There are many easily recognizable symptoms of hypothyroidism: fatigue, weight gain, and muscle weakness, to name a few. However, there are a few other side effects of the condition that are less frequently discussed. Its effect on intimacy, for example, can be significant, but with a lack of information around the connection between sex and hypothyroidism, patients are often left suffering in silence.
Here’s everything you need to know about how the condition can affect your intimate life:
With hypothyroidism comes disruption to the hormonal balance of both men and women. However, low estrogen and testosterone levels can affect the ability to engage in physical intimacy and respond to sexual situations, resulting in issues like vaginal dryness and erectile dysfunction. If you or your partner are experiencing hypothyroidism-related sexual dysfunction, it’s important that you speak with your doctor about treatment. Medications like Estring for vaginal dryness and sildenafil for erectile dysfunction can treat your sexual dysfunction and support your intimate life despite hypothyroidism while your doctor works to optimize your thyroid function.
Low sex drive
Decreased testosterone levels can also affect both men’s and women’s sex drive. Testosterone is the hormone that controls sexual behavior and libido, so a disruption in its amounts can cause patients to respond less frequently to sexual stimuli. If you notice a significant decrease in your interest in sex or physical intimacy, consider trying out natural ways to boost your testosterone like anaerobic exercises like weightlifting, and regularly getting sufficient sleep to boost your sex drive.
Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism can cause mood issues that ultimately affect the ability to have, or be interested in sex. Depression is a common issue that hypothyroidism patients deal with, but other symptoms like fatigue and weight gain can also cause worsened self-esteem and overall mood. Combined, these issues can cause low libido or sexual dysfunction on their own, while also causing an emotional rift between partners. Be sure to open a dialogue with your doctor about any mental or emotional symptoms you’re experiencing so they can help you resolve the issue. They may prescribe counseling or medication to treat depression depending on your diagnosis.
Other ways to improve your intimate performance
If, even after you address the above issues with a doctor, you continue to face intimacy issues, consider trying out these other ways to boost your sexual health:
- Lower stress. Stress and anxiety can lower libido and preoccupy the mind, resulting in performance and ejaculation issues. Try incorporating meditation or yoga into your daily routine when you’re experiencing heightened stress to lower your blood pressure and remain calm throughout the day.
- Communicate with your partner. Often, performance anxiety can worsen intimacy issues, so it’s important that you are open with your partner about issues you’re facing. Their understanding should help relieve pressure and allow a more natural move into intimacy.
- Stop bad habits. Unhealthy habits like smoking, drug use, and excessive drinking can hamper your ability to be intimate. Ask your doctor about the most effective ways to quit addictive substances so you can improve your sexual and overall health.
- Eat circulation-boosting foods. Certain fruits and vegetables can make it easier for your blood to circulate, which, in turn, makes it easier for your sex organs to prep for intimacy. Try adding more bananas, pepper, and onions into your diet for a sexual health boost.
Fortunately, most intimacy interruptions due to hypothyroidism can be resolved with proper treatment and access to resources. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor and partner for support so you can maintain a healthy and happy intimate life.
Resources1. Gabrielson, A., Sartor, R., & Hellstrom, G. (2018). “The impact of thyroid disease on sexual dysfunction in men and women.” Tulane University School of Medicine Department of Urology, 57-70. doi:10.1016.
2. Oppo, A., Franceschi, E., Atzeni, F., Taberlet, A., & Mariotti, S. “Effects of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmunity on female sexual function.” J Endocrinol Invest, 34. doi:10.3275/7686
3. Saran, S., Gupta, B., Philip, R., Singh, K., & Bende, S. (2016). “Effect of hypothyroidism on female reproductive hormones.” Indian J Endocrinol Metab, 20(1): 108–113. doi:10.4103/2230-8210.172245