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IBD and libido

Can IBD cause a low libido? Just curious if anyone has experienced low libido from their IBD. I have had this ongoing issue for awhile and doctors have been unable to pinpoint the cause. My Crohn’s is in remission and I am on Stelara. I have had Crohn’s for 30 yrs.

  1. I don't know specifically about whether IBD causes "low libido," but I have read where the NIH has concluded that IBD can "contribute to the impairment of normal sexual functioning." Plus, here's another point to consider: Both Crohn's and UC cause fatigue. In turn, that fatigue can lead to a low libido. Additionally, I am a menopausal woman who is experiencing that issue at age 53. (I was diagnosed with UC more than 30 years ago, too.) I'm not sure about the specifics of your experience, but I just think the emotional toll alone of IBD could probably result in a low libido. Maybe others can chime in here with more information. I'm no doctor, but I did read where immunosuppressants such as Stelara exhibit the side effect of fatigue. Sooo...I feel like those of us with IBD probably do have lower libidos than the general population. I'm not sure if this helps or not. Again, maybe someone with more information will offer more specific details. Sincerely--Traci (UC-IBD Team Member)

    1. for men definitely as over 90% of men with auto immune disease have very low testosterone levels and that has its on bunch of problems low libido/ fatigue /slow recovery/depression iv been taking years and it definitely counts

  2. Hi. I am not a doctor so just answering from personal experience. I think it does 100%. I was diagnosed back in 2011 and especially when I am flaring, my libido tanks. Overall, I think when the body is inflamed it is conserving its energy for what is important and libido isn't one of those things. I think medications also could contribute as a side effect. For me personally I also struggle greatly with anemia. So my body is always tired and that has been a big contributor to low libido. However, I do know there are supplements out there that can help boost libido. Maybe look into something on that route? -Elizabeth (team member)

    1. I agree with both and but I remember my GI once told me that because of the inflammation with IBD, it affects your adrenal hormone which is related to sex drive, etc., so it is very common (unfortunately). For me, I would love to have sex every day if I could, but my body just isn't into it at times. I think fatigue is a factor as well as the mental part. I too was diagnosed over three decades ago and it's an unfortunate side effect I think.
      Vern - IBD Team Member

      1. As you can see from all the comments here, , you are definitely not alone. I also wanted to share an article with you from another of our advocates about IBD and sex, It appears that a lot of people living with IBD experience low libido, for various reasons. Wishing you a gentle day! -- Warmly, Christine (Team Member)

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