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Are Your Birth Control Pills Hurting Your Sex Drive?

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3. When Your Sex Drive Wanes: What to Do

It could be the pill that's causing your libido loss, or it could be one of a million other factors. So what should you do if you're just not in the mood anymore? The experts agree that to properly diagnose and treat this problem, you'll need to have a lengthy conversation with your doctor. Unfortunately, most doctors (and many patients) just don't have the time for an hourlong session in an age where office visits tend to hover around the 10- to 15-minute mark.

But you can still have a productive talk with your doctor if you do your homework first. The key question to ask yourself is, has there been a change? From there, identify any circumstances -- starting birth control, beginning a relationship, feeling depressed or fatigued -- that might have coincided with the change in your libido.

Identifying the point of change is the key to identifying its cause, says Dr. Berga, who trains her medical students to begin with this inquiry. "Sometimes you'll have people come in who are 50 and they'll say, I have low libido," she reveals. "[The doctor] will say, how long has it been like this? And [the patient] will say, 40 years." If your libido has always been low, then the problem is most likely not with the birth control that you started taking two months ago.

If, once you've considered all the potential factors, you think the problem might be your birth control pills, Dr. Berga advises trying a different contraceptive method temporarily. Switching brands probably won't make much of a difference, she says. "Birth control pills have different hormones, but they're more similar than they are different. So if someone thinks that [their libido loss] might be pill-related, I think that they should try a different contraceptive method temporarily. You probably need to take at least a three-month break to have any clue."

If all else fails, another type of break may be in order. According to Dr. Davis, "A lot of people that complain about loss of libido will say, 'Except when we're on vacation.'" Why? "When they're on vacation, they have time to remember why they like each other and they're not exhausted, so their libido comes back." A week in Aruba sounds like our kind of cure.

Originally published on, April 2007.


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