While it is natural for female libido to decrease with age, for many women entering menopause, desire virtually disappears. That is because the amount of estrogen and progesterone in the body drops dramatically. The same holds true for women undergoing an ovariohysterectomy at any age, because this surgery puts them into menopause.
This lack of libido not only affects the way a woman feels about herself, but can cause issues with marriage and relationships. Fortunately, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help restore a woman’s libido to a healthy state, and resolve other side effects of menopause.
Technically, decreased libido in women is known as “hypoactive sexual desire disorder,” and it is the most common complaint among women, according to the North American Menopause Society. Produced primarily in the ovaries and to a lesser extent in the adrenal glands, progesterone is the hormone most responsible for female sex drive.
As progesterone levels drop with decreased ovarian function, female libido also wanes. Although testosterone is considered the male hormone, women do have small levels of testosterone in their bodies and it plays a role in libido. Female testosterone levels wane as ovarian function decreases.
While changes in hormone levels contribute to lack of libido, personal factors may also intrude. Depression, weight gain, poor nutrition and lack of exercise may play a part in libido reduction.
The common symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, mental fogginess, depression, and anxiety do not lend themselves to a strong sex drive. Neither does the abdominal weight gain experienced by so many women in menopause. Body issues can affect a woman’s libido. Even if a woman wants to have intercourse, vaginal dryness due to lack of estrogen may make sex uncomfortable and arousal difficult.
Plant-based bioidentical hormones are similar in structure to the hormones produced by a woman’s own body. These hormones, created from soy and wild yam, are much safer than the synthetic hormones derived from “conjugated equine estrogens,” which is actually pregnant mare’s urine. Unlike synthetic hormones, bioidentical hormones do not increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease, and can actually protect the cardiovascular system.
Bioidentical hormone treatment is known as “replacement therapy” because it does replace the estrogen and progesterone that formerly circulated within the body. These hormones require balancing within the body for effectiveness, so replacement therapy requires regular testing via blood, saliva, and urine to ensure the patient’s hormones remain within the correct levels. The individual prescription is prepared by a compounding pharmacy.
With bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, women can expect their healthy libido to return. Topical creams correct vaginal dryness, so intercourse is enjoyable once again. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy addresses those other menopausal problems, both physical and emotional, that get in the way of a good sex drive. A woman will feel like her “old self” again. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy takes a holistic approach to a patient’s loss of libido. In addition to the custom-tailored oral, topical or transdermal pellet form of hormone, the doctor works with the woman to design a suitable diet and exercise program.
If you are experiencing a decrease in libido, make sure to call Dr. Edward Jacobson’s office today and schedule a consultation.