Have you noticed you don’t get in the mood as much as you used to? Do you dread knowing you won’t be satisfied when your partner wants to be intimate? Answering yes can mean you are experiencing libido loss. Libido refers to your desire for sexual activity or sexual gratification. There is no “normal” libido since people have different factors influencing their desire for sex.
Men and women experience fluctuations in libido. If you have a low libido, one reason is that your body does not produce enough sex hormones. Men with low libido are deficient in testosterone. Women tend to be lacking in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Another reason can be a medical condition, like Lyme disease.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection from a deer tick carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Lyme disease progresses in three stages, with symptoms increasing in severity. Early localized Lyme disease occurs in the first few days to weeks and may include symptoms such as headaches, flu-like symptoms, a bullseye rash, stiff neck, and fatigue.
Early dissemination is the second stage and may include all the symptoms in stage one: bell’s palsy, depression, anxiety, vision changes, heart palpitations, and swelling in the joints. Chronic Lyme disease or late dissemination stage can include all stage one and two symptoms, plus arthritis, vertigo, dizziness, sleep disturbances, brain fog, and problems processing thoughts.
Lyme Disease and Libido Loss
A recent study of patients with Lyme disease found that 50% had the symptom of low libido. Other reports claim Lyme disease causes a change in libido, not necessarily a decrease. However, those with an increase in libido report that the other Lyme disease symptoms make engaging in sexual activity too painful.
These findings suggest Lyme disease can affect libido in more than one way, indirectly through numerous disease symptoms. It is an unfair outcome of a debilitating condition. Below these connections to libido loss are discussed in more detail.
Lyme Disease, Depression, and Libido Loss
Studies show people with Lyme disease and mental health have a close connection. People with Lyme disease have higher instances of mental health disorders, up to 42% higher. Many experience depressive episodes, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Depression is another side effect that links to libido loss.
Depression occurs for many reasons, including an imbalance of the neurotransmitter Serotonin in the brain. Symptoms of depression include the inability to enjoy activities you once enjoyed. Both depression and Lyme disease cause a lack of energy and, in some, extreme fatigue. Feeling this way reduces your desire to engage in sexual activity.
Lyme Disease, Pain, and Libido
Different types of pain can also influence libido. For example, experiencing pain during sex lowers libido because you start to fear having sex. You can’t get in the mood because all you think about is the upcoming pain. Chronic pain associated with Lyme disease can lead to muscle and joint pain, tenderness, or soreness that may intensify during sex.
Lyme disease increases inflammation in the body. The pressure from inflammation causes nerve pain in some people. No matter what type of pain you have, it influences your mood negatively, which also affects your sex drive.
Lyme Disease, the Heart, and Libido
Lyme disease, when left untreated, can lead to heart palpitations, arrhythmias, and, worse, Lyme carditis. When the electrical signals between the upper and lower chambers of the heart interfere and stop working correctly, you may have Lyme carditis. This is a symptom of chronic Lyme disease in which Lyme bacteria enter the tissues of the heart.
Studies show that 60% and 87% of people simultaneously experience heart disease and sexual dysfunction, including low libido. Symptoms of heart problems may include shortness of breath, fatigue, and anxiety or fear of having a heart-related event during sex. All these symptoms can lower libido.
Lyme Disease, Medications, and Libido
Some medications affect libido, which is a bittersweet reality. You seek treatment for physical or psychological issues only to find out the medicines have side effects, like decreasing sex drive. If you take medication for any of the following, check with your doctor about whether it causes low libido:
- Heart failure
- Blood pressure
- Heartburn or GERD
- Birth control
- Fungal infections
- Seizures or epilepsy
Lyme Disease, Lifestyle, and Libido
Choices you make in your daily life can affect libido. For example, smoking cigarettes and misusing alcohol or drugs decrease sex drive. The more stressors you have, the higher the risk for low libido. Stressors may include:
- Relationship problems.
- Untreated mental illness or trauma.
- Low self-esteem.
- Poor body image.
- Unhealthy diet.
- Lack of physical activity.
- Not getting enough restorative sleep.
Treating Lyme Disease and Libido Loss
If you are experiencing libido loss, whether you have been diagnosed with Lyme disease or not, seek consultation with an infectious disease specialist, also called Lyme-literate doctors. The primary goal is to get a correct diagnosis so your doctor can create a treatment plan that works. Treatments may focus first on eliminating Lyme disease from your system. Lyme-literate doctors use advanced treatments to cure the problem. Some of these include:
- Intravenous antibiotics
- Vitamin infusions
- Therapeutic apheresis
- Biofilm eradication
- Detox therapy
If you haven’t heard of these treatments before, it’s time you see a Lyme-literate doctor. There are so many treatment options that can help you live a symptom-free lifestyle. Once your Lyme disease is treated correctly, your doctor can focus on increasing your libido.
Your sex drive will likely improve somewhat once the Lyme bacteria are eradicated from your bloodstream. However, other treatments may include bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and regenerative therapies. They can also help you make lifestyle changes by creating a unique nutrition plan incorporating vitamins and supplements to enhance sexual desire.
Supplements to improve libido include DHEA, Ginkgo, L-arginine, and Damiana. Also, learning to relax, reduce stress, get more sleep, and have more fun will contribute to healthy and enjoyable sexual activity. Start the process today by contacting a Lyme-literate doctor who can heal Lyme disease and low libido with the most advanced treatments.