Sexual functioning, or your libido levels, are often strongly affected by a person’s physical and psychological health. So, let’s discuss each by dividing them into Physical and Psychological factors:
1. Cardiovascular (heart) diseases and other issues – Conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer, etc., largely influence the blood flow in the body, the nerve supply and other chemicals that aid in overall sexual functioning. They affect the body’s immunity levels, cause decreased energy levels and increased fatigue. And so, the higher overall fatigue gets, the lower a person’s libido. Certain medications used to treat these medical conditions can also affect the libido.
2. Menopause – This is a natural biological process for females that occurs around the age of 40-50 on an average. It causes cessation of the menstrual cycle thus making natural pregnancy not possible. Menopause causes a lot of changes in a female’s body such as feelings of ‘hot flashes’, fatigue, low moods, hormonal fluctuations (oestrogen and progesterone), etc. It could cause reduced/ no lubrication causing vaginal dryness and irritation which could make intercourse uncomfortable or painful, thus leading to reduced sexual desire.
3. Diabetes – This condition can affect certain hormones (like the release of testosterone in the brain essential for sexual arousal) in the body, the blood vessels and its blood flow to the genitals, etc., which can affect a person’s sexual functioning. It can also affect the emotional state of a person making them feel low or anxious quite frequently.
4. Other hormonal problems – The thyroid gland plays an extremely vital role in the secretion of hormones. So, an underactive thyroid gland (where reduced levels of hormones are produced) could affect a person’s libido. Some other effects of this could be feeling fatigue, increased/ decreased weight, low moods, etc., which inturn affects a person’s libido.
1. Depression – People suffering from depression experience things like a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, low energy levels, negative thoughts, low moods, etc., all of which can largely affect a person’s interest in sexual intimacy/ sex drive.
2. Anxiety/ Stress – When a person is in a state of anxiety, the body produces high levels of a chemical called ‘cortisol’ which is a stress hormone. This can affect the functioning of the other ‘sex’ hormones that aid a person’s sexual functioning, thus affecting their sexual drive.
3. OCD – People suffering from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) typically are largely preoccupied with certain thoughts and behaviours which can affect their ability to focus on ‘sexual ’stimuli thus affecting their sexual arousal levels
Thus, as a summary, the above-mentioned factors are some of the commonly faced issues that can affect a person’s libido. Side effects of certain medications (such as medicines used to treat BP, seizures, depression, etc.) can also contribute to a reduced sexual desire.
So how do we treat the concern of reduced libido if one/ more of the above conditions are experienced? Typically, medication to treat the respective health conditions are prescribed. Along with this, psychological therapy has proven greatly helpful too. There are various types of therapy (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Sex therapy, etc.) that help identify and address the psychological factors (e.g., experiencing anxiety/ low moods due to menopause, or experiencing low moods due to hormonal imbalances) causing the reduced libido.
It is strongly advised to reach out to Sex therapists/ doctors if you feel you are experiencing any type of difficulty in sexual intimacy as they can help you in overcoming the issue and leading a much better sex life!
Author Bio: Anoush Gomes, a trailblazing writer and healthcare advocate at Allo Health, combines empathy, wit, and charisma to create engaging content that simplifies complex medical concepts and inspires readers to prioritize their wellbeing. With a background in Biomedical Sciences and journalism, Anoush has contributed to various health publications, becoming a beloved storyteller with a loyal following. Their passion for preventive medicine and holistic wellness drives them to empower individuals through informative and entertaining articles. Anoush Gomes is a force to be reckoned with in the health writing community, consistently breaking barriers and redefining the role of health writers in the modern age.