Lost Libido in Women - Solutions to This Tricky Problem
Reduced sex drive in women can have a profound negative impact on their quality of life. When sexual desire decreases there really isn’t a pill you can pop or food you can eat that will miraculously create the urge to merge (Arcos, 2004).
There is no one solution because we women are complex! It could be due to altered hormone levels, decreased vaginal lubrication, and/or pain – especially common with thyroid disorders and throughout menopause. Or flagging libido could be a hint at a more serious underlying health concern needing investigation (Arcos, 2004).
So what can you do when you want to ‘Marvin Gaye and get it on’ as the song sings?
As an evidence based practitioner I abhor the massive ads on billboards and social media claiming miracle responses in pills and potions for this very complex issue. It is not a well researched topic in the scientific literature so I can’t support strong claims on the effectiveness of any product unless I see the research… in short …show me the data (Just warning you now if you follow that link you’ll get 2 glorious minutes of early-Tom Cruise & a half naked Cuba Gooding under the guise of it being related to evidence based solutions …surely permissible on a post about female libido?)
So do we give up? No not at all! There are many strategies that have been shown time and again to work to restore desire it’s just that if they don’t work for you it’s time to do some investigative work with a trained professional to get to the bottom of why your libido is lost.
I often find myself using these strategies with my clients with some degree of usefulness.
L-arginine, an amino acid, is the precursor to nitric oxide involved in the relaxation of (vascular and nonvascular smooth muscle of) the clitoris and vagina (Kellogg-Spadt & Albaugh, 2003).
Arginine is a widely used and typically helpful therapy for assisting men to achieve erection and it seems in the early research on women it could also be useful to enhance female orgasm and female desire (Youngworth, Chek, & Zaslau, 2001).
If you have a history of the herpes simplex virus you need to know that high doses of L-arginine can potentiate oral and/or genital herpes outbreaks.
Damiana is a plant used traditionally in herbalism as an aphrodisiac for women. It is thought it works to enhance dopamine levels in the brain (Kellogg-Spadt & Albaugh, 2003).
Although there are no quality studies on Damiana used alone anecdotal reports tout the effectiveness of a daily cup of Damiana tea for increasing female sexual desire (Ratsch, 1997; Watson, 1993). A cup of organic, herbal tea which tastes quite nice is a pretty cheap, low risk strategy to try and you never know it might just work for you!
L-arginine & Damiana used together
Preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of oral supplements containing L-arginine and Damiana have demonstrated that up to 70% of pre and postmenopausal women experience significant improvement in desire and sexual responsiveness after 4 to 6 weeks of daily use (Trant & Polan, 2000).
The cycle of sexual response begins in the brain, where a memory, an image, a scent, a song or a fantasy can act as a trigger to prompt sexual arousal. Thus, the brain may be a key and good starting place for treatment of sexual dysfunction (Arcos, 2004).
My prescription is for at least 15 uninterrupted minutes in a relaxing bath with Marvin Gaye’s soulful notes.
Just like they say in the song, let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on….
Billups, K., Berman, L., Berman, J. Metz, M., Glennon, M., & Goldstein, I. (2001). A new non-pharmacological vacuum therapy for female sexual dysfunction. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 27,435-420.
Ratsch, C. (1997). Plants of love. Berkeley, CA: Ten-Speed Press.
Watson, C.M. (1993). Love potions. New York: GP Putnam Books.
Youngworth, H., Chek, K., & Zaslau, S. (2001). A topical therapyfor female sexual dysfunction: Results of a pilot study with1 year follow-up. Proceedings from the Female Sexual Function Forum, Boston, MA.