5 Surprising Causes of Low Libido
Low sex drive can have far-reaching effects for men. It damages self-esteem and causes tension in romantic relationships. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common. In fact, one in five men will suffer a loss of libido in his lifetime.[i]
There’s good news, though. Many times there’s a clear cause of a drop in libido—and many of those causes can be addressed with the help of a men’s health expert. Here are some of the more surprising causes of low libido … and how you can fix them.
When we think of the effects of diabetes, we don’t tend to think about sexual health. But if you think about it, it makes sense that poorly controlled diabetes can be at the root of low libido and sexual performance issues. After all, high blood sugar can cause nerve damage, as well as vascular problems. And don’t forget that people with type 2 diabetes often struggle with weight.
Nerve damage makes it difficult to maintain an erection and to feel pleasurable sensations in the penis. Vascular problems can restrict blood flow to the penis, making it more difficult to get an erection. Excess weight also increases your chances of having erectile dysfunction (ED).
These performance issues can make men feel stressed about sex, which is known to decrease libido.
Plus, type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for low testosterone, and higher testosterone levels significantly cut the risk of type 2 diabetes.[ii] When testosterone levels are low, libido plummets.
So one way to get to the root of low libido is to get your blood sugar under control and get to a healthy weight. You can do that with a custom-tailored health and wellness program like Body N Balance.
- Stress & psychological issues
Job woes got you down? Stressed about money? Try as you might, it’s hard to turn those worries off when it’s time to get turned on. Stress is a major cause of both low libido and ED.
Depression is another libido killer. That’s because when you’re depressed, you stop taking pleasure in once-pleasurable activities—like sex. Plus, it’s difficult to muster the energy for intimacy and connection when you’re depressed.
Antidepressants may help treat depression, but unfortunately they can make matters in the bedroom worse. Low libido is a common side effect of antidepressants.
So what’s the solution? If your mood or life circumstances are getting in the way of your sex life, talk to a trusted healthcare professional who looks at the whole picture, instead of just treating symptoms. A combination of lifestyle approaches and holistic treatments can help address the stress and depression at the root of your low sex drive.
- Hair loss medications
In an effort to curb or even reverse hair loss, some men make a sacrifice they never intended to make: their libido. And not just their libido, but their sexual health in general. The reason? Sexual dysfunction is right up there on the laundry list of side effects caused by finasteride (brand name: Propecia), one of the most common hair loss medications.
Just look at the effects noted by one study conducted on otherwise healthy men between the ages of 21 and 46 who were using finasteride:[iii]
- 94 percent of men developed low libido
- 92 percent of men developed ED
- 92 percent of men experienced decreased arousal
- 69 percent developed problems with orgasm
The worst part? Three months after quitting finasteride, these effects persisted.
But that doesn’t mean you need to choose between a full head of hair and a fulfilling sex life. In fact, there are plenty of effective fixes for hair loss that don’t come with the side effects of popular medications.
- Cardiovascular issues
Heart and vascular issues are another surprising cause of low libido in men. One reason is physiological: When circulation suffers, blood flow to the penis is compromised. That can get in the way of arousal and erections.
Another reason is that the medications used to treat heart disease can lower libido and cause other sexual issues. (Note that men who take nitrates for angina symptoms should not use ED drugs.)
Then there’s the psychological factor: Many men who have heart issues worry about having sex again. “Postsurgical discomfort, poor self-image, and the anxiety of an overprotective partner are frequently cited obstacles, according to a Harvard Heart Letter.
The Harvard experts stress, though, that for most men with cardiovascular disease, it’s safe to have sex. For some, it’s better to get the condition under control first, according to the Letter. “People in high-risk categories, such as those with uncontrolled high blood pressure, unstable angina, or advanced heart failure, should defer sexual activity until their condition is adequately treated.”
Be sure to talk openly with both your doctor and your partner about your concerns and fears. And whether you have cardiovascular disease or not, it’s important to follow a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle—for both your heart health and your sexual wellness.
Obesity is a factor in some of the other libido killers we’ve already discussed, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. That’s one of the reasons it’s a contributor to sexual problems. But obesity also can cause self-confidence and body image issues, which both make it difficult to drum up excitement for adventures between the sheets.
Another way obesity—especially abdominal obesity—causes sexual problems is by decreasing testosterone in the body. Low testosterone levels are a common cause of low libido, as well as erectile dysfunction.
The good news is that obesity can be reversed with a well-planned, thoughtful weight and wellness program like Body N Balance. And hormone issues can be addressed with tailored bioidentical hormone therapy.
Low libido can be a drag on relationships, self-esteem, and overall happiness. But the good news is that many of the underlying causes can be addressed with non-invasive therapies that have the added benefit of improving your overall health.