Women’s sexual desires naturally fluctuate over time. Highs and lows commonly coincide with the beginning or end of a relationship or with major life changes, such as pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or illness. After the lows, your body may recover on its own as it regains its balance. But if it doesn’t and you continue to experience a low sex drive, there are many solutions you can pursue to improve it. Here are the main causes of low libido in women and some tips on how to bring it back.
Hypothyroidism can cause hormone imbalances that reduce your sex drive. The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones that regulate your metabolism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too little of these hormones (hypo- means “less than normal,” so hypothyroidism means “low thyroid”). This can cause fatigue, depression and weight gain, all of which are related to low libido. Have your doctor check all your thyroid levels (T3, T4, TSH, thyroid antibodies) to see whether this is the reason you’re experiencing a dip in your sex drive.
Menopause is a natural part of life. It is the time when a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs and hormones change, causing symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. But menopause can also be a time of growth, opportunity and renewal. Reaching menopause doesn’t mean you can’t be intimate anymore. It just means you have to take care of your body even more to give it what it needs to remain healthy and balanced.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can impact your libido. For one, you will be tired, and you will not have the energy to be intimate. Secondly, lack of sleep can affect your hormones. Our bodies cleanse and regulate themselves during the early hours of the night. When we miss out on good quality sleep, our bodies do not get the opportunity to process and detox what we’ve consumed during the day. With time, this can build up and lead to many diseases. It’s important to get a good night’s sleep, especially between 10 PM and 2 AM when the body flushes out toxins and rebuilds itself.
When you’re stressed out for an extended period, it can take a toll on your body and mind. It weakens the immune system and can throw off the regular functioning of your body. This means stress can also affect your hormones which leads to a low sex drive.
It’s important to take steps to reduce stress or learn how to handle it more appropriately. Taking care of yourself through exercise or therapy can help reduce stress.
Partners can also help reduce each other’s stress by sharing responsibility for chores, childcare and other family tasks. This will give you more time to relax together and be intimate.
You may be surprised to learn that zinc deficiency is linked to low libido in both women and men. Zinc is an essential mineral for testosterone production, and it’s also important for the production of estrogen. This means that if you’re deficient in zinc, you won’t have enough of these hormones to create sexual desire or arousal.
Zinc deficiency is common because our bodies don’t store this mineral well—we need a steady supply from food sources. The best food sources are seafood (particularly oysters), pumpkin seeds and beans.
Alcohol and smoking
Alcohol and smoking can also decrease testosterone levels. In addition to affecting sex drive, low levels of testosterone can cause weight gain, depression and anxiety. These in turn can decrease your libido.
Low libido can be a result of some medications like chemotherapy medications, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and birth control.
So if you are experiencing difficulty becoming aroused or climaxing, it is worth discussing with your healthcare provider whether certain drugs could be playing a role in your symptoms. Your doctor may be able to help you find alternatives or reduce the dosage of any medications that are affecting your ability to enjoy sex.
Negative body image
A negative body image can decrease sexual desire as the woman loses confidence. It’s important that a woman feels good about herself and her appearance before she can relax and enjoy sex.
If your partner is unhappy with her body, don’t just let it go and hope that she will feel better about herself on her own—that rarely works. She cares about your opinion, so you can build her confidence with genuine compliments. With time, she will start to develop a better image of her physical appearance and grow more confident.
One of the most common reasons for a woman’s loss of interest in sex is relationship problems. Conflict can lead women to be less interested in sex because their emotional needs are not being met. The relationship needs to be worked on before intimacy can be improved.
If you have kids or other family responsibilities, share household chores with your partner as much as possible. This helps both of you feel less stressed out and it gives each person some time to unwind before bedtime.
Low sex drive is a common complaint among women over 40. But it’s not something every woman has to experience. Libido declines as we age because our bodies deteriorate when we don’t take care of them. Women who invest in their physical health by eating right, exercising, reducing their stress, and sleeping well can enjoy a high sexual drive at any age.