Thyroid Hormones 101
Your thyroid has a direct effect on your sexual health and your libido. All things in your body are connected. The thyroid is a small but important gland in located in your neck that controls the way every cell in your body uses energy by regulating your body’s metabolism. Its job is to produce and release two major hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). When these hormones are low symptoms include: fatigue & muscle aches, depression, and decreased sexual desire.
It is important to note that there is significant evidence that a Vitamin D deficiency seems prevalent in patients suffering from hypothyroidism. Be sure to add Vitamin D, regardless of whether you decide on medication or a natural supplement program. Vitamin D only lasts 15 hours in the body, so this is an important supplement to take daily to insure thyroid and adrenal health. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common contributors to many auto-immune diseases and the importance of supplementing this key vitamin cannot be stressed enough.
Case Study: Vitamin D Deficiency and Its Association with Thyroid Disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921055/
Case Study: Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) in women with Thyroid Disorders https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23580027//
Sexual libido issues from a thyroid problem can include:
- Painful Sex by decreasing your vaginal production of natural lubrication, making sex uncomfortable and even painful.
- Lower sex hormones in particular your testosterone. Low testosterone means a low sex drive.
- Depression and Fatigue, well that’s self explanatory. If you’ve feeling tired and depressed the last thing you have energy for is sex.
- Feeling cold also doesn’t contribute well to getting naked. Easiest way to get out of sex is to put your cold feet on your partner (wink)
- Painful menstrual cycles with bloating and discomfort in your pelvic area during ovulation also takes away the sexy feeling.
But there is help. When you treat your thyroid issues with either natural supplements or medication or a combination of the two your sexual libido usually returns to normal as the side effects go away. We all know about viagra for men… well there is now two options approved by the FDA.
• A daily pill called Addyi (flibanserin), originally developed as an antidepressant, is now offered as a treatment for low sexual desire. It comes with potentially serious side effects though including: low blood pressure, dizziness and fainting. These side effects may occur most frequently when mixed with alcohol.
• An injectable medication, Vyleesi (bremelanotide), as a treatment for low sexual desire in premenopausal women. The medication is injected in the stomach or thigh a minimum of 45 minutes before sexual activity. Once a day up to eight times a month. Potential side effects include nausea, headache, vomiting and reactions at the injection site.
As with any medication, it is important for the benefits to outweigh the risks. Some women also take viagra, although it has not been given any FDA clearance for women. But… we are all different, and we all react differently to medication and supplements. It is important to discuss your unique situation with your doctor to find the program best suited to your lifestyle.
Natural Supplements That Increase Your Libido
There are a multitude of supplements that can help provide an aphrodisiac effect. Supplements are just as powerful as medications, by using supplements you know you are feeding your body with the tools to heal rather than just suppressing symptoms. Remember to always check to see if there is any contraindications with any medications you are on, true when taking new prescriptions as well, to avoid negative side effects. Tell your doctor about any and all supplements you are taking, and discuss your findings together.
Read each herb description carefully. Some herbs are stimulating others are calming. We are all different, what works for one, may not work at all for someone else. This is true for all medicinals. Supplements manufacturers are not allowed by law to make any medical claims, that is why it takes so much research and hearing from real women to find out what works. The following supplements however have been shown in research and in holistic medicine practices to be beneficial for improving ones sexual libido:
- Maca Root
- Tribulus Terrestris
- Ginkgo Bilobo
L-Arginine is an amino adic that aids in the production of nitric oxide, a vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow to increase blood circulation. This provides the entire pelvis with extra blood flow, swells up the clitoris, making it more sensitive and thus easier to reach orgasm. Be sure to balance this with L-Lysine however if you suffer from anything in the herpes family. See page on Herpes.
Kava is a calming supplement. Kava works by easing anxiety and tension, helping to relax and be more perceptive to sexual stimulation. Kava is classified as an empathogen, which means it helps produce feelings of intimacy and connection. Women are much more likely to have a higher libido when they have an intimate bond with their partner.
Maca Root is a stimulant. Classified as a superfood that boosts physical stamina and provides hormonal balance as a clinically proven endocrine modulator. Happy hormones = happy libido. So if hormone balance is an issue Maca Root may be the supplement of choice. High in vitamins and micronutrients it also helps you metabolize your food and increases energy levels to support a healthy immune system. This herb is also beneficial for those experiencing a decrease in sex drive from taking antidepressants.
Tribulus Terrestris, is known to be an effective for increasing desire and arousal, while aiding in vaginal lubrication. A well lubricated vagina is a key component to better arousal and increased sensation. The more aroused the better the orgasm. Tribulus also acts as a diuretic and increases kidney function and urine flow.
Gingko Biloba is best known for it’s anti-anxiety properties. Gingko also increases blood flow and helps the body to produce nitric oxide. It also helps the smooth muscle tissues in the body, including those found in the vagina, to relax. Gingko is calming.
Ginseng is anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory, it reduces the production of stress hormones and provides immune support. Ginseng is a stimulant so if energy and get-up-and-go are your personal requirement this would be a great contributor to your libido enhancing repertoire.
Ashwagandha is another aphrodisiac to consider. This herb is an adrenal tonic. Nourishing and supportive of hormone balance and health. This herb is recommended for those going through menopause or perimenopause and for those who want to stimulate their libido without stimulating their nervous system. Ashwagandha is calming.
Cannabis for Sexual Enhancement
Cannabis (Marijuana) use has been used by millions as a safe and effective way to increase your libido. Now that marijuana is legal in Canada, women who would normally cringe at the thought of trying marijuana for sexual enhancement have the opportunity through legal means. *In the study cited below, of the 373 women studied, 127 reported using marijuana before sex. The majority of these women reported an increased sex drive (libido), ease in reaching orgasm (including better orgasms), and a decrease in pain. Specifically, women who reported regular marijuana usage before sexual activity had 2.13 higher odds of reporting satisfactory orgasms. Ladies that is a lot!
Cannabis comes in a multitude of doses and varieties, and we all respond slightly different. If you want to try this for the first time or it’s been a long time, start slow. The marijuana available today is highly sophisticated and a little goes a long way. Two varieties that may be of interest are:
- Setiva – Sativa strains are usually know to amplifying energy and for inducing a more psychedelic and cerebral experience. Setiva on some also includes a body high that can roll over you in waves, which can be great fun during foreplay and sex.
- Indica – Indica strains can be highly appealing to body senses, including sensitivity to touch. Indica for most is a very mellow high and is sometimes referred to as ”in the couch” meaning you feel mellow and relaxed.
- Combos – Cannabis can be purchased premixed in formulations containing both Setiva and Indica.
Cannabis can be used in a variety of forms, two versions you can try are:
- An edible gummy (takes about an hour to kick in) and a suggested dose as a newbie would be about 2.5mg. (Not 25 mg that’ll knock you out). Eat one gummy and evaluate after an hour. Highs from edibles usually last up to 4 hours. Adjust as needed.
- A vape pen (inhale like a cigarette but without the harsh scent that smoking a joint would involve). As a newbie take one drag and hold, then exhale. Kicks in within 15 minutes for most and lasts about an hour. Adjust as needed.
*Case Study: Effects of Cannabinoids on Female Sexual Function https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sxmr.2019.07.004
No matter which method or combination of methods you use: supplements, medication, or cannabis don’t forget to take your daily dose of Vitamin D!