We’ve all been there: Those moments when you realize it’s been a couple months since you’ve been intimate with your significant other. Work has been crazy, the kids are keeping you busy, life has gotten in the way and you just, well, forgot. You love your SOs and you’ll find ways to make it up to him, right?
But what if you haven’t any of those excuses and find that you just aren’t that interested in sex these days? Is it because life has gotten in the way or could it be you lost your mojo? A low sex drive could be a warning sign for an underlying medical condition. Stress may be a major factor, but here are four very common reasons your low libido should be addressed by your doctor.
One of the first signs of a low libido may be your body’s drop in estrogen. Not only does menopause affect your desire levels, the estrogen drop can lead to dryness in the vagina, making intercourse painful, including in perimenopause stages when you are still experiencing regular menstrual cycles. Menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and hair thinning may present early in your 40s, says the North American Menopause Society.
Low thyroid production, known as hypothyroidism, is the most common of thyroid conditions in women—10 percent of women over 50 have thyroid hormone deficiencies, according to the American Thyroid Association. Hypothyroidism can result in fatigue, mood swings, depression and estrogen levels that all wreak havoc on your libido, too.
It is much more common for men to experience sexual dysfunction when they have diabetes but this disease can also affect woman, says the Cleveland Clinic. Increased vaginal dryness is common and diabetes can affect the blood flow in the body, making it more difficult to be stimulated. Another side effect of diabetes is depression, which also lowers the libido.
The number one killer of women is heart disease according to the Mayo Clinic. Early warning signs of heart trouble could be your reduced libido. A blood circulation problem attributed to the heart may be the reason you are having trouble getting aroused or need lubrication to erase vaginal dryness. Other early signs of heart disease are coldness, numbness or weakness in your arms and legs; swelling in the legs or stomach; high blood pressure and fatigue—all signs we may ignore and chalk up to age, weight gain and stress.
Thankfully, a simple solution for the dryness is to use lubricants such as K-Y to lessen pain and help keep up excitement levels. However, speaking with your gynecologist or PCP about your lower libido is important to be sure it isn’t a sign of something more serious. Once your doctor has your health managed, he or she can also prescribe medications that will help improve your sex life and get you back into bed with your loved one.