Oxytocin is a hormone that increases after a woman gives birth to a child. Oxytocin is also seen to increase in animals after they give birth. Which is why oxytocin has always been perceived to be a “bonding hormone”. Simply put, if mommy gives birth to baby, oxytocin increases so that mommy bonds with baby and doesn’t leave baby in the forest and forgets about him/her.
Oxytocin may be commonly associated with women and pregnancy, but men also release oxytocin. This is because oxytocin has a huge impact on mood and stress. It increases after you hug your best friend, hug your child, cuddle with your pet, or laugh with someone. When someone is very stressed or has a lot of pressure, this can actually decrease your oxytocin. The decrease in oxytocin can cause low libido as well as a really low mood, anxiety or a general lack of joy. Unfortunately, like the proverbial “chicken and egg”, the low mood and high stress further reduces the oxytocin, which then drops the mood even more, increasing stress levels.
But did you know that oxytocin also has a connection with libido, in particular on female libido? Higher circulating levels of oxytocin can increase libido in both genders, but it is especially significant in females as there are limited treatments for low female libido.
How to get your oxytocin levels up? You can actually replace oxytocin with treatment. There are many methods of treatment such as intranasal sprays, sublingual and oral, which all have differing methods of absorption. But importantly, treating with oxytocin replacement can raise the mood hence the stress that dropped it in the first place can be alleviated as well.
Valorie Davidson ND, APH