PHOENIX -- Statistically, most first marriages that end in divorce last an average of seven years. That climbs to 10 years for second marriages. Intimacy and desire help fuel feelings of love in a relationship, but these feelings aren’t just emotional – they also have a biological basis. Low testosterone or ‘Low T’ can be a contributing factor in infidelities and divorces because healthy levels are needed to “feel” desire. If more people understood the connection, we’d all have a lot less heartache and health problems.
Here’s the key: Low T is not the exclusive territory of men. A woman’s hormonal makeup is around 60 percent estrogen and 40 percent% testosterone; and a man’s is 95 percent testosterone and 5 percetn estrogen. Women are far more likely to have deficiencies. We have less of it to begin with, and we’re likely to be prescribed medications that can wreak havoc on our levels. (Oral contraceptives are the biggest offender – antidepressants run a close second.)
Low T in women not only kills libido, it affects energy levels, sexual responsiveness, moods, causes weight gain which spurs self-consciousness or feeling undesirable, and so on – it’s a vicious circle. Add in the natural decline of testosterone levels in perimenopause (usually the late 30s - early 40s) and it’s no wonder women don’t feel like having sex and their partners start feeling neglected.
Since women with low T can’t or struggle to “feel” desire, they begin to question their relationship; their partners feel neglected and suddenly everyone is frustrated. Lack of desire and intimacy begins to create distance and the bonds of the relationship can begin to fray. Women who see their doctors aren’t finding the help they need either.
Too many doctors are likely to attribute these types of physical symptoms to depression and stress, prescribe an antidepressant and call it a day. They’re treating the symptom, and not the cause!
We already know oral contraceptives, antidepressants and other medications wreak havoc on our testosterone levels. Since most antidepressants also tend to suppress libido, they perpetuate the cycle, and couples grow further apart, and that’s when relationships are most vulnerable to infidelity or divorce.
Replacing testosterone in women (and men) increases libido. Once the sex drive is restored and emotional and physical connections between partners are often reestablished. I’ve seen couples rekindle their feelings for each other and return to enjoying fulfilling, intimate lives, simply through hormone replacement therapy. What more could a doctor ask for than seeing patients become happier and healthier?
Dr. Angela DeRosa is a nationally recognized expert in the field of Internal Medicine and Women's Health. DeRosa Medical has locations in Scottsdale, Sedona and Chandler. For more information, call 480-619-4097 or visit DeRosaMedical.com.