A hormone that is naturally produced in the body has been shown to treat low sex drive by increasing activity in brain regions associated with arousal and attraction in men and women.
In two studies, published in the journal Jama Network Open, lead investigators Prof Waljit Dhillo and Dr. Alexander Comninos, consultant endocrinologists at Imperial College London, analyzed the effects of the hormone kisspeptin in people with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).
Kisspeptin is a hormone that stimulates the release of other reproductive hormones in the body. In fact, previous studies have shown that shots of kisspeptin can enhance the reaction of people with healthy libidos to sexual stimuli and increase brain activity in parts involved in sexual attraction.
Apart from increasing sex-related brain activity, some women enrolled in the current study said that they felt “more sexy,” while men had increased “happiness about sex” as well as increased “penile tumescence” while watching an erotic film in the study, according to The Guardian.
The study was particularly effective for a 44-year-old male participant who said that he faced difficulty maintaining relationships due to his low sexual appetite. Incredibly, the man later had a son, which his partner had conceived in the same week he received the hormone injection. “I had the best possible outcome as a result of the trial,” he said.
For the study, researchers enrolled 32 women and 32 men with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). A distressing condition defined by low sexual desire, HSSD affects about 10% of women and 8% of men, as per the outlet.
The hormone treatment reduced hyperactivity in regions linked to HSDD and increased activity in noted sexual regions of the brain, the study found. Moreover, the males scored better at penile rigidity, which was measured while they watched an erotic video as part of the study. The results showed increased penile rigidity of up to 56% as opposed to a placebo.
“The predominant theory in HSDD suggests that there is excess self-monitoring and introspection, for example, how am I performing, how do I look, what does my partner think, which blunts downstream sexual desire and arousal,” Comninos explained.
“In these studies, we have shown that kisspeptin may be able to address this imbalance and promote sexual pathways in both women and men distressed by low sexual desire,” Comninos further said.
Due to the fact that kisspeptin has no reported side effects and worked exceptionally well in the study, the researchers believe that kisspeptin can be used as a treatment for HSDD. “Collectively, the results suggest that kisspeptin may offer a safe and much-needed treatment for HSDD that affects millions of people around the world,” Dhillo said.