Low sex drive in women has many potential causes, including underlying medical issues, emotional or psychological problems, or work- and family-related stress. The good news is that identifying the root cause of low libido can lead to effective treatment options. It is not unusual for couples to have a disparity in their sex drives. More often than not, in a heterosexual relationship, it's the woman who has the lower libido , according to research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA. This can be distressing for both partners and even put the relationship at risk if it can't be resolved. The medical term for low libido and lack of interest in sex is hypoactive sexual desire disorder HSDD , though there is some debate as to whether or not a woman's lack of sex drive should be viewed as a disorder. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5 used by mental health professionals, the lack of desire would have to rise to the level where it causes the woman significant distress, where it affects her relationships or self-esteem , for six months or more. It is important to note that some fluctuations in sexual desire are natural and healthy.
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As women age, they must adapt to many changes. Shifts in hormonal balance can lead to moodiness, hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. Wrinkles and gray hair appear. Muscle tone and stamina may shift. Perhaps most unsettling, libido may decrease significantly, typically due to a decrease in the production of sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. Where once there may have been natural patterns of attraction, desire, and pleasure, many women feel an absence.
Women who feel distressed by a lack of sexual desire may have some help on the way. HSDD is a term coined to describe low sexual desire without a clear cause. The physiology of sexual arousal and desire is complex in women. In research funded by a licensing partner of the drug manufacturer, bremelanotide was studied for both effectiveness and safety. According to information released by the FDA , more than 1, women randomly received either bremelanotide or a placebo sham treatment for up to 24 weeks. However, bremelanotide did not change or improve the number of satisfying sexual events. At least 45 minutes before anticipated sexual activity, a woman injects the medication into a thigh or her abdomen or her partner can do this. No one knows precisely how bremelanotide works, but it does activate melanocortin receptors, which seem to be involved in a host of brain activities, including possible links to appetite and cardiovascular health. Experts do not know how long the effect will last after each dose, so only one dose a day is recommended, and women should not take more than eight doses in a month.
Many women discover their libido is lacking, especially as they get older. Luckily, treatments are available to rev up a sluggish sex drive. Is your idea of getting hot and steamy taking a shower after spin class? Join the club.