From your early thirties on, hormone imbalance can compromise your sex life by affecting your energy, physical sensitivity, responsiveness, and desire. Read below to learn the three most common ways hormone imbalances can affect your sex life.
As you age your hormone levels begin to change which affects many areas of your life, including your sex life. If you are experiencing changes in your energy, sensitivity, responsiveness, and desire here are three things that might be happening to your hormones:
- Estrogen levels are fluctuating (either dominance or deficiency) which may be zapping your libido.
- Testosterone levels are declining, causing a testosterone deficiency and affects to your desire.
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels are declining which also influences your sex hormones.
Peri-Menopause is the time of life when your estrogen levels begin to decline and cause irregular periods. However, this does not mean all peri-menopausal women immediately become estrogen deficient. Sometimes, your estrogen levels will decline so slowly that your estrogen-to-progesterone ratio still qualifies you as estrogen dominant. (Other women will continue to be estrogen dominant because extra body fat is continuing to produce lots of estrogen even when their ovaries cannot.)
Estrogen dominance effectively triggers low progesterone, which in turn causes low mood, fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, heavy periods — symptoms which can seriously affect your energy and desire.
To definitely resolve whether you are estrogen dominant or deficient, we recommend you get a blood work analysis; however, your vagina is also a good barometer!
Estrogen deficiency causes vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal wall. If you are having difficulty lubricating before and during sex, or if intercourse has become painful, your vagina is letting you know that it is lacking much-needed estrogen.
These are also the years when your ovaries’ production of testosterone begins to decline. Testosterone deficiency creates a shift from low libido to no-libido. If you add an extra twenty or thirty pounds, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and a frequent need to urinate, it is understandable why some peri-menopausal (and menopausal) women prefer flipping channels!
Typically in your 30s, your ovaries and adrenal glands are still pumping out lots of testosterone; however, pre-menopausal women can also suffer from a condition called “relative testosterone deficiency.” This occurs because levels of another hormone called sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) increase two to three times normal levels.
SHBG then binds to free testosterone molecules circulating within the body and, in doing so, keeps the testosterone from fulfilling its mission of fueling your sex drive at a cellular level. An increase in SHBG occurs naturally with age, but can also be worsened by the use of synthetic birth control pills.
Women require testosterone to maintain a healthy mood, sex drive, and healthy muscles and bones. Women naturally produce 0.25 milligrams of testosterone daily, while men may produce 4 to 7 milligrams: that’s ten to forty times the amount of women! In women, testosterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands, and in men, it is produced in the testes and adrenal glands.
When it comes to sexual growth and function, testosterone is best known as the hormone of desire. In addition to fueling libido, it promotes sexual pleasure by causing the nipples and clitoris to be sensitive to touch.
Declining DHEA Levels
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is another hormone that influences the levels of your sex hormones thereby also influencing your sex drive. DHEA is called a precursor hormone because it can be converted to testosterone. Levels of DHEA naturally decrease with age. By the time you are eighty years old, your DHEA levels will be about five to ten percent of the amount produced during your reproductive years.
Age is not the only factor influencing DHEA production. Chronic stress also depletes DHEA levels. Surveys have linked declining DHEA production in women with a decreasing tendency to think about or initiate sex, as well as a reported decrease in feelings of sexual satisfaction.
Sexuality & Age
In years past, sexuality during and after Menopause received little attention from the traditional medical community. Many women hesitated to report low libido or problems with arousal or sensation because they were embarrassed or doubted that their doctors would have the time or interest to address it. Today, millions of post-menopausal women in the United States realize they will likely enjoy another forty years of life. They want to know: “Why should I go without sex in my golden years?”
Libido and sexual function should be a central component of your medical strategy for healthy aging.
The problem is that many physicians do not know how to reverse the negative impact that hormone level decline has on libido and other aspects of female sexual health. For example, menopausal women who have had a hysterectomy will need to boost lagging hormone levels across the full spectrum: progesterone, estrogen and testosterone.
BHRT Can Help Boost Your Sex Life
What can be expected from natural hormone balance using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) and targeted hormone-supporting supplements? Relief from unwanted symptoms! BHRT can improve libido, more lubrication, fewer night sweats and hot flashes, improve moods, memory and sleep, renewed strength and energy, the ability to shed extra pounds more easily, and a belly that goes from fat to flatter.
When or if symptoms persist, adrenal support, additional bioidentical hormone supplementation, and/or a compounded formulation may also be required.