Your thyroid condition can be responsible for a whole bunch of symptoms that seem unrelated at first glance, and all of them are equally frustrating. I hate to add to the list, but a recent study found that low libido can be a sign of thyroid dysfunction. Although your thyroid is mostly responsible for metabolic activity, its influence spreads to every nook and cranny in your body and impacts every system including those in charge of the heart, skeleton, and brain.
Thyroid symptoms are often more prevalent when your thyroid levels are too low. For you, this takes shape as weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, and cold intolerance. But high thyroid levels aren’t any less serious. They can result in excessive weight loss, heightened heart rates and sweating, and anxiety.
Like every other hormone, there’s a sweet spot when it comes to healthy ranges; when everything’s balanced, you’ll be in good health.
Unfortunately, there has been an increase in thyroid disorders, making optimal thyroid levels a lot less common.
But conventional health care has a grasp on these increasing thyroid disorder cases, right? Wrong. Conventional providers often view thyroid symptoms as “normal” or a result of stress– and it makes sense. Conventional practitioners rarely use the same tests as functional medicine practitioners; instead, they use testing that can’t really catch imbalances early on. And this is no fault of their own. Thyroid imbalances are hard to pinpoint in their early stages, and the symptoms come on slowly. That being said, every individual should listen to his or her body and make sure to find help whenever something doesn’t feel right.
So if you don’t quite have the sex drive you used to, don’t chalk it up to being overstressed or tired.
Sure, a low libido can be a downer, but the good news is that, now that we know it can be a sign of thyroid dysfunction, we can work get you back up and running.
1. Correlation or Causation?
Over 90% of thyroid imbalances are a result of autoimmunity, which is basically a case of mistaken identity. Your immune system mistakes the thyroid cells or gland as invaders and decides to attack. But that’s not always the primary cause. Sometimes, a growth or goiter on the thyroid is to blame because they can inhibit the thyroid from receiving hormonal messages, meaning that the thyroid can’t produce the correct amount of its hormone. Interestingly, individuals who had a growth or goiter experienced fewer issues with their libido than those who had thyroid autoimmunity.
2. Does Size Matter?
If an enlarged thyroid (by growth or goiter) was less likely to affect libido, why do those experiencing autoimmunity face this frustrating symptom? As a functional medicine practitioner, this is no surprise to me. If autoimmunity is at the root of a thyroid problem, high inflammation and gut problems are right behind, causing their own set of problems– some of which are directly related to sex hormone balance.
3. Getting Your Groove Back
Because those who suffered from autoimmunity (a result of inflammation) were much more likely to lose their sex drive, this study definitely supports my belief that libido is more of an inflammation problem than it is a thyroid problem. If that doesn’t convince you, check this out. The study also revealed that even after undergoing thyroid hormone replacement therapy and getting their thyroid levels up to “normal,” participants suffering from autoimmunity did not experience a restored libido. That being said, it seems clear that your thyroid may not be the issue, but in order to correct this symptom, you must dig deeper to find the cause of the inflammation before you can get your groove back.
Having a low sex drive is frustrating, and it could indicate an imbalance in your body. However, don’t be so quick to blame your thyroid just yet.
If you’ve lost your sex drive, or you find that you identify with the symptoms previously listed in this post, then I recommend finding a functional medicine practitioner who can pinpoint your specific imbalance.
At our clinic, we provide comprehensive analysis and cutting-edge testing to find the specific systems in your body that are out of whack so that we can tailor a treatment plan specific to your needs. Don’t make excuses for your low libido, address the problem head-on so that you and your partner can get back to business.