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Is your libido not what it used to be?

Updated: Feb 5

This matter is not often spoken about.

A low libido can and does affect women of all ages. It is a side effect of the oral contraceptive pill for some, and it's also common with women post childbirth, and may continue when they have young children, and can start at any age, including pre-menopause.

Did you know that 10% of pre-menopausal women have very low sexual desire?

Did you know that more than 50% of menopausal women say they have low sexual desire?

Have you thought about the ebbs and flows of your own libido?

There are many factors that come in to play with low libido:

- psychological issues such as anger or guilt

- marital discord and relationship issues

- mood symptoms such as anxiety and/ depression, or low self esteem ('I've put on weight', 'my breasts are saggy,' or 'my thighs are flabby'...)

- varying cultural expectations

- sexual traumas

- vaginal health, including infections such as gardnerella, thrush, bacterial vaginosis

- alcohol and drugs, certain medications such as the oral contraceptive pill, types of heart medication and antidepressants.

- hormonal imbalances and declining hormones as we ages

- some diagnosed hormonal disorders and issues in the pelvic region (such as prolapsed vagina, bowel or bladder)

- stress and our busy modern lifestyle

- lack of sleep and fatigue

What can we do to improve our libido?

Firstly, it is important not to be hard on yourself in regard to your libido. Women have a delicate and complex hormonal system, which is so very different to men. We also have an emotional component to our sexuality, so managing our libido becomes a multipronged approach. (Of course men have an emotional element too, I'm not disregarding that!)

As you see above there are so many factors to be considered, and it is important to work out which underlying factors are contributing to the low libido, and address them all.

It may be beneficial to talk with a counsellor if there are relationship or sexuality issues, or do some reflecting/ journaling on what is really going on, as well as looking at the hormonal and lifestyle factors.

General naturopathic recommendations for low libido:

1. Manage and support stress with mindfulness, breathing, nurture yourself (massage, pedicure, buy some nice lingerie). Stress has a huge effect on hormones, physical tension and the menstrual cycle.

2. Create some focused time to connect with your partner and have a bit of fun. This time can be doing something you both enjoy (it doesn't have to include sexual intimacy). Plan a date event, such as a dinner, romantic night out or trip. There is an excellent book called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, which explores the different ways each of us feel loved and appreciated, and how we can understand each others needs.

3. On a physical level, encourage circulation and tone to the vaginal area by doing pelvic floor exercises, or yoga. There are specialised Womens Physios who work in this area.

4. Dietary wise, restrict alcohol and caffeine if you are having these in excess. Support your hormonal health by cutting down on processed and packaged foods and sugar, and increasing good oils and fats (avocado, nuts and seeds, fresh fish) as well as lots of fresh greens, veggies and seasonal fruit.

As a naturopath I can work with you to assess what are the underlying factors and prescribe supplements specific to your needs, and phase of life. (For example: if you are menopausal we need to assist with declining hormones, and if you are a young mum we would be working more with supporting the balance of your hormones.) We may decide to get your hormones tested or make up a vaginal cream.

Book a free 15 minute discovery call if you would like to know more about what I can offer you.

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