How Hormones Influence Libido
It's a fact: Hormones influence libido. In fact, several hormones can impact the sex drive of women. There are a variety of factors, including certain medical conditions, that may precipitate libido-altering hormonal imbalances. However, there are a number of methods women can employ to alleviate or potentially overcome these undesirable fluctuations.
The Hormones Most Responsible For Female Libido
Medical professionals believe that estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are the hormones that most notably stimulate a woman's sex drive.
Estrogen is the primary female sexual and reproductive hormone and is responsible for creating and maintaining a woman's reproductive system. Progesterone is another vital reproductive hormone that helps regulate a woman's menstrual cycle and plays an important role in her ability to become pregnant. Although testosterone is the primary male reproductive and sex hormone, the substance is also crucial to the physical and internal development of a woman's body and is believed to execute a crucial part in enhancing a woman's libido.
Medical Conditions That Might Cause Hormonal Fluctuations
Bodily concentrations of these libido-altering hormones can be impacted by a variety of normal, naturally-occurring events, as well as abnormal, potentially serious illnesses including:
The Monthly Menstrual Cycle
When a woman experiences her monthly period, the hormonal variations that occur are caused by specific biological events. Typically, her libido will be at its highest point during ovulation. Menstruation, however, often precipitates a significant drop in the sex drive.
Perimenopause and Menopause
As a woman ages, her body undergoes a natural but gradual decrease in hormone production. The beginning of this period is medically referred to as perimenopause. During perimenopause, the ovaries begin to cease production of estrogen and progesterone, leading to a decline in menstrual cycles. Perimenopause proceeds into menopause, a condition characterized by an eventual end to menstrual periods, as well as a woman's ability to become pregnant.
The bodies of pregnant women often experience a spike in both the production of and systemic circulation of estrogen and progesterone. These quick and significant hormonal increases may potentially drive their libido.
Breastfeeding may bring about a decline in libido. The reason for this occurrence is twofold. One, the action is said to lead to a decrease in estrogen concentrations. Second, women who nurse their newborns undergo an increased production of a libido-impeding hormone called prolactin.
Metabolic Disorders and Diseases to Hormone-Producing Organs
Numerous ailments and diseases might also induce libido-altering hormonal imbalances. Such conditions include diabetes, thyroid disorders, various forms of cancer and damage or disease to the pituitary or adrenal glands.
Stress and tension could precipitate many bodily reactions that lead to hormonal imbalances. In addition, stress on its own can diminish libido.
Any type of drug could elicit minor hormonal fluctuations. However, certain specific substances could precipitate significant fluctuations, for example antidepressants, antihistamines, sleeping pills, high blood pressure preparations, analgesic drugs and anxiety medications. It is also important to realize that certain drugs taken in combination might also cause hormonal imbalances.
Birth Control Methods
Some birth control preparations might suppress hormone production thus leading to diminished sexual desires.
One Study Explains Why Hormones Influence Libido
The findings of a 2013 study proved that the hormonal fluctuations some women experience do, in fact, drive their libido. A team of researchers representing the University of California at Santa Barbara examined how estrogen and progesterone affected female subjects enrolled at the academic institution who were in the midst of their periods. The results showed that estrogen precipitated a positive impact upon the participants' libido while progesterone brought forth a decreased sex drive.
These same researchers opined that such findings might one day impact how medical professionals administer hormone replacement therapy to address patients diagnosed with low hormonal levels and experiencing bothersome, potentially life-altering symptoms like a decreased sex drive. That said, these scientists stress that more research on this subject will be needed before any concrete conclusions can be drawn. The university's lead researcher commented that he believes the study of older, married women might provide a more accurate picture because such individuals are typically more sexually active, are subjected to a greater bodily secretion of sex and reproductive hormones and experience more frequent and regular menstrual cycles.
What Can Women Do in the Meantime?
Naturally-occurring biological processes such as menstrual cycles and menopause are unavoidable and will likely precipitate hormonal changes that affect the sex drive. That said, women experiencing diminished libido at other times might have a medical condition causing hormonal problems. In such instances, a thorough evaluation from a medical professional may be indicated to diagnosis and treat any such malady. Regardless of the cause, diminished libido might be heightened by treatment protocols like hormone replacement therapy, various medications, exercise or the use of natural supplements that contain libido-enhancing herbs, vitamins and minerals.