Testosterone and Libido
For many women and men, libido can decrease over time. There are plenty of reasons for a decrease in libido including chronic stress, fatigue, anxiety/depression, body image, and sex hormone dysfunction. Working with a functional medicine practitioner can help you pinpoint the root cause of the dysfunction and provide options for treatment that are specific to your body.
While most people think of testosterone as the predominantly male hormone, it plays a large role in women’s hormone balance as well. For women, testosterone is important for sex drive and arousal, as well as cognitive function and mood. High levels of testosterone in women can cause hair loss on the head and hair growth in unwanted areas like the face and chest. It can also lead to irregular periods and acne. High levels in men can lead to male pattern baldness, excessive body hair, acne, and aggressive behavior. Low testosterone in men and women can lead to a loss of libido and difficulty recovering from workouts. We use DUTCH (Dried Urine Testing for Comprehensive Hormones) from Precision Analytical to identify where your personal levels are with testosterone. From this test we are able to see your testosterone levels as well as the testosterone metabolites that can help us more accurately identify a course of treatment.
If you suspect you may have low testosterone levels, here are a few things you can do to increase testosterone naturally.
Resistance Training – Building muscle triggers the body to make more testosterone in an appropriate fashion.
Get more/better sleep – Studies have found that just one week of sleep deprivation (5 hours of sleep or less a night) can decrease testosterone levels by up to 15%.
Practice stress reduction techniques – When we are stressed our cortisol levels rise. Cortisol production will take resources away from sex hormone production and thus lower your testosterone levels.
- Monitor cholesterol levels – Avoid becoming dependent on cholesterol lowering drugs like statins, which block the liver’s production of cholesterol. Since cholesterol is the precursor to all sex hormones, statin drugs can negatively impact sex hormone (including testosterone) levels.