Many midlifers complain that their sex drive diminishes with age. What they may not realize is that some of the blame rests with what's in their medicine cabinets.
Dr. Lynne Shuster, the founding director of the Women's Health Clinic at the Mayo Clinic, says there are many prescription drugs that are commonly prescribed for post 50s that adversely impact a person's interest in and ability to have sex.
She cautions that a diminished sex drive may not be reason enough to discontinue a needed drug, but that it's absolutely worth having a conversation with your doctor about the issue. "There are often other medications that can be substituted that would not have this unwanted side effect," she said. And while ads abound encouraging men to speak with their doctors about erectile dysfunction, it is rare to come upon anything suggesting women with a low libido consult with their physicians.
"Women absolutely need to come forward with this. If it's a problem for you, talk to your doctor," says Shuster. Some medications can adversely impact the ability to become aroused or reach orgasm. They work on both the brain and the genital tissues, she said. "If someone was having pleasurable sex before taking this medicine and then all of a sudden can't have an orgasm or has no desire to have sex, there certainly would appear to be a link," Shuster said. "They should talk to their doctor."
Check out our slideshow below for four types of medication that can reduce libido, according to Dr. Shuster.
Anti-depressants affect the serotonin levels of the brain. Known as SSRIs, some of the popularly prescribed ones include Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa.
Taking narcotics on a daily basis can affect sexual function. Vicodin, frequently prescribed for serious pain management, can also cause chronic erectile dysfunction in men.
Medications to treat high cholesterol can affect libido. That includes any of the so-called statin drugs, such as Lipitor and Mevacor.
Beta-blockers are commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure and other heart problems. They were the fifth most widely prescribed class of medicines in the U.S. in 2009, according to Consumer Reports. They include drugs such as Inderol and Metroprolol.