Overcoming Libido Loss
If you're suffering from loss of libido and think there is a medical basis for your problem, here are some solutions to consider:
- Talk to your doctor about testosterone, especially if you have had your ovaries removed, are taking estrogen or under severe stress. Get your testosterone level evaluated and if it is below 20 nanograms per deciliter, consider starting testosterone therapy. "To us, testosterone is so central to a woman's sexual function, that no lover and no amount of sexual stimulation can make up for its absence," write the Bermans, who report enormous success in treating low-libido patients with supplemental testosterone. Testosterone to treat FSD has not been approved by the FDA, notes Dr. Jennifer Berman, so you'll need to find a physician open to prescribing it to treat lack of sexual desire. If you are already on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor to add testosterone to your regimen.
- Switch to medications known to have less effect on sexual function or lower dosages. The antidepressants Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, of which women are major consumers, cause loss of libido in as many as 60 percent of patients. "We generally switch to one that has less of a sexual side effect," like Celexa, Wellbutrin, BuSpar, Serzone or Effexor, says Jennifer.
- Viagra, the little blue pill may help jump-start your sex life as long as "you have the desire to engage in sex and have been stimulated enough for it to take effect," say the Bermans. It's especially helpful if your lack of desire is related to hysterectomy or menopause. Physicians aren't exactly sure how Viagra helps rekindle lust — the Bermans are investigating how it works in their clinic — but they know it helps women achieve arousal, which is the phase that comes after desire, by increasing blood flow to the vagina, clitoris and labia.