LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX: HOW HORMONES AFFECT YOUR SEX LIFE

LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX: HOW HORMONES AFFECT YOUR SEX LIFE

If you would rather be doing laundry than having sex, then you should probably read this.

 

Do you ever find yourself saying this? “I’ve lost my mojo. All I want to do in my free time is nap or watch TV. Sex is the last thing on my mind lately.”

 

I hear it all the time and not only from women going through menopause. I have plenty of women who dragged themselves through my clinic doors in their thirties and forties, desperate to feel the zest of bedroom life again. They felt drained, moody, dry, and felt guilty for the disinterest they had in their sexual partners who couldn’t seem to keep their hands off them at the very moment they preferred rolling over and falling asleep.

 

Making love, getting lucky, mating, getting it on, making whoopee, or whatever you want to call it, is important for physical and mental health and when nothing is happening and you can’t blame it on a newborn baby sucking the life out of you and don’t know why you’ve suddenly or gradually lost interest in sex, it’s time to search for the root cause. The root cause is very often hormones.

 

Most people know the basics of hormones and sex (men + testosterone = sex drive, women + estrogen = sex drive), but they don’t know the multiple combinations of hormonal imbalances that cause libido to head south.

 

 

These are the main hormonal imbalances that I see in people who have lost their mojo:

 

1. Cortisol (AKA the Stress Hormone)

 

This is the hormone responsible for perking you up in the morning and is your body’s natural alert system. Whether cortisol levels are too low, too high, or rise but then crash, this is probably the most common hormone imbalance that can wreak havoc on your sex life. This is very common for women in their 30’s who are going full-speed at work and/or motherhood. Combine a full-time job with young children and you have a perfect recipe for an adrenal collapse (your adrenal glands are responsible for pumping out cortisol). Imagine a car going full speed. This is a lot like your adrenal glands when you’re stressed. The engine is working hard, pumping out all that cortisol to keep you going. Eventually, the engine burns out. You’re exhausted. Your overdrive results in no (sex) drive.

 

 

Signs of Cortisol Imbalance (Low or High):

  • Feeling “wired but tired”
  • Cravings for sugar or carbs
  • Problems falling or staying asleep
  • Feeling overwhelmed or anxious
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Weight gain, often around the middle
  • Mood swings

 

How to Balance Cortisol Naturally:

  • Cut the caffeine. I know that sounds hard when you’re tired, but you need to give your adrenal glands a break, since caffeine causes them to be stressed. If you drink coffee regularly throughout the day, wean yourself off so you don’t end up with headaches.
  • Get more sleep. Try to fall asleep before 10pm so your body can follow a normal circadian rhythm. Don’t be afraid to sleep like a bear. Your body needs it.
  • Manage stress. I know, I know. You’re probably tired of hearing that. But seriously, indulge in meditation classes or some other stress reduction technique.

 

Take an adaptogen such as ashwagandha. Research has found that taking 300mg of ashwagandha for 8 weeks resulted in more sexual arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction than placebo.1

 

2. Estrogen

 

This is one of your main female sex hormones responsible for making you womanly and sexy, but when levels are either too low or even too high, you’d rather trade in the thong for a pair of granny panties and a night of Netflix on the couch with your dog.

 


 

Signs of Estrogen Imbalance (Low or High):

  • Mood swings or PMS
  • Tender breasts or fibrocystic breasts
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain, often around the middle
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Heavy, very light, or irregular periods
  • Migraines

 

How to Balance Estrogen Naturally:

  • Flush excess estrogen with fiber. If low estrogen is the problem, don’t worry. Eating lots of fiber can help the body get rid of excess estrogen through digestion but it won’t deplete your levels further if it’s low.
  • Have some maca. It’s an herb that has been scientifically proven to help balance hormones and have a natural anti-depressant effect.2
  • Toss your plastic Tupperware in the trash. Never reheat food in plastic because it contains chemicals that leak into your food and disrupt your hormones. Buy glass food storage containers instead.
  • Take these: a multivitamin, fish oil, additional vitamin D and a vitamin B complex, probiotic, and an antioxidant (vitamin E, resveratrol).

 

3. Thyroid

 

Your thyroid gland is your metabolism powerhouse, which pumps out thyroid hormone to every cell in your body, which depends on it for direction on how fast or slow it should function (and eat up calories). With an underactive thyroid gland, you can experience all kinds of problems and not just weight gain. You’ll feel flat in all areas of life, including sex.

 

Signs of Thyroid Imbalance (Low):

  • Feeling tired, especially in the morning
  • Dry skin and hair that is falling out or thinning (including eyelashes and eyebrows)
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Cold hands and feet or get cold easily
  • Headaches
  • Mild depression

 


 

How to Balance Thyroid Naturally:

  • Eat more healthy fats and take a fish oil supplement.
  • Cut down on sugar.
  • Make sure you are getting enough iodine in your diet since your thyroid gland relies on this to produce hormones.

 

4. Testosterone

 

Men aren’t the only ones losing testosterone. Age and taking birth control pills are the two common culprits for low testosterone levels in women. This makes things dry downstairs if you know what I mean, and causes a low sex drive as well. Having too high of a testosterone level doesn’t fare well either. Women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have characteristically high levels of testosterone, which makes sex drive take a nose dive.

 


 

Signs of Testosterone Imbalance:

  • Feeling anxious and/or depressed
  • Feeling tired
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Increased hair on face, chest, or arms
  • Irregular menstrual cycles (missing periods, cycles that last longer than 35 days)
  • Infertility
  • Decreased ability to build muscle

 

How to Balance Testosterone Naturally:

  • Lift those weights, girl! Research has found that muscle-building exercises can increase testosterone levels.3
  • Make sure you are getting enough healthy fats into your diet since all hormones are derived from cholesterol.
  • According to research, vitamin D supplementation may increase testosterone levels,4 so make sure you are getting enough and it might be a good idea to have your levels checked the next time your doctor orders blood work.

 

It’s always best to focus on natural remedies and things you can try at home first. But it’s also a good idea to at least find out what your hormone levels look like by doing some testing. Instead of throwing arrows in the dark hoping to aim at the problem, try consulting with a medical provider who specializes in natural hormone balancing so you have a clearer understanding of what is going on inside of your body and can find a solution to getting your happy love chemicals back on track.

 

Love and Health,

 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26504795
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614604
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17051372
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21154195

 

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