Have Low Sexual Desire? It Can Be Due To Your Hormonal Changes

Have you ever felt that your sexual desire sometimes declines? Do you try to look for reasons why you’re just not in the mood? The good news is, some of the reasons why sexual desire in women fluctuates is natural. That means that the cause of it is something that we cannot control, like the natural hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. There are also, however, lifestyle choices that contribute to hormonal changes, such as using birth control pills. Read on to find out how a change in hormones contributes to the level of sexual desire in women.

Menstrual Cycle

During ovulation, which is the fertile part of a woman’s menstrual cycle, is when women feel the most sexual desire. This phase is called the ovulatory phase,[1] and the increased sexual desire is due to a surge in luteinizing[2] and follicle-stimulating hormones. These hormones stimulate the release of an egg. And when the hormone levels go down during the other parts of the menstrual cycle, the levels of sexual desire also go down. This pattern does not apply to all women though, as some researchers[3] have found that some women do not experience the same level of high sexual desire during ovulation.

The Pill

Birth control pills,[4] are made of the hormones estrogen and progesterone,[5] which ready the body for pregnancy. These hormones work by stopping the egg from leaving the ovaries so that pregnancy cannot happen. It also thickens the cervical mucus so that the sperm will have a hard time getting to the egg. However, these hormones may cause low sexual desire for some women. This varies from one woman to another, as research says[6] that some women have reported increased sexual desire during use of birth control pills.

Pregnancy

Sexual desire during pregnancy[7] may spike during the second trimester, and during the period after right after conception, due to an increase in hormones. However, a decreased sexual desire[8] can also happen during pregnancy. This is due to feeling exhausted during pregnancy, and the symptoms that come with it such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.

Nursing

According to Susan Kellogg-Spadt, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Drexel University, estrogen levels drop[9] during breastfeeding. This causes a reduction in sexual desire.

Estrogen maintains the lubrication and flexibility of the vaginal lining. The production of the hormone prolactin is also increased during breastfeeding, and this hormone reduces sexual desire. Additionally, testosterone levels also drop during breastfeeding, and this hormone contributes to a woman’s low sexual desire, as testosterone[10] contributes to the release of estrogen and maintains libido.

Perimenopause/Menopause

During the transition to menopause,[11] estrogen levels fall. During this period, women also experience symptoms leading to menopause such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness which can all affect levels of sexual desire.

After menopause, a decline in sexual desire[12] may also be caused, aside from hormone changes, by a woman’s overall health, cultural and religious beliefs, issues in relationships, perception of self-image, and lifestyle and stress issues.

Ovary Removal

After an ovary removal, some women[13] may experience depression or anxiety about losing their fertility. Other effects of ovary removal include decreased sex drive and vaginal dryness. Ovary removal moves the body directly into menopause. This leads to an abrupt drop in both estrogen and testosterone, which in turn affects a woman’s sexual drive.

Yes, changes in hormone levels that affect sexual drive are unavoidable. So do not blame yourself if your sexual drive goes down and hormone changes are the cause of it. The good thing is, there are still some ways,[14] to help with a declining sexual desire, such as seeking counseling, using vaginal lubricants, and yoga. Consult your doctor if low sexual desire is affecting your overall health and lifestyle.

Reference

[1] Merck Manual: Menstrual Cycle
[2] WebMD: Luteinizing Hormone
[3] Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality: Female Sexual Desire
[4] Planned Parenthood: Birth Control Pills
[5] Menopause.org: Midlife Hormone Changes
[6] NCBI: Oral Contraceptives and Libido
[7] Countdown to Pregnancy: Early Pregnancy Symptoms
[8] Sex and Pregnancy: Sex Drive
[9] Healthywomen.org: Breastfeeding and Sexual Desire
[10] Menopause.org: Midlife Hormone Changes
[11] Menopause.org: Midlife Sexual Problems
[12] Menopause.org: Causes of Sexual Problems
[13] Breastcancer.org: Ovary Surgery Risks
[14] Menopause.org: Treatments for Sexual Problems

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