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Does PCOS affect libido?

One of the most essential aspects of human life that gets affected by PCOS is sexual intimacy and it is also one of the less talked about aspects of PCOS. An active sex life has many benefits, it helps burn calories, reduces cardiovascular risks, improves memory and boosts your immune system. Ironically sex and romance […]

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Posted on September 20, 2023 ·

One of the most essential aspects of human life that gets affected by PCOS is sexual intimacy and it is also one of the less talked about aspects of PCOS. An active sex life has many benefits, it helps burn calories, reduces cardiovascular risks, improves memory and boosts your immune system. Ironically sex and romance don’t always come easy, especially in women with chronic conditions like PCOS. Most PCOS symptoms like infrequent periods, hirsutism, acne and weight gain make it difficult to ignite a sexual attraction between partners. If your lack of interest in sex is distressing and is interfering with your relationship, talk to your PCOS expert and a therapist. 

Understanding PCOS

PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects most women during their reproductive years. If you have PCOS, you may experience irregular periods. You may also have too much of a hormone called androgen in your body causing facial hair and male-pattern baldness. Although it is rare sometimes in women with PCOS, many small sacs of fluid develop along the outer edge of the ovary called cysts. These fluid-filled cysts contain immature eggs. The follicles fail to release eggs. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. It is better to get an early diagnosis and treatment along with working toward weight loss as it may lower the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The Link Between PCOS and Libido

Elevated levels of male hormones are shown to have a direct impact on sexual desire, motivation and satisfaction which can ultimately affect your libido. It’s said that women who are on birth control pills are more likely to have reduced sex drive. So if you’re on birth control pills and have lately observed reduced sex drive, talk to your doctor.

Women with PCOS have been shown to have problems with sexual function and this holds true in terms of orgasms. Although the exact cause is unknown, women with PCOS show elevated levels of male hormones which can hurt sexual function including reduced orgasm.

Hormone changes 

Although there is very little evidence on the effects of hormonal birth control on sexual function the results are conflicting. While most women found that their hormonal contraception pills had no impact on their sexual functioning, other women experienced either a lack of interest in sex or improved sexual functioning. Women who are on birth control pills have higher chances of experiencing decreased libido, arousal and pleasure. Hormonal IUDs on the other hand are associated with more sexual desire and lower levels of sexual dissatisfaction. Whether or not your sexual libido will be affected or not depends on your choice of contraceptives used to treat your PCOS. If you have concerns about your birth control method and how it’s affecting your sex drive, talk to your healthcare provider. 

Often the levels of androgen hormones rise at an alarming rate in women with PCOS. Studies have shown that this rise in hormones can throw a woman’s hormones out of whack. Which then can cause low libido and low sexual satisfaction. In some women, their sexual drive remains the same but they struggle with sexual dysfunction such as painful sex or dyspareunia anorgasmia or difficulty reaching orgasm.

Irregular menstrual cycles

Another adverse effect of hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS is irregular menstruation. When women experience abnormal periods due to PCOS they find it difficult to track their cycle. This makes planning for a romantic evening a challenge. Also, some women with PCOS experience bleeding in between periods and while having sex. Others bleed heavier than normal which could last for weeks without medical intervention. All of this mixed with the discomfort associated with them makes it difficult for a woman to maintain her libido.

Weight-related issues

Physical intimacy amongst most humans is very much dependent on their physical appearance. This is why for many women with PCOS, their intimacy issues are impacted by their body image and their self-consciousness. Various studies have found that women are more likely to struggle with body dissatisfaction than men and having PCOS increases that insecurity. Commonly reported sexual problems in women are lack of sexual interest and inability to reach orgasm. The drastic weight gain caused by PCOS is one of the main reasons for the lack of confidence and reduced libido. This is followed by facial hair growth and male-pattern baldness. The self-consciousness and dissatisfaction that women feel in themselves are projected in every relationship they have, especially sexual relationships.

How To Increase Libido in Women

  • Keep your PCOS in control: An early diagnosis and PCOS treatment can help reduce the symptoms. Begin by aiming at weight loss through diet and exercise. And changing other lifestyle factors can also reduce PCOS symptoms and normalize your menstrual cycle. 
  • Stop comparing: Women often have a habit of assessing their beauty by comparing with others. This habit of comparing yourself to others can increase body dissatisfaction. You have to remember that a healthy body looks different for every person. People come in all shapes and sizes, just because someone looks a little heavier than others does not mean they are unhealthy. Keep working on yourself and practice self-love, and self-acceptance and boost your confidence. 
  • Build your sexual confidence: Reignite your sexual life with the help of your partner. Explore your sexual interests and communicate your sexual desires with your partner. Take couples counseling or go to sexual therapy sessions to learn about more ways to increase your libido.
  • Seek emotional support: The belief that a woman’s sexual health is connected to her emotional health is not surprising. If a woman’s partner is not supportive of her physical changes, she is more likely to have a negative body image. A partner who understands your need to feel desirable or loved boosts your sexual confidence.  This can lead to higher relationship satisfaction.
  • Try aphrodisiacs: Some people believe that certain foods and herbs can act as aphrodisiacs, which can help boost libido. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims.

Expert Advice and Tips

If you’re concerned about your low libido, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to your low libido. Experts believe that it is important to relax and not put too much pressure on yourself to have a high libido. If you’re not feeling in the mood, that’s okay. Just focus on enjoying other aspects of your relationship. It may take some time to see results from the lifestyle changes you’re making. Be patient and don’t give up.

Learn More With Veera

Veera Health’s PCOS programs are tailored to treat your PCOS and also take care of all such secondary effects of PCOS like libido and mental health. You can customize your treatment plan based on your needs. You are just a call away from a therapist or a care manager who can give you 1-on-1 assistance. 

Verified by Dr. Mansi Verma


MS, DNB (OB/GYN), BJMC, Pune (2017) & Diploma In Laparoscopy, Kiel Institute 2019

BY Team Veera

Medically Reviewed


PCOS sexual health


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