Can Birth Control Pills Decrease Your Sex Drive?

birth control pills and libidoFor a sexually active woman, an unplanned pregnancy can turn into a nightmare. This is why more and more women are using birth control pills so that they can prevent these unwanted pregnancies and yet enjoy sexual activities. Their inexpensiveness, easy availability, and easy to take form makes these pills one of the most commonly used women contraceptives.

However, many women realize that being on the birth control pills has somehow lowered their desire for sex. Since these are supposed to provide sexual liberation, some don't even consider the fact that the pills may actually be responsible for their sexual problems.

But the fact is that one of the increasingly recognized side effects of these pills is low sex drive.

How Does the Birth Control Pill Work?

Birth control pills deliver synthetic hormones that imitate the sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone in your body. These synthetic hormones in the body make the body act as if it's pregnant and prevents the ovaries from releasing the eggs for fertilization every month. Since there are no eggs released, there will be no pregnancy.

Does Birth Control Affect Libido?

If we put it simply, pills prevent pregnancy by working on the sex hormones of the body. However, these hormones are also responsible for your sexual desire, arousal and orgasms. This means that your sex drive will be affected by these drugs.

For example, the pill inhibits the production of androgens, such as testosterone. Now, testosterone is a major sex hormone that is responsible for your desire for sex. If there is no desire, you will not be adequately aroused. This translates into lack of sexual enjoyment and an inability to reach orgasm.

So, just by inhibiting the production of testosterone, the pill has suppressed your desire for sex and reduced your ability to derive any pleasure from sexual intercourse.

However, suppression of androgen production is not the only thing that the pill does. In fact, it also increases the production of a protein called sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This protein binds the sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen, making them unavailable for the body.

Testosterone is responsible for your desire for sex, whereas, estrogen plays a key role in getting your body ready for intercourse. Low levels of both these hormones will inhibit your sexual desire and may also reduce your chances of reaching orgasm. The higher the levels of the sex-hormone binding protein in the body the lower is the sexual desire.

So, instead of providing sexual liberation the birth control pill can actually cause sexual dysfunction in women. Till now, the pill has been known to have side effects such as weight gain, depression and headaches. However, the sexual side effects are often the ones that turn out to be most bothering for a sexually active woman.

Women on the pill may experience decreased libido, decreased vaginal lubrication due to lack of arousal, and inability to reach orgasm or enjoy sexual intercourse.

Studies have also found that discontinuing the pill may not actually eliminate the side effects. You may continue to experience loss of libido even months after going off the pill. Further research is required to find out how much time does it take for the SHBG levels to come down to normal and how long do these sexual side effects last once the woman has stopped taking the pill.

How to Increase Sex Drive While on Birth Control

If you are on the pill and are experiencing low sex drive and other sexual problems, the first thing that you should consider is whether these are due to the pill or can there be other reasons here. Depression, chronic stress, anxiety, poor diet, pre-menopause, relationship problems, and underlying medical conditions could be responsible for your lack of sex drive.

Taking steps to reduce stress, improving communication with your partner, and getting medical help for depression and any underlying medical conditions can help boost your sexual desire.

Just because you are on the pill and experiencing low sex drive does not mean that you should stop taking it. There may be other reasons for it and if there are no apparent reason and you think the culprit could be the pill, consider talking to your doctor about it.

Your doctor may be able to suggest another pill for you that may have limited sexual side effects. However, do understand that almost all pills available these days will have these side effects.

You may also want to take steps to reduce these side effects.

  • Aerobics and strength training can help increase blood flow to the sex organs and increase your interest in sex.

  • Yoga stretching, meditation, visualization and progressive muscle relaxation can help manage your stress, depression and anxiety in a much better way.

  • Talk to your partner. Resolve conflicts and discuss sex with him. Communication can be a key factor in reviving your sex drive.

  • Herbs such as horny goat weed, damiana, and dong quai can also help enhance your sexual health. However, make sure to consult your doctor before taking these to prevent any unpleasant side effects.

  • Herbal libido supplements, such as HerSolution, can help you overcome the hormonal and nutritional imbalances and improve your sexual desire.

  • Eating a balanced diet will help in counteracting the side effects of the birth control pill. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and oysters and salmons, are ideal foods that can provide you with enough nutrition to have a healthy body and healthy sexual life.

  • A multivitamin may also help in improving your sex drive. Consult your healthcare provider for the same.

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