Taking care of daily responsibilities, managing both a career and family, and sticking to a healthy diet can sometimes make it difficult to stay positive and happy — further causing a lack of sex drive.
A loss of libido is an unfortunate condition that affects millions of women on a regular basis. Women can experience a low sex drive at various stages of their life — younger women may experience it after the birth of a child in their 20’s and 30’s, perimenopausal women during their late 30s and 40s, and both menopausal and postmenopausal women throughout the rest of their lives.
A loss of libido is a complex phenomenon with psychological, relational, physical, and hormonal dimensions as unique as the women who experience them. The term libido has long been used to describe a person’s sexual drive and desire for sex. Loss of libido, medically termed Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is a reduction or lack of interest and desire in sexual activity. Many women with loss of libido find that they are less in touch with their sexuality. Sexual feelings come less frequently and an energy for sex drastically dwindles or disappears.
Many factors can play a role in a woman’s drop in sex drive, which may be primarily caused by changes that are hormonal, physical, psychological, or relational. More specifically, some of the contributors to low female libido include decreased estrogen levels, vaginal dryness, lack of emotional intimacy, stress, and mood swings.
A decrease in sex drive can develop due to medical conditions or as the result of psychological or emotional issues. Inhibited sexual desire is a type of sexual dysfunction that affects both men and women. A reduction in sexual desire is most often associated with diminishing levels of testosterone in aging men, and menopausal transitions (reduced estrogen levels) in women who may also be sensitive to reduced testosterone levels. Chronic illnesses and chronic pain can also lead to a decrease in sex drive, likely through a combination of physical and psychological stressors. Additionally, certain medications such as antidepressants can also reduce libido.
The symptoms of low libido often mimic those experienced during menopause and afterwards, and can range from non-existent, to mild, to severe. Common menopausal symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia)
- Emotional changes, such as mood swings or irritability
- A change in sexual interest or response
- Problems with concentration and memory that may be linked to sleep loss and/or fluctuating hormones
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat (tachycardia)
After you stop having menstrual periods, you may get other post-menopausal symptoms, the most common including:
- Drying and thinning of the skin, caused by lower collagen production
- Vaginal and urinary tract changes
- Vaginal dryness, irritation, and itching
- An increased risk of vaginal and urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Pain during sexual activity
Some medications work to increase vaginal lubrication and relax vaginal muscles, whereas others contain testosterone to increase sex drive or estrogen to improve sensation, lubrication, and sexual interest. Topical libido enhancers are an appealing alternative to oral medications. Inconsistent dosing and possible side effects can be eliminated with topical creams that are applied locally to increase sensitivity and blood flow.
One of the products we prescribe is “Scream Cream”. This topical solution contains a combination of prescription and non-prescription components described as blood flow enhancers, vasodilators, and sexual stimulation enhancing hormones. Although the formulation can be tailored to each individual’s needs, one 0.25 mL dose generally contains the following ingredients:
- Aminophylline 7.5 mg – a bronchodilator that works in several ways. It relaxes the muscles in your lungs and chest to allow greater airflow, decreases the sensitivity of your lungs to allergens and other substances that cause inflammation, increases the contractions of your diaphragm to draw more air into the lungs for intense breathing. It is primarily used to treat the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.
- Ergoloid Mesylate 0.123 mg – used to improve cognitive (mental) and self-care functioning in people with symptoms of dementia related to aging or presumed to be related to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. It is used in treating symptoms of declined mental capacity wherein it impacts memory, behavioral, and especially mood problems.
- L-Arginine 15mg – is a nonessential amino acid which may play an important role in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, due to its anti-atherogenic, anti-ischemic, antiplatelet, and antithrombotic properties. It is commonly sold as a health supplement claiming to improve vascular health and treat erectile dysfunction in men, and is purported to have similar libido enhancing effects on women.
- Pentoxifylline 12.5mg – causes changes in your blood that help improve blood flow, which helps your blood carry oxygen to your tissues and organs. It is used to improve blood flow and reduce certain symptoms of a condition called intermittent claudication. It is also purported to have similar libido enhancing effects on women.
- Sildenafil Citrate 2.5mg – relaxes muscles and increases blood flow to particular areas of the body. Sildenafil is used to treat Erectile Dysfunction in men, and is purported to have similar vasodialation effects on clitoral artery blood flow.
- Testosterone 0.25mg – is a sex hormone that is produced by males in large amounts, and is also produced in small amounts within women. Testosterone is used in men and boys to treat conditions caused by a lack of this hormone, such as delayed puberty, impotence, or other hormonal imbalances. It has also been used in hormone replacement therapy to improve sexual function in premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
These ingredients are dissolved in a water based, hypoallergenic, and transdermal vehicle. The vehicle is designed to enhance the rate of absorption, and to cause the medication to be retained locally in order to maximize local effects and metabolism, while minimizing the potential for systemic side effects.
*Results may vary person to person