Birth Control Pills – A Possible Reason For Your Low Libido

If you feel less sexually active and find that your interest in sex is slowly declining, then your birth control pills could be the reason.

Oral contraceptive methods may be the best way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and is an effective and safe method for sex. However, there is a small percentage of women on birth control pills who face problems with their sexual functioning.

Before we get to know how the pill works, let’s examine the sex hormones present in a woman’s body.

Sex Hormones Present In A Woman’s Body

Sex Hormones In A Woman's Body

There are three main sex hormones that work in a woman’s body. They are as follows:1

  • Estrogen: This female sex hormone is produced by the ovaries, the adrenal gland, and, in small quantities, by body fat. This hormone regulates the cholesterol levels in the blood, retains calcium in the bones, maintains blood sugar levels,
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    and also helps in memory functions and emotional balance.
  • Progesterone: This hormone is produced the most during and after ovulation – the process which prepares the uterus to bear the fertilized egg.
  • Testosterone: This male sex hormone is produced in small quantities in the female body as well. This hormone affects the libido, mood, energy, and body fat.

When all these three hormones work together, there is a hormonal balance maintained. What most women don’t understand is the influence of testosterone in their sexual desires.

How The Pill Works

Birth Control Pills Prevent Ovulation

Birth control pills can be of two types –combination pills and progestin-only pills. The combination pills are composed of both estrogen and progesterone hormones while the progestin-only pills contain only progesterone hormone. The latter is used by women who are breastfeeding or by those who cannot take estrogen due to some medical condition.

The birth control pill works by preventing the woman’s ovulation. Ovulation is the process that releases the egg during the menstrual

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cycle. This prevents the woman from getting pregnant because if there is no egg released, there is nothing to get fertilized.

The pill also works by thickening the mucus around the cervix. This makes it difficult for any sperm to enter the uterus and reach the eggs, if any have been released.

The Pill And A Woman’s Sex Drive

Birth Control Pills Can Affect A Woman's Sex Drive

The pill suppresses the testosterone hormone; while many have reported an increase in sex drive with hormone suppression, there are a few women who have experienced a decreased libido.

Another side effect of using the birth control pill is its impact on vaginal lubrication. Some women experience less lubrication leading to vaginal dryness. This can cause sex to be painful.

There may also be a possibility of experiencing pain during and after intercourse if the pill is used for a long duration.

All these reasons together can impact a woman’s sex drive.

Ways To Prevent This Side Effect

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Most of the times, women experience these side effects for a brief duration – probably a couple of months. However, if you experience a low sex drive exactly when you’ve started using the birth control pill, explain the symptoms to your doctor.

Always stick to the timely doses of the birth control pill as prescribed by the doctor. Apart from the obvious – unplanned pregnancy – irregular or untimely use of the pill can cause hormonal fluctuations and these changes can alter your mood and sex drive.

Another way to prevent a low sex drive is by changing the current birth control pill you are on. If one pill causes side effects, you can try switching to another one under the supervision of a doctor.

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