We are so excited that our gal Cynthia Thurlow allowed us to share this powerful message to our readers. For those of you that don’t know her, Cynthia is a Western medicine trained nurse practitioner and functional nutritionist with specialty training in hormonal health and digestive challenges. She strives to create wellness from within and support her clients foundationally with targeted nutrition and testing to help determine the root cause of their health concerns.
Written by Cynthia Thurlow, NP
One of the biggest concerns I hear from many female clients is their struggle with low libido. Perhaps this was not an issue when they were younger, or before children, but as their family demands increase they often see their libido wane or cease to exist. Understandably, this can be sensitive and embarrassing, so many women suffer in silence with their lack of interest in sex. Statistically, it is far more common for women to experience this than men, which further exacerbates the issue.
What is really important to understand is that often times hormonal dysregulation is at the root of why women have lost their desire to have sex with their partners. Imbalances in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can exacerbate this situation.
What contributes or causes low libido?
- Stress and/or psychological concerns and issues
- Over-training/too much exercising
- Lower testosterone or imbalanced sex hormones
- Low thyroid function
- Poor quality/highly processed diets
- Exposure to toxins in our environment, food or personal care products
- Prescription meds, including oral contraceptives and other synthetic birth control options
How do we address this?
- Remove toxins from your environment: this includes making targeted changes to personal care products, including eliminating aluminum-based deodorants, fluoride-based toothpastes and paraben-laden shampoos/body lotions. Consuming filtered water in glass containers and even choosing to purchase organic fruits/vegetables and pasture-raised meat and wild caught fish are a hugely beneficial.
- Change your diet- ditch sugar, processed garbage, caffeine, too much alcohol. Aim for a less processed, nutrient-dense diet.
- Get better sleep- sleep hygiene is HUGE. You must sleep 7-8 hours per night in a cold dark room without electronics.
- Move your body- yoga has been demonstrated to improve blood flow to the genitals and thereby improve orgasms. Just being physically active is very important.
- If you need to, lose weight! Even 5-10lbs can be very beneficial in lowering blood sugar, blood pressure and improved body awareness
- Consume more healthy fats: Fats are vital to creating healthy hormones in the body, so do not miss out! My favorites are avocados, but nuts, seeds, nut butters, EVOO, olives, grass-fed butter, ghee and coconut oil are great options.
- Change your birth control to a non-hormone based option, like condoms, rhythm method or tracking cervical mucus
- Ensure that there’s not a metabolic reason for your low sex drive: blood sugar issues, low thyroid, poor adrenal functioning, low iron, etc.
- Pine pollen tablets or tincture. This amazing supplement has so many benefits including being a whole body tonic and is supposedly fantastic for energy without being caffeinated. Opt for a tincture, which will be more bio-absorbable.
- Panax ginseng or Korean ginseng is used to balance the release of stress hormones by supporting the glands that produce them (hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenals). It also helps produce endorphins to make people feel good and can support sexual desire. You do, however, want to be careful and only use this for the short-term (less than 3 months)
- Ashwagandha– I love this adaptogenic herb for helping to support female hormonal health. For research purposes, I started using Moon Juice’s herbal supplement and add it to smoothies with cacao and it is pretty incredible!
- Maca maca blog post is my FAVORITE way to support female hormonal health needs!! It acts directly on our HPA (hypothalamic pituitary axis) to support our endocrine system. I add this to smoothies, gluten-free oatmeal and even healthy hot cocoa. And I regularly recommend this to female clients that need adrenal support.
- Figs, help increase secretion of pheromones, chemical messengers that make our bodies more attractive to the opposite sex!
- Pumpkin seeds, which are full of zinc, which is a mineral that is vital to healthy testosterone production, so throw them in a salad or trail mix a few times/week!
- Pomegranates: they act as natural Viagra by increasing blood flow…yeah!
- Watermelon helps to relax blood vessels and increases blood flow and may be hugely beneficial in supporting orgasms
- Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fats and can help boost all-important dopamine in the brain
- Ginger helps to dilate our blood vessels and helps support sexual function and sensation
- Spicy food: increase endorphins and metabolic rate
**as with any adaptogenic herbs, Panax ginseng, ashwagandha, maca should only be used cautiously, as they do have contra-indications that you should discuss with your healthcare provider.
Last but not least, if lifestyle changes are not effective, it is absolutely reasonable to discuss your lack of sex drive your midwife, NP or another healthcare provider for assistance.