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Articles on Fertility & Libido


How Can I Improve My Libido (Sex Drive)?

Wow!  I wish I had the exact count of how many women have asked this question – probably 50,000 over the years, if not more.  So, even if this is something you don’t talk about to your friends, now you know you are not alone!

My favorite conversation was with a woman who described it thusly:  “My sex drive drove off”.  I think men would be surprised to see how sad women are over this condition.  All the men see is the result of their wife not having desire; they do not see the pain involved. Libido is not something that can easily be summoned on command and it is not easy to talk yourself into having desire.  You can totally adore your husband and think he is an absolute gift from God and still not be able to “get in the mood.”  What can you do?

Low libido has usually been associated with menopause, but it is very common among relatively young women.  Many women have a normal menstrual period indicating the presence of sufficient estrogen, yet still have low libido. This is because it is not due to low estrogen, but rather to low progesterone levels.  If the woman is not ovulating, she is not producing progesterone.

What does progesterone have to do with libido? 

At ovulation, progesterone levels rise and sexual drive is heightened.  This is meant to ensure that a woman will be receptive to procreation.  It is an intricate balance of estrogen and progesterone levels at the exact right time of the month.

Women who are taking birth control pills often have terrible problems with low libido.  This is because the substance in their birth control pill is NOT natural progesterone, but synthetic progestin which is not natural to the body and does not have the same effect.

Dr. John R. Lee, over his many years of practice, noted that many of his younger patients were less interested in sex than those approaching menopause. The difference had to do with estrogen dominance; the result of monthly periods without progesterone to balance their estrogen.

Women with estrogen dominance symptoms had a loss of sex drive due to progesterone deficiency, not to mention the uncomfortable symptoms of water retention, fibrocystic breasts, depression, and vaginal dryness.  Who would be in the mood when you feel depressed, bloated and irritable?

Doctor Lee, in his book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause, observed that his patients reported that their sex life, totally improved with Progesterone therapy.  Remember, progesterone is called “the feel good hormone.”

As I talked to women who have been on natural progesterone crèmes, I learned that their low libido had been restored in about 3 months of use, sometimes less. The woman who told me “My sex drive drove off” called and said “It drove back!”  There are so many wonderful testimonials from very happy women.  The men often call, too.  One man brought his wife a year’s supply of crème, saying “I’m never going to let her run out of this stuff”.  Others are just so grateful that they can enjoy this loving relationship with their wives again.

One very interesting comment for those of you who are not interested in a rise in libido: Progesterone crème does not seem to bring on an increase in women who desire to be celibate, so you do not need to worry about using the crème and having an undesirable increase in libido. 

Testosterone

Until recently, doctors were very willing to prescribe testosterone to improve libido. This treatment has been discredited recently not only because of the masculinizing effects of testosterone, but because testosterone has been shown to contribute to liver damage if used at too high a strength or for too long a period.

A safe treatment for you is natural progesterone, used as directed according to whether you are a menstruating or non-menstruating woman.

Libido & Birth Control Pills

Oral Contraception (OC) causes an increase in the production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) which inhibits libido.  Not only does it affect libido while women are on the pill, but the levels often do not return to normal when the birth control pills are stopped.

A study published in Journal of Sexual Medicine, measured the levels of pre-menopausal women with sexual health complaints, including women who had been taking OC for longer than 6 months and  women who had taken it for longer than 6 months and then had stopped their use.

The results showed that the continued OC users had SHBF values four times higher than individuals who have never used birth control pills. The former users experienced a drop in SHBG levels after the OC was stopped, but the value remained elevated several months later relative to the non users.

Chronic SHBG elevations may be associated with long-term effects on sexual, metabolic, and mental status of women.

This is something important to consider as this study shows there are both short-term and long-term affects on libido when using birth control pills.