Your Low Libido May be Caused by Adrenal Fatigue

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH


Low Libido? Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome May Be to Blame

A man and woman couple in bed, with the woman seemingly uninterested possibly with low libidoIf you are experiencing an unusual lack of sex drive, or low libido, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) may be the culprit. In fact, this is one of the most common hormonally related symptoms associated with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Looking at the problem of decreased sex drive from a scientific viewpoint, it makes sense that Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome lowers libido, since the body is trying to do everything it can to conserve energy. When the body is low on energy, reproduction is not a high priority. It’s more important to recover and survive first. Thus, your body will do any and everything it can to conserve energy, including slowing down non-essential functions such as your libido.

Why Does Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome Cause Low Libido?

As the body works to conserve energy, it must also determine which functions are essential and which can be sacrificed in the energy-saving effort. Of course, the functions performed by the heart and cardiovascular system must always be maintained, so large quantities of energy are directed there. Functions of the brain and nervous system are also critical to survival, and so the body supplies the energy necessary to support their functioning. The reproductive system, however, is not crucial to immediate survival, so it is placed on the “do not expend energy on” list.

The body will begin to redistribute and rebalance the way it uses energy and produces hormones accordingly. When the body cuts energy to the reproductive system, production of estrogen and testosterone—the hormones responsible for libido—will dramatically lessen, and in some cases production of these hormones stops completely. When this happens, a drop in libido is a natural side effect of the lowered hormonal activity.

Is Low Libido Always Caused by Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome?

Depiction of an eraser removing lipstick, signifying low libido and diminishing interestNow that you understand why Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome causes low libido, you may be wondering if a decreased sex drive is always an indication of the presence of adrenal issues. While a lowered, or even nonexistent, sex drive is often an indication of adrenal problems, a low libido alone is not a concrete indication that you are suffering from adrenal problems, as there are many other reasons for low libido.

To assess that, you need to consider your overall health to see if there are any other symptoms. In particular, those with Adrenal Fatigue often have problems relating to their NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response System, which includes all of the body’s coping mechanisms for stress. Examining each of the components of the NEM response is a good way to evaluate your body’s functioning, especially in situations of chronic stress. Low libido is but one part of the hormonal system that is regulated by the adrenals, thyroid, and reproductive system, which work together to regulate many hormones in your body and to balance your metabolism and reproduction. When you assess your overall health, you should be aware of the symptoms that may indicate to adrenal problems. Adrenal Fatigue may be at play if you regularly experience any of the following:

  • Extreme difficulty getting out of bed, even after a full night’s sleep.
  • Unusually high levels of fatigue every day regardless of your activity level.
  • Sudden or intense cravings for salty foods.
  • Intolerance to exercise or feeling extremely tired about an hour after the workout ends.
  • A marked inability to handle stress. This can include feeling anxious, depressed, apathetic, or irritable. It can also include an inability to focus even when you are trying to concentrate on specific things or tasks.
  • A weakened immune system. This can include frequent colds, infections, increased allergy symptoms, and autoimmune diseases.
  • An unexplained increase in energy levels late in the evenings.
  • Dizziness.
  • Numbness in your fingers or other indicators of poor circulation.

In addition to these symptoms, there are a few physical markers that may indicate an underlying adrenal issue. These include:

  • Dry skin.
  • Dark circles under your eyes.
  • Lines in your fingertips.
  • Weight gain that is unexplained by diet or lack of exercise.

If you notice several of these symptoms and you have a low libido level, you may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.

How Do I Address My Low Libido?

A man taking a pill for low libido, not realizing libido itself is not the root problemIt is important to understand that if you are experiencing the above symptoms, the problem is not with your libido itself, but rather with the adrenal glands. Using stimulants or medications designed to increase libido will not help solve the underlying problem. In fact, using stimulants is exactly the opposite of what your body needs and wants you to do, which is to rest and conserve energy. If you suffer from Adrenal Fatigue, stimulants will not be effective, because the problem isn’t with your sex drive. The problem is in your adrenal glands, and the low libido is simply a symptom of the adrenal problem. You may gain some temporary benefit, but often these benefits are short lived and the body gets weaker with time.

There is good news, however. You can address your adrenal issues and enjoy an increased libido through the use of natural compounds that are non-stimulatory, along with lifestyle and dietary adjustments. Unlike artificial stimulants, which only mask the issues while giving temporary benefit at best, several extremely effective compounds can be used to actually heal the adrenals and restore your sex drive. In fact, one of the tools used to gauge how the compounds are working for you and how well your body is healing involves monitoring your sex. In the context of AFS, low libido does not need to be handled separately from Adrenal Fatigue: as your adrenal glands become healthier, your libido will also improve spontaneously.

© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

A man and woman couple in bed, with the woman seemingly uninterested possibly with low libido