Why Women Get Low Sex Drive
There are many factors that contribute to women losing their sex drive. Stress, menopause, pregnancy, life changes, reactions to medication and many other factors can contribute to this condition. While men have had medical solutions for decades now (Viagra, Cialis, etc), women have not as fortunate to have an alternative for themselves. Recently, some drugs have been released to be taken as the so called “female Viagra”. However, these do not necessarily mean there is a magic bullet.
What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)
Hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD, is defined as a woman’s lack of interest in sex or lower libido. The causes span a rather long range. One of the most common is imbalances in the brain’s neurotransmitters, that prevent chemicals that produce sexual excitement. Relationship conflicts as well as preexisting psychological conditions can also effect a woman’s sex drive. Certain medications can also be a cause, particularly anxiety and high blood pressure can also be the culprit. There are currently 2 FDA approved medications on the market to treat HSDD in women. There drugs are Vyleesi (Bremelanotide) and Addyi (Flibanserin). While male sex enhancement products focus on increasing blood flow to the penis and relaxing of muscles, Vylessi and Addyi focus on reacting with a woman’s neurotransmitters.
Addyi (Flibanserin in Australia) is an orally taken medication, mostly for treating per-menopausal women for HSDD. It’s a pill you take daily, weather you plan on having intercourse later or not. It was originally developed by Boehringer Ingelheim, but research was discontinued after the FDA gave them a negative evaluation in the fall of 2010. Eventually, the rights were transfered over to a company called Sprout Pharmaceuticals. They were finally able to get approval in August of 2015.
How Addyi works
Addyi works by indirectly with the chemical dopamine. Serotonin levels are often the cause of HSDD, so Addyi works to counterbalance this. There is no known reason for why it is effective, but it appears to react well with the melanocortin receptors. In 3 different placebo controlled studies, it was shown to increase arousal tremendously. The number of actual satisfying sexual encounters did not increase however. Also of note, the side effects do include nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness. It should also be noted that it may cause the lowering of blood pressure, especially if taken with alcohol.
The other medication, Vyleesi (Bremelanotide), is for women who are postmenopausal. It was approved by the FDA for human consumption in June of 2019. Unlike Addyi, it is not taken orally, but rather it is injected. Much like it’s male counterpart Viagra, it is injected 45 minutes to an hour before sex, usually via the stomach or thigh. It’s effects can last up to 24 hours, and it should not be taken any more than 8 times within a given month, as discoloration of the skin (hyper-pigmentation) is one of the main side effects. Unlike Addyi which is reacts badly with alcohol, there are no negative reactions between alcohol and Vylessi. Nausea, hot flashes and injection site reactions are the most common side effects. It should also be noted that Vyleesi sells for about 0 a dose in the US as of 2019.
While on the topic of female “Viagra” products, it is often wondered if women also take Sildenafil for their sexual problems. But do women actually take it? The short answer: yes. Some women do in fact take Viagra for a libido boost. This was especially more prevalent before Addyi and Vyleesi were approved for safe usage by the FDA. But the question still remains does it actually work on woman? Sort of.
Effects on women
There has been little if any concrete testing to see if Sildenafil has on any effect on women. In one of the few studies, it was shown to possibly work to combat the sexual side effects of certain antidepressants. It also, like in male counterparts, increases the blood flow to the genitals. This however, does not address the problem of mental sexual arousal. Both men and women can be aroused physically without mental stimulation. So while some women do experience better sexual experiences overall, it’s not really solving the root of the overall problem.
Does female Viagra exist
The question about female Viagra is a rather complex one. While there are medications to help in certain aspects of HSDD, it’s not a one size fits all solution.It will be interesting to see where this journey takes us in the future.