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Decreased Libido in Females

What is decreased libido?

Decreased libido is a decrease in sexual desire. This subject falls into the category of female sexual dysfunction which takes different forms, including lack of sexual desire, impaired arousal, inability to achieve orgasm, or pain with sexual activity.  Sexual dysfunction may be a lifelong problem or acquired later in life after a period of normal sexual functioning.


What are risk factors for decreased libido?

Possible causes of decreased libido are multifactorial including:


How can decreased libido affect your life?

Decreased libido may be persistent, and cause marked personal distress or interpersonal difficulty. You are not alone as this is a very common condition. Sharing your concerns is the first step toward improvement.

How do we diagnose decreased libido?

For diagnosis, the sexual problem must be recurrent or persistent. Most women with decreased libido actually have concerns that impact more than one aspect of sexual function like decreased arousal, inability to have orgasm, sexual pain, or a decrease in sexual satisfaction. Evaluation will focus on discovering each area of concern through a medical and sexual history.

What is the treatment for decreased libido?

Treatment will also be focused on identifying the problem area and integrating your desired goals by the end of medical therapy.  For example:

•   Gynecologic: assess menopausal status,  assess need for hormone replacement, review pregnancy and childbirth history,  review vulvovaginal or pelvic injury, cancer,  surgery,  and vulvovaginal or pelvic pain, etc.

•   Medications: review of all your medications to identify possible side effects on sexual desire

•   Relationship problems: couples counseling is a good starting point. Learning about sexual education, improving communication, and exercises to help couples focus on greater intimacy and pleasure have shown great efficacy.



Decreased libido is part of a bigger spectrum called female sexual dysfunction. The causes are multifactorial. It could adversely affect life and the pleasures that come with it. It is more common than you think as many women have this condition. The good news is that with proper evaluation and management there can be great improvement and even resolution of symptoms.

Kirstie Cunningham, MD, FACOG President, Metro Health and Wellness, LLC

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