Lost libido in women: Let’s Marvin Gaye & get this conversation on!

Reduced sex drive in women can have a profound negative impact on their quality of life.  When sexual desire decreases there really isn’t a pill you can pop or food you can eat that will miraculously create the urge to merge (Arcos, 2004).

There is no one solution because we women are complex!  It could be due to altered hormone levels, decreased vaginal lubrication, and/or pain – especially common with thyroid disorders and throughout menopause.  Or flagging libido could be a hint at a more serious underlying health concern needing investigation (Arcos, 2004).

So what can you do when you want to get it on?

As an evidence based practitioner I abhor the massive ads on billboards and social media claiming miracle responses in pills and potions for this very complex issue.  It is not a well researched topic in the scientific literature so I can’t support strong claims on the effectiveness of any product unless I see the research… in short …show me the data (Just warning you now if you follow that link you’ll get 2 glorious minutes of early-Tom Cruise &  a half naked Cuba Gooding under the guise of it being related to evidence based solutions …surely permissible on a post about female libido )

So do we give up? No not at all! There are many strategies that have been shown time and again to work to restore desire it’s just that if they don’t work for you it’s time to do some investigative work with a trained professional to get to the bottom of why your libido is lost.

I often find myself using these strategies with my clients with some degree of usefulness.


L-arginine, an amino acid, is the precursor to nitric oxide involved in the relaxation of (vascular and nonvascular smooth muscle of) the clitoris and vagina (Kellogg-Spadt & Albaugh, 2003).

Arginine is a widely used and typically helpful therapy for assisting men to achieve erection and it seems in the early research on women it could also be useful to enhance female orgasm and female desire (Youngworth, Chek, & Zaslau, 2001).

If you have a history of the herpes simplex virus you need to know that high doses of L-arginine can potentiate oral and/or genital herpes outbreaks.


female desire, women libido, sex drive, thyroid, menopause,
Damiana Image: herb-info.com

Damiana is a plant used traditionally in herbalism as an aphrodisiac for women.  It is thought it works to enhance dopamine levels in the brain (Kellogg-Spadt & Albaugh, 2003).


Although there are no quality studies on Damiana used alone anecdotal reports tout the effectiveness of a daily cup of Damiana tea for increasing female sexual desire (Ratsch, 1997; Watson, 1993).  A cup of organic, herbal tea which tastes quite nice is a pretty cheap, low risk strategy to try and you never know it might just work for you!

L-arginine & Damiana used together

Preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of oral supplements containing L-arginine and Damiana have demonstrated that up to 70% of pre and postmenopausal women experience significant improvement in desire and sexual responsiveness after 4 to 6 weeks of daily use (Trant & Polan, 2000).

Relaxation & Marvin Gaye

The cycle of sexual response begins in the brain, where a memory, an image, a scent, music, or a fantasy can act as a trigger to prompt sexual arousal.  Thus, the brain may be the key and good starting place for treatment of sexual dysfunction (Arcos, 2004).

female desire, sex drive, libido, thyroid, menopause
Damiana Image: herb-info.com

My prescription is for at least 15 uninterrupted minutes in a relaxing bath with

Marvin Gaye’s soulful notes


Just like they say in the song, let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on…. 

If you’d like to talk about lifting your libido contact me via www.facebook.com/SoniaMcNaughton.Naturopath or for an appointment (02) 4968 2157.

To source Damiana tea & l-Arginine contact me via:  www.facebook.com/SoniaMcNaughton.Naturopath


Featured Image from: Treatment Today

Arcos, B. (2004). Female sexual function and response. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 104(1_suppl), 16S-20S.

Billups, K., Berman, L., Berman, J. Metz, M., Glennon, M., & Goldstein, I. (2001). A new non-pharmacological vacuum therapy for female sexual dysfunction. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 27,435-420.

Kellogg-Spadt, S., & Albaugh, J. A. (2003). Herbs, amino acids, and female libido. Urologic Nursing, 23(2), 160.

Modelska, K., & Cummings, S. (2003). Female sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women: Systematic review of placebo-controlled trials. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 188(1), 286-293.

Meston, C.M., & Worcel, M. (2000). The effects of l-arginine and yohimbe on sexual arousal in postmenopausal women with SAD. Proceedings from the Female Sexual Function Forum, Boston, MA.

Munariz, R., Talakoub, L., & Garcia, S. (2001). DHEA treatment for female androgen insufficiency and sexual dysfunction. Proceedings from the Female Sexual Function Forum, Boston, MA.

Ratsch, C. (1997). Plants of love. Berkeley, CA: Ten-Speed Press.

Trant, A.S., & Polan, M.L. (2000). Clinical study on a nutritional supplement for the enhancement of female sexual function.  Proceedings from the Female Sexual Function Forum, Boston, MA.

Watson, C.M. (1993). Love potions. New York: GP Putnam Books.

Youngworth, H., Chek, K., & Zaslau, S. (2001). A topical therapyfor female sexual dysfunction: Results of a pilot study with1 year follow-up. Proceedings from the Female Sexual Function Forum, Boston, MA.


Infertility, miscarriage & thyroid

I wish more than anything in the world that I had found a thyroid-literate naturopath & doctor before I suffered through so many miscarriages & spent thousands of dollars on IVF. It’s one of the reasons why I went back to school for 4 years of full time study to become a naturopath myself & why I am so passionate about supporting women with thyroid issues.
Why? Hypothyroidism is the 2nd most common condition affecting women of reproductive age and the terrible tragedy is the pregnant woman with hypothyroidism is at increased risk miscarriage and other major gestational morbidities. That’s why.
Sonia McNaughton, Naturopath, herbalist, thyroid, hypothyroid, hashimotos. thyroiditis, infertile, miscarriage, baby
My gorgeous niece!
Naturopath, herbalist, thyroid, hypothyroid, hashimotos, thyroiditis, infertile, miscarriage, baby, autoimmune, goitre, graves, thyroid, energy, fatigue, weight loss, infertility,
My gorgeous niece!
If you know someone trying to fall pregnant who suspects they may be hypothyroid or is experiencing repeated miscarriages give them a gift of a lifetime with this instructional article by Dr. Hugh D. Melnick, Medical Director of Advanced Fertility Services in New York City on infertility, miscarriage and sub clinical hypothyroidism from his published response in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology setting out the need to test newly pregnant women for thyroid disorders.
If you suspect you have a thyroid condition or you have been diagnosed with a thyroid condition and still don’t feel tip top let’s talk:  sonia@soniamcnaughton.com.
Sonia x

Study says PCOS helped by sunshine

Women with PCOS have been found to have worse symptoms if their vitamin D* levels were low.  That is worse obesity, lower pregnancy success, excess facial hair as well as a long list of other problems. 1;2.

An alarming 6785% of PCOS women have been found to have extremely low levels of vitamin D in their bodies. 2.

So it’s time to talk about a thorny issue for all Australians … sunshine exposure.

Sonia McNaughton Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Newcastle, Hunter, Charlestown, Belmont, Warners Bay, PCOS, obesity, facial hair, insulin resistance

I’m sure most Aussies have known someone who has been diagnosed with a sun cancer of some type and we’ve certainly taken the message to stay out of the sun to heart.  I regularly see clients with extremely low vitamin D levels who look at me in horror when I suggest their skin feels (for them an appropriate amount of) the warm rays of the sun on a daily basis without sunscreen.

But here’s the thing…  Whilst your body gets most of the vitamins and minerals it needs from the foods that you eat only a few foods naturally contain any vitamin D. Most foods that contain vitamin D only have small amounts, so it’s almost impossible to get what your body needs just from food. 3.

I certainly don’t mean baking yourself like a rotisserie chicken as Will Ferrell has in these terrifying images!

In fact your skin can make Vitamin D very quickly, particularly in the summer. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D.  You only need to expose your unprotected skin for around half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn. Whilst how much vitamin D you make from the sun depends on the time of day, where you live in the world, your age and the colour of your skin the more skin you expose the more vitamin D is produced. 3.

*Note: *Vitamin D is made in the body after it has been exposed to the sun, eaten in foods and can be consumed in a supplement.

If you’d like to talk about your options for natural solutions to PCOS contact sonia@soniamcnaughton.com

Sonia x

1. Kotsa, K., Yavropoulou, M. P., Anastasiou, O., & Yovos, J. G. (2009). Role of vitamin D treatment in glucose metabolism in polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and Sterility, 92(3), 1053-1058.

2. Thomson, R. L., Spedding, S., & Buckley, J. D. (2012). Vitamin D in the aetiology and management of polycystic ovary syndrome. Clinical Endocrinology, 77(3), 343-350.

3. Vitamin D Council (n.d.). How do I get the vitamin D my body needs? Retrieved from: https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/

Heart disease kills more Australian women than any other cause, including breast cancer – do you know your risk factors?  

My mum died of a sudden and fatal heart attack after years of being regarded as the “healthy one” having dodged the family narrative of autoimmune diseases, arthritis and dementia.

My mum Roslyn, my sister and I rocking the 1970s polyester in the outback Queensland heat. I do believe my scarf is wrapped around my Nonna’s long-suffering cat’s neck (out of shot).
My mum, Roslyn, my sister and me rocking the polyester 1970’s style in the Queensland outback.

When my mum died I started researching what would have caused an otherwise healthy woman to have such a massive heart attack.  I was shocked to learn heart disease is the #1 cause of death for Australian women.  4 x as many women die of coronary heart disease than from breast cancer in Australia!

And even more frightening it is very common for a woman having a heart attack to discount and ignore her symptoms as the tremendous chest pain that men report is not likely for a woman.

In one study, 58% of women reported the comparatively gentle symptom of breathlessness. Others reported vague symptoms of weakness, unusual fatigue, cold sweats and dizziness yet no chest pain.

The morning of my mother’s heart attack she chatted on the phone with a girlfriend sharing how she felt really tired but she couldn’t work out why.  She told her friend she thought she just needed pep up with a strong cup of tea so she was heading to the shops to get some milk for her cuppa.  Less than 1 hour after this phone call to her friend my mum had a massive heart attack at her local grocery store and did not survive.

If you suffer any combination of these more subtle symptoms for more than a few minutes, particularly if you are a woman, please seek medical help quickly:

  • Ache or pain in the upper back, jaw or neck
  • Sudden difficulty breathing
  • Sudden overwhelming fatigue or weakness
  • Flu-like symptoms: nausea, vomiting, cold sweats
  • Sudden anxiety, malaise and loss of appetite.
My last photo of my mum and I at my wedding just a few years before her heart attack.
My last photo of my mum and me at my wedding just a few years before her heart attack.

February is Heart Research Month a great time to think about our heart health, and for me, to honour my mum Roslyn. Let’s have a closer look at the top 3 risk factors you can do something about  that have a huge impact of your heart:

  • High blood pressure:  shockingly 2 – 3 x more common in women than in men.
  • Smoking: even more harmful in women than in men.
  • Diabetes: again even more scary for women than men diabetes increases the risk of heart attack by 3 – 7 x in women compared with 2 – 3 x in men.

Frighteningly Heart Research Australia claim “women are much less likely than men to change risky behaviours” relating to their heart health.  High blood pressure, smoking cessation and diabetes are all health issues that can be managed, controlled and reduced.

Always make sure you speak with your GP to get an accurate picture of your current heart health and as a naturopath I believe it is my role to increase your chance of sticking to and committing to decisions that make for a long and healthy life through:

  • Education based on valid scientific research
  • Mood-lifting herbs and supplements that help reduce the cravings and anxiety that can accompany withdrawal from sugar, salt and cigarettes
  • Ongoing coaching and motivation to address your risk factors and goals.

Do you know your risk factors?  What is stopping you from loving your heart?

Sonia x

To make a booking contact Mayfield Medical Connection 02 4968 2157. To contact Sonia go to her Facebook page Sonia McNaughton.Naturopath


For more information check out the Red Feb here


Albarran, J. W., Clarke, B. A., & Crawford, J. (2007). ‘It was not chest pain really, I can’t explain it!’An exploratory study on the nature of symptoms experienced by women during their myocardial infarction. Journal of Clinical Nursing16(7), 1292-1301.

National Center for Health Statistics (US). (2014). Health Risk Factors.

Subcommittee, S. S. (2007). AHA statistical update. Circulation115, e69-e171.

What to do when you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling*. The science behind regaining your lost libido.

What can you do when that lovin’ feeling is gone, gone, gone?*  And where does it go?  Are there any facts supporting the claims that aphrodisiacs can bring your sexy back**?

Lost libido can be an early warning sign or further proof that something is not quite right with your health, your diet or your lifestyle.  Not feeling the urge should not be ignored. It might in fact be an important clue in detecting what is happening and hidden in your body.

Continue reading “What to do when you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling*. The science behind regaining your lost libido.”