Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and love is in the air! For those of you that need a reminder: Valentine’s Day is Sunday! With the holiday of love being just a few days away many are thinking of things they can do for their significant other, or with their significant other, if you know what I mean. While Valentine’s Day may seem like the perfect day for it, many people suffer from low libido (sex drive) and their thyroid may be to blame!
True, we blame the thyroid for a lot of things, but that’s because it is closely involved in so many functions of the body and the sex drive is no different. It’s important to address that many people believe that low sex drive just comes with age, especially for women. That may be true, but there is an underlying reason: as you age your hormones can become imbalanced. Think about all those women going through menopause! It is no different for those with a thyroid problem; their hormones are becoming imbalanced, too. To be clear, this is more common in individuals with HYPOthyroidism, but can still be a symptom in those with HYPERthyroidism.
Here’s how it works. The thyroid is in control of the metabolism and with hypothyroidism, the metabolism is slowed down. This causes other organs and glands to slow down as well, like the reproductive organs and the adrenal glands which produce hormones that convert into sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone). Low levels of these hormones result in a low sex drive and both genders can be affected.
If this is something you are experiencing yet you don’t feel comfortable addressing these issues with your doctor, don’t worry, you are not alone! A study in the Journal of the American Medical Associated (JAMA) published in February of 1990 stated that out of a sample of 1749 women and 1410 men aged between 18 and 59 years if age, 43% of women and 31% of men suffer from sexual dysfunction.
Ian L. Goldman, M.D., director of the Marshfield Clinic Center for Sexual Health states that according to a recent survey more than 70% of patients said they would be hesitant to discuss sex with their doctor.
In addition to the hormonal imbalances caused by thyroid dysfunction, lack of sex drive can also be attributed to the fatigue associated with hypothyroidism. Let’s face it, when we suffer from severe fatigue we don’t want to go to work and do the things we have to do, let alone something that is optional.
This Valentine’s Day do yourself and your significant other a favor and get your thyroid checked. Have a full thyroid panel ran which should include free T4, free T3, reverse T3, TSH, anti-TPO antibody, and antithyroglobulin antibody. Also, since your sex drive is suffering, it would be a great idea to include your sex hormones, testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. Once you receive your results, talk to your doctor about your options and make sure you are getting the best treatment possible!
Laumann E, et. al. “Sexual dysfunction in the United States: prevalence and predictors.” JAMA. 1999 Feb 10;281(6):537-44.