For many of us, taking prescription medicines has become part of our everyday lives. While we appreciate and rely on these medicines to address certain physical and mental health challenges, we generally have no choice but to accept some of the potential negative effects that may come along with them. At the top of many of those lists of effects is feeling less interested in sex.
As women, our ability to have a normal, healthy desire for sex and enjoy if fully depends on a multitude of factors: our overall mood, our stress levels, our energy level—not to mention physical factors like lubrication and sensitivity. When just one of these factors is thrown off balance by a medication, our overall sex drive, along with most if not all of the elements of sexual satisfaction are impacted. Let’s look more closely at some of the most common sexual health side effects associated with common medications, plus what healthy options you have to help you get back in the mood...and enjoy all the wonderful things that can follow.
Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Taking ownership of our mental health is a key step in practicing self-care; increasingly common use of daily meds like antidepressants can make a significant difference in the way we live our lives. Certain antidepressants like SSRIs (selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors) improve mood by regulating feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain.However, these prescription mental health drugs can also decrease libido and make it more difficult to achieve an orgasm.
The solution isn’t simply going cold-turkey and eliminating your antidepressant, but rather making some lifestyle changes to help offset their libido-diminishing side effects. Exercise can help and research shows that even moderate regular exercise can help increase desire. Adding a daily supplement that includes a scientifically tested extract of damiana has been shown to help get you back in the mood: this traditionally used herb has been shown in clinical trials to increase blood flow, which can help promote lubrication and have a positive impact on your ability to orgasm.
Hormonal Birth Control
Testosterone isn’t just a men-only thing. In women, this essential sex hormone directly impacts our physical sensation and supports a healthy libido. Certain commonly prescribed oral birth control drugs can actually lower our levels of testosterone, as well as decrease important female hormones, estrogen & progesterone in your body, which might leave you wondering, “Why can't I get interested in sex anymore?” If you’ve only recently started a hormonal birth control regimen and are experiencing this side effect, doctors commonly suggest giving it six months for your body to balance out. If time alone doesn't resolve the issue, talk to your doctor and ask for an alternative that might work better for you and that doesn't have this same negative impact on your libido.
Birth control pills have also been shown to decrease the production of nitric oxide, an important vaso-dilating chemical messenger produced in your body that women need in order to feel pleasure during sex. The potassium nitrate in Libby helps boost your body’s ability to produce nitric oxide. The result? Better micro-circulation and greater responsiveness to physical touch, so you can actually enjoy all the pleasant sensations associated with sexual activity.
Antibiotics are the first line of pharmaceutical intervention used to kill bad bacteria that cause infections. Unfortunately, they may also kill much of the good bacteria in your gut and throughout your body in the process. This disruption of the balance of your microbiome in the gut (the large population of healthy bacteria), has been shown to negatively affect the release of sex hormones in the body. In other words, when the bacteria in your gut are out of balance, your libido can be as well. But that’s not all: an unbalanced microbiome can not only decrease the desire for sex, but can also make you more susceptible to UTIs (urinary tract infections). And few things can kill the mood quite like a UTI.
Over-the-counter allergy medications like Benadryl work by drying out your mucous membranes. That may be great for your allergies, not so great in regard to other main side effect: vaginal dryness during sex. These older forms of over the counter allergy medicines also are well known for causing severe drowsiness, so the last thing on your mind is sex. Fortunately, these antihistamine drugs and their side effects eventually leave your system. That is unless you take them every day.
Remember, even if you suspect your prescription and over the counter medications might be throwing your sex life out into a free fall, the therapeutic benefits may often justify the potential negative effects for you. So discuss concerns about your sex drive with your primary healthcare providers before stopping any medications they have prescribed, and try adding a natural, scientifically formulated dietary supplement like Libby to the mix: our clean label daily dietary supplement supports your body’s natural biochemistry to help you get your groove back.