Family Health: When your Libido takes a Dive
SouthCrest physician helps with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)
Picture this: rose petals scattered across the bed, candles dimly lighting the room, champagne chilling by the bed, and your significant other waiting for you with arms wide open–WRONG! What you really want is a box of bon bons and your favorite fuzzy slippers, right? Well, if you suffer from hypoactive sexual desire disorder then this definitely may be the case for you.
Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), also known as a loss of sexual desire, is considered to be the biggest sexual disorder in women of all ages. Complicating the issue is that the problem can be both mental and physical.
“There are several factors that can affect a female’s sexual desire or drive,” says Dr. Daniel Nicoll, a board certified family physician specializing in women’s health and obstetrics, currently serving as Physician Advisor and former Chief of Staff at SouthCrest Hospital. “Finding those factors is not as difficult as you may think.”
In a survey of approximately 1,700 women ages 18 to 59, 43 percent reported having sexual problems within the past year. Another study, surveying 31,000 women, showed 44.2 percent suffered from low sexual desire and most of those women were in their middle years of life.
Common causes for HSDD are:
• Psychosocial issues such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, body image and stress.
• Medical issues such as chronic illnesses like diabetes and thyroid disorders, insomnia and fatigue.
• Medications such as certain anti-depressants, antipsychotics, antihypertensives, antiepileptics and narcotics.
• Substance abuse.
• Hormonal issues such as incorrect estrogen and testosterone levels.
• Interpersonal relationship issues such as partner performance issues and lack of emotional satisfaction with current relationship.
• Age-related decrease in androgen blood levels.
Lighting that fire again is not unobtainable. Due to the fact that decrease in sexual desire in women is typically a combination of physical and psychological factors, usually more than one treatment approach is required. “You need to see your doctor for a physical exam including some blood work,” Dr. Nicoll says. “Blood work should check thyroid function, CBC, liver function, fasting blood sugar, cholesterol, prolactin, testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, sex-hormone binding globulin, and DHEAS.”
With that information, certain health issues can be ruled out or corrected, and the physician can then decide on appropriate treatment. Treating underlying issues such as thyroid or depression may inadvertently treat HSDD. Other treatment options may include a combination of estrogen and testosterone, vaginal estrogen creams for dryness, altering some medications that could be causing HSDD, and sex or relationship therapy. Alternative treatments include herbs and homeopathic options such as ginko biloba, L-arginine, damiana leaf, ginseng, Zestra and Viacreme. All of these have specific functions, so please consult your physician before taking them. With guidance from your physician and a little patience, sexual desire can find its way back into your life!