While your libido levels do vary and it’s common to lose interest in sex now and then, if you find that you’re struggling with low libido for a long period of time it may cause concern for both your partner and yourself. It may also be an indicator of underlying health condition.
So what are the issues that affect your libido?
Testosterone is the first thing that we should look at as it’s an important male sex hormone that is responsible for building muscle and bone mass as well as stimulating sperm production.
Low testosterone is common in Australia, affecting 1 in 200 men under the age of 60. The major functions of testosterone in the male body include:
- starting and completing the process of puberty
- bone and muscle development
- growth of body hair, including facial hair
- change of vocal cords to produce the adult male voice
- sex drive (libido) and sexual function
- prostate gland growth and function
- sperm production.
Androgen testosterone deficiency occurs when the body is not able to make enough testosterone for the body to function normally. Having low testosterone is not a life-threatening problem but it can affect your quality of life. Common causes of low testosterone are primarily testicular, but can also be caused by issues with the Pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the brain.
Issues That Affect Libido Include
As well as Low T, other issues that can affect your libido include:
Fatigue and depression
These conditions are often links, however they may be helped by regular exercise, which stimulates the production of endorphins.
Iron deficiency may also be a cause of fatigue and a diet that is rich in nuts, seeds, legumes, greens, meat and fish may help to combat iron deficiency.
Stress can be a huge factor when it comes to your libido. If you are stressed it can often turn into fatigue, furthermore if you are stressed as a result of performance in your work, exercise or home life, then you may not feel inclined to step up to the plate and perform in the bedroom.
A Lack of Sleep:
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that men with obstructive sleep apnea experienced lower testosterone levels and in turn a decrease in sexual activity and libido.
Another study by JCEM found that men with low testosterone levels also have lower sleep efficiency concluding that these issues are linked.
If you, like many are struggling with a hormone imbalance then it can lead to lower sexual desire. Low testosterone is the most common associated with men, however low levels of thyroid or high levels of prolactin can also cause hormonal imbalances that may affect your sex drive.
Hormone imbalances can be caused by health conditions, medications, inflammation, a poor diet to name a few reasons.
Alcohol and Nicotine:
While alcohol can play a role in liberating from social anxiety, having too much may also diminish your performance, which can help you feeling down. Furthermore excess alcohol consumption can also cause impotence and the shrinking of the testes.
Nicotine also have negative side effects as it promotes the formation of artery- clogging plaque in the penile blood vessels and also constricts them. If you don’t have good blood flow down there, how can you expect to perform?
Medical problems can always be an issue to sex drive. Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and certain medications can all have an impact.
So How Can You Improve Your Libido Naturally?
There are a few ways including:
- Living a healthier lifestyle
- Getting enough sleep
- Practising stress management
- Eating a healthier diet
Dietary fat is a key player when it comes to optimising natural testosterone production according to a study conducted by the Journal of Applied Physiology however, keep in mind that you still have to be careful of the type of fat that you are eating.
Olive oil, avocado, almonds, coconut oil, egg yolks, cheese and peanut butter are all great examples of the healthy fats that you could consider adding into your diet.
L-carnitine, selenium and zinc are important nutrients for male reproductive health with low levels associated with suboptimal sperm health. It has been shown that males with a low sperm count typically have lower seminal fluid carnitine levels. Studies have also shown that supplementation with these nutrients has resulted in improved quality, motility and viability of normal healthy sperm.
Vitamin D is also important for the health of testosterone according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology. The author of this study found that participants with higher levels of vitamin D had significantly higher levels of free testosterone compared to those with insufficient levels of Vitamin D.
Bulgarian tribulus (Tribulus terrestris)is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac and male rejuvenation tonic for virility. Studies have shown that the steroidal saponin content in tribulus is the most important when it comes to its effects on libido and sexual function.
Other ways of boosting your testosterone is HIIT training, strength training, getting enough sleep, eliminating sugar from your diet, reducing stress and losing weight.
Also, consider consulting your healthcare practitioner for strategies on how to get your testosterone strong again. Your practitioner should be able to direct you to the right testing as well as the right foods, supplements, sleep, stress management and workout strategies which will help.