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Side Effect: Decreased Libido (sexual function)

What is Decreased Libido (sexual function)?

A decreased libido, also known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), is a persistent or recurrent lack of sexual interest or desire. It can occur in both men and women and is a common sexual dysfunction.

What does Decreased Libido (sexual function) look like?

Symptoms of decreased libido can include a lack of sexual thoughts and desires, decreased sexual activity, reduced sexual satisfaction, and a lack of interest in initiating or responding to sexual advances. These symptoms can have a significant impact on an individual's overall quality of life, including their emotional well-being and relationship with their loved one.

Decreased Libido (sexual function)

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Who gets Decreased Libido (sexual function)?

Decreased libido can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal imbalances, certain medications (both chemotherapy and supportive care medications), stress, depression, relationship problems, and chronic illnesses such as cancer.

If you are experiencing decreased libido due to cancer or cancer treatment, it is important to discuss this issue with your cancer doctor. Decreased libido is a common problem among patients with cancer and cancer doctors are trained to address the physical and emotional aspects of cancer treatment, including sexual health. Some centers have sexual health specialists. Ask your doctor if they know a specialist in this field if you are not getting the answers to the questions you are asking.

What is the best way to talk to an oncologist about decreased libido?

Here are some tips on how to have a productive conversation about decreased libido:

It can be difficult to talk about sexual issues, but it is important to be honest with your oncologist about what you are experiencing.
Try to describe your symptoms as accurately as possible. This will help your oncologist understand your situation and suggest appropriate treatment options.

Your oncologist will need to understand the underlying cause of your decreased sexual interest or decreased desire in order to provide effective treatment. Be prepared to discuss any medications you are taking, as well as any other factors that may be contributing to the problem.
Don't be afraid to ask your oncologist questions about your decreased libido and the available treatment options. The more information you have, the better equipped you will be to make decisions about your care.

Your oncologist may suggest a variety of treatment options. Be open to exploring all of these options and finding the one that is right for you.

How to prevent Decreased Libido (sexual function)

Prevention of decreased libido can involve addressing any underlying medical or psychological conditions, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and communicating openly with partners about sexual desires and needs.

How to treat Decreased Libido (sexual function)

Treatment of decreased libido in patients with cancer can be challenging, as cancer and its treatment can have a significant impact on sexual function. Some approaches that may be helpful include addressing any underlying physical or psychological causes through psychosocial/psychosexual counseling and incorporating non-pharmacologic interventions such as mindfulness-based interventions and couple’s therapy.

The use of pharmacologic agents such as sildenafil (Viagra®), vardenafil (Levitra®), or tadalafil (Cialis®) may be used for male patients experiencing erectile dysfunction. Additionally, testosterone levels in the blood may be checked. Currently, there are little data to support the use of pharmacologic therapy in females, however a specialist in sexual health may have specific recommendations.

Importantly, the use of estrogen or testosterone replacement is not routinely recommended due to safety concerns and potential benefits should be balanced with potential risks if these therapies are used.

Created: January 30, 2024 Updated: March 4, 2024