A Woman's Guide to Reviving Sex Drive
Sex Drive Zapper: Androgen Changes
In both sexes, desire tends to fall as we get older. Women are two to three times more prone to a drop in desire. In part, blame dropping androgens -- male hormones that are also found in women.
What helps: There's no FDA-approved male hormone therapy for women with sexual problems, but some doctors prescribe creams off-label for some women. The major problem with this type of treatment in women is the side effects, which include acne and excess body and facial hair. Being mindful of diet, sleep, and exercise can help restore libido.
There's good news about aging and sex, too: Time. Many women report feeling an uptick in desire after menopause.
Sex Drive Zapper: Depression -- and Depression Meds
Menopause doesn't cause depression. But women do get it more than men, and the peak years --between ages 40 and 59 -- coincide with menopause. Since your whole body is a sex organ, when depression sends body chemicals out of whack, desire is affected, too.
It doesn't help that some common antidepressants can mute desire and slow sexual response. Many women who are not depressed are prescribed these types of drugs for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. Though the pills fix these problems, they can make desire tank.
What helps: See a doctor about treating depression with both pills and talk therapy. Some antidepressants cause fewer sexual side effects.
Sex Drive Zappers: Other Factors in Your Head and Body
If graying hairs, sore muscles, and dry skin make you see yourself as "old," you're less apt to see yourself as "hot."
Women may also blame menopause for a low sex drive when other health problems are the real cause. Common culprits: Bladder problems, underactive thyroid, and iron-deficiency anemia.
What helps: Get a medical checkup to make sure there's nothing else going on. As for self-esteem, don't believe that only a svelte starlet can be sexy. Treat your body well, making time for self-care and time for sex.