This One Hormone Is Super Important For Your Sex Drive

Our adrenal glands— two little bean-sized organs that sit on top of our kidneys— are where many certain kinds of hormones are made, including stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, as well as sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.

They also produce a hormone called DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), which is also responsible for making many other important hormones that are key in maintaining mood, weight, and bone health to prevent early aging.

It’s also one of the main libido-boosting agents, so when you find yourself in unusually low spirits when it comes to sexual drive, DHEA levels may be a factor to consider. Outside of more severe hormonal medical conditions such as Addison’s Disease and Hypopituitarism, the main causes of low DHEA are:

1. Chronic Stress

When our adrenal glands are working extra hard to produce stress hormones, it makes less room for DHEA production, resulting in plummeting libido. Here are three self-care tips to manage stress when you need to step back and take a break.

2. Lack of Quality Sleep

Sleeping is extremely important for maintaining stress. A bad night’s sleep or longer sleep deprivation can lead to increased cortisol levels in the bloodstream— and who wants to have sex when all you want is to sleep?

3. Overexercising

While exercising is important, overexertion is never great for anyone. While physical pains and/or soreness also contribute to a less-than-enthusiastic response for sex, hormone depletion is also an important factor, as your adrenal glands produce a multitude of hormones for physical activity. Overexertion can cause your adrenal glands to suffer.

4. Under Eating

Nutrition is a huge factor when it comes to hormone balance. Read more about what and how to eat by checking out the nutrition tag on Period Matters.

Although many of us think of having a difficult boss or juggling work and home life as stress, denying our body of nutrients and time for rest are also severe stressors on the body. So remember to breathe deeply, get your sleep, take breaks, and eat your breakfast… your sex life depends on it!

Low libido is not uncommon, and nothing to be ashamed of. It also involves a myriad of factors. Read more about other causes for low sex drive.

This is an excerpt from a post written by Dr. Leah Gordon, ND, a naturopathic and functional medicine doctor based in San Diego, CA. Founder of Tribe Medicine and Womanhood Wellness. She loves teaching and empowering others to live healthier lives for themselves, their children, and their communities.
Abridged content curated and edited by Jean Lin. Expanded to include a trigger warning, as well as additional language and context to be gender-inclusive.



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