Last updated: Apr 03, 2008
1. Reduced blood flow
Diabetes and high blood pressure are among the health problems that can restrict genital blood flow.
2. Hormonal issues
Menopause, breast-feeding, birth control pills, and thyroid problems can dampen sexual desire.
3. Medication side effects
Antidepressants and chemotherapy agents such as tamoxifen are frequently to blame.
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Pelvic surgery can cause nerve damage, as can diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's.
Other reasons for low desire might include lack of sleep or depression.
Talk to a doctor or sex therapist
If you have low desire, get checked out by your primary care doctor. Whether or not he or she finds a physical problem, a consultation with a certified sex therapist can be helpful, because physical sex problems usually create a psychological or relationship issue, as well. "It's usually not just one thing," says Marjorie Green, MD, director of the Mount Auburn Female Sexual Medicine Center in Cambridge, Mass., and a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School.
On the other hand, if you feel your lack of desire is a physical issue and your primary care doctor is not able or willing to help, you may want to consult a sexual medicine specialist.
These vary depending on the source of the problem, but may include switching prescription medication, taking estrogen or testosterone, taking a drug that increases dopamine levels, or trying products such as Eros Therapy, an FDA-approved prescription-only device that uses gentle suction to increase blood flow to the clitoris and vulva. Some women may also see improvement with regular exercise, sex therapy, or relationship counseling.