These Medications Might Be Ruining Your Libido
Before your ego feels slighted that your spouse isn’t as interested in sexual intimacy as they used to be, you should consider the fact that most sexual problems are commonly caused by drugs. Some drugs mess with our hormones and nerve impulses, resulting in lack of sexual interest.
Below are some medications that might be ruining your fun in the bedroom.
Clomipramine (Anafranil) causes ejaculation failure in 40% of the males who took it, 15% of those who took it reported impotence, and at least 18% of those who took the drug reported a decrease in libido.
SSRIs alone induce sexual dysfunction in 30-80% of patients. This a common cause for discontinuation of treatment. Sexual dysfunction in patients who take anti-depressants can occur through several pathways. One pathway involves an increase in serotonin, a decrease in dopamine (causing a decrease in pleasurable feelings associated with sexual desire) and the inhibition of nitric oxide synthase.
Another pathway is an increase of cortico-limbic serotonin that causes a decrease in sexual desire, making ejaculation and orgasm impossible.
Statins & Fibrates
Statins and fibrates are used to cure high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a building block of most sexual hormones. Statins and fibrates, by lowering the amount of cholesterol in the body inadvertently decrease the synthesis of hormones such as testosterone, estrogen and other hormones. Statins also cause breakdown of muscle tissue leading to joint pain and fatigue, and no one wants to get frisky when their knees are bothering them, right?
In a review of studies about fibrates and statins, it was established that the drugs indeed caused erectile dysfunction in many cases. In a study published in 2009, it was found that both male and female research participants taking statins had difficulty reaching orgasm. In the study, as the cholesterol levels were dropping so were the participants’ sex drives.
Birth Control Pills
About 15% of women taking oral contraceptives report a decrease in libido. This is likely because birth control pills lower the levels of sex hormones, especially those of testosterone.
Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is a glycoprotein that binds to sex hormones. Most of the testosterone and estradiol that circulate in the bloodstream are bound to SHBG. Only one to two percent of these hormones are free and are therefore biologically active.
A study found that in women who were taking oral contraceptives the amount of SHBG found in the bloodstream is seven times more than those in women who had never taken the pill. More so, months after ceasing from taking the pill, SHBG eventually lowered but was still higher than in women who had never taken the pill.
Researchers believe that long-term use of oral contraceptives may lead to a permanent increase in SHBG in the system which may lead to sexual, metabolic and mental health problems.
Proscar is prescribed to patients with enlarged prostates. This drug belongs to a group of drugs called 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. Your prostate gland contains an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a stronger androgen which also serves to develop secondary sexual characteristics in males.
Drugs like Proscar inhibit 5-alpha reductase, blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT. This may help reduce inflammation in your prostate but it also has the unfortunate side effect of lowering your libido.
Propecia is similar to Proscar, it’s also a 5-alpha-reducatase inhibitor, except that it has a much lower dosage and is used to treat male patterned baldness instead of enlarged prostates. DHT is to be blamed for male patterned baldness and a way to prevent hair loss in men is to prevent testosterone developing into DHT, much like in the case of prostate gland enlargement. However, as discussed above, a decrease in DHT is also linked to a decrease in libido, which sometimes may become irreversible.
Anticonvulsant drugs are used to prevent seizures in patients with epilepsy. In addition to that they are also used as “off-label” drugs to cure bipolar disorder and are also used to treat some types of neuropathic pain.
Studies have shown that anti-seizure drugs may also lower testosterone levels in the body and therefore interfere with you sexual drive. This is especially true for older drugs like Tegretol and Dilantin. Tegretol can also reduce pleasurable sensations resulting from sexual contact by dampening the nerve impulses travelling between nerve cells, which it does to prevent seizures.
Beta Blockers (Blood Pressure Medications)
High blood pressure itself can cause sexual dysfunction, but studies have also repeatedly shown how blood pressure medications can also cause the same sexual problems. Diuretics interfere with regular blood flow to sexual organs and beta blockers make you feel sedated and depressed, interfering with nerve impulses that cause arousal.