Poor thyroid health can actually lead to low libido, but there are ways to remedy it. Keep reading!
In this article:
- What Does The Thyroid Do?
- How Is Libido an Important Indicator of Health Status?
- Can Thyroid Problems Cause Loss of Libido?
- How Does Low Thyroid Functioning Impact a Woman’s Libido?
- How Does Low Thyroid Functioning Impact a Man’s Libido?
- When Should You Seek Treatment for Low Libido?
- What Are the Treatment Options for Low Libido?
Everything You Need to Know About the Thyroid and Low Libido Connection
What Does The Thyroid Do?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower part of the front neck. It produces and regulates two hormones:
- triiodothyronine hormone (T3) – the active form of the thyroid hormone
- thyroxine hormone (T4) – the inactive form of the thyroid hormone
Thyroid hormones regulate important bodily functions such as metabolism, heart rate, brain development, breathing, body weight, mood, and more.
Basically, the thyroid keeps your body functioning properly. The symptoms of a malfunctioning thyroid can have a real impact on the lives of people.
There are a handful of conditions that can impact thyroid functioning, but it basically boils down to hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
How Is Libido an Important Indicator of Health Status?
Whether it’s easy to admit it or not, the libido plays an important role in one’s well-being. Sex helps create an intimate bond between two people and it feels great!
When you’re able to have regular, satisfying sex, it means that your body is working the way it should. The sudden inability to have sex or even a lack of interest in it is certainly cause for concern.
What are the low libido causes? Human sexual response is a complex process and there are many factors that can have an impact on it—including health-related factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, hormonal issues, and thyroid disease.
Can Thyroid Problems Cause Loss of Libido?
When your thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones, your body slows down. Hypothyroidism is kind of like a car running out of gas and it affects your body in different ways.
A diminished sex drive is one of the unfortunate ways hypothyroidism impacts your body. When there aren’t enough thyroid hormones, the body’s metabolism slows down and this has a corresponding effect on the reproductive organs — indirectly and through the adrenal glands.
The adrenal glands are responsible for regulating sex hormones. So, many who suffer from hypothyroidism also have decreased levels of estrogen and testosterone.
Hypothyroidism also has other symptoms that may have an impact on one’s libido. Fatigue may cause one to be too tired to do anything other than sleep at the end of the day.
Weight gain may cause others to have a negative body image.
How Does Low Thyroid Functioning Impact a Woman’s Libido?
Women with hypothyroidism commonly report experiencing:
- Painful or uncomfortable sex due to vaginal dryness (caused by lower levels of estrogen)
- General loss of sex drive
- Inability to have an orgasm
- Hypoactive sexual desire disorder
What is hypoactive sexual desire disorder? When a person no longer has sexual fantasies, sexual thoughts, or the desire to engage in any kind of sexual activity. This lack of desire leads to personal distress or relational difficulties.
How Does Low Thyroid Functioning Impact a Man’s Libido?
Hypothyroidism may impact a man’s libido in the following ways:
- General decline in sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction or the inability to maintain an erect penis for satisfactory sexual intercourse
- Delayed ejaculation, a condition where it takes longer than usual for a man to ejaculate and in some cases, they are unable to ejaculate at all
Studies show that about 79% of men who have thyroid problems have experienced some form of erectile dysfunction.
When Should You Seek Treatment for Low Libido?
If you have been having problems with your sex drive and you suspect that there may be an underlying thyroid issue, talk to your health care provider about it.
Your health care provider may connect you with an endocrinologist, a doctor that specializes in the endocrine system, to help with the diagnosis.
It’s important to consult a doctor who has experience in dealing with thyroid disorders. Many general practitioners will limit their diagnosis on the results of the Thyroid Stimulating Hormones (TSH) Test.
When doctors rely solely on the TSH Test to determine thyroid functioning, they may miss out on patients who have subclinical hypothyroidism.
What is subclinical hypothyroidism? A condition where one seems to have normal levels of thyroid hormones, yet he/she continues to experience the symptoms of hypothyroidism. This may be caused by another medical condition.
This becomes problematic because patients are, then, unable to receive treatment to address the underlying hormonal imbalance. To accurately diagnose thyroid disorders, the diagnostic process may involve:
- A full physical medical exam
- An ultrasound
- Antibody testing
- Comprehensive thyroid function test or full hormone profile
Many people may feel uneasy discussing their sexual issues, but the intervention by a health professional can aid in addressing the personal issue objectively. So, don’t hesitate.
What Are the Treatment Options for Low Libido?
If hypothyroidism is the root cause of the low libido, then treating it with the right combination and dosage of thyroid hormone replacement drugs should correct the underlying hormonal imbalance.
That’s why it’s important to get a full hormone profile or thyroid function test so that your doctors can determine which hormones are lacking in your system.
Apart from thyroid drugs, some doctors may also recommend:
- Testosterone or estrogen supplement
- Thyroid health supplements
- Weight loss and regular exercise
Apart from these medical interventions, therapy and counseling may also help with related psychological issues.
Check out this video from Dr. Westin Childs about the connection between thyroid hormones and low testosterone:
If there is an underlying health concern that’s causing low libido, like hypothyroidism, then there are ways to treat it. It may be tough at first, but communication and proper medical intervention are important factors for resolution.
Communicating clearly and truthfully with your partner will help reduce stress and friction in your relationship. Your honesty will also help your doctor come up with a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for your specific condition.
Have you been dealing with low libido problems? How have you been managing it? Let’s talk in the comments below.
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