The number one reason a patient schedules a visit at my practice is because of sexual problems. “I think there might be a problem with my libido” is something I hear on a daily basis. Low libido can be described as a decrease or a lack of desire for sexual activity. Both men and women suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (low libido) but since June is month that celebrates fathers, we will focus on the causes and management of male low libido.
Like mentioned before, low libido describes a decrease interest in sexual activity. It is important to understand that it is perfectly normal to lose interest in sex from time to time. It is also normal for you and your partner’s libido to not to be in sync all the time. But if the decrease or total lack in sexual activity persist over a period of time it might an indicator that something is wrong. Let’s go through the most common causes of low libido in men.
Drop in Testosterone levels
Testosterone is quintessential male hormone. It is what make men men. It is common for testosterone to drop as you age, but if the drop is drastic it can cause low libido as well as erectile dysfunction. Low testosterone does not only cause havoc in your sex life but it can cause depression, diabetes, an increase risk of cardiovascular disease as well as a drop in your bone density. So if you are worried about your testosterone levels talk to your doctor asap.
We all have to deal with stress on a daily basis. But ongoing stress can cause your cortisol levels to skyrocket. Cortisol plays a vital role in modulating the immune system, regulating blood sugar, and keeping blood pressure steady. High levels of cortisol can suppress the production of testosterone. And as we just said, low testosterone equals low libido.
It is self explanatory, if you are not feeling well you won’t be in the mood to get kinky. But there are certain conditions that can have serious effects on your sex life. Diabetes are one of the most common chronic conditions globally. Diabetes can have an effect on your testosterone but it can also affect the small blood vessels and tiny nerves of the penis. If those blood vessels and nerves are damaged can results in erectile dysfunction. That said, any condition that affects the nerves or blood vessels of the penis can cause erectile dysfunction and the stress of getting him up can cause low libido. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, prostate problems, depression, cancer…the list goes on and on. Any chronic illness can influence your sex life.
So we know that chronic illnesses are common. That means that a lot of men need medication to deal with these conditions. But some of these drugs can be tough on your libido. The most common culprits are high blood pressure medication especially diuretics and beta blockers, antidepressants and antihistamines. Don’t suffer in silence. If you feel that your medication might affect your libido talk to you doctor, it might be possible to change to a more sex-friendly option.
So what’s next?
I know it can be very difficult to talk about sexual problems, especially for men. But low libido is not just about sex. Like we mentioned, it might be an indication that something serious is wrong. The good news is that low libido can be managed.
The first step it to find out what the cause is. If it is purely because of low testosterone your doctor can start you on testosterone replacement therapy. But it is very important to understand that testosterone replacement will suppress testicular function resulting in infertility. So in general testosterone replacement are for older men, who completed their families. If your testosterone is low and you are below the age of 40 one should rather address the cause of the low testosterone. If your sexual problems are a result of an underlying illness it is important to manage that condition optimally. Your sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol should be the best it can be.
In general you can boost your libido by following the next steps
- Follow a healthy diet
- Get enough sleep
- Manage your stress better
- Exercise three times a week