There are many expectations placed on couples during Valentine’s Day. So much so that it can seem overwhelming to follow through with all the holiday demands. Everything ranging from buying flowers, exchanging gifts, planning a romantic dinner, and taking part in intimate activities can be stressful. Valentine’s planning by itself is enough to cause make one feel nervous and jittery, but if one experiences sexual dysfunction, Valentine’s Day can be an even greater source of anxiety.
Loss of libido can cause undue strain on any relationship, but if a decrease in one’s sex drive is caused by a thyroid condition it may harm one’s overall health as well. Thyroid conditions may be more prevalent than one thinks. A dysfunctional thyroid is also a regular cause of sexual dysfunction. It may be that because thyroid conditions are so prominent in contemporary society, that sexual dysfunction is also appearing more frequently. Based on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association roughly 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men experience sexual dysfunction. With so many people suffering sub-optimal sexual capacity it is important to understand the possible causes and the avenues of diagnosis.
Recognizing Sexual Dysfunction
There are four broad categories of sexual dysfunction that one may experience. The following symptoms can lead one to feel dissatisfied with intercourse or prevent it from happening entirely. Factors of sexual dysfunction include:
- No interest or desire in sex
- Inability to be aroused
- Inability or difficulty reaching climax
- Pain and/or discomfort during intercourse
These inhibitors can manifest themselves in both sexes, making it difficult to initiate or complete intercourse. In addition to those listed above, there are gender specific forms of sexual dysfunction.
Male Specific Dysfunction:
- Inability to achieve an erection
- Difficulty maintaining an erection
- Inability to ejaculate
- Inability to control release (premature or delayed ejaculation)
Female Specific Dysfunction:
- Inadequate lubrication or vaginal dryness
- Inability to relax vaginal muscles
- Inability to reach orgasm
There are many reasons that one may experience sexual dysfunction. It can be caused by psychological issues, infection, alcoholism, vascular disease, libido inhibiting medications, and others. One possible reason for dysfunction that often goes unchecked is the presence of a thyroid condition.
The thyroid is critical to nearly every process in the body. Furthermore, it is involved with almost every cell and tissue in the body! Because it is integral to vital processes including metabolic function, blood flow, and hormone balance, the thyroid is an important factor in one’s libido and sexual ability.
Many believe that their reduced sex drive and inhibited performance is due to natural aging. Although aging may cause hormonal imbalances, particularly in women, thyroid conditions may be the true cause. Those suffering from a thyroid condition often experience cognitive issues, fatigue, and muscle weakness, which can easily be misconstrued as being part of the aging process. However, it is important to recognize the real cause of these issues because thyroid conditions may lead to severe health problems and inhibit one’s intimate activities.
One of the most common thyroid conditions is hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. Those who suffer from this condition commonly report loss of sex drive and reduced energy. This makes sense because when the thyroid’s function is slowed, the rest of the body slows as well. One of the thyroid’s most important responsibilities is regulating metabolic function. As thyroid function is reduced one’s metabolism is drastically impeded. Reduced metabolic activity leads to decreased production of hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, which are critical to sexual activity.
Poor thyroid function frequently results in lowered T3 levels, the active form of thyroid hormone. As a critical portion of proper sex organ function, reduced levels of T3 is often accompanied by reduced sex hormone levels. This can cause one’s libido to simply disappear. One does not have to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition to be affected by one. Unfortunately, there is significant inadequacy in both thyroid testing and treatment that may leave one unaware of their thyroid issue.
Poor Knowledge Provides Poor Treatment
A possible contributor to the prevalence of sexual dysfunction brought on by thyroid disease is that many physicians and even endocrinologists lack understanding of the thyroid. This leads to misdiagnosis, complete oversight, or inadequate treatment. It is feasible that this underwhelming treatment and lack of understanding has led to an increase in sexual dysfunction over the years.
If one experiences a loss of sex drive, reduced sexual performance, and lack of energy, they would likely benefit from a thyroid examination. Properly testing for a thyroid condition requires a comprehensive evaluation. This should include a thyroid panel testing for TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies. These are critical for proper thyroid function. An imbalance in one of these areas can cause serious ramifications in other regions in the body; not just the thyroid. Additionally, evaluating sex hormone levels such as testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen, may also provide critical information regarding sexual dysfunction. Reduced levels of these hormones may prompt one’s physician to prescribe a supplement to aid in balancing male or female sex hormones.
The Valentine’s Day Treatment
If the thought of Valentine’s Day approaching is causing sensations of stress, anxiety, and bringing up concerns regarding boudoir activities, the best gift for you and your partner may be better thyroid health. Maintaining and understanding the thyroid and the various bodily functions it facilitates is crucial for staying in good health. Now that the important link between thyroid health and a healthy sex drive has been made clear, you can take the next step. By pursuing proper thyroid testing and treatment you can help restore your libido and sexual performance to make this Valentine’s Day one to remember.