new_health (2006-22)

Sexual Dysfunction

It’s not just for Bob Dole anymore

by Wendy C. Smith

Birds do it, bees do it. Even subterranean fleas do it. (As you can tell, I’ve never understood all the lines in that song, kind of like “Secret Asian Man.”) “It” is not always as simple as it seems. Sexual dysfunction is an occasional problem for some people and an ongoing problem for others. It varies in its severity and frequency. There are many reasons why a person would experience problems in the bedroom. Men are more likely to experience physical causes of sexual dysfunction while women’s problems tend to be more psychological in nature.

The most common bedroom problem for men is erectile dysfunction. Although this condition is occasionally due to a psychological state, it usually has a physical origin, the most prevalent of which is poor circulation. In many cases, taking steps to improve circulation can have an immediate positive effect. Getting more exercise and losing a few pounds can improve circulation as can lessening stress. Diabetes is hard on the circulatory system, so keeping type one and type two diabetes under control is another important factor. Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and alpha lipoic acid (an anti-oxidant) are very useful in strengthening the circulatory system. Hot Plants for Him is an herbal supplement designed to support the male sexual system. It contains maca (an Ayruvedic herb that may up testosterone production), horny goat weed (seriously, it’s an herb and natural stimulant), yohimbe (an herb and strong natural stimulant that is FDA approved) and ginseng (a root that improves circulation).

High blood pressure can put a damper on a man’s love life because the medications used to treat hypertension can have libido-lowering side effects. But the amino acid arginine, which is converted by the body into nitric acid, has been found to have a “stimulating effect” on a man. In fact, Viagra works by upping the production of nitric acid. Polifusa is a natural supplement that time-releases arginine and therefore acts like a mild Viagra .

Lowered testosterone levels may also affect a man’s performance. Testosterone production peaks around age 18 in men, but the level at which it peaks and decreases varies for every man. Testosterone levels can be affected by psychological as well as physical reasons. For example, if a man gets dumped by his girlfriend or has work troubles, his testosterone level tends to drop. If a man gets a raise or a new girlfriend, his testosterone level tends to go up. Weightlifting is a fairly simple way for a man to increase his testosterone level. Or taking supplements such as tribulus terrestus or DHEA might help. Tribulus terrestus is an herb that has been shown to raise testosterone levels in some studies. DHEA is a hormone linked with testosterone production. It is produced by the adrenal glands and production peaks in early adulthood.

Lack of desire is one of the major problems that women report. A woman’s sexuality peaks around age 35, so sexual disinterest usually has more to do with emotions than hormones (although it is important to mention that birth control pills can dampen a woman’s libido). Steel Libido for Women (there’s a similar one for men) is a supplement that contains ashwagandha (an Ayruvedic herb that promotes sexual vitality and interest), DMG (helps form brain chemicals that are involved in arousal), panax ginseng (enhances libido) and soy isoflavones (supports estrogen production and vaginal lubrication). Native Women is a mushroom complex that contains maitake, suehirotake, shitake and reishi. All of these supplements have anti-inflammatory properties and/or libido boosting properties.

Another problem that women often have, for a variety of reasons, is vaginal dryness. Supplements that nourish the skin such as omega-3s can help. Evening primrose oil is quite effective, but do not expect results for about 6-8 weeks. A simple lubricant is often all that’s needed. Lubricants should be water soluble and those that contain wild yam (which elevates progesterone levels) can be very effective. VitaVulva (yikes) is an all natural wild yam salve that is olive oil based and made by Moon Maid Botanicals, a Knoxville company.

Individuals are unique and very different in their approaches to their sexuality. However, we are all human and subject to the commonalities of being the same species. Rest assured that some type of sexual dysfunction will affect each of us at some point in time. Realizing this can help a person work through the issue and seek the type of help or care that will remedy it.