The Low Thyroid Function and Libido Connection

Among the effects of hypothyroidism is its potential effect on sexual desire and performance. The connection between low thyroid function and libido can be both physical and psychological. Since people with a sluggish thyroid are often overweight and chronically tired, they often do not feel like having sex or may have a poor body image that interferes with sexual desire. In addition, like other hormones, thyroid hormones affect sexual desire and performance, so low levels of these hormones may decrease libido.

While it is not known how many people with sexual dysfunction have underlying thyroid disease, low libido is a common complaint among people with hypothyroidism. The good news is that there are a number of things that can be done to increase sexual desire, especially when a connection between low thyroid function and libido is suspected.

To begin with anyone with sexual difficulties of any kind should consider having his or her thyroid hormone levels checked. TSH levels should be checked in addition to levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. If one already has a diagnosis of hypothyroidism or if low thyroid function is determined through testing, it is important to find the best way to treat it according to the individual needs and preferences.

If Low Thyroid Function and Libido Problems Persist…

It is not uncommon for people with low thyroid function and libido issues to find that sexual symptoms still linger even after thyroid hormone treatment is optimized. If the treatment you are receiving is correct and your libido does not improve, other hormone supplements may be of help.

Levels of testosterone and the precursor hormone DHEA should be checked in both men and women, and women should also have levels of estrogen and progesterone determined. If any of these hormone levels are low, supplements may be needed in addition to thyroid medication or supplements. There may also be co-existing conditions that contribute to low libido, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or depression. A thorough physical should be conducted to help uncover any other conditions that can be treated.

Herbs and Nutritional Supplements Can Help

In addition to traditional medicines, there are a number of nutritional supplements that can help to increase sex drive in cases of low thyroid function and libido. These include herbs such as ginseng, damiana and maca. Also, supplements of the amino acid arginine and the mineral zinc may help, since low levels of both nutrients have been associated with low sex drive. Here, the important thing is to check with your health care practitioner if taking any of these is safe for you.

Finally, as already mentioned, the relation between low thyroid function and libido may be due to lack of energy or feelings of unattractiveness due to being overweight. Diet and exercise, which are also important for many other reasons, can help boost libido. Exercise is important not only for weight loss, but also to increase energy levels and mood. A healthy diet, not just a low calorie weight loss diet, can also help to replenish nutrients, including amino acids and zinc, that may be deficient when low thyroid function and libido are related.


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