Your guide to hormones and how they affect your body.
Are you feeling sluggish? Maybe you’re having trouble losing excess weight or your sexual desire isn’t as it used to be. You could be dealing with a hormone imbalance.
The human body produces a variety of hormones that control major bodily functions. For example, melatonin acts as an antioxidant to aid the immune system, affects the release of estrogen, decreases cortisol levels to balance stress response and offers cardiovascular protection.
Progesterone decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and relaxes coronary arteries while the thyroid gland increases fat burning, maintains energy and controls weight.
Both men and women experience changes in hormone levels as they age. This can lead to a variety of symptoms that affect your daily life, including your sex life. For women, female sexual dysfunction (FSD) includes disorders that cause low desire, inability to achieve orgasm, sexual pain or reduced lubrication.
FSD can be measured through the Female Sexual Function Index, which was developed for the specific purpose of assessing domains of sexual functioning in clinical trials. Through a series of questions in which participants answer from 0 (no sexual activity) to 5 (almost always or always), the index explores desire, sexual arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain.
Alcoholism, smoking, hormonal contraception such as birth control pills or patches, synthetic hormone replacement and statin therapy are all medical factors that increase the risk for FSD. A major symptom of the disorder is decreased libido, which can be caused by hormone imbalance, stress and medication. Hormones that affect the libido include progesterone, oxytocin, thyroid, estrogen, cortisol and testosterone.
It’s all about bringing your hormones back into balance naturally when it comes to combating FSD.
Testosterone in women is good for the brain, bones, breasts, heart and sexual organs. When the body contains low levels of testosterone, it can cause fatigue, weight gain in the belly, mood swings, memory loss, low libido and joint pain, but symptoms can be reversed when it is replaced.
In addition, Androgen Therapy is a treatment option for FSD. With this treatment, a testosterone patch is used as a treatment for postmenopausal women with low libido. There are also medications that can help return sexual health back to normal, including Flibanserin, which raises dopamine and lower 5-HT to improve libido, and the new female Viagra, known as the pink pill. Herbal supplements such as ginseng, gingko, biloba, B complex and Maca root have the ability to balance hormone levels as well.
While these treatments can help women with FSD, it’s also important to address lifestyle habits that could be contributing to the disorder and to better deal with stress management. Mindfulness and meditation can relax the mind and help your body do its job better.
Listen up, ladies. FSD isn’t something that you have to live with forever. Consult with a hormone specialist to discuss natural treatment options that will benefit your sexual health.