Low libido usually indicates decreased interest in sexual activity.
It may be difficult to say if one’s low sex desire is worrisome because normally it varies between individuals, situations, various periods in life. But losing sex desire for long duration may need medical attention for a healthy life physically, mentally and emotionally.
One in every 5 men is reported to have low sex desire according to studies.
Sexual desire may decrease naturally as age progresses in men by about 60s and 70s.
Testosterone is the hormone, that is normally responsible for the muscle build, bone mass, stimulation of sperm production in testicles, sex desire in men.
- Hormonal changes- Low testosterone levels are the most important and the most common causes of low libido among hormonal changes. Levels below 300-350 ng/dL can be considered low. Other hormonal changes causing libido can be low thyroid hormone levels, high prolactin levels, low dopamine levels.
- Stress, depression.
- Emotional disturbances, relationship issues with the partner.
- Medications- Antidepressants, medications for hypertension (high blood pressure) such as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers but libido may or may not be seen in all individuals taking the medications.
- Sleep disturbances such as inadequate sleep for less than 6-7 hours in a day, disturbed sleep, nightmares, etc.
- Chronic medical conditions such as cancer, Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, obesity, etc. but may vary between individuals.
- Frequent intake of alcohol, drug abuse such as marijuana.
- Age from about 60-65 years.
Many men hesitate to discuss with doctor regarding decreased sex desire and other sexual health issues. However, it is important to discuss the same with the treating doctor as treatment can be very simple, most of the times.
The doctor may take history to understand if there is an underlying cause such as stress, depression, sleep disturbances, medical conditions, current medications, etc. and may advise tests to check for testosterone hormone levels in the blood.
- Hormone replacement therapy of testosterone may be prescribed, if the levels are less than normal in blood. This is not needed or prescribed by the doctor, if testosterone levels are normal.
- Underlying medical conditions are treated with appropriate medications accordingly.
- Stress, depression may be treated with medications, counseling, psychotherapy, etc. Other measures, that may help can be deep breathing exercises, practicing yoga, meditation, hobbies like listening to music, reading books, going for a walk/jog in a park. Regular exercises, playing with pets, spending more time with family and loved ones, hot shower, gentle body massage with aromatic oils, getting adequate sleep of at least 6-7 hours a day, etc. may also help.
- Medications may cause loss of libido and usually it is attributed to the starting of the medication. If that is the possible cause, the treating doctor may change it’s dose or give an alternate medication.
- Restricting or decreasing the frequency and amount of alcohol, abstinence from drug abuse.
- Getting adequate sleep of about 6-7 hours in a day.
– Dr. Divya Teja Pasupuleti