Antidepressants and the Pill Blamed for Low Sex Drive in Women

Apr 23, 2010
Women, who report about decreased sex drive, may need to reconsider taking antidepressants and the birth control pills, a new research suggests.

The studyby the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health has revealed that most women are distressed about lower sex drive and feel guilty about it. The study involved 31,000 women, aged between 18 and 44, with one in ten women complaining about hypoactive sexual desire disorder or low sex drive.

It was long believed that low libido is caused by stress, depression or problems in the relationships. The current study found that the most common causes of decreased sex drive were antidepressants and the birth control pills.

Dr. Carolyn Nemec, a woman's health specialist at the Cleveland Clinic says that many women think that low libido only affects women at menopause, while in fact many women face the problem at much younger age.

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is characterized as lack of sexual desire that causes distress. Many women with HSDD also become diagnosed with depression. Around half of women, taking antidepressants such as SSRI, also notice a decrease in sex drive.

Also some women, who take birth control pills, containing estrogen and progesterone, will report about low libido. Dr. Nemec explains that these hormones may increase the level of globulin protein, which in its turn binds with testosterone, a key factor in sex drive.

Specialists recommend choosing another type of antidepressants or low dosages antidepressants to reignite sexual desire. Women may also need to reconsider their birth control choice to boost libido.

The study was published in Obstetrics and Gynecology magazine.