Libido Changes in Women

January 15, 2009

As the baby boomer generation starts to age, many doctors are finding more women complaining about their sex lives, or lack there of. Many women report a decrease in libido and in their interest in sex. Is this just in their heads, or is there something to the decrease in libido as women age?

There is, in fact, a link between aging and a decrease in the libido. While there is no Viagra drug for women, like there is for men, there are still some things you can do to increase your libido and to rev up your love life.

Why the Libido Changes

After the age of 45, a woman's libido begins to change. Women begin to lose their regular ovulation and this brings the sex drive down a bit. Mother Nature created an innate desire for women to have sex beginning just prior to ovulation each month. This desire lasts for several days each month, and helps to replenish the population. When you stop ovulating, you automatically lose this natural sex boost every month. In addition, if you're experiencing menopause, you have less estrogen in your body and this can also bring your sex drive down. Estrogen works in the brain to maintain a level of interest in sex, and it also increases sensation and makes sex more pleasurable in the genital area. Even more so, a lack of estrogen can make your vaginal tissue begin to dry and shrink. This can make sex uncomfortable, adding to a lack of desire for physical reasons.

Women's Testosterone Drops Libido

In addition, women have a drop in testosterone around midlife. Although women don't have a lot of testosterone in their bodies, they do have some. This testosterone aids in the sex drive. In addition, many of the treatments that women use to control menopause, including HRT or low-dose birth control pills, can rob the body of testosterone and actually contribute to the drop in libido.

Ways to Counteract the Libido Drop

Some doctors will recommend testosterone patches or drugs to put more testosterone back into the woman's system. However, it's important to know that the FDA advisory panel has ruled that testosterone patches for women still need more safety data, and they have not approved of them yet. Other suggestions include having blood work done to look for low thyroid functions or iron deficiency anemia. Both of these can affect the sex drive. You might want to see if you are experiencing low-level depression which can affect libido. Often times, there is a drop in libido around the time when a woman hits menopause - but this is often also the time that she might have an empty-nest. Empty-next syndrome can cause depression, and all of these issues in combination might create a drop in libido. Another idea is to ask your doctor about localized estrogen therapy or compounded testosterone cream. Both can be used on the genitals to create more comfortable, and more stimulating, sex. You can discuss other options with your doctor, including dietary supplements, foods and herbs that might rev up your libido.

Strive for More Intimacy

You may find yourself in a vicious cycle. Your libido is down which frustrates your husband, so he tries to encourage you or pressure you, and this just frustrates you even more. Try to back away from the sex for a bit and find time to enjoy being together. Take a trip together, schedule extra nights out, or turn off your phone and have some quiet time in the evening together. The more that you bond in other ways, the closer you may find yourself becoming to your partner, and the more you may be interested in intimacy.

 

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