Have you lost interest in sex lately?
If you’re old enough to have children, it could be a cause for concern, and PCOS might be the culprit.
There are a number of reasons why you might lose interest in sex, including:
- Hormonal imbalances
When it comes to hormonal imbalances, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) might be to blame.
PCOS affects between 4-8 percent of women, and it can lead to serious complications. (1)
This article discusses how PCOS can affect sex, plus some helpful tips for overcoming it.
What Is PCOS?
PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, throw your reproductive hormones out of whack and causes a bunch of undesirable side effects.
It is one of the most common endocrine disorders in menopausal women.
Symptoms and Side Effects of PCOS
PCOS is strongly linked to…
- Insulin resistance (2)
- Enlarged ovaries
- Hyperandrogenism (too much androgen hormone)
- Lipid disorder
- Irregular periods
Women with PCOS can also develop acne.
Even worse, your hair might start falling out.
Plus, anxiety and depression are also common.
However, one of the most common symptoms of PCOS is sexual dysfunction. (3)
Now let’s take a closer look at how it affects the body.
What Causes PCOS?
There’s no doubt about it—PCOS is a hormonal matter.
Stress, poor sleep, and host of other problems can contribute to hormone imbalances.
However, the hormone imbalances that cause it are usually the result of insulin resistance.
Do you eat a lot of sugar and carbs?
Insulin resistance happens when the body loses its ability to process glucose (sugar).
Over time, the cells stop absorbing glucose, so it gets stuck in the bloodstream.
In healthy people, the pancreas produces insulin to process the sugar.
However, if you eat too much sugar and produce too much insulin, the cells become resistant to it.
Ultimately, high insulin levels cause the ovaries to produce too many sex hormones, leading to excessive body hair, acne, and even hair loss!
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning…
Over time, insulin resistance can cause:
- Brown patches to form on the skin
- Poor heart health
The Hormones that Affect PCOS and Sex Life
Women with PCOS often produce too much androgen hormones (hyperandrogenism).
Researchers believe that hyperandrogenism is the main cause of low sexual satisfaction in patients with PCOS.
According to a 2011 study, “The main factors of preservation of the sexual function in our sample were identified as the low average age of the patients in treatment and the hyperandrogenism habitually found as a consequence of the physiopathology of PCOS.” (4)
At the same time, a 2012 study found that “Women with PCOS have similar sexual functioning scores compared with controls except in regard to orgasm.” (5)
In other words, although their desire for sex stayed the same, it became harder to enjoy it.
Researchers think that high testosterone may also be to blame.
How PCOS Affects Your Sex Life
Aside from needing to stash emergency tampons away to deal with irregular periods, PCOS can affect your sex life in even bigger ways.
For starters, it can make it hard to orgasm.
Then, of course, there are issues like weight gain and acne that can chip away at your self-confidence.
Here’s a closer look at how it affects sexual satisfaction:
1. You Simply Don’t Feel Like Having Sex
First and foremost, PCOS can make it hard to get in the mood.
Believe it or not, one study found that 99 percent of participants reported issues with sexual desire and/or arousal. (6)
Oftentimes, these feelings go hand-in-hand with low self-esteem and poor body image.
2. Less Satisfied with Sex
According to a 2011 study conducted in Sweden, “Women with PCOS reported decreased satisfaction with their sex life.” (7)
Part of the problem is that it’s hard to let loose and orgasm when you’re feeling insecure.
Sadly, classic PCOS side effects like excessive body hair and acne aren’t exactly confidence boosters.
3. Lower Quality of Life Scores
To make matters worse, women with PCOS report lower quality of life scores.
What makes women with it feel so down and out?
A recent study from Oxford found that the biggest factors are: (8)
- Weight gain
- Menstrual symptoms
- Emotional disturbance
67 percent of women in the study qualified as depressed.
4. Irregular Periods
Irregular periods are never fun, especially if you have a hot date planned for Saturday night.
Unfortunately, irregular menstruation is a common side effect of PCOS.
Of course, you can still have sex when you’re on your period, but it can be a total buzzkill.
How to Treat PCOS Naturally
More likely than not, your doctor will prescribe drugs like anti-androgens to lower the hormones that cause PCOS.
However, there are also plenty of things you can do to treat it naturally.
Most importantly, you’ll want to reduce inflammation.
Inflammation boosts stress hormones and can make it worse. (9)
That’s why it’s so important to eat anti-inflammatory foods and live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
Here are some of the best way to treat it naturally:
- Eat plenty of dense leafy greens
- Avoid sugar and carbs as much as possible
- Take adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and licorice root
- Eat grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon/sardines
- Consume healthy fat sources like coconut and olive oil
- Take anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and turmeric
- Exercise regularly, but stick to low-impact workouts like yoga, pilates, and swimming
- Get plenty of quality sleep (this is one of the most important lifestyle factors when it comes to hormones)
If you have any more questions about PCOS and sex life, feel free to contact us at Complete Care Health Centers.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.