Would Anti-Depressants, Low Vitamin D, Endometriosis & Hysterectomy Affect Your Libido?

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 07:54
Submitted by Betty Dodson

Dear Dr. Betty,

I was just wondering if the following things would affect my libido or lack there of. I am 42 and married with 2 kids. I have been on anti-depressant medication (150mg) for years and have to take for life.

I also just had tests done that showed I am very low in vitamin D. (Have to take 5 or 5000mg vitamin D3 till end of December and then one (1000mg) for rest of my life.

I had endometriosis as well but have since had a hysterectomy. (I will still go through menopause normally).

Dear R,

I don't use the term "libido" because it's more confusing than enlightening. It's a psychiatric term for "sex drive" and for women can be especially confusing once we are past puberty and the onslaught of hormones.

Since so few women have childhoods that included touching their sex organs for pleasure, many of us reach maturity, have lovers, get married and give birth without ever experiencing orgasm. To complicate matters, most religions prohibit masturbation which is how most of us discover that our genitals are capable for giving us pleasurable sensations. Add to all this the most common definition of sex is heterosexual intercourse which leaves out the clitoris, our primary organ for sexual pleasures and orgasm.

You make no mention of your capacity for orgasm which would determine sexual desire to a large degree. It is a known fact that antidepressents block orgasms and the fact that you must take them for a lifetime pretty much answers your question as to the absence or low sexual interest. According to your history, it's a miracle that you have any sexual interest at all.

I would encourage you to get a Magic Wand electric vibrator and practice using it during masturbation. Some times the strong vibrations can get through the fog of the meds. Remember, antidepressents are designed to keep you on a even keel while an orgasm or even mild pleasurable sensations requires the body to reach higher levels of "feeling" that your medication then levals off.

It's good that your surgeon left your ovaries so your hormones are still working which is why you will go through menopause. Let me know if the vibrator was of any help. Wishing the best for you,

Dr. Betty

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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not short or sweet

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 13:30
anonirama (not verified)

If you are having problems with vitamin D you might also have trouble with calcium because it needs vitamin D to be absorbed.
Sun on all your naked body ideally, with shorts or least clothing possible for the vitamin D 20-30 min every other day. Avoid the strong sun hours, usually from 12-4pm depending on where you live. If you can't access the sun on a regular basis blue-green algae like spirulina can help, never at night it can produce insomnia, but with caution (ask a professional) and green vegetables which are high in chlorophyl and this makes them sun catchers.

Check your diet: beware of animal products including dairy; that can inflame and produces mucous around the reproductive organs(if you've vomited with endometriosis you probably have seen the mucous, similar happens if you eat a lot of flour, if you've done glue for a school project you'll know) and of course refined sugar which to be digested takes vitamins and minerals from your reserves if you have any and if not it goes straight to your to your bones, blood and tissues. Sugar and depression are enemies, but to diminish sugar cravings you must reduce animal products, salt, eggs... All these are very concentrated energies which will seek dispersion with sugar, coffee,alcohol.... If possible eat more whole grains (rice,quinoa,oats,buckwheat), veg, seeds (specially sesame which is high in tryptophane and this boosts serotonin, grind them a bit with a pestle and mortar), seasonal fruit not tropical, seaweed, pulses(azuki), tofu...

If you are not a vegan white fish, specially cod and a lot of seafood if you want to eat meat birds are the healthiest choice. Of course if they can be organic, we must realize first of all that most red meats come from mammals and we are mammals,  we also eat the violence they have been treated with, no wonder we are depressed, but I'm not going to get into animal rights.
All of this if you don't have allergies or intolerance. 

Cooked food, I know raw food is very popular at the moment and it may suit you, where you live and your constitution. For me cooked food works best, cooked with fire so my body doesn't have to be the fire that cooks them. This has always made sense to me. Remember fire=sexual energy. Keep that fire burning. Raw food may suit more, for example someone with too much fire.
Alcohol does appear to bring out the fire in very small dosages but it just evaporates. 
 Similar effects to alcohol but healthier are cinnamon and tumeric. Other ''sexual stimulants'' can be onion, garlic, saffron, star anis, rosemary, clove, fennel, basically a curry.
If you suffer from slow digestions that probably means slow fire. Not many people are up for it after an abundant christmas dinner, you just want to lay on the sofa. Eat slow, chew and easy to digest foods.
These are just suggestions and personal opinions and experiences. Remember always seek professional advice and listen to your body, we are individuals with individual needs, we must remember this because it is very much silenced in our world. So we are inevitably disconnected from our bodies. Give thanks your body has spoken to you, not in the nicest way but probably is the only way it could, 
if we don't give our bodies pleasure they will respond with pain. No one to blame not even our selves. But we are responsible of our own pleasure in sickness and in health....

In chinese medicine the kidneys and liver are responsible for this fire, this sexual energy. The first one helps to distribute the fire around your body. A lot of times problems with ''libido'' are caused by an emotional block this blocks and tenses the liver And if you are taking meds, we all know the effects of meds or alcohol or even fat on our livers. Alcohol (and cigarettes) unblocks the liver relaxes it we liberate our emotions, but then it contracts again and emotions so it produces a vicious circle and you will end up worse than before trying to relax.
Men are more prone to having this organ affected, we can see it in all the angry men out there. Take care of your livers!!!

Breathing, with kegels or yoga, dancing, orgasms, constant genital orgasms have specially helped me in both depression and endometriosis. Or what ever makes your fire burn, whatever moves the energy around your body. 
 all limitation contains a possibility
Sometimes illnesses come for stagnant energy, be it mind or body. I have always see illnesses as opportunities as alerts,
Illnesses happen when we need to change something. Think that your body is in tune enough to give you a warning sign. Some are so out of tune that only hear near to the grave. 
We are lucky to have human barometers, like people with mental illnesses that make us aware of the troubles we are facing. For me, many are rebels, unacknowledged, unaware revolutionaries of cultural and social restrains.
One of Dr. Betty's quotes:''Like many women, I rarely "need" sex like I need to quench thirst or hunger. But after I've had my vibrator near my clitoris for a few minutes, I'm definitely interested in having an orgasm because I'm turned on and it feels good. This is what porn does for men.
So...just touch yourself and see where it takes you, feel your body and why not your sadness too. Give thanks to your body.
These may seem a lot of suggestions, but what kind of a world we live in if we don't have time to take care of ourselves. And our solution is meds, quick fixes when we just need time, understanding and acceptance. is that really too much to ask?. Sorry I'm so angry, for so many people (specially women) suffering, no, sometimes not even suffering, diagnosed with depression because they react to an accepted abuse from society.
take care

Sex drive and antidepressants

Sat, 09/20/2014 - 15:08

I like the suggestions for taking care of 'the whole person'. Diet, exercise, kegels, self-pleasuring. Meditation and yoga could be a part of this picture, too. You can find many ideas on D&R for getting back in touch with your body and its capacity for pleasure (vibrators, etc.). You mention that you're on antidepressants, but don't say which ones. Many of the modern antidepressants are either SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft) or SNRIs (Celexa). These can definitely make orgasms harder to obtain for both men and women as well as lower our desire for sex. Wellbutrin, on the other hand, has a different mechanism of action and doesn't seem to interfere with orgasm. Psychotherapy in combination with medication has been shown to be especially effective for depression; cognitive behavioral therapy also helps many with depression to identify and defeat the negative thought patterns that can keep them depressed. You might discuss medication and further treatment options with your healthcare provider---hopefully they'll be sympathetic and have some concrete suggestions for you. Best wishes.

Sorry, well said

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 05:45
anonirama (not verified)

 I am always too hasty to find all alternatives possible to medication & we don't know the reasons for which R is taking anti-depressants. Sometimes there are chemical imbalances that can only be solved with other chemicals. And of course therapy is so important, to discover the reasons we are depressed, it should be more widespread and common. Even though I believe some forms of depression are quite normal reactions to some situations we are faced with in daily life direct or inderectly I too understand not wanting to feel that way or having responsabilities, like children, etc for which we have to respond to.

 I guess I have always have had fear, rejection of meds having seen my auntie struggle with bipolar disorder, how medication has deteriorated all her senses, organs, brain, sexual response...and wondering in what way can that possibly help her?. Now she is in a state of numbness, she can't even bend to put on her trousers and she is waiting for the highs as if she were addicted because on a high she's the queen of the world! and goes out partying 3 days in a row, and the police may bring her back having found her swimming naked on the beach. You could understand she likes being high so much. Because of this uncertainty, she hasn't been able to take of herself and therefor neither of her daughter. Of course this is her personal case, for one she has never accepted her illness and two, as they say it is PEOPLE WITH mental illnesses or disorders, a lot of people manage to have a ''normal'' life.
Patrick don't you think sometimes we are asked for more than we can give? and we sometimes just break

it seems to me we accept a lot of human behaviours as ''normal'' that can be considered disorders. We would say that an agressive bussiness man is normal, he is doing his job, making money and conforming to society. Maybe he has so much stress after that he takes it out with his family. We would say a person with a 9-5 job is ''normal'' and that after collecting the kids from school, doing the shopping, etc once they get home it is ''normal'' they just want to have dinner and watch TV with maybe little interaction and overdosing on food an images of other peoples lives. We could say obesity, eating disorders, anxiety, anger, addiction, being depressed for all the things that happen in the world; war, violence... not being able to give to the world or be all it asks from us or conform is ''normal''. 

I see so many women with depression lately, too many (and prescribed with meds too soon). And too many men with anger. They say it's the same thing but sadness goes on the inside and rage on the outside. Heads &/or tails, 2 sides of the same coin, but we still can't see each other and still have to choose one to see what fate brings us.
Too quickly we want to hide all that is uncomfortable, abnormal, weird, painful, ... to quickly we want to numb down and turn away. Not see the roots of things, the cause or the darker sides and that we are more than separate parts. What about the collateral effects, what about the residue and impact of prescription drugs in our bodies? or how it will affect other aspects? we don't seem to deal with this in western medicine.

R for reasons we do not know has to take anti-depressants but also wants or is expected to have a ''normal'' sex life. Sometimes I really don't understand the train of thoughts and the reflective process behind conventional medicine. A more honest, real, empathic approach can only come when viewing the whole picture and that means opening our minds.
 In my country due to recession they have started charging for prescription drugs, and one of the benefits (not for people who have chronic pain or really need them) is that people are taking less, before I remember my grandmother had enough paracetamol & diazepam (these are staple here, one for the pain and the other if the pain is affecting your sleep) in her house to overdose a horse.
Perhaps when finally East meets West and body meets mind we will find a very holistic approach to illness
A global approach to individual needs
I am hopeful we are going towards '' the WHOLE PERSON'' era

Anonirama, I like your ideas about alternative approaches

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 20:59

Anonirama, I like your ideas about alternative approaches, being aware of nutrition, energy flows, and listening to your body. They are also important. Too often we in the West are conditioned to think that there are 'magic pills' for every ailment. Indeed, that's what the advertisements are always trying to tell us. Sometimes Western medicine is indispensable; sometimes it's still barbaric. I wish the primary motive were to help people rather than to make as much money as possible from our illnesses and the aging process.

There are temporary forms of depression, feeling sad or 'blue', that we all experience. And there are reactions to sad events such as a death or a job loss. Prolonged severe depression is not normal, however. I've worked in the mental health field, and the worst depressions are so horrible that every waking moment can be almost unbearably agonizing. No wonder we can hardly bear to get out of bed when we feel that way. Perhaps the worst thing about this is that it's the nature of severe depression to cripple the brain and prevent us from seeing solutions that might lift us out of our awful moods. Very depressed persons typically feel hopeless, which is the primary cause of suicide. Yet if only we wait, no matter how terrible we feel, it's also the nature of depression to be a self-limiting illness. In time, we will improve---but we have to give ourselves that chance by staying alive. Yes, I agree that sometimes our coping skills are overwhelmed. Yet there are virtually always still ways to help someone (or ourselves) So to me, any legitimate treatment that can buy a person that needed recovery time should be tried.

We do tend to seek 'quick fixes' and to hide from inner discomfort. One study actually showed that a majority of people would rather be given painful electric shocks than sit alone with their thoughts for even a short time, as Buddhists do during meditation. Yet Buddhist monks and nuns are usually very happy people, perhaps because they don't hide from themselves and their troubling thoughts. Instead, they learn to just observe those transient thoughts and feelings, and they find that even the worst moods never last---they always move on and change into something else, as clouds do in the sky.

Women tend to have more overt depressions than men; men tend to have more 'masked' depressions, which might manifest as the anger you mention. One of the causes of depression for all of us is surely the nature of modern life---lack of a meaningful place in a real community, false promises of happiness through acquiring more and more money and possessions, or whatever society's current notion may be. And another depressogenic factor is the clear discontinuity between what we say we're about in the West--democracy, decency, opportunity---and what we are actually doing: waging brutal wars, for example.

It's been flippantly said that it might be better to be bipolar than purely depressed, because at least you'd feel really good half the time. But that's simplistic; bipolar people really struggle, and the medications have as many serious side effects as do those for major depression. We're so far from offering really comprehensive help for these mood problems . . . We can hope that in time, our society will help 'the whole person' by assessing all of someone's environmental, physical, and emotional needs, and will do its best to meet them thoroughly and with compassion.