Hormone Therapy for Decreased Libido: The Complete Guide
Next Health Staff | | 0 comments
Low libido is an oftentimes embarrassing condition, particularly for men. It affects sex drive, energy levels, and sexual performance. But it’s a very common issue as well. It can cause relationship problems, a low sexual desire, and can even cause you to have low self-esteem.
These sorts of things can become a problem when you have low libido if there is poor communication with your partner or doctor, and can leave unresolved conflict.
In many cases, low libido is directly caused due to low hormone levels, particularly low levels of estrogen and testosterone. Because of this, many individuals suffering from low libido look to hormone therapy as a treatment.
Not sure whether hormone therapy is right for you? This complete guide will break down everything you need to know about HRT and whether it’s a suitable solution for your low libido experience.
Why Does Libido Decrease Over Time
Men and women alike experience their peak physical and sexual selves in their 20s. This is when their bodies are at their most physically capable, and generally their healthiest overall (provided they eat a well-rounded diet and regular exercise). There are many lifestyle factors that can come into play as well.
Naturally, libido is at its highest levels in the 20s as well. This corresponds with high levels of both testosterone in men and estrogen in women, both of which are the primary sex hormones for either gender. Testosterone directly impacts men’s sex drive and estrogen impacts women’s sex drive as well, although to a lesser extent (women have a lesser sex drive in men in general).
However, the human body doesn’t continue to produce as much testosterone and estrogen as it does in the 20s forever. Instead, as the body develops and leaves peak sexual maturity behind, it produces less testosterone and estrogen and gradually focuses on producing other hormones or settling into a more homeostatic state.
The result? Lower libido for both males and females. The components vary upon both genders.
As mentioned, lower testosterone levels can significantly impact men’s sex drives. Unfortunately, testosterone levels get lower as men get older. Low testosterone levels are an unavoidable aspect of aging, although in most men the process is gradual rather than sudden.
Men have slightly less testosterone in their 30s than they did in their 20s, a little less in their 40s, and so on. With less testosterone, men will experience a lower sex drive and possibly a lower ability to perform sexually as well.
However, men can also experience a loss of libido for ancillary reasons, including:
- Medications, some of which may interfere with testosterone production or affect other aspects of physiology, such as high blood pressure. All of this can impact sexual activity levels and sexual arousal.
- Mental health conditions, which can necessarily affect libido. Low libido is actually a side effect of certain antidepressants that affect serotonin (which includes most successful treatments).
- Stress at work or in other aspects of life. Stress produces different hormones than testosterone and diverts the mind away from sexual motivation, sexual thoughts, and activities. Stress overall can affect your sexual experiences and even your sexual fantasies.
- Bad sleep, which increases fatigue and stress hormones. Men and women who don’t sleep well often have lower libidos as their bodies simply don’t have the energy to be sexually active.
Women may experience low libido for many of the same reasons as men. As they get older, and especially as they enter menopause, estrogen levels in women dip over time. Since estrogen affects sex drive in women, it’s common for female libido to go down during and after menopause and it may not recover to premenopausal levels.
Contraception can also decrease your libido over time, and lead to a low desire to engage in sexual activities. You can talk to your doctor or sex therapist if you are concerned about hormonal contraception affecting your libido and your behavior when it comes to bedroom-related topics.
Furthermore, women can also be affected by stressors, mental conditions like depression, medications, bad sleep, and more. All of these can impact libido more dramatically than men – women have a lower average sex drive and can experience vaginal dryness, so it takes less to decrease libido to a point where sex becomes infrequent.
But women can also experience other life events that may affect their libido. Pregnancy and giving birth, for example, can significantly impact aspects of female genitalia, which may, in turn, affect libido.
All in all, there are a variety of reasons why libido can decrease in both men and women. But many Americans have discovered that hormone therapy is an oftentimes effective treatment for low libido levels.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
In a nutshell, HRT involves replacing low levels of hormones in the body with synthetic hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.
All of these hormones play a key role in a variety of bodily functions, such as the regulation of body weight and metabolism, libido or sex drive, muscle gain, mood, cognition, and more.
People’s hormone levels decrease over time for a variety of reasons. Hormone replacement therapy can be helpful in certain circumstances, as is the case with women who enter menopause.
During menopause, many women experience dips in estrogen: their primary sex hormone and one of the most important hormones for regulating weight gain and loss and metabolism.
By replacing low levels of estrogen with synthetic estrogen that restores hormone levels to regular amounts, women may see benefits to a variety of menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings, and sudden weight gain.
However, hormone replacement therapy isn’t a perfect solution for every issue. It’s important to speak to your doctor or wellness clinician before undergoing HRT to make sure that this process will be beneficial for your unique needs.
Does Hormone Replacement Help with Loss of Libido?
It can, provided that loss of libido is primarily caused by hormone levels dropping due to medications, life factors, or general aging.
Remember, low testosterone or estrogen can play a big role in low libido for men and women. Therefore, it’s logical that hormone replacement therapy can assist with the loss of libido in these cases. By directly replacing testosterone or estrogen in men and women, sex drives can be restored, and sexual performance can even increase in men (to some extent).
These changes will not be limited to libido. Higher levels of testosterone and estrogen are also correlated with higher energy levels in general, particularly in men – for men, testosterone doesn’t just affect sex drive, but also affects everything from mood to metabolism to activity level to muscle gain rate and more.
Mood boosts are common, as well. A more hormonally balanced body is one more comfortable to live in, after all.
How Does Next|Health’s Hormone Optimization Work?
Next|Health’s Hormone Optimization is a unique type of hormone replacement therapy compared to other methods. Most hormone replacement regimens involve injecting hormones directly into the body. While this can be effective in the short term, it causes hormone levels to spike and can accidentally cause the body to produce less testosterone or estrogen naturally.
Furthermore, the body may not respond as positively to sudden spikes in hormone levels compared to more gradual releases of key hormones.
Therefore, Next|Health’s HRT therapy uses pellets instead of injections. The pellets don’t release hormones as quickly, but instead, gradually release hormones based on cardiac output. The result? A more balanced hormone boosting experience.
Furthermore, Next|Health uses bioidentical testosterone hormone pellets. Bioidentical hormones are easier for the body to absorb and lowers the likelihood that they will be rejected for any reason. All of this combines into an effective, optimizing therapy for men or women who may benefit from such a regimen.
If you aren’t sure whether our Hormone Optimization is right for your unique needs, one of our wellness experts will discuss your options with you and recommend a baseline test. The test can tell you whether your testosterone levels or other hormone levels are low for your age and lifestyle.
Other Steps to Take to Boost Libido
It’s important to keep in mind that hormone therapy isn’t the only way you can boost libido. Libido is affected by a variety of factors, as described above, including lifestyle, activity level, diet, and whether you are taking any medications.
Therefore, you can increase libido by counteracting any negative effects that may be dragging your energy level down.
Here are a few examples:
- Try to exercise more often, particularly if you are a man. Exercise levels can impact how much testosterone and other hormones your body produces. Sedentary people usually have lower libidos
- Ensure that you need a well-rounded diet and don’t gain weight. It's harder for you to maintain a high libido if you gain unnecessary weight
- Strive for a low-stress lifestyle if possible. Stress interferes with the production of certain hormones and can lower libido, while boosting the production of stress hormones that have a cumulatively harmful effect on your body and its tissues
In the end, hormone therapy can be an effective treatment for low libido levels in both men and women, but it heavily depends on the cause of libido loss and current hormone levels in recipients.
You should always speak to your doctor or one of our wellness experts before beginning any hormone replacement therapy, even our Hormone Optimization. Only through an in-depth examination and lifestyle changes will you learn whether HRT is a suitable treatment for your low libido.