We’re often asked here at Natural Health Source whether it’s safe to mix birth control pills with a libido supplement like HerSolution or Provestra. Our answer: we don’t recommend it because we don’t know your medical history or pre-existing conditions or medications. You should always get professional medical advice if you have questions or concerns about your well-being at any stage in the journey called life.
With this being said, some women do take libido supplements while on birth control pills and report getting their sex drive back. The choice is yours – but speak with your doctor about it and have clearance first.
So what can you do to get your sex drive back if you don’t take a libido supplement? That depends on several factors, but you might find it helpful to experiment and try different pills to find the one that fits your needs. Take a natural libido pill if – and only if – your doctor says it’s OK. And don’t forget to eat a suitable diet. We’ll cover that at the end of this article.
Birth Control Pills and Your Sex Drive
No, it’s not your imagination. Birth control pills pack a mean hit to the sex drive for many women. Two recent studies, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, add further weight to what millions of American women already know, and open the door for further research into what can be done.
While the side effects of birth control pills tend to vary among women, the culprit appears to be the androgens – male sex hormones – they’re formulated with. Pills with higher androgen potency generally have the least effect on desire and sexual function, but they come with more side effects.
The reverse holds true as well. Birth control pills with low potency tend to have the fewest side effects, which can include headaches and weight gain, acne, nervousness and irritability.
The downside? Birth control pills with low androgen potency can make your sex life less than inspiring.
Birth Control Pills Appear to Alter Free Testosterone
While researchers have long suspected that birth control pills weigh heavily on the libido, we’re now closer to an answer. In particular, two studies published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine – one in 2006, the other in 2010 – offer further insight into why this happens.
The first of these studies raised alarm bells too because it found that women who used oral contraceptives had high levels of a protein that sucks up free testosterone, which the body needs for sexual function. Those levels remained high even a year after participants stopped using the pill.
In this first study, researchers assessed 124 women with sexual health complaints. Sixty-two of them were using various kinds of birth control pills and 39 had used the pill for at least six months but stopped when they began the study.
Twenty-three of the women had never used the pill.
Consistent with previous research, the women who’d taken birth control pills reported more sexual dysfunction, with less desire, and were more likely to report pain during sex. More alarming, they had four times more sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) than women who’d never taken the pill. Those levels dropped by 2.5 times, though they persisted at high levels even when women stopped taking oral contraceptives, and remained high a year after the study.
The study has flaws. It was small, to begin with, and it only studied women with existing sex problems, meaning the findings might have been different with a larger, more diverse group of women.
Still, it reinforces the link between birth control pills and low sex drive – a link further strengthened in 2010 with a European study which found that German medical students on the pill were more likely to experience sexual dysfunction than women who used non-hormonal birth control.
Birth Control Pills Still an Effective Contraceptive
Both the researchers and observers urge caution when viewing these results. Birth control pills remain the most effective contraceptive, they say, and should not be abandoned because of these study results.
If anything, they reinforce the need to keep an open communication with your doctor regarding birth control pills and the side effects linked to them. He knows you and can recommend the pills best suited to your physiology. He can also suggest alternative birth control pills, ideally those with the fewest side effects, until you find one that strikes a livable medium between doing its job without killing your sex life.
You can also ask your doctor about taking a natural libido supplement while you’re on the pill.
What You Can Do About Low Sex Drive From Birth Control Pills
You’ve got several choices. There is no common solution for all women, though, so you’ll want to choose how to proceed with your doctor’s approval.
Try Different Pills – A little trial and error might help with birth control pills until you find the one that works best for you.
Use a Natural Libido Pill (With Doctor Approval) – Natural libido pills like HerSolution and Provestra are formulated with herbals and botanicals that nurture and gently awaken the female sex drive. They might help women on birth control pills – but speak with your doctor before going down this road.
Eat a Sex-Friendly Diet – Don’t neglect what goes on your plate either. You’ve heard of aphrodisiac foods like oysters and dark chocolate, but did you know that avocados and oatmeal are great for the sex drive?
Food For Your Sex Drive
These sex-friendly foods might cushion the impact. While they may not alleviate all the side effects of birth control pills, they might at least soften the blow with mild increases to desire and sexual function. Foods for the libido include:
Pine nuts – Pine nuts are high in an amino acid called l-arginine, which stimulates blood flow to the genitalia. And there’s another benefit of eating pine nuts – the body converts l-arginine to nitric oxide, which is found in Viagra.
Avocado – A rich source of heart-healthy fats, vitamin B6 and folic acid, avocados fuel the body with energy and may help hormone production. Vitamin B6 is proven to help the latter in men, and fluctuating androgens appear to be the culprit behind low sex drive from birth control pills.
Blackberries – A nutritional powerhouse, researchers say blackberries help both libido and endurance. Eat ten of them, or blackberry seeds several hours before play time and you’re well on your way.
Watermelon – Ever notice how it’s easier to think about sex during the warmth of summer? Watermelon might have something to do with that. Researchers at Texas A&M University found that watermelons are high in citrulline, which the body converts to l-arginine. You know what that does.
Ginseng Tea – The health benefits of ginseng keep piling up. Among them, Dr. Oz says that ginseng tea has compounds that help improve sexual performance. Moreover, a 2002 study found that Korean ginseng helped 60% of male clients with ED.
Almonds – Long held as an aphrodisiac for women, almonds are packed with potency for the female libido. Case in point, they’re full of zinc, which is vital to testosterone production. So much in fact that Dr. Oz once called it the “ultimate sex mineral”.
Oatmeal – Your morning bowl of porridge does more than just fill you with fiber. Oatmeal is full of l-arginine – that sexy amino acid that stimulates blood flow to your nether regions. Considering that l-arginine is also found in many lubes and libido supplements, it could make your afternoon very enjoyable.