A bit of a taboo subject still, but women and men often confide in me that their sexual desire and libido levels are dire, asking if there is anything they can do to get their mojo back.
Most often, I recommend zinc – absolutely key – and low in very many people I test. Best to get it in a good multi so you have all the co-factors too. And I give specific herbal and amino acid supplements that often help.
Libido can be affected by weight gain, low thyroid, some meds, statins, for example) and is part of a depression picture very often, so addressing those issues can only help.
Testosterone and oestrogen levels will drop in both men and women as we age, and both of those can lead to a general loss of get up and go that often translates into loss of libido too. Zinc, of course, is needed for hormones, which is probably why it helps.
So, the first thing to do is up your zinc, try the above remedies (discuss with your chosen practitioners, of course) and, if that’s not enough, test and correct hormone levels.
Very often, the problem is that our DHEA drops after about 40. DHEA acts as the precursor for making testosterone in both men and women. I see it low a lot.
If DHEA turns out to be OK, you may need to check your other hormones.
Oestrogen is also a culprit for low libido, but for different reasons in men and women.
In women, an oestrogen drop will lead to loss of mojo across the board, including in the bedroom, not least, in some, because of painful intercourse. This is because the vaginal walls start to thin and friction is going to be more uncomfortable.
The best remedy for that – apart from getting your oestrogen right, of course – is to empty the contents of a capsule of wheatgerm-based Vitamin E (not synthetic) into the vaginal canal and lie with your legs up for a bit with a towel underneath you. It nourishes the vaginal walls. If you can’t do wheatgerm, try rosehip, coconut, almond or evening primrose oil instead. You can also use the fabulous YES range of lubricants.
To increase oestrogen levels, you could go the conventional route with HRT, patches and whatnot, or you can encourage your own natural production more by ensuring DHEA levels and taking phyto-oestrogens.
Phyto-oestrogens, like soy and flaxseed, act like weak oestrogens and can ‘dock’ in the oestrogen receptors in the same way that oestrogen can. Hence, if there’s not enough oestrogen about, the extra weak versions can boost levels. If there is excess oestrogen, by the way, they can compete with the oestrogen itself and bring levels down. Clever stuff. Look at this kind of thing.
In men, too much oestrogen can be being made in the body instead of testosterone, so it’s a problem more of oestrogen dominance. In this case, you correct things by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme pathway involved. You can read a lot more about this in my Oestrogen Dominance factsheet here.
Wild nettle is renowned for helping stop this conversion. You will often find it with useful other natural substances that can lower excess oestrogen levels. Like this, for example. They tend to be prostate formulas.
Test, Test, Test
All that said, though, I don’t like messing about with hormones without seeing precisely what needs tweaking.
Check the hormone tests here for how to do that effectively. Once you have your results, you then know precisely what needs upping, lowering or tweaking, which will give you better results.
I hope that all helps. I do remember a chap years ago coming into the clinic with a massive bouquet of flowers because I helped him in this area. His new wife was also delighted! Beaming smiles all round.
Don’t ignore low libido or feel embarrassed; it is so common and no-one in the medical field is going to be fazed by it at all. Get some help and get it sorted. I promise: it’s much easier to solve than you think.
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