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Your sex drive can say a lot about your overall health, and a libido in crisis is cause for serious concern. Have you felt like your sex drive has been suffering lately? Hypothyroidism might be the root cause of your issues. Get that spark back into your life by understanding the problem and finding a solution.
Your Libido & You
Our libido, or our sex drive, is so important to our health and for our relationships (1). When we have a healthy libido, our lives are simply better.
Basically, when we have a healthy libido that means that our bodies are functioning properly. We are getting what we need, and it is creating the desires and functions that are natural to us. Our sex drive, then, becomes an excellent barometer for our overall health. It can tell us when things are going well, and it can raise a red flag when things are looking grim.
A poor libido can signify some serious health problems right now or down the road. Some of these might include:
- Hormonal Issues
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Thyroid Disease
All of these are serious issues, so it’s important to figure out what’s going on with your libido. There are such a wide range of factors that could be altering your sex drive, so it’s important to seek a diagnosis and find a resolution that benefits your body.
What we need to understand is that it is not only internal factors that can hurt our sex drive. While we do want to pay attention to signs of hormonal issues of thyroid disease, we cannot rule out other potential factors like medications. Depending on what you’re taking, your libido could be altered by prescription drugs in your system (2).
All of this being said, I think it is so important that we get away from stigmatizing conversations around sex drive and sexual health. Often, we take a self-conscious approach to discussing what goes on in the bedroom (3). Especially when it can have such a large effect on our overall health, discussing our libido is not something we should be hiding – from our doctors or our partners.
Bottom Line: Your libido plays a large role in your overall health, so understand what could be going on, seek a diagnosis and talk about your sex drive. Your body will thank you.
Low Thyroid & Low Libido
People are often surprised when their sex drive vanishes, and cannot possibly figure out what’s going on that they no longer have the desire to engage with their partners physically. What we want to identify is the connection between your thyroid and your libido, and how this part of your body can have such an impact on your sex drive.
What is the exact tie between your thyroid and your libidio? Let’s consider what happens when you have to deal with hypothyroidism. Understood on a very basic level, hypothyroidism causes everything in your body to slow down (4). It slows down your metabolism, and it also slows down the production of libido in your sex organs.
This leads to an imbalance which can adversely affect your overall sex drive, rendering it completely ineffective. Your thyroid disorder slows things down to the point where production becomes all but impossible, so you’re left feeling dull and uninspired in the bedroom department.
Therefore, thyroid hormones can have a direct effect on the ovaries and testicles, resulting in the inferior production of libidio and a diminishing drive for sexual activity.
Hypothyroidism can lead to fatigue, which is also a massive contributor to a depleted sex drive. How are you supposed to summon up the desire to have sex when you’re feeling so fatigued?
There is also the higher production of cortisol in the brain, resulting from low thyroid production, which leads to more stress. If you are feeling overly stressed, your libido may as well be the last thing on your mind. Higher productions of cortisol are also more likely to have an adverse effect on your body, due to binge eating and other negative urges that hurt your body.
Lastly, there is the self-consciousness that comes from weight gain resulting from hypothyroidism. This is where we start to understand the psychological effects of hypothyroidism on patients. If you do not feel attractive enough to have sex, that might be enough to prevent you from doing it at all.
Bottom Line: While it can vary from person to person, your thyroid and your libido is intimately connected. Whether it comes from a direct effect on your ovaries/testicles, fatigue, high cortisol production or feeling self-conscious.
Sandra’s Case: Sex Drive & Hypothyroidism
I’d like to take a moment to share a story that I have of a patient. For the purposes of this case study, let’s call her “Sandra”…
Many years ago, ‘Sandra’ was a new patient of mine. Her chief complaint was that she had poor libido. She had been happily married for 6 years, and she and her husband had enjoyed a very active sex life for the first 3 – 4 years of their marriage. And, in her words, “active” might even be an understatement! She had said that her friends had referred to her and her husband as “the bunnies”.
For the last few years of their marriage, though, she had no interest in sex at all. It was almost as though the desire for sex was completely erased, vanishing into thin air. She said that it had gotten so bad that she had to make a secret mark on the calendar to remind her to initiate sex – and this was at least a few times per month. Otherwise, she said, it wouldn’t even cross her mind.
Sandra had heard from a girlfriend how her libibo had improved on testosterone therapy, and she wanted to try it for herself. I agreed that her concerns were valid, and there was likely a hormonal cause for her lack of sexual interest or activity. In many cases, I have found that low testosterone can be the culprit, but it was best to screen all of her hormones – just to be sure.
What surprised me was that her tests revealed a rather advanced hypothyroidism, caused by Hashimoto’s. It was a surprise since she had no other common thyroid complaints, such as weight gain, hair loss or lethargy. But there it was, all the same. What I learned was that some people with thyroid disease have few of the classic symptoms, if any.
I began by screening Sandra for thyroid cancer. Thankfully, she was clear. Then I started her on natural thyroid treatment, detox and dietary changes. Within a month and a half, Sandra’s thyroid tests had become perfect. She even remarked that it felt like she and her husband were newlyweds again. They were both quite pleased with her recovery.
Key Insight: Sandra sought out the medical attention necessary to understand the root cause of her startling lack of sex drive. Hypothyroidism was the culprit, even though it wasn’t manifesting itself in other symptoms. She got the treatment she needed, and rediscovered her sex drive in the process.
Fix Your Libido
If your libido is poor, there are some concrete action steps that you should be taking to correct the situation. That way, you can get back to feeling the way you always have. The first thing you need to do is recognize what’s missing and get the appropriate help.
A thorough evaluation for thyroid disease is going to be your first step in this process. Receive an evaluation from a doctor who understands what optimal function should look like (5), so that you can find out exactly what’s troubling your thyroid.
Chances are, the medical professional you’re working with is going to do one of the following:
- An Exam
- An Ultrasound
- An Antibody Testing
- Thyroid Function Test (TSH,fT3,fT4,rT3)
All of these are meant to understand what is really going on in your body, specifically thyroid function tests (6). These will help you learn more about the hormonal activity your body is currently undergoing, which will inform you how to best treat your disappearing sex drive.
Do you feel like your relationship isn’t as healthy as it could be? Make sure that your communication skills are where they need to be, so that you’re constantly communicating what you need to feel sexually satisfied. Does your partner know about your libido, and do you know about his or hers? Conversations around sex drive are always healthy and problems in the bedroom should never be ignored.
When you’re trying to have a conversation with your partner about his/her (or your) sex drive, make sure they feel valued and respected. You are in this together, so you should approach a solution knowing exactly what is going on with one another. It never hurts to be honest about your health, so do not try to hide what is bothering you. At some point, it’s going to become a big enough problem that the other person will know about it.
Bottom Line: Be honest, upfront and compassionate when it comes to describing your sex drive with your partner.
Your medical health and your relationship to your partner all come back to one central concept: self-care. In order to receive love, you need to give yourself love. Whether that means acknowledging your body needs help, getting an examination or talking to your partner, self-care is all about seeing the problem and seeking a solution.
There are also other things you can be doing to show yourself a little bit of self-love, such as improving your sleep or exercising. Both of these things will give your body the energy it needs to perform inside and outside of the bedroom.
The main thing that self-care provides us is the confidence and body-positive imagery that can make us feel good in the bedroom. When we work out, even if only for a little while, we feel a lot better about ourselves. That perception informs our bodies, and benefits our sex drive immensely.
When we feel less fatigued, our sex drive also benefits. That’s why getting enough sleep and resting up properly is going to help our libido. We not only have the time to get physical with our partners, but we also have the energy.
Action Steps: If you feel your sex drive slipping, book an appointment with a medical professional, talk to your partner and take the time to care for yourself. Taking action and ownership over your health is essential.
Take a moment, and think about your thyroid. Is it happy? Do you really know what’s going on with it? If you feel like hypothyroidism might be affecting your sex drive, you need to evaluate the overall health of your thyroid to find out what you can do. Do what’s best for yourself, and please take a moment to complete my “Thyroid Quiz”.
Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet.
Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, cure diabetes, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.