FEATURE — I love what I do, which is compounding, or making customized medication. One of my favorite things is helping the multitudes of men and women that come in looking for answers as to why their life, their “self,” seems to be changing.
I could write all day on the many reasons why most of us experience this change: hormonal fluctuations and imbalance, stress and high cortisol production, insomnia, depression and fatigue — not to mention aches and pains that weren’t there yesterday. The one binding thread among patients is their loss of libido, or sex drive, which has the power to affect relationships.
This is often considered a taboo topic, but I feel confident in saying that if you have this concern, you are not alone. More importantly, I want to remind you that there is nothing wrong with you (at least nothing that can’t be addressed).
Before we go on, let’s clarify something: Sex drive is the desire to instigate or participate in sexual intimacy. An inability to achieve orgasm, painful intercourse, vaginal atrophy or erectile dysfunction are totally different issues and should be addressed with your medical practitioner.
As we age, everyone will face declining hormones. Stress, illness, medications and/or hysterectomy can speed up this decline. The sex hormones — estrogens (specifically, estriol and estradiol), progesterone, testosterone and DHEA — taper off at different times for each person, indicating the need for knowledgeable physicians and accurate testing. Replacing these hormones in the body with bioidentical hormones is usually the first step in treatment.
Testosterone alone is not enough. Think of the hormones as a symphony, where all of the instruments need to be in sync for it to sound beautiful. It is the same with hormones. Hormonal balance is imperative so the body can be in sync. Restoring libido is complicated and definitely not something that can be solved overnight.
Consider humans as a chest of drawers. Men open one drawer and deal with whatever is in that individual drawer. Women, on the other hand, open all the drawers, see all the contents and “deal” with all of the drawers. Women aren’t wired to close multiple drawers easily or quickly, but this also means that restoring sex drive for men is usually much less complex than restoring it for women.
Loss of sex drive is common, and it’s not in your head. Treatment options and help are available. It starts with good testing, with a competent evaluation of hormone levels and with discovering ways to close those drawers.
If you have questions or concerns about your hormonal health, don’t hesitate to stop in. Let the Stapley Pharmacy experts be your trusted hormone resource.
Remember, your pharmacist is your most accessible medical professional.
Written by LUEY STAHELI, CPhT and hormone specialist. Contributing author, KELLI CHARLTON, director of education and community engagement.
This article was first published in St. George Health and Wellness magazine.