Healthy Aging And Your Sex Life:
How Hormones Can Affect Sex Drive And Sexual Function
While most of us don’t think about our hormones on daily basis, they have everything to do with how our bodies function. The growth and repair of new cells, mood, metabolism, and memory are all controlled by a complex combination of hormones that interact within the body. And this is just to name a few. Sex drive and sexual function are no different.
Male And Female Sex Hormones
The dominant sex hormone in women is estrogen, while the dominant sex hormone in men is testosterone. It’s interesting to note, however, that women naturally produce a small amount of testosterone; and conversely, men produce a small amount of estrogen. For both men and women, when these hormones aren’t present at appropriate levels, symptoms like diminished sex drive and reduced sexual function can emerge.
In most men, testosterone levels decline at a rate of 1% per year beginning in the late 20s. Many men will also experience an increase in estrogen as they get older—beyond what’s considered healthy. Women on the other hand will experience a more abrupt hormonal shift as they enter menopause, often with sharp drops in estrogen and testosterone between the ages of 40 and 55.
Menopause And Andropause
In women, diminished hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone results in menopause. In men, diminished testosterone (which is sometimes accompanied by elevated estrogen) is known as andropause (or male menopause).
Both andropause and menopause can cause numerous unpleasant symptoms, including fatigue, depression, irritability, weight gain, muscle loss, insomnia, hot flashes, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and challenges with libido and sexual function.
In men, the desire for sex can diminish as a result of reduced testosterone and/or elevated estrogen. Low testosterone can also compromise sexual function in men, resulting in the inability to achieve or maintain an erection (also know as sexual dysfunction, or ED).
For women, sexual desire is often diminished as a consequence of diminished estrogen, diminished testosterone, or a decrease in both of these hormones. In some women, diminished estrogen can also result in vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls, which can make intercourse painful.
In both men and women, symptoms like fatigue, depression, and weight gain can be responsible for a diminished desire for sex.
Options For Restoring Sex Drive And Sexual Function
Most men respond very well to testosterone replacement that is delivered by injection or topical cream. If estrogen levels are elevated, an estrogen blocker can be prescribed.
For women, estrogen can be replaced by topical cream. If vaginal dryness and atrophy are a problem, estrogen cream can be applied vaginally. And testosterone can be replaced topically or by injection.
While it’s natural for our hormones to diminish and become imbalanced as we age, testosterone and estrogen can be restored to healthy levels with hormone replacement therapy. For most men and women, hormone therapy will revitalize sex drive, improve sexual function, and eliminate the other symptoms that can hinder sexual desire.
You deserve to have a healthy sex life. And you can get yours back. For more information about how hormone replacement can help you, please contact us