So, you’ve decided to take a break from Hormonal contraception. And well… Your slightly scruffy neighbor now looks like an absolute heartthrob. How have you never noticed? And why are you horny while taking the bins out? Well, gang, the cause of your soaring sex drive probably isn’t the neighbor. Instead, there’s a far more rational reason for your newfound sexual energy. Yup, it’s all about the interplay between female sex hormones and birth control…
Female sex hormones: A disclaimer
First off, the term female sex hormones is used to describe hormones found in those that can typically produce eggs. Of course, those that identify as men can have female sex hormones, and those that identify as women can have male hormones! Female and male designators are used to distinguish between hormones in a purely biological context.
Female sex hormones and Libido
As regular Horomonas will already know, the main female sex hormones are our fickle friends Estrogen and Progesterone. But what if I told you E and P had a secret sidekick, little T. Yup, Testosterone is also produced by those with a vagina, albeit in much smaller amounts, and one of its functions is to promote sexual desire!
Progesterone, AKA the passion slayer, can have a profound effect on sexual desire. When levels of Progesterone shoot up, your Libido tends to plummet. And who can blame you?! A rise in Progesterone causes PMS symptoms including bloating, tiredness, mood swings, and tummy pain. If you’re honest, the only thing turning you on as Progesterone levels climax is that liter of ice cream in your icebox.
On the other hand, when Estrogen rises, it promotes glowing skin, fabulous hair, vaginal lubrication, and boosts Libido. This isn’t coincidental either, you’re at peak fertility when your Estrogen levels are at their highest. So, from a reproductive point of view, our bodies are essentially getting us in the mood for babymaking. *Alexa, play Marvin Gaye*
Testosterone and Libido in women is a slightly more ambiguous topic. That said, pretty much everyone agrees that sexual desire is driven in both men and women by natural Testosterone. The extent of that influence on women, though, is still up for debate.
How does Hormonal Birth Control influence libido?
As with most matters regarding women’s hormones, there is very little scientific evidence behind how birth control affects Libido. But, what we can tell you is that it’s probably down to the particular hormones found in these medications.
Combined contraceptives contain both Estrogen and Progesterone. When you take the combined pill, levels of these hormones rise so high you are unable to produce an egg. So, for those looking to enjoy a stress-free sex life, combined contraceptives can provide an eggcellent solution.
But it’s not all sex and sunshine. This could all be at the expense of our friend Testosterone. As one of the hormones in the Androgen group, when our ovaries are being suppressed by the combined pill, they stop producing as many Androgens. So, while you might be able to have sex pregnancy-free, it may come at the price of a lower Libido. Oh, the irony. That said, the impact on sexual desire very much depends on the type of contraception you’re taking.
Does all hormonal birth control affect Libido?
In short, probably? The problem here is, Libido is subjective. And here’s why: What one person considers a “normal” level of horniness, might make another person feel like a dog on heat. Essentially, there are positive and negative impacts on Libido across almost all types of hormonal contraceptives.
The different types of contraceptives
Female sex hormones and combined contraceptive pills
On the whole, these pills have been shown to decrease Libido as they theoretically lower Testosterone.
Female sex hormones and Progestin-only pills
Progestin-only pills contain a form of Progesterone. They don’t affect androgen levels, so are less likely to affect your Libido. There are even claims these pills increase sex drive!
Most of the studies on the correlation between Libdio and Birth control have been on the combined and Progestin-only pill. However, other Hormonal Birth Control methods include.
- Hormonal IUDs
- The shot
- Contraceptive patch
- Vaginal contraceptive ring
Yup, you guessed it, their impact on Libido is varied and with little actual evidence for anything. Yawn. That said, the very loose conclusions we can make are as follows:
- Combined contraceptives tend to have the biggest negative impact on Libido
- Progestin-only birth control methods have more ambiguous results
- Non-hormonal birth control doesn’t seem to decrease Libido at all!
Other causes for low Libido?
We’ll be the first to say that the lack of research on issues regarding female sex hormones is not okay. Fact. But, when it comes to Libido it is a particularly tricky subject. Even if proper research was carried out, there are so many non-hormonal elements that contribute to sex drive:
- Stress levels
- Mental health
- Your relationship with yourself or your partner
Trying to measure all of these factors is pretty damn difficult. And as we’ve established this is compounded by the lack of research on female sex hormones and even less about how they interact with birth control.
So what now?
If you think you’re experiencing low Libido because of birth control, talk to your doctor. You might be able to switch to a different type or take a break from medical contraceptives altogether. Maybe nonhormonal contraceptives might offer a better solution.
However, before you make a big decision like coming off birth control, it might be worth considering if there is another reason for your low libido. And that’s an excellent time to segway to the Hormona app. It’s fab, and you can track your sex drive intensity, plus all your other symptoms day, by day.
So, if you’ve lost your mojo, log your symptoms, talk to friends and doctors, and listen to your body. At the end of the day, the impacts of hormonal birth control are different for everyone, but if the cons are outweighing the pros, it might be time for a switch up. Whatever your choice, we know you’ve got this!
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