Low Libido in Young Women — Libido and Hormone Issues
Low libido, in young women especially, can be a concerning, and unexpected problem.
For any woman who has yet to experience menopause, we would expect a “normal” or “reasonable” libido, or level of sex drive.
However, those terms are hard to define. What’s “normal” for one person may not be considered normal for the next. And, there are of course “norms” that vary from relationship to relationship.
The truth is, libido, also known as sexual desire, is not a simple, straightforward function of hormones alone; it’s a complex interplay of emotions and personalities, mental and physical health, the presence or absence of biological dysfunction, and even dependent upon the state of your given relationship: all this in addition to hormone levels and age-related changes.
When it comes to low libido in young women, these factors vary widely from person to person.
Whether you’re in a relationship or not, the point you’re at in your relationship, your age, any mental or physical illnesses you suffer from, medications you’re taking, whether or not you’ve experienced menopause (menopause can occur before the age of 40, which I would certainly consider young!), whether or not you’ve had children, are pregnant, or had a child recently, how you view your body and your partner’s body — all these factors and more play a critical role in determining your libido.
Don’t forget the extensive effect birth control medications can have. Additionally, surgical interventions like ablations, ovarian procedures, or hysterectomies will have a profound impact on hormonal health and, of course, libido.
Low Libido in Young Women — It’s All Relative
And even when all this is taken into account, some people simply have a higher libido than others. “Low” libido in young women doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem — it may just mean your libido is lower than your peers’, which means almost nothing in and of itself.
Though it is commonly thought that men have high sex drives and women have low sex drives, the truth is much more complex — many men have naturally “low” sex drives compared to their peers, and many women have naturally “high” sex drives compared to their peers.
The question is this: Is your libido “low” for you? Is it low compared to what it used to be? Is it something that has changed, or never “felt right,” and is it negatively impacting your life?
When it comes to hormone issues, one common symptom is a low libido. In young women suffering from low testosterone, low estrogen, or a deficiency in another hormone, we often find their libido has dropped significantly from what it once was.
Though of course we focus on hormone therapy here, that option may or may not apply to your case — not everyone has their libido drop, and for some people, they simply don’t care.
The more important question is this: Does it bother you?
Low Libido in Young Women — If It’s Bothering You, It’s a Problem
The difficulty with this issue is how extraordinary complex it is; low libido in young women just has far too many possible causes, and, for some women, a low libido isn’t something that they mind.
That being said, if you don’t like your current level of libido, you have the right to say so.
Because there’s no “normal” level, we try to find out what’s normal for you. Libido is often very subjective, but if you feel like your libido isn’t what you want it to be or what it used to be, you may be experiencing an abnormal hormone change.
Because there are so many potential causes of low libido in young women, we try to get a complete picture, and this includes hormones. One of the most noticeable effects of low testosterone, in both men and women, is low libido. However, this can also be true of low estrogen.
If you feel like your libido isn’t what it should be, if it’s affecting your quality of life, it’s possible that your hormones are to blame.
The place to start is with a consultation — speak to a medical provider to find out where you stand.
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What about really low libido but high testosterone? I also have high dhea and hypothyroid and high prolactin.
I am always suspicious of the classification of “high testosterone” when patients have low libido. You will definitely want to look at your calculated free testosterone levels before making any judgments about whether you are truly “high” or not.
Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
Testosterone Centers of Texas | Founding Partner