It happens to a lot of guys, but few of them want to talk about it — especially when “it” is a low libido. After all, virility plays a big role in our concept of manhood.
But that’s not true. Lots of men have low sex drive, for a lot of reasons. And there are many ways to treat it.
Low libido is a term used to describe a decrease in sex drive that can interfere with sexual activity. While low libido can cause tension in a relationship, fostering doubt and guilt in both partners, it can often be treated if the underlying reason is identified.
Low libido should not be confused with erectile dysfunction (ED), although the two situations can co-exist. Communication and honesty are needed for a couple to cope while identifying the possible causes. Treatment can vary and may involve psychotherapy, hormone replacement, lifestyle changes, or the adjustment of drug therapies.
Depression and low libido may go hand-in-hand. Depression is often the cause of a reduced sex drive but May also be the consequence, making a tough condition worse. While psychotherapy may be effective in treating the depression, antidepressant medications can often exacerbate rather than improve the loss of libido. Switching drugs or reducing the dosage can sometimes help, but the side effects aren’t immediate and skipping or delaying a dose won’t help. If you are depressed, it is important to discuss your libido with your doctor and to talk about how medications may impact your sex drive.
Chronic illness can take a toll on your sex drive both physically and emotionally. This is especially true with situations for which there is chronic pain or fatigue, including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
When it comes to chronic illness and the loss of sexual function, there is rarely a straight line between cause and treatment. On the one hand, chronic illness is associated with an increased risk of depression, while on the other, it can directly interfere with hormonal, neurological, or vascular functions central to the male sex drive.
While stress can impair sexual interest by literally driving you to distraction, its effect on the sex drive is more insidious. Stress triggers the production of cortisol, a hormone that functions rather like a body’s built-in alarm system. Cortisol not only causes the constriction of blood vessels, contributing to ED, it can also cause a precipitous drop in testosterone.
How Is It Treated?
Depending on the cause, possible treatments include:
- Healthier lifestyle choices. Improve your diet, get regular exercise and enough sleep, cut down on the alcohol, and reduce stress.
- Change to a new medication, if the one you’re on is affecting your libido
- Testosterone replacement therapy