Low Libido in Women

Low Libido in Women

Low libido in women, also known as reduced female sex drive, can be both frustrating and embarrassing.

The primary female sexual glands, the ovaries, produce three major sexual steroid hormones.  These hormones are estradiol, testosterone and progesterone.

The ovarian sexual hormones are important in the regulation of female sex drive.  Estrogen and testosterone appear to play the greatest role in low libido in women.

As women age there is a progressive diminishing in the functioning of the ovaries.  This eventually leads to menopause.  The period prior to menopause has become to be known as perimenopause.

The reduction in the ovarian hormones can lead to a reduced sexual desire.

Not only can the natural decline in ovarian function lead to low libido in women but women who have their ovaries removed (bilateral oophorectomy) will also, in many cases, experience a significant reduction in sexual desire.

In the vast majority female mammals, sexual desire and normal sexual functioning, is solely controlled and affected by estradiol levels.  It is here where human females are unique amongst mammals.  Testosterone, an androgen hormone, appears to play a role in female human sexual desire.

Testosterone therapy is needed at doses that produce testosterone levels that are above normal physiological levels.  This higher than normal level of testosterone is needed within the body along with the presence of a certain threshold of estradiol levels.  Basically, estradiol plus higher-than-normal testosterone levels are needed.

At this time it is unclear if the high levels of testosterone are needed due to the testosterone being chemically changed to estradiol or if the mechanism of action of the interplay of these hormones is due to their interaction with sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).

It has been found that women’s sexual desire tends to peak mid-cycle.  This peak in sexual desire appears to correspond with the mid-cycle peak in estradiol and testosterone.

Thus it would appear that the scientific evidence further points to the fact that low libido in women is influenced by the levels of estradiol and testosterone in the body.  However, it does appear that estradiol does play a more important role in female sexual desire.  The role of testosterone is still somewhat questionable.

Studies do appear to show that the combination of testosterone and estradiol does produce the best results in treating low libido in women.  The debate still remains as to how and why testosterone works in improving female sex drive.

Is it due to testosterone being chemically altered to estradiol or is it due to testosterone preferentially binding to sex binding hormone globulin and thus freeing more estradiol to circulate freely in the blood serum?

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