made, your doctor may suggest a combination of various steps that may help revive your low sex drive. Medical treatments may involve treating the underlying medical condition, if any, that may be affecting your sex drive.

Estrogen or testosterone therapy in the form of pills, patches or gels can help improve sex drive and sexual response. However, these methods don’t come without side effects.

Another option that may be recommended is herbal libido supplements that can help correct the hormonal, nutritional, and stress-induced imbalances naturally to revive desire for sexual intimacy.

However, medical treatments may not be the only answer to your problem. You may be advised to make certain lifestyle changes. These may include the following:

Besides these, communicating with your partner in an attempt to improve your relationship and your sexual intimacy can go a long way in bringing a positive change in your sex drive.