Does the pill kill your sex drive?
O, The Oprah Magazine, January 2006
FINDINGS: In research being published this month in The Journal of
Sexual Medicine, 124 premenopausal women who attended a sexual
dysfunction clinic were separated into three groups: birth-control-pill
users, former users, and those who had never taken the pill. Blood
samples showed that current users had high levels of a protein called
SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), which pulls circulating
testosterone out of action and dampens libido and overall sexual
function. Levels declined when women went off the pill but were still
elevated six months later. "This is surprising," says study author
Irwin Goldstein, MD, editor of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. "The
effect of oral contraceptives on SHBG levels should have subsided at
that point." Now scientists question whether extended use of the pill
might have long-lasting--or permanent--effects on sexual enjoyment.
TAKEAWAY: Reduced sex drive is a known side effect of the pill.
Practitioners had previously assumed, however, that a woman's libido
bounced back after she stopped taking contraceptives. Laura Berman,
PhD, director of the Berman Center in Chicago, advises patients
struggling with low sex drive to consider other methods of birth