In the past decade, there has been an increase of products on the market claiming to improve libido in women. In fact, there is even a sex guide for women called "The Ultimate Guide to enhancing Female Libido" which is currently ranked as the top-rated self-help book on the Amazon Kindle Store. Other products include "The Female Orgasm Solution: The Complete Guide to Climax and Orgasm" by Dr. Steven Teitelbaum, "How to Get Women in Bed" by Stephen Rose, "Jelqing – The Hidden Method" by Dr. Youssef Al-Attar and "The Truth About Male Sexual Dysfunction" by Dr. Patrickasure.
Most of these books make the claim that a common libido enhancer such as aphrodisiacs, specifically l-arginine, increases blood flow to the genital area. These claims are misleading due to the fact that L-arginine is only absorbed when inserted into the body via the skin or mucous membranes. Also, it cannot be taken orally and must be applied topically. Moreover, transdermal patches that contain L-arginine are ineffective and often provide only marginal benefits in terms of increased blood flow to the genital area. Transdermal replacement therapy, on the other hand, provides an oral application that is absorbed and travels into the circulatory system.
The use of a transdermal patch that contains a low dose of L-arginine was performed on menopausal women who were not experiencing any sexual dysfunction. During a 3-month period, researchers found that women who took transdermal replacement therapy had significantly greater levels of testosterone and cortisol than those who did not receive the supplement. Furthermore, researchers found that the levels of these two hormones were lower in women using transdermal testosterone compared to those who did not use the therapy. These results demonstrate that L-arginine can increase testosterone levels and specifically improve libido in women.
Some supplements that are used to treat vaginal dryness and subsequent impotence have shown some evidence of improving libido in women. In one study, female participants took a standardized terrestris product daily for two months. At the end of the study, there was a significant improvement in mood and mental function as indicated by a statistically significant change in the Female Wellbeing Index (a standard psychological test). Other research has indicated that the herb can help reduce stress and may also have some health effects unrelated to sexual dysfunction such as reducing blood pressure and reducing anxiety.
Many herbs have been associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk. In studies that have examined the effects of these herbs on sexual dysfunction and related outcomes, they have been found to have positive effects on levels of several hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Some studies have not found clear evidence that they reduce breast cancer risk but most indicate that they might lower breast cancer risk. The most common of these herbs is red clover, which is shown to be effective in treating premenstrual symptoms and may help prevent breast cancer. Some studies have suggested that menopausal women might be particularly effective at absorbing and using red clover.
A number of lifestyle changes, including increased exercise and more frequent sex, can have positive effects on libido. An ongoing study is examining the effect of a vaginal cream that contains natural plant estrogens on sexual function. This topical treatment is currently being evaluated in patients with mild to moderate vaginal dryness and impotence. Until the results of this study are in, using a natural vaginal cream to treat vaginal dryness and other sexual dysfunction is not recommended.