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Low Libido in Men: Common Causes and Available Solutions

Low Libido in Men: Common Causes and Available Solutions

By Mike Kocsis | 7 minutes read | Last updated: September 29, 2022
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  • Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos

    Evidence Based Research

    The interest in sex, also called libido, generally decreases with age in men. In a recent study, researchers collected data from more than 12,000 45-year-old men. They found that 1 in 20 men had a low interest in sexual activity.

    It is okay not to have an interest in sex from time to time, but if the feeling persists, you may have trouble with your intimate relationships. Low libido can also be an indicator of a serious health problem. To this end, you should talk to your doctor about the problem and try to figure out a suitable solution.

    This article talks about the causes of low libido and the connection to testosterone levels. Read on to find out more about the solutions to low libido!

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    What is low libido?

    Before we move ahead and discuss the signs or symptoms of low libido, let’s first talk about low libido a bit more.

    Low libido, the loss of interest in sexual activities, is often confused with erectile dysfunction (ED). Though both conditions are connected to some extent, they are totally different from each other.

    Low libido means you do not want to participate in sexual activity. However, erectile dysfunction means you are unable to gain and sustain an erection.

    Both conditions can happen due to poor mental and physical health, including changes in hormone levels, stress, anxiety, eating habits, etc.


    Signs of low libido in males

    Sings of low libido vary from man to man. Typically, here is what men feel when they have low libido.

    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Low sperm count
    • Fatigue
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Muscle loss
    • Hot flashes
    • Difficulty concentrating


    What causes low libido?

    Many physical and psychological issues can cause low libido in men. Some of the major factors that contribute to this issue include:

    Low testosterone

    Testosterone is an androgen hormone that plays an important role in the development of the reproductive system in men. Its concentration varies in men from time to time.

    Your body secretes it in abundance when you are in your early 20s or late teens. Then, after 30, its level starts dropping by 1% per year. For this reason, 35% of men over 45 are reported to have low testosterone levels.

    In addition to the natural decline in testosterone levels, some underlying health problems such as type 2 diabetes can also cause low testosterone (low T).

    The normal amount of testosterone ranges from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) in men. If your levels are below 300 ng/dL, you have low T. Common symptoms of low T include:

    When your testosterone levels decline, your desire to have sex also declines. You should talk to your doctor if you experience the symptoms mentioned above.


    Certain medications can also affect your testosterone levels. It might be due to the damage they cause to the pituitary gland, or testes.

    Some examples of medications that lower testosterone levels are:

    • Chemotherapy drugs
    • Corticosteroids
    • Antidepressants
    • Certain hormones that are given to prostate cancer patients
    • Pain relievers such as oxycodone and morphine
    • Anabolic steroids
    • Antifungal medication

    Discuss the problem with your doctor if you experience low T symptoms due to these medications. They may provide you with an alternative medication.

    Smoking and chronic health conditions

    Some chronic health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and chronic liver failure are also linked to low libido. They reduce the production of testosterone in the body, which eventually decreases your desire for sex.

    These conditions change blood vessels in the penis and lead to erectile dysfunction, further reducing your sex drive.

    Active and passive smoking also produce a similar effect. Studies show smokers aged 40 to 70 have an increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction compared to men who don’t smoke. Smoking effects are dose-dependent. Young men who smoke 20 cigarettes daily can experience severe ED if they don’t stop smoking.


    In this fast-paced world, stress has become a common problem among men. It produces many negative effects. One of them is the reduction in testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction.

    When you are stressed, your blood vessels constrict, restricting the flow of blood and hormones. As a result, your libido declines. In one study, researchers found that war veterans who had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction.

    Low libido caused by stress can be restored by stress management. In a study, men with erectile dysfunction noticed a great improvement in their symptoms after joining a stress management program.

    Know that prolonged stress can affect your health in many ways. You should take a break or participate in a stress management program if stress is reducing your libido, causing anxiety, and decreasing self-esteem.


    Depression and anxiety are also linked to low libido. These mental problems reduce your interest in things you used to like, including sex.

    If you take antidepressants like serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), you may have low libido and trouble getting an erection.

    Talk to your doctor if you experience this issue. They may reduce your dose or change the medication.


    Lack of exercise and physical activity is another factor that causes low sex drive.

    When you do not regularly perform exercises, your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure increases. All these health problems cause low libido.

    On the other hand, over-exercising also negatively affects your sex drive. In a research study, scientists concluded that men who regularly performed lengthy and intense endurance exercises had a higher low libido percentage compared to men who performed moderate exercise.

    Make moderate exercises a part of your lifestyle. They can reduce your cortisol (stress hormone) levels and help you cope with stress, improving your libido.


    Low libido test

    Low testosterone levels usually cause low libido. Therefore, its test involves checking the amount of testosterone in the blood.

    It is a simple blood test in which your blood sample is withdrawn and sent to the laboratory. You get results in a day or so. It shows the amount of free testosterone, total testosterone, and bioavailable testosterone in your blood.


    Questions to ask your doctor

    If you have low libido, ask these questions to your doctor during your consultation to better understand your condition and its solutions.

    • Why do I have low libido?
    • What are the treatment options for this problem?
    • Which treatment is the most suitable choice for me?
    • What are the risks of treatment?
    • Can I improve my libido naturally?


    How to increase libido

    You need proper treatment based on the cause of the issue to increase your libido. If your low libido is due to stress, obesity, lack of physical exercise, and medications, your doctor may suggest a few lifestyle changes to improve your condition.

    But, if the cause is low T due to an injury to the pituitary gland or testes, you may need testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Your doctor will evaluate your testosterone levels and then prescribe a suitable testosterone dose to restore your testosterone. You can have this treatment in different forms, such as injections, gels, and skin patches.

    TRT is a lifelong treatment; your testosterone level will return to its pretreatment level when you stop taking it. Therefore, you need to discuss the procedure and its complications in detail with your doctor before selecting it for low libido.



    How to boost libido naturally?

    You can improve your libido naturally if it is due to lifestyle issues such as stress, sleep problems, etc. Here are a few ways people use to boost their libido and testosterone naturally.

    • Eat testosterone-boosting foods such as figs and bananas.
    • Certain herbs like Ginkgo Biloba, garlic, and basil are libido-boosting.
    • Improve your eating habits. Eat a balanced diet consisting of healthy amounts of fats, carbs, and proteins.
    • Incorporate exercise into your lifestyle to manage stress, reduce obesity, and encourage the production of testosterone.
    • Avoid excessive smoking and drinking.
    • Get at least 8 hours of sleep every day.
    • Use different stress management techniques to tackle stressful conditions effectively.


    Can you measure your libido?

    No, there is no way to measure libido numerically. However, you can feel your condition yourself. If you have low libido symptoms mentioned above, you should the issue with your doctor and find a suitable treatment.


    Summing it up

    Low libido is caused by multiple issues such as low T, type 2 diabetes, stress, etc. If your relationship with your partner is disturbed due to it, it is best to first diagnose the cause of the problem and then treat it as fast as possible way.

    So far, TRT has helped millions of men improve their libido and quality of life. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more about the benefits of TRT and get started today!

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    References/Bibliography/Further studies/Scientific Studies/Further reading

    Rizk, P.J., Kohn, T.P., Pastuszak, A.W. and Khera, M., 2017. Testosterone therapy improves erectile function and libido in hypogonadal men. Current opinion in urology, 27(6), p.511.

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    This article has been researched and written based on scientific evidence and fact sheets that have then been crossed checked by our team of doctors and subject matter experts.

    References, sources and studies used alongside our own in-house research have been cited below, most of which contain external clickable links to reviewed scientific paper that contain date stamped evidence.

    Our team of healthcare experts and GMC registered doctors are licensed to UK GMC standards. We strive to provide you with the latest evidence based, researched articles that are unbiased, honest and provide you with accurate insights, statistics and helpful information on the discussed topic to ensure you gain a better understanding of the subject. You can read more about our Editorial Process by clicking here.

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    About the Author: Mike Kocsis

    Mike KocsisMike Kocsis has an MBA with a focus on healthcare administration and is an entrepreneur and medical case manager for Balance My Hormones Ltd which offers medical services in the UK and Europe. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector, much of that working with people who have hormone imbalances. Mike has appeared on podcasts and radio and is an expert speaker on the subject of hormone imbalance. He specialises in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and has helped thousands of people suffering from hormone imbalances recover and regain control of their lives. You can follow him on LinkedIn and on the Balance My Hormones YouTube Channel.

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