Hormones send chemical messages that regulate many different processes in the human body, such as growth, fertility and metabolism. Some hormones affect not only visible sexual characteristics, but also your libido, or sex drive. A decreased sex drive is often associated with age, but it can occur at any time in life if hormone levels drop significantly. A look at hormones and factors that affect them can help individuals to understand their decreased sex drive.
Factors That Affect Hormone Levels
Aging causes a natural reduction in hormones in the body, which can result in a number of metabolic problems, as well as a loss of libido and sexual performance.
Your genetic makeup can affect how well your hormones function and the age at which decreases in hormone levels can occur.
Hormone levels can also be affected by environmental factors that bind, like hormones, at cell receptors in the body. Other environmental disrupting chemicals block the actions of natural hormones. These compounds can reduce immune system response, produce neurological changes, affect behavior, decrease fertility or cause birth defects.
Some medical conditions can also affect hormone levels in the body. Chronic heart, kidney or liver disease can impair the body’s ability to break down hormones. In some cases, medical treatment can also affect hormone levels, such as radiation for cancer or infection. Some medications can also affect hormone levels and sex drive in both men and women.
Stress produces detrimental chemicals in the body that can affect the vascular system, internal organs and hormone system.
Hormones and Decreased Sex Drive in Men
Low testosterone levels have often been believed to be the cause of decreased sex drive in men. However, other conditions can cause lack of interest in sex and poor sexual performance. Some medical conditions can cause erectile dysfunction. Untreated depression can also be a factor in decreased sex drive, as can obesity. A number of medications are known to have sexual side effects. Your physician can order tests to determine if low testosterone levels are causing problems with your libido or if another physical problem is at fault. Testosterone replacement therapy may be needed to restore libido.
Hormones and Decreased Sex Drive in Women
Women can also experience decreased sex drive. This lack of desire can be a result of decreased hormone levels at menopause, medical problems, depression, medications you are taking or even simple fatigue. Hormone replacement therapy can help to restore lost sex drive. If a medical condition is at fault, treatment of the issue can restore normal sexual function. A review of all medications, level of stress and the amount of alcohol consumed can determine the cause of the problem.
Maintaining Normal Hormone Levels
You can help your body to function at peak levels by taking a few important steps:
A healthy diet of whole grains, lean meats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables can aid in overall health and the body’s ability to produce hormones.
Engaging in exercise on a regular basis can help the human body maintain normal function of hormones, heart function, circulation and muscle strength.
Living in a state of constant stress can affect hormone levels and can play a part in heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Learning to manage daily stress can ensure better health and better hormone levels.
Get Sufficient Sleep
Sleep is the body’s healing mechanism, and this is also true for the endocrine system that manufactures hormones. Schedule your day to allow sufficient sleep for your needs to maintain optimum energy and good health.