Feel like you lost your libido sometime between now and cramming for exams back in 2003 and you’re still wondering when it will make its comeback? It’s common, and if you don’t get to the reason why it’s gone AWOL, the bad news is, it might never return. Whilst there may be stand-out times in our lives where our sex drive takes a nose dive, it shouldn’t be a case of needing to call missing persons; you can reclaim it – after all, it’s yours!
There are of course times in our lives as women, that it’s perfectly normal for your desire for some ‘time between the sheets’ to be the furthest thing on your mind. It’s called life – these are the most common;
+ Throughout your cycle – Your libido should rise and fall in accordance to your cycles. When your hormones are well balanced it will peak mid cycle, around ovulation and for many a second peak is experienced during the period time. The lowest is typically leading into the period time where you body has other priorities on the go.
+ Pregnancy – During pregnancy, our hormones may send us into a state of heightened libido but for many, the tiredness, sickness and fatigue send you in the other direction. Low libido is very common during this stage of life.
+ Breast Feeding – Due to the rapid drop in hormones post-partum, it’s extremely normal for libido to be low whilst breastfeeding and for many women, it doesn’t return until weaning or at least until solids are introduced. This is due to the high levels of prolactin stimulating breast milk which also suppresses ovulation. Oestrogen is commonly low at this time.
+ Peri-menopause – The unspoken phase of a woman’s life. You ready for this? Peri-menopause begins at 35 (please don’t shoot the messenger). It is during this phase that we begin to see a very gradual decline in hormones, especially progesterone. Oestrogen actually peaks before it drops and whilst we once blamed low oestrogen for low libido as we age, it may not actually be at the core of things in the early stages of peri-menopause, but rather in the final years before menopause hits.
+ Menopause – Evidently we’ve accepted that this is a ‘side effect’ of menopause although, let it be noted that menopause isn’t a health condition but a change in life. Low oestrogen once menopause hits can cause a host of other issues including vaginal dryness, although oestrogen will spike before it declines. Low testosterone can also be a factor contributing to lower sex drive.
But then there are life circumstances outside of these phases and stages that we may need to look deeper into what might be causing the libido to head south, usually with a host of other symptoms; (because libido doesn’t work alone)
+ Medications – Birth control can be standing between you and your more frisky self. Seems contradictory, but true. Antidepressants and other medications may also have the same side effect. It can take some time once you come off various medications for your hormones to find their groove again – libido included.
+ Removal of Adrenals or Ovaries – This will cause a dramatic decrease in hormones due to the rapid decline of testosterone as well as for the adrenals, cortisol which in small amounts is necessary to make your sex hormones.
+ Stress – The biggest libido-fizzer of them all. High stress triggers the release of your stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline which for some will either hinder or shut down sex hormone production.
You know, we’ve been talking about topics like in my Membership and you’re invited. Click here to learn more.
There isn’t necessarily one single thing but many that cause you to focus less on time between the covers and more on meeting your day to day tasks (which are probably getting harder and harder to do too).
At the core of all of this I’d argue, are a couple of main contributing factors. These include, stress leading to high cortisol, poor gut function, low thyroid function, a sluggish liver and overworked adrenals. This then has a knock on effect with your sex hormones, meaning they either don’t get a look in, or they are out of control crazy.
But when it comes to where to start, you might wonder how do you know. It’s a matter of profiling your symptoms against each other to really see. When I look at this from a hormone perspective, it really comes down to the oestrogen struggle alongside your other sex and stress hormones. In the spirit of keeping this simple so that you can act now, here’s what I see most commonly.
Symptoms of high oestrogen;
- Irregular cycles/delayed ovulation
- Cystic Breasts
- Weight Gain
Symptoms of low oestrogen;
- Droopy breasts
- Missing periods
- Low moods
- Vaginal Dryness
- Poor Flexibility
- Brain Fog
Symptoms of low testosterone;
- lack of motivation
- poor muscle mass and muscle weakness
- low mood
- missing periods
and of course, high cortisol as we mentioned turns off sex hormones. High cortisol may have you feeling wired but tired, gaining weight rapidly and more.
When we can see which hormones may be at the crux of our libido blackout, then we can set the wheels in motion to really reclaim what’s been yours all along.
There’s plenty you can do to lead your body back to better hormones balance. When it comes to taming oestrogen one of the best things you can do is increase fibre in the diet and add in more green leafy veg. Increasing exercise is also another way to begin to get a better grasp on oestrogen.
For those with low oestrogen it may be important to look into the diet (especially if you are vegan or vegetarian) as well as consider treatments like acupuncture and supplements.
And for those with low testosterone, it’s especially essential to look into gut health as well as move right for your body.
We chatted about this in great detail in our LIVE members Q/A this month as part of the epic The Membership X Nat Kringoudis. We dug into specific supplements and ingredients that you can add to your regime to grab the reins on your sex drive and lead it back home. If you’re keen to explore more options, you can find out more about the Membership here. There’s a host of goodness (not just discussion on libido) all there waiting for you!
Because women solve women’s issues and I’m so keen to steer you towards your best. I so strongly believe in a community of women working together to support you in your health journey – and that’s exactly what the membership is all about.
Tell me about your libido – is it missing, making a comeback or your not sure if it more oestrogen or testosterone at play? I read every single comment you leave below – your questions or comment may just make somebody’s day! Let chat about it here.