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Are you distressed and/or unhappy because you have been experiencing a lack of sexual desire? Do you remember a time when you would daydream about an intimate encounter with your mate?  Have you noticed that your body let you down during your sexual encounters?   You could have hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). HSDD is more common than you think: approximately 55 percent of women experience this condition or some other form of sexual dysfunction at some point in their lives. It can be distressing, but you are not alone and there is hope.

Symptoms and Causes of HSDD

The main symptom of HSDD is a loss of interest in sex associated with feelings of distress. Although fluctuations in sexual desire are a normal part of life, noticeable, prolonged periods of decreased sexual interest may be a form of sexual dysfunction.  Diagnosis depends on the level of distress caused by your low sex drive and the surrounding circumstances. HSDD can be generalized, where you lack desire in most sexual circumstances. Another classification is situational, where you only lack desire at certain times. When this occurs, it could be related to something stressful in your life.  Many times HSDD is acquired. This means that at some point in your sexually active life, you did experience sexual desire/fantasy, but now it is dissipating. There are times when lack of sexual desire is lifelong, meaning one never experiences, nor has ever experienced sexual desire. This variation will not be discussed within this blog.  

HSDD is a common, but sometimes complex condition. It can happen in women of any age, and requires attention to both psycho-relational components as well as physiological factors. Emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression can contribute to the cause as well as be an effect of the condition. You might also loose your desire for sex after a traumatic experience such as sexual abuse or rape. Often, HSDD does not result from a single cause or event, but from a combination of causes that lead to a loss of sexual desire over time. Certain medications, such as, but not limited to contraceptives and antidepressants, can affect sex drive as well. There is also credible research that suggest neurotransmitters play a role in balancing sexual desire.

Living with HSDD

Living with HSDD can be difficult because the impact of the condition often goes beyond your sexual health. HSDD can lead to, or worsen depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, and problems with relationships. It can also cause anger, frustration, fatigue, and a lack of motivation. It is easy to think that these problems could be causing your lack of interest in sex, but the opposite could be true. HSDD may cause you to feel unlike yourself, and you may worry that you may never recover. Do not accept that! Treatments are available, and recovery is possible. We will explore the treatment options in further detail in our next blog.

Talking About HSDD

The biggest roadblock to treatment is not talking about HSDD. If you suspect you may have HSDD, your first step to treatment is having an open conversation with your partner and, of course, your general practitioner, or women's health specialist. It is normal to feel anxious when talking about loss of interest in sex, but your doctor is there to help, not judge you. With organizations such as Sprout Pharmaceuticals helping to raise awareness of HSDD, your doctor will likely be more attuned to the issue and more prepared to talk about it with you than ever before. 

You may wish to do your own research so that you can be informed with useful information at your consultation. This will also allow your doctor to answer any questions you have gathered, as well as address any myths you may have stumbled upon.  It is important to realize that there is a lot of misinformation out there, so make sure you only look to trusted sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the National Institutes of Health (NIH) when searching for information. If you do not have a doctor, or need help with your research, you can always call Chase Medical Research. We can answer your questions and refer you to one of our partner doctors.

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