Loss of Libido in Women
Sexual dysfunction in women includes lack of sex drive, difficulty becoming aroused or achieving orgasm, or dyspareunia (pain during intercourse). Causes can include various medical conditions, emotional factors, and the use of certain medications (e.g. SSRI’s). Conventional therapy for sexual dysfunction varies according to the cause. For postmenopausal women, estrogen therapy (with or without testosterone) is frequently beneficial.
In some patients, fatigue and depression are significant contributors to low libido and successful treatment of these symptoms may lead to an improvement of libido. Please see fatigue and depression section or use site search.
Vitamin-C has been shown to decrease physiological and subjective responses to stress in humans. Thus vitamin-C might be beneficial for women with emotional stress or anxiety along with sexual dysfunction. In a double-blind trial, supplementation with vitamin-C increased frequency of sexual intercourse in healthy young women who were not living with their partner.
Manganese: One practitioner, who treated primarily psychiatric patients, observed that supplementation with manganese frequently improved libido and sexual performance in women.
Hypothyroidism: In patients with hypothyroidism and low libido, treatment with thyroid hormone frequently improves sex drive. As discussed in the hypothyroid section, I treat the patient and not the lab result because lab results can be misleading. Some patients who present with clinical evidence of low thyroid frequently have thyroid function tests that are normal. In my clinical experience, the young, premenopausal or postmenopausal female with low libido and symptomatic for low thyroid, despite normal thyroid blood work, stands to benefit significantly from thyroid hormone treatment. It is not uncommon for women to develop sub-labratory hypothyroidism around the time of menopause. So, if you are menopausal with symptoms of low libido, fatigue and depression, it may not necessarily be due to low estrogen. It could be due to low thyroid.
DHEA: Dehydroepiandrosterone is converted in part to estrogen and testosterone, both of which have been found to improve libido in postmenopausal women.
Ginkgo Biloba Extract: In an uncontrolled trial, administration of ginko biloba extract for 4 weeks improved sexual dysfunction in 91% of women who were experiencing it as a result of antidepressant medication (SSRI’s).
At my clinic:
The female patient with low libido will undergo testing for thyroid, DHEA, estrogen and testosterone. Empirical trial of the supplements mentioned will also be prescribed. Correction of hormones can be of significant benefit to the patient also.