What is Libido?
The term "libido" (aka sex drive) can also be described as a person's desire/motivation to have sex. Just as with libido in women, men's libido is closely tied to the delicate balance of various hormones, especially the sex hormones. In fact, about 70 percent of low libido in both men and women can be attributed to hormonal imbalance. As men grow older, this delicate balance is often thrown into disarray as the production of testosterone slows down. The ensuing hormonal imbalance can lead to different forms of sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction, low libido, and hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). While testosterone levels vary for each man, acceptable levels are often believed to reside between 280 and 1,100 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). The Endocrine Society considers "low testosterone" to be anything below 263 ng/dL.
Libido in Men
Whereas women experience a greater variety of sexual problems (problems like hypoactive sexual desire disorder that mostly have to do with arousal and desire), men most often suffer from sexual dysfunction in the forms of premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction (i.e. performance issues). However, that doesn't mean that men don't struggle with libido/arousal as well. Testosterone is the hormone that is at the center of male sexual dysfunction, but the other sex hormones (and how they interact with testosterone) also play a role. Fixing sexual dysfunction is crucial for men's health, and not just sexual health either. Long term sexual dysfunction can lead to added anxiety and stress, which can have massive implications for men's overall health.
Causes of Low Libido in Men
Decreased libido is a common symptom of andropause. Just as low levels of testosterone can lead to erectile dysfunction, testosterone has a strong effect on sex drive in men. Testosterone exists in a man's brain to stimulate nerves. Sex drive in men starts with the release of testosterone, which stimulates the receptors in the brain to release nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, in turn, relaxes the muscles of the penis to allow blood flow for an erection. Low testosterone levels common in andropause result in reduced levels of the hormone available to stimulate the nerves in the brain and induce sexual desire and erectile function. Essentially, without adequate testosterone, low sex drive in men is common. This can often be the result of hypogonadism, something that many men have to contend with as they grow older.
Testosterone isn't the only hormone that affects sexual desire in men. Cortisol (aka the stress hormone) can also decrease libido, especially in men. As stress levels rise, so do cortisol levels. When men experience stress for sustained periods of time (a condition known as chronic stress), that can lead to a disorder called adrenal fatigue. While the body is busy overproducing cortisol to deal with increased stress, the other hormones tend to be neglected. The resulting adrenal fatigue cultivates a wide variety of problems, including decreased sex drive.
Thyroid is another hormone that can contribute to sexual dysfunction, specifically erectile dysfunction. Hypothyroidism (a condition that describes underactive thyroid hormones) can increase the production of prolactin, which can deplete testosterone levels. As prolactin levels increase, testosterone levels often decrease. Liver and kidney disease can also lead to erectile dysfunction, as can medications for high blood pressure. Erectile dysfunction is just one of the many factors that can contribute to decreased libido.
A man's lifestyle, particularly nutrition and fitness also has a large impact on sexual desire. Smoking and drinking are infamous for their propensity to decrease libido. A healthy diet and regular exercise not only contribute to better blood flow, and hence sexual function, but also supply energy and an overall feeling of wellness that increase sexual desire. High levels of estrogen in men, which go hand-in-hand with low testosterone levels, can also have a negative impact on male sexual desire. Additionally, it is important to note that a healthy and happy relationship with your partner is also vital to sexual desire.
How to Treat Low Libido in Men
Bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy, coupled with a customized nutrition plan and strategic lifestyle changes, is an effective way to boost libido in men. Andropause-related testosterone deficiencies can be solved with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy offered by BodyLogicMD. Your expert BodyLogicMD-affiliated bioidentical hormone practitioner will also be able to correct any other cases of hormonal imbalance in your body that may cause other symptoms or contribute to a low sex drive. The first step is to get your hormones tested. You do not have to accept decreased libido, low energy, and muscle loss as inevitable facets of the aging process; these signs of aging are also signs of low testosterone.
Contact the BodyLogicMD-affiliated bioidentical hormone therapy practitioner nearest you to schedule an appointment and learn more about how low libido treatment for men that includes bioidentical hormone replacement with BodyLogicMD can be used to relieve the effects of hormonal imbalance and low sex drive.
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