Sex drive issues are normal and common, and they deserve the same kind of attention as anything else that goes wrong with your body. Here's where to look for libido expertise. These professionals can help you figure out why your sex drive has changed, so you can find treatment that gets you feeling like yourself again.
Primary care physiciansYour first stop with any sexual health concern should be your ob-gyn or primary care physician, Irwin Goldstein, MD, urologist and director of San Diego Sexual Medicine. In addition to the basics, such as doing a pelvic exam, listening to your heart, and checking your blood pressure, your doctor should be on the lookout for other conditions.
Your primary care doctor should review your medications to see if you are taking a drug that could affect your sex drive. They should also screen you for diabetes and for depression; both can cause libido problems. A review of your overall health and your health history should come next, and they'll also want to determine whether you have pain associated with other health conditions, even arthritis, as this can lower your desire for sex.
Other ways to suss out a physical reason for low sex drive include testing your blood for anemia, high cholesterol, and hormonal imbalances. They'll ask you lifestyle questions about sleep deprivation (which can have a profound effect on sex drive) as well as if you use alcohol or recreational drugs. Your ob-gyn or PCP should also ask about your relationships and sex life.
Make sure you tell your doctor about any sex-related pain, such as pain in the vulva or vagina that's caused or exacerbated by penetration. Physical pain can morph into psychological avoidance, Marjorie Green, MD, director of the Mount Auburn Female Sexual Medicine Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, tells Health.
Sexual medicine doctorsThese professionals describe their job as detective work. For example, what at first may appear to be low sex drive may turn out to be related to an STI or vaginal infection.
Often people wait a long time before seeking medical care for a sexual problem—either because they are embarrassed or because they are not taking it seriously—and that can compound the issue, especially when it stems from a physical problem that has a straightforward, physical solution. "By the time you talk to someone [about your physical problem], the pain is also in your head," says Dr. Green.
Sex or relationship therapistsYour regular doctor or your sexual medicine doctor may refer you to a therapist or other psychological professional to explore psychological reasons for your low sex drive. Relationship issues can cause libido problems—as can a whole host of personal or cultural factors. A referral to a couples counselor or sex therapist can often solve the issue.
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