Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in Women: How to Treat HSDD

If you had a low libido for longer than six months and it's distressing you, you may have hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Find out everything you need to know.

The Promescent Team
Hands on, practical experience – this is our expertise
by The Promescent Team Last updated 01/02/2024
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A woman’s libido can fluctuate for a number of reasons, from high levels of stress to age-related hormonal changes.

The decrease in sex drive only becomes a problem when it becomes worrisome for you or your partner.

Quick FAQs

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder is a condition where women lack sexual desire for longer than six months and it causes distress.

Some of the causes HSDD include imbalance of chemicals, side effects of medication, and psychological conditions.

Different treatment options for HSDD include therapy, medication, and Kegel exercises.

It might be that the drop in sexual desire has developed into hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). HSDD is one of the most common sexual dysfunctions in women and is treatable.

We will examine the causes, symptoms, and treatments for hypoactive sexual desire disorder so you can regain control of your sex life.

What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)

One study reported that nearly 27% of premenopausal women and 52% of menopausal women experience low desire and HSDD.

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is medically defined as the lack of sexual thoughts or fantasies and a lack of desire for sexual activity, which causes distress or problems in the relationship.

Pro Tip: When it comes to relationships, communication is key, but  sex can be a tricky subject. Find how to talk to your partner about sex from the professionals at Promescent.

The clinical level of distress is a key part of the HSDD diagnosis. It can involve feelings of grief, incompetence, loss, sadness, and frustration.

For a hypoactive sexual desire disorder diagnosis, the sexual dysfunction can't be attributed to another factor such as medication or physical or mental issues. And the lack of sexual thoughts or wants must last six months or longer to be considered HSDD.

Causes of HSDD

The causes of hypoactive sexual desire disorder may have physical or psychological reasons, and in some cases, both.

  • Imbalance of chemicals: Researchers have concluded serotonin overactivity can cause HSDD.
  • Side effects of medication: Rates of sexual dysfunction have been found to be high with antidepressant use (SSRis)
  • Stomach problems: IBD and other stomach-related conditions can cause fatigue and stress, which can lead to HSDD.
  • Relationship issues: The health of a relationship can influence a woman’s sexual desire.
  • Psychological conditions. Stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and past sexual or physical trauma
  • Poor sleep quality. Insomnia or lack of quality sleep can make women have less next-day genital arousal.
  • Hormone imbalance. Low levels of testosterone or thyroid hormone and menopause can both cause HSDD in women.

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder Treatment

It’s important to take the time to speak with your personal physician if you suspect you’re suffering from HSDD.

Together you can develop a plan of treatment to relieve the symptoms of hypoactive sexual desire disorder to regain control of your sexual health. Here are some potential treatment options that might be recommended:

Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is proven to treat mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and past trauma.

Some women benefit from CBT by learning how to deal with negative thoughts regarding sex.

Couples dealing with sexual dysfunction find that couples therapy provides ways to address their issues and regain intimacy and sexual desire.

Women with HSDD benefit from seeing a professional that focuses on sex therapy. A sex therapist addresses the specific dysfunction and can aid in assigning foreplay and sexual techniques so that you can have more satisfying sex.

Medication

In 2015, the FDA approved the medication flibanserin (Addyi) to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder in premenopausal women.

Flibanserin is a non hormonal medication taken daily that helps increase sexual desire and sexual satisfaction.

Some doctors may prescribe other medication off-label as an HSDD treatment.

  • Bupropion - Often prescribed to treat HSDD caused by taking SSRIs. It aids in improving orgasm, arousal, and overall sexual function.
  • Buspirone - Treats anxiety disorders and can help increase sexual interest. It also helps with hypoactive sexual desire disorder caused by antidepressants.
  • Testosterone. Sometimes prescribed to perimenopausal and postmenopausal to balance hormones to improve arousal and libido and treat sexual distress.
  • Bremelanotide. A Bremelanotide injection is an HSDD treatment used in women that haven't gone through menopause and haven't experienced sexual dysfunction before.

Over-the-counter libido-boosting supplements are available that may address some symptoms of HSDD.

Pro Tip: Promescent makes a safe and effective libido support supplement specifically designed for women.

Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises can help increase blood flow to the genital region for better sensation and sexual function.

Your healthcare provider will direct you on how to find the correct muscle group and the best way to squeeze and relax the Kegel muscle.

Studies suggest that three sets of 10 to 15 Kegel exercises a day can strengthen the pelvic floor and improve overall sexual health.

Healthy lifestyle

Making simple lifestyle changes can improve overall health, addressing the possible causes of hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

  • Get moving. Aerobic exercises or strength training for 20 or 30 minutes daily will improve stamina, body image, mood, and sex drive.
  • Get proper sleep. Studies show the more you sleep, the more you'll likely want sex.
  • De-stress. Daily stresses can cause disinterest in sex. Take time for yourself with some yoga or mindfulness to relax.
  • Open communication. Sexual dysfunction isn't an easy conversation to have with a doctor, much less your partner. But, it can help open up the door to other ways to feel close to one another.
  • Stop bad habits. Cigarettes and alcohol are bad health habits that diminish sex drive.
  • Add a little spice to your sex life. Diverse and experiment with foreplay, try new sexual positions, or add some sex toys to the mix. Get out of your sexual comfort zone. 

Hormone treatments

Your healthcare provider may run blood tests to diagnose hormonal imbalances and prescribe a hormone treatment.

A doctor may prescribe low-dose testosterone to address sexual dysfunction.

Takeaways

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) is a common sexual dysfunction in women that is treatable. The symptoms include extreme distress concerning the lack of sexual thoughts, fantasies, and desires.

The sexual dysfunction can be cause by a number of issues such as imbalance of chemicals, side effects of medication and poor sleep quality.

Once a healthcare professional diagnoses HSDD, the treatment plan can include talk therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, or hormone therapy.

With help from your doctor and cooperation from your partner, you can treat HSDD and return to having a pleasurable sex life.

The Promescent Team

The Promescent Team

Our team has over a decade of experience in the sexual wellness field and are experts in sexual dysfunctions, like premature ejaculation. We help couples and individuals better understand treatment options available for different types of sexual needs and educate the public on all things related to intimacy. All of our authored content is medically reviewed for accuracy and reliability.

Sources:

Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC (Promescent) has strict informational citing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic or research institutions, medical associations, and medical experts. We attempt to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references and only citing trustworthy sources. Each article is reviewed, written, and updated by Medical Professionals or authoritative Experts in a specific, related field of practice. You can find out more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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