Young or old, married or single, male or female: At some point in your life, it's not uncommon to lose your libido.
But this could be more than a question of passion or love or sex drive. It could be a big, red-flag warning that you have an underlying health problem.
In other words, a low libido may be a symptom of something far more serious, from heart disease to hypothyroidism.
Prevention magazine lists health concerns that can cause a dip in your sex drive:
1. Heart disease
In a study of 95,000 middle-aged men, Australian researchers concluded there was a direct link between erectile dysfunction and heart disease--even in men who had no history of cardiovascular problems. Minor ED signals a mild heart issue, while severe ED increases a man's risk of coronary artery disease by 60 percent. ED is not a cause of heart disease. It's the other way around. ED is a symptom or signal of underlying, silent heart disease. If you're having trouble getting or maintaining an erection, it's time for a heart checkup.
When blood sugar levels are not controlled, it can lead to a lower sex drive in both men and women. Female diabetics may also experience sexual discomfort, including vaginal dryness and recurrent yeast infections. In addition, women who take insulin can experience problems with lubrication and achieving orgasm.
Fluctuations in hormones not only cause hot flashes and mood swings, the classic symptoms of menopause, but also vaginal dryness. That can make sexual intercourse extremely uncomfortable for women. Do talk to your doctor about checking your hormone levels and consider using a vaginal lubricant.
4. Underactive thyroid
Hypothyrodism occurs when the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the throat, does not produce enough of essential hormones the body needs to fully function. Symptoms vary according to the severity of the hormone deficiency, but can include a sluggish metabolism, unexplained weight gain, dry skin, hair loss, muscle aches/tenderness and fatigue. All of that combines to wreak havoc with your sex drive. The risk for thyroid problems increases with age, and since the symptoms mimic menopause, many women don't seek medical help. The good news: Hypothyroidism is easily treated with daily medication.
5. Low testosterone
Testosterone is the hormone that creates sexual desire and enhances sexual pleasure--in both men and women. If your body doesn't produce enough testosterone, your libido will suffer greatly.
If you suspect you have any of these health issues, see your doctor.
--From the Editors at Netscape