Low libido? It’s not you, it’s your hormones.May 03, 2023
It has been increasingly more common for clients of all ages to feel a loss of libido. And I’m not gonna lie, back in my 20s when I was starving myself with constant diets, surviving on caffeine and constantly overly stressed my sex drive was in the negative.
So as more clients started coming to me with this issue, I started doing some research. I mean I knew how I fixed my problem, but how common was this?!
This statistic really troubled me: 57 percent of women prefer Facebook to sex.
As a coach for hormones, I consider sex drive to be one of the good indicators of overall physical and mental health, and sadly, the state of women’s health, longevity, and happiness is declining. As a result, low libido is common, but few understand that in most cases, the root cause is hormonal, not some problem of lack of love and intimacy.
People might know hormones and sex go together, but don’t know which hormones matter or how they interact to create sexual interest, and orgasm. Most importantly, they don’t know they can take an active role in resetting the hormones causing low libido.
After now working with so many women who want to get their sex drive back, I know that low sex drive, poor energy, bad sleep, skin problems, and bloating aren’t diseases that can be fixed fast with a pill or shot. These are usually hormonal problems and a lot of times they go hand in hand — they’re your body’s way of trying to tell you “Hey - something’s wrong here!!”
What do you need to know?!
About 70% of low sex drive is due to misfiring hormones. While the other 30% happens because of issues around communication and intimacy, emotional vulnerability, sexual preferences, and a mismatch of expectations and style, frequency, and type of sexual connection.
Many women believe (as did I) that they don’t have to worry about their hormones until menopause, but the truth is that your hormones start to change in your twenties. DHEA and testosterone start to fall. Cortisol, the main stress hormone, can start to rise and rob your other sex hormones. For some women, estrogen and/or progesterone can drop, leading to estrogen dominance, or PMS. You may experience high testosterone (such as polycystic ovarian syndrome) or low testosterone (as a result of excess stress, aging, or the birth control pill). Or your thyroid may start to slow down.
1. Cortisol - It’s important to understand that chronic stress in the body is the root cause of most hormone imbalances, and one of the earliest signs can be lower sexual desire. The underlying reason for cortisol issues varies from person to person, but it’s important to know if cortisol is off for you. For me, cortisol was sky high in my mid-20s after years of eating disorders, over-exercising, and too much stress between work and school– I was trying to be all things to all people, running myself to the point of burnout and chasing dreams that weren’t even mine. My poor husband felt neglected and rejected as my libido tanked, and it took taking on my hormones to understand the central role of cortisol in sex drive.
Signs of Imbalanced Cortisol:
-Feeling wired, but tired
-Running from task to task, feeling overwhelmed
-Sugar or carb cravings
-Difficulty falling or staying asleep
-Feeling burned out, fatigued, particularly under stress
-Increased belly fat or weight gain
-Unstable blood sugar – too high, too low, or both
-Skin conditions such as eczema
2. Estrogen is your main female sex hormone. It causes the female body to grow breasts and have glowy skin. When it’s in balance with its counter hormone, progesterone, your period arrives on time, your skin is clear, and your moods are generally stable. Estrogen is important for the sex drive because it acts as a natural lubricant. When it’s imbalanced (too high or too low)libido is impacted negatively.
Signs of Imbalanced Estrogen:
-Bloating or water retention
-Abnormal Pap smears
-Heavy or excessively light (even absent) periods
-Breast tenderness or cysts
-Mood swings or PMS
-Rapid weight gain, particularly at the breasts or hips
-Red flush of the face, or rosacea
-Vaginal dryness or atrophy
3. Hypothyroid - When your thyroid gland is underperforming, you feel sluggish and low in most areas. Your hair thins, your energy falls and your metabolism slows. The origin varies from person to person and could stem from autoimmune destruction (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) or secondary to high cortisol, or even from endocrine disruptors like Bisphenol A or flame retardants. Low thyroid slows all of the energy systems in the body leading to low sex drive.
Signs of Low Thyroid:
-Fatigue, particularly in the morning
-Mood problems, such as low-grade depression
-Dry, straw-like hair that tangles easily
-Hair loss or thinning (particularly lashes and outer third of eyebrow)
-Cold hands and feet, or intolerance of cold
4. Testosterone begins to decline in your twenties, which is why you don’t respond to resistance training with the same results that you did as a teenager. But the worst culprit when it comes to low testosterone is taking oral contraception. The pill raises your sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which is like a sponge that soaks up the available testosterone in the body. As a result, you may experience low sex drive, vaginal dryness, and even pain with insertion. Even worse, the problem might take up to a year to resolve after going off the Pill.
High testosterone is also one of defining characteristics of PCOS which affects 30 percent of American women and also would cause low sex drive.
Signs of Imbalanced Testosterone:
-Acne or greasy skin
-Rogue hairs, especially on the face, chest, or arms
-Anxiety or depression
-Loss of confidence and agency
-Poor muscular response to high-intensity or weight training
-Irregular menstruation (cycles longer than 35 days, or skipping cycles)
-Infertility or subfertility
For too long now, there has been this limiting belief that declining sex drive is inevitable; that it’s part of being a modern and busy woman (or man), that it’s part of aging, that it’s part of life after child-bearing years, that it’s part of long-term monogamous relationships, etc. I disagree. Declining libido is not normal.
Nothing annoys me more than a doctor who disregards a woman’s pain points like low libido as simply a “symptom of aging.” In my practice, it's both possible and important for a woman to maintain a strong sex drive long past the time you’re having kids. It takes a little work – maintaining balanced hormones, trying some proven botanicals, a little self-love, and intentional intimacy – but more than worth it in the long run. But what I want you to know is that the power is in your hands.
If you’re looking to take your sex life back, reclaim your energy, lose a little weight and feel the best in your body that you ever have, click the link here to book a call to learn more about how to work with us.