Your hormones deplete naturally as you age - oestrogen in women and testosterone in men. One of the most common signs of this is a low sex drive!
If you're older and you find that your sex life is nowhere near as exciting as what it used to be due to a loss of libido, your doctor may prescribe hormone replacement therapy to get your sex hormone levels back up.
But just how well does hormone replacement therapy work, and is it safe? Here's all you need to know...
There’s much controversy around the use of hormones to treat a loss of libido in postmenopausal women
The use of hormones to treat low sex drive in women is a debatable topic. While some sexual medicine experts still think oestrogen is the perfect solution for postmenopausal women who feel the need to give their sex drive a boost, a large-scale study conducted in 2002 found a link between oral hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with increased risk of stroke, breast cancer
and other dangerous health problems.
Due to the findings of this study, doctors are now far more cautious about prescribing HRT not only for low libido in postmenopausal women but for any use. Some doctors don’t believe in prescribing it at all!
Experts suggest locally applied oestrogen to give postmenopausal women that much-needed boost
According to some experts, locally applied oestrogen may be a much more viable option for postmenopausal women with low sex drives. Some studies have revealed that some women find that the oestrogen ring, which is inserted vaginally and left in place for three months, boosts libido.
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Other benefits that both locally applied oestrogen and the oestrogen ring offer include restored elasticity to the female genitals and alleviation of vaginal dryness, experts say. Both of these problems are often linked to sex drive problems in postmenopausal women.
Sometimes, doctors even recommend that women take oestrogen in conjunction with testosterone. While it’s an option, you should keep in mind that the long-term effects of testosterone therapy are unknown. The FDA also hasn’t yet approved this strategy.
Men with sex drive problems can consider testosterone replacement therapy
So what about men with libido problems?
For them, testosterone replacement therapy is an option if their hormones levels are lower than average for their age. Luckily for men, their hormone levels don’t deplete with age as much as women’s do with menopause. That said, most men do experience a slight drop in their sex drive with age. And low testosterone doesn’t only affect their sex life – it can also take a toll on their sexual function and mood.
If you’re experiencing sex drive problems and would like to know more about your options, consult with a sexual medicine specialist.