Depending on what type of birth control you use, it can affect your libido. Some hormonal contraceptive methods cause hormone changes that can decrease libido. But non-hormonal methods like the copper intrauterine device (IUD) and others have actually been linked to a boost in libido.
Several factors can contribute to low libido, including fluctuating hormone levels during the menstrual cycle and other medical conditions. But can your birth control be to blame?
If you use a hormonal birth control method, such as the combined pill, ring or vaginal ring, it may lower your libido because of how the hormones work. Specifically, these types of hormonal birth control methods increase your levels of estrogen and progestin, which suppress the ovaries’ production of androgen, or male hormones, that drive libido. They also increase a protein in the liver that binds testosterone, which can decrease sexual desire.
But not all women notice a drop in their libido when they start taking these forms of hormonal birth control, and libido changes can happen at different times for many women, depending on their menstrual cycle. Additionally, if you are already experiencing symptoms of other health conditions that affect libido, such as a yeast infection or pelvic pain, those can exacerbate the effect of hormonal birth control on your desire.
In general, the pregnancy protection that comes with hormonal birth control outweighs the potential for a decreased libido. However, if you find yourself having less interest in sex with your partner while on hormonal birth control, a visit to your doctor or gynecologist might help you switch to a different form of birth control that’s right for you. They’ll work with you to find a birth control that balances your pregnancy protection, your mood and libido.
Many factors can contribute to a woman’s libido. Whether it’s work stress, relationship concerns, or medication side effects, low libido is normal and expected from time to time. But, if your low libido is ongoing and interferes with your day-to-day life and/or your relationships, it may be worth discussing with a mental health professional.
Hormonal birth control, like the pill, patch, and ring, suppress ovulation by lowering the levels of female hormones estrogen and progesterone. These methods also decrease the levels of androgens, which are directly linked to a woman’s sexual desire. Low levels of testosterone can lead to decreased libido, especially for women who have been taking hormonal birth control for an extended period of time.
In addition to lowered libido, hormonal birth control has been shown to cause physical changes in a woman’s body, including changes to her labia minora, vaginal opening, and vulva. One study even found that oral contraceptives can shrink a woman’s clitoris over time.
Generally, these effects are mild and short-lived. If you’re still experiencing a lowered libido after trying to address other causes of your low sex drive, it might be time to switch your birth control method. Talk to your doctor about other options, such as non-hormonal or intrauterine devices, that may be more effective for you and your partner.
Depression has a profound impact on every aspect of life, including sex and intimate relationships. This is true for both women and men, and people from all backgrounds, races and ages can experience depression. Unfortunately, many people who have depression don’t seek treatment or are hesitant to discuss their symptoms with their doctor or therapist. This is a problem because untreated depression can cause sexual dysfunction and lead to relationship dissolution.
Hormonal birth control can also decrease libido because it alters your hormone levels and inhibits the release of testosterone and other androgens that can affect sexual desire. However, it’s important to note that not everyone experiences a decrease in libido when taking hormonal birth control.
If you’re looking for a birth control method that doesn’t have these side effects, there are plenty of options. Copper IUDs, diaphragms and condoms are all safe and effective for preventing pregnancy.
In fact, some women find their libido increases when they stop using hormonal birth control, particularly because it can improve mood and self-esteem. But it’s important to remember that low libido can be caused by other factors, such as lack of physical arousal or trouble reaching orgasm. If you’re struggling with these issues, your doctor can prescribe sex enhancer medications to help. They may also suggest a different antidepressant that doesn’t have as many sexual side effects.
If you’re on hormonal birth control, the synthetic hormones in your pill can lower libido. The pill’s estrogen and progestin suppress ovulation and prevent an egg from being fertilized by sperm, which can reduce the amount of androgens in your body. Androgens are what get your clitoris and vagina fired up to have sex, so low levels can make sex less exciting. Plus, the estrogen in the pill can thicken cervical mucus and decrease the fluid that flows through your vagina, making you drier and less receptive to penile penetration.
Non-hormonal birth control methods like the copper intrauterine device (IUD) or internal condoms don’t change your hormones, so they may not impact libido as much. But if you’re concerned, ask your doctor to switch your type of birth control. A small study found that women who switched from a hormonal birth control pill to one that includes levonorgestrel (like Mirena) experienced an improvement in their overall libido.
While a change in libido can be frustrating, remember that there’s no right or wrong level of libido for anyone. Some people want to have sex several times a day, while others are happy going weeks or even months without it. As long as you’re getting the pregnancy protection you need, don’t let a dip in sexual desire cause any stress or strain on your relationship.