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Low Libido in Women: Prevalence, Causes, and Treatment

Gina Walters
low libido in women

Low libido refers to a decreased interest or desire for sexual activity. 

It often leads to a reduction in sexual thoughts, fantasies, and engagement in intimate relationships.

Both men and women can have reduced sexual desire or low libido for many reasons.

Some of the causes are hormonal changes, aging, and stress. A person’s sexual interests can significantly impact and shape their life.

The libido may increase or decrease several times, especially throughout a woman’s life.

These changes in libido may occur simultaneously with various life events for women, including menopause or the beginning of a new relationship.

This article will focus on the symptoms, causes, and treatments for low libido in women. 

Understanding low libido in women

A woman stressedSource: peshkov_From_Getty_Images
Stress can cause low libido or disinterest in sex

Low sex drive or low libido in women is a decrease in sexual desire . Females frequently go through variations in their sex drive.

There are many causes of low libido in both men and women. Major life changes like menopause, pregnancy, or sickness may impact a woman’s sex drive. 

A study by the University of Virginia mentions that HSDD affects about 1 out of 10 women in the USA.

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) is a medical term for low libido. 

Many women would dismiss the signs of HSDD as the natural results of aging or physical changes. 

You might need to consult a doctor if it disturbs you or causes relationship issues. 

Your doctor can prescribe Viagra for women in certain circumstances to improve sexual health. 

But it is important to note that Viagra is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for women’s sexual dysfunction. 

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Causes of low libido in women

Low libido has various causes, such as physical, hormonal, and psychological causes.

Overall well-being, personal experiences, lifestyle, and present relationships may also affect sexual desire in women. 

Physical causes may include sexual problems, lifestyle habits, and certain medical conditions and medicines.

Psychological reasons for low libido in women may include mental health problems, low self-esteem, and stress. 

Let’s explore these causes in detail: 

Physical causes

Physical changes like aging often coincide with lower sex drive in women, and medical conditions like Diabetes, Cancer, and Arthritis can also cause low libido in women. 

Undergoing any surgery on your breasts or genital tract can impact your body image, sexual function, and sexual desire.

Fatigue, body pain, body image concerns, and life stressors are common causes of low libido.

Lifestyle habits like smoking or drinking alcohol may also affect sex drive. 

Research shows, obstructive sleep apnea symptoms such as reduced libido can occur resulting in hormonal imbalances affecting sexual desire and function.

Hormonal changes

For women, menopause is a major contributor to low libido. During the menopause transition, estrogen levels decrease. 

This may decrease your desire for sex and produce dry vaginal tissues, making intercourse painful or uncomfortable.

Androgen levels can also affect female libido. In women, low androgen levels, especially low testosterone, can decrease sexual desire or libido.

A study suggests that lower androgen levels positively correlate with female sex drive. This means that low androgen levels may lead to low sex drive.

Psychological causes

Your mental state may influence your sexual desire. Low sex desire or low libido in women has a variety of psychological factors.

Challenges related to mental well-being, like Depression and Anxiety. Stress can also impact your sexual desire. 

Low self-esteem or an unsatisfactory body image may also be factors. 

Abuse that was either physical or sexual in the past can have a long-lasting impact on one’s sexual responses and feelings.

It’s crucial to consider these factors while addressing any issues with sexual desire.

Seeking professional support and understanding these influences can lead to healthier sexual experiences.

  • Estrogen is a class of sex hormones in charge of the growth and control of the female reproductive system and secondary sex traits.
  • Androgen Androgens are hormones that help both men and women grow and reproduce. Although androgens are typically associated with men, the female body produces tiny androgens.
  • Symptoms of low libido

    Women who have low libido may experience a decline in their sexual interest and desire. 

    Lack of interest in sexual activity, a reduction in sexual desires, and trouble getting aroused are some typical signs. 

    In addition, women may find it difficult to attain orgasm or lose interest in sexual activity. 

    It is crucial to remember that numerous variables can affect low libido and that any problems may be addressed by consulting a professional.

    What are the symptoms of low libido in women in their 20s? Or symptoms of low libido in young women? 

    Young women may experience the same symptoms, such as reduced sexual desire, difficulty becoming aroused, and a lack of interest in engaging in sexual activities.

    Consult a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying medical conditions contributing to your low libido.


    pills spilling out of orange containerSource: Getty_images_signature
    To treat low libido women may use prescribed oral medication

    Treating low libido can be tricky as there are multiple causes of low libido in most cases. 

    Initially, several women might benefit from counseling or lifestyle adjustments. 

    Medications and hormone replacement therapy may be medical choices if that does not work.

    The first way is to improve communication with your partner and seek professional psychological counseling.

    These steps can help resolve relationship problems and enhance intimacy between you and your partner.

    Women’s desire for sex may rise due to lifestyle changes like less stress, healthy eating, adequate sleep, and regular exercise.

    Research suggests that hormone replacement therapy, particularly Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT), may be helpful. 

    It may help increase sexual desire in many women. But this may not work for some women. It is important to
    consult a doctor.

    Some FDA-approved medications for HSDD or low libido include Flibanserin and Bremelanotide. 

    Doctors may suggest these medicines to women with low sex drive for six months or more.

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    Low libido in women is a common problem. Various factors, including physical and emotional aspects can influence low libido in women. 

    Most women experience a decline in sex desire as they age. This could be caused by postmenopausal hormone changes or issues with body image.

    Stress, Depression, and medical disorders, including cancer and high blood pressure, are possible additional causes of reduced libido.

    Many women treat their low libido using natural remedies such as lifestyle changes. 

    Yet, Psychotherapy or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may also help many women.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can low libido in women cause weight gain? 

    There is no direct link between low libido in women and weight gain. However, underlying health issues or medications used to treat low libido may contribute to weight changes.

    What causes sudden low libido in women? 

    Various factors, including hormonal imbalances, stress, relationship issues, medical conditions, medications, or lifestyle changes may cause sudden low libido in women.

    Can low libido in women be a side effect of certain antidepressant medications?

    Common side effects of antidepressants may be sexual problems like low sexual desire and sexual arousal. About 72% of women taking antidepressants in a study had low sexual desire.

    What are the side effects of low libido?

    The side effects of low libido in women may include reduced sexual satisfaction and relationship difficulties.  It can also lead to emotional distress and self-esteem issues, causing a decline in intimacy. Additionally, it can lead to feelings of frustration and may impact mental and emotional well-being.

    At what age does your libido slow down?

    There is no specific age when libido slows down in women, as it varies individually. Factors like hormonal changes, stress, and lifestyle may influence libido at different ages.

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