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What Hormones Affect Women’s Libido

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How Can I Improve Intimacy With My Partner

How do your hormones work? – Emma Bryce

During menopause, if your sex drive has dropped but you don’t think you need counseling, you should still take time for intimacy. You can still show your partner love and affection without having sex. Enjoy your time together: take walks, eat dinner by candlelight, or give each other back rubs.

To improve your physical intimacy, try these tips:

  • Consider experimenting with erotic videos or books, masturbation, and changes to sexual routines.
  • Use distraction techniques to boost relaxation and ease anxiety. These can include erotic or non-erotic fantasies, exercises with sex, and music, videos, or television.
  • Have fun with foreplay, such as sensual massage or oral sex. These activities can make you feel more comfortable and improve communication between you and your partner.
  • Minimize any pain you might have by using sexual positions that allow you to control the depth of penetration. You may also want to take a warm bath before sex to help you relax, and use vaginal lubricants to help ease pain caused by friction.
  • Tell your partner what’s comfortable and what’s not.

Female Sex Hormones: Hormones Affect More Than Just Periods

When someone says the term female hormones, whats the first thing that comes to mind? If youre like most women, you probably think of your menstrual cycle. While its true that our hormones regulate our monthly cycles, they do much more than that.

It turns out our hormones are pretty dedicated workhorses with a lot of different duties, including regulating sexual desire. If you think about how many hats we women wear every day, its no surprise that our hormones are also exceptional multitaskers. To get to know our incredible bodies a little better, heres how female sex hormones affect more than just our periods.

What Are The Treatment Options

Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most common treatments of low hormone levels.

For people experiencing menopause, premature menopause, or primary ovarian insufficiency as well as after oophorectomy or chemotherapy estrogen therapy can offer some relief. Estrogen therapy alone is recommended for those who have had a hysterectomy. You can take estrogen in different forms, generally estrogen pills and estrogen patches.

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What Hormones Are In Hormone Replacement Therapy

Estrogen is the primary hormone used in hormone therapy for women. The estrogen is administered in multiple ways, so you will need to talk with Dr. Lett to decide which is the best type of HRT treatment for you. Hormones are available by pill, patch, topical skin cream, and inserted vaginally. The pill form is the most common way to treat menopause symptoms, and the vaginally inserted options treat vaginal dryness, itchiness, and pain during intercourse.

Combination therapy is another option that uses multiple hormone types in a variety of doses. Estrogen, progesterone, and progestin will be used in different amounts depending on the product and its intended use. Progesterone can help with menopausal symptoms like hot flashes specifically, for example.

Talk To Your Partner About Your Concerns And Comforts

Estrogen: Does it Affect Female Sex Drive?

The idea of having sex may be daunting to you as there are a few things that could be concerning, such as pregnancy, STIs, and unwanted pain. Make sure to talk to your partner about these to boost libido in women and make sure this experience is as pleasurable as possible.

To ease your worries, you may use hormonal birth control, condoms, and lubricant. If ever you have orgasm issues, you can visit a urologist to find out why that is.

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Low Libido In Men & Women

Loss of libido is a loss of sexual urges and thoughts and/or diminished desire to engage in sexual activity. A dwindling sex drive can be due to several factors and it can vary from one person to the next. Also, there are physical, psychological and relationship issues to consider when evaluating decreased libido.

Some major physical causes of low libido include: hormonal changes, illness, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, obesity, pain, excessive alcohol, or recreational drug use. Medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure medication, and birth control pills can also interfere with sexual interest.

External Factors Affecting Sex Drive

Female sexual pleasure is not just a bodily sensation but also a mindful experience. Where our head is at will have an impact on how our orgasms arrive. Its important to recognise how psychological, environmental, and biological factors all play a role in lowering the libido . Good sexual health is dependent on a feeling of respect and safe, pleasurable experiences. For many, female sexual pleasure is equal parts mental stimulation and physical activities such as kissing, erotic caressing, oral-genital contact and anal stimulation .

Anxiety, distressing experiences, and emotional distractions can all have a huge impact on desire and the willingness to engage in sexual activity. Recognising the way stress impacts our hormonal cycles can tell us a lot about our mental health. We suggest you to check out our article on Stress and Menstrual Cycle to learn more. Remember, each womans experience of sexual pleasure is completely personal, so take the pressure off and explore your imagination with ease.

This article was reviewed Gianluca Adornetto, Lead Scientist at inne.

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How Womens Hormones Affect Libido

Comments: 2 | February 24th, 2021

Ladies, have you lost interest in intimacy with your husband? You are not alone. As women age their hormones begin to decline, and unfortunately low libido can be a side effect. Other symptoms of hormone decline include:

  • trouble sleeping
  • anxiety
  • depressed moods

Please dont lose hope, because there is something you can do to restore your libido and bring the romance back into your relationship.

Its important to know that low libido can also happen at other points in a womans life that affect hormone balance, such as after a hysterectomy, tubal ligation or childbirth. Take a look at how the decline and imbalance in the various hormones affects your libido:


Testosterone, known as the hormone of desire, has the strongest effect on libido. Its the primary driver of libido in both men and women. In women of reproductive age, testosterone levels peak at ovulation, stimulating a womans desire for sex. As women age, their testosterone levels begin to decline. When women undergo a total hysterectomy, they immediately lose 50 percent of their circulating testosterone.


Too much or too little estrogen can have an effect on moods which can contribute to low libido. Estrogen raises levels of the mood-boosting neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and betaendorphins. When estrogen is not balanced by progesterone, it can be overstimulating, leading to irritability, anxiety and insomnia.

Thyroid Hormone

What Hormones Are Responsible For Libido

The Endocrine System and Hormones | Merck Manual Consumer Version

Numerous factors can influence the libido. Depression, anxiety, issues with body image or a past history of sexual abuse extinguish the desire for sex. Physical issues such as illness, fatigue and the use of certain medications can also reduce libido. Maintaining appropriate levels of certain hormones is important for keeping the sex drive alive in both men and women 1.

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Myth Busting The Relationship Between Sexual Desire And Hormones

The last 20 years have seen an influx of studies that do what we should have been doing all along: measuring blood or saliva levels of testosterone and estradiol in women, and seeing how those correlate with sexual behavior and desire. Better late than never?

Though there have been several studies looking at hormones and sexual desire, our favorite is from 2013, titled Hormonal predictors of sexual motivation in natural menstrual cycles. This was the first study to use daily measures of estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone . This study also simultaneously measured womens sexual desire and behavior across full menstrual cycles.

The strongest predictor of sexual behavior in this study? Whether or not it was a weekend . Hormones had nothing to do with it.

The predictors of sexual desire, however, were a bit differentprogesterone had a negative influence, meaning when progesterone went up, sexual desire went down and estradiol had a positive influence, meaning when estradiol went up, sexual desire went up. Testosterone had nothing to do with it.

Tips For Talking With Your Doctor

Talking about sex with your doctor might make you uncomfortable, but remember that its their job to take care of all aspects of your health and well-being without judgment. If youre uncomfortable with this topic, here are some tips to help:

  • Bring notes. Be specific about what your concerns are. It will help your doctor if you have notes on your symptoms, including what makes them better or worse, and how you feel when they occur.
  • Write down questions to bring with you to your appointment. Once youre in the exam room, it might be hard to remember everything you wanted to ask. Writing down questions beforehand will help make sure you get all the information you need and help guide the conversation.
  • Know what your doctor might ask. While every situation is different, understanding what your doctor might ask can help calm your nerves. They will probably ask how long your symptoms have been going on, how much pain or distress they cause you, what treatments youve tried, and if your interest in sex has changed.
  • Tell the nurse. Youll usually see a nurse before the doctor. If you tell the nurse that you want to talk to the doctor about sexual issues, the nurse can let the doctor know. Then they can bring it up with you, which may be more comfortable than bringing it up yourself.

There are many ways to treat libido changes due to menopause.

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Oestrogen And Your Sex Drive

Oestrogen is one of the main female hormones. It helps regulate your periods, controls the development of your sex organs during puberty, and thickens the lining of your uterus so it can support a pregnancy. Its also important for your sex drive.

Low oestrogen levels can reduce your sex drive. Your levels can be low at any point in your life, but oestrogen naturally drops as you age and approach menopause.

Some side effects of low oestrogen which can affect your sex drive include:

  • vaginal dryness causing painful sex
  • sleep problems
  • low mood, including depression

Hormone Levels Also Can Cause A High Sex Drive In Females

Can the Pill Affect Libido?

If you take estrogen as part of treatment for menopause symptoms or bone loss, its possible you may have elevated levels that could increase your sex drive. Taking testosterone along with low-dose estrogen as part of postmenopausal treatment also could have the same result. During pregnancy, the surge of estrogen and progesterone in the second trimester can also result in increased sexual desire.

Another possible cause of a high sex drive is increased physical activity. A 2018 study found that women with an increased cardiovascular endurance also experienced a high sex drive.

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Causes Of Low Sex Drive In Women And How To Increase Your Libido

None of us want to admit weve lost that lovin feeling or that weve started to notice a low sex drive. We may have the best partner on earth and feel closer than ever, and yet libido can be an elusive thing as we age. Stress, hormonal imbalances, weight gain these are all issues for women of a certain age and they dont just affect the way we feel, they can affect our relationships with the ones we love.

You may be going through a low point in your sex life, and thats ok. It happens to the best of us. But, that doesnt mean you have to live with it! Low sex drive in women is often the result of underlying health issues that can be identified and corrected with the right combination of lifestyle changes and medical intervention. Continue reading to find out why you may have lost your cravings for sex and what you can do to get them back.

Are Hormones The Answer To Low Libido

More than half of postmenopausal women report low sexual desire. Hormonal and nonhormonal treatments vary in efficacy and continued studies are needed.

Up to 43% of women report having sexual dysfunction, with decreased desire being the most common complaint.1 Although the incidence varies among the studies, low sexual desire is reported by more than half of postmenopausal women compared with one-quarter of premenopausal women.2 Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a lack of desire that is persistent and leads to personal or interpersonal distress. Sexual dysfunction is multifactorial, including a variety of psychosocial components however, this discussion will be about treatment options for low libido, focusing primarily on postmenopausal women.

Physiology of libido

The ovaries and adrenal glands produce about 50% of circulating testosterone, whereas the other 50% comes from peripheral conversion of precursor steroids from the ovaries and adrenals. Most circulating testosterone is bound to sex hormone-binding globulin and albumin, which leaves only 1% to 2% as active free testosterone.


Since then, results of the APHRODITE study , which included 814 postmenopausal women with HSDD, were published and reported that treatment with a patch delivering 300 µg of testosterone per day led to a modest but meaningful improvement in sexual dysfunction without the addition of estrogen replacement.4

Read Also: How Does Birth Control Affect Hormones

Thyroid Problems And Your Sex Drive

Your thyroid gland produces hormones that help control your metabolism and if it isnt working properly it can affect your sex drive.

Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause extreme tiredness reducing your sex drive. If you think your thyroid gland might be the issue, you can test your thyroid function with a blood test. And there are lots of treatment options available if anything is out of balance.

Hormonal Imbalances Can Be Resolved

How Hormone Changes Affect Women’s Choice of Mate

There are SO many things going on for most of us during perimenopause. A rapidly declining sex drive might seem like the tip of the iceberg or it might just seem incidental youre moody and exhausted all the time, youre gaining weight, hot flashes make few things less desirable than sex.

I hear a lot of women explaining away so many symptoms that affect their quality of life by saying its just hormonal. I think a lot of people confuse hormonal with inevitable! Yes, it is natural for our hormones and our bodies to change in different stages of our lives, but that doesnt mean that we have to suffer. It doesnt help that many practitioners dismiss women who are going through perimenopause with the same laissez-faire attitude. But I believe that we can learn to understand, work with, and support our hormones and our bodies, and feel better.

The older we get, the more we should feel connected to and in control of our bodies. This should include being able to achieve sexual pleasure at any age.

Reviewed by Dr. Mark Menolascino, MD

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How To Correct A Hormonal Imbalance & Low Sex Drive

There are a lot of miracle solutions that I see advertised. Lets just be clear, no amount of eating oysters is going to resolve a hormonal libido issue! But there are lots of great, natural methods for getting your mojo back.

Hormone replacement therapy may be recommended in some cases, but I would much rather start with natural methods for healing from within. My goal with my patients is to get to the root cause, and figure out which hormones are imbalanced, why, and what we can do to stabilize production of these hormones from within, rather than just replacing them from an outside source without really getting to the issue.

Make sure youre eating enough healthy fats. One of the most important things to consider when working on correcting a hormonal imbalance is whether your diet contains enough healthy fats. We need cholesterol to produce hormones, and cholesterol requires fat . We dont want to leave our bodies in a situation where resources are limited and they have to decide whether the available cholesterol goes to our sex hormones or to the brain or other types of cells.

Consider adaptogens. This goes hand in hand with the previous step. Adaptogens are certain types of herbs that help to regulate the bodys natural stress response. Some of the most effective adaptogens include eleuthero, astragalus, rhodiola, and ashwagandha.

Do I Still Have To Worry About Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Yes. Menopause and postmenopause don’t protect you against STDs. You can get an STD at any point in your life during which you’re sexually active. This risk doesn’t go down with age or with changes in your reproductive system.

Left untreated, some STDs can lead to serious illnesses, while others, like HIV, cannot be cured and may be fatal.

Recommended Reading: Should You Take Estrogen During Menopause

What Can I Do To Treat Vaginal Dryness During Menopause

During and after menopause, vaginal dryness can be treated with water-soluble lubricants such as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly.

Do not use non-water-soluble lubricants such as Vaseline, because they can weaken latex, the material used to make condoms. You or your partner should keep using condoms until your doctor confirms you’re no longer ovulating — and to prevent getting an STD. Non-water-soluble lubricants can also provide a medium for bacterial growth, particularly in a person whose immune system has been weakened by chemotherapy.

Vaginal moisturizers like glycerin-min oil-polycarbophil and Luvena can also be used on a more regular basis to maintain moisture in the vagina. You can also talk to your doctor about vaginal estrogen therapy.

An oral drug taken once a day, ospemifeme , makes vaginal tissue thicker and less fragile, resulting in less pain for women during sex. The FDA warns that Osphena can thicken the endometrium and raise the risk of stroke and blood clots.

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