Where has all the passion gone? Hidden relationship killers

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Few things are more wonderful than the heat and passion of a new relationship. The fire we feel physically drives the intimacy that helps fuel our bond emotionally. So what happens when the fire starts to burn out? Is it inevitable, or are there hidden things that could be putting out the fire in your relationship?

While romantic love is emotional, biological elements help strengthen or weaken those feelings. For instance, men and women usually begin with similar levels of desire that promote intimacy and in turn fuel feelings of love. After a year or so, women’s brain chemistry evolves to a calmer, more sexually neutral state that prepares us to settle down. Men begin to wonder, “What happened to all the sex?” or worse, wander off looking for a new passion-fueled partner. I call it the heterosexual dilemma. And that’s just the beginning.

As we age, physical and emotional changes can alter how we feel and act around our partners, put a damper on our sex lives and, in turn, our romantic feelings.

The hormone testosterone fuels libido and performs other critical functions, and women naturally have less than men. During menopause, testosterone decreases to very minimal levels, and that’s why women experience decreased desire. For men, levels gradually decline after age twenty, so issues or symptoms may not arise until their forties or fifties.

While the natural decline of testosterone in men and women tempers libido, there may be other factors in play. Birth control pills, antidepressants, blood pressure, cholesterol, and pain medications can wreak havoc on testosterone levels. Stress, anxiety, weight gain, drug or alcohol usage, sleep disorders and poor diet as well as conditions like high blood pressure, thyroid problems, high blood sugar, diabetes and other health issues can all affect libido, and in turn, the quality of your relationship.

So, if you’re wondering where the fire has gone, see your doctor. It just might save your relationship!

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.