Revive Your Sex Drive
Dealing with Sexual Dysfunction, Low Libido, Reduced Sex Drive, and Thyroid Disease / Hypothyroidism
While the study didn't look at the specific physical causes of sexual dysfunction, the research indicated that many of the sexual concerns were likely treatable, as they are due to physical and health issues. These health concerns can include common hormonal imbalances such as hypothyroidism.
How many people with sexual dysfunction may actually have underlying thyroid disease that has not been diagnosed? It's not a question that has been thoroughly researched, but it's certain that some of the people having a problem could solve their sexual dysfunction problem in the first place by having their thyroid function evaluated and treated.
How many people with low sex drive or sexual dysfunction also diagnosed as being hypothyroid? Again, there are no specific statistics, but low libido is a common -- but not often talked about -- symptom of hypothyroidism. It is also a symptom that for everyone, unfortunately, does NOT disappear, despite what doctors deem adequate treatment with levothyroxine into the normal range. Many people -- women in particular -- still complain of a lack of sexual desire even after their doctors consider the thyroid problem sufficiently treated. Low libido is just one of many symptoms that are not resolved for many people, despite treatment.
1. Make Sure Your Thyroid Drug Treatment is Optimal
Some people do not find their symptoms -- including sexual dysfunction -- resolved in a levothyroxine/T4 only drug like Synthroid. Some people find that their libido returns when their doctors switch them to a drug that contains T3, like Thyrolar, or a natural thyroid drug like Armour that includes natural forms of T4 and T3. Others do well with the addition of Cytomel (synthetic T3) or time released T3 to levothyroxine
The use of T3 is controversial, but some patients and practitioners have found that various symptoms are relieved by adding the thyroid hormone T3 into the typical T4-only (i.e., Synthroid) treatment approach. Others prefer the T4/T3 combination drugs, like the synthetic Thyrolar, or the natural desiccated thyroid drug Armour. Research published in the February 11, 1999, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine , however, reported on a study that showed that many patients feel better on a combination of T4 and T3, not T4 (i.e., Synthroid) alone. The addition of T3 helped relieve depression, brain fog, fatigue and other symptoms. This information about T3 was groundbreaking and has major implications for people who don't feel well on their current thyroid therapies!!! For more info, see my in-depth analysis of this study.
2. Make Sure Your TSH Level is the Best For Your Health
Many thyroid patients report feeling best at TSH levels of 1 - 2. Unfortunately, many thyroid patients are maintained at TSH levels above a 3.0, and continue to suffer a variety of symptoms. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists announced in 2003 that the new recommended normal range is .3 to 3.0 (a change from the range of .5 to 5.0). (NOTE: this TSH is usually kept even lower than 1-2 for thyroid cancer survivors to help prevent recurrence.) There are ongoing debates over the right TSH normal range, and many patients whose TSH falls in the limbo of 3.0 to 5.5 are still being told that their thyroid is normal. Make sure that your thyroid is being properly diagnosed and treated according to the latest standards.
5. Get Testosterone Supplementation if Needed
For men, testosterone can be a tremendous aid in restoring lost libido. Testosterone is available as a pill form (some brands are Android, Virilon, Testred, Oreton), as a transdermal patch, (Testoderm, Androderm), by injection, and sometimes as transdermal pellets implanted under the skin. Some women can benefit from testosterone. Doctors frequently will provide testosterone in pill form to women, or as testosterone propionate cream.
6. For Women, Supplement Estrogen/Progesterone if Needed
Imbalances in estrogen and progesterone -- having either too much
or too little -- can cause loss of libido, so it's important to evaluate
these levels as well. If supplementation is needed, ask your doctor about estradiol
gel or patches, and natural progesterone supplements, rather than conjugated estrogens.
More information about hormone balancing for women, and the effects of thyroid disease on sexual function, is featured in the book The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough: Overcoming Sexual and Hormonal Problems at Every Age, published by HarperCollins in Nov. 2006.
There are a number of supplements that can help with sex drive. Check with your practitioner for guidance on how best to use these supplements.
Note: Always check with your practitioner about herbs and supplements.
8. Lose Weight
Losing weight is easier said than done, of course, but excess weight can affect self-image -- and make you feel less sexy and less interested in sex. And, medically, being overweight can reduce both fertility and libido.
For more help and advice on weight loss, read Mary Shomon's book, "The Thyroid Diet".
Exercise improves blood flow to all body parts. Research has found that people who exercise regularly have higher levels of desire, greater sexual confidence and frequency, and an enhanced ability to be aroused and achieve orgasm--no matter what their age. The best type of exercise is aerobic exercise, because it can trigger the release of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that create a feeling of well-being.
10. Consider Therapy
When there are other psychological and self-esteem issues preventing healthy sexual desire, therapy can sometimes help.
All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician or health practitioner before starting a new treatment program. Please see our full disclaimer.