Female Sexual Dysfunction
Female sexual dysfunction has four areas of concern: pain, orgasmic, arousal and desire disorders. These sets of disorders usually overlap and need to be properly identified to know what type of dysfunction the patient really suffers from. Certain health problems can be direct or indirect causes of female sexual dysfunction (FSD). Mood disorders, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, incontinence and diabetes are just some of the conditions that may contribute to FSD. Drugs such as anti-hypertensives and antidepressants can inhibit libido of both male and female. Gynecologic conditions can likewise bring about FSDs. Chronic and frequent urinary tract infection, for example, can cause low sexual desire. Chronic cervical or vaginal infections can cause a woman to lose interest in sexual intercourse. The gradual onset of menopause eventually leads to vaginal dryness and lowered libido. Past emotional trauma such as past rape and sexual molestation can cause physical and psychological issues when it comes to sex. Ongoing relationship strains can also be causes for disinterest in sex.
For a natural treatment approach to FSD traditional Chinese medicine provides a number of modalities to address these issues. One of the best of these modalities is acupuncture, which is a verified treatment for endocrinal and neurological conditions such as vaginismus, a disorder wherein muscles of the outer vagina contracts preventing any foreign objects from entering the vagina. Acupuncture is perfect for treating sexual pains such as pains caused by chronic bladder infection and endometriosis. It also can help relax the mind and body and improve arousal and sensuality. Often combined with acupuncture is herbal medicine which is very effective in addressing hormone irregularity and chronic bladder infections related to sex.
Male Sexual Dysfunction
A man’s level of testosterone gradually declines as he gets older. Testosterone is directly related to a man’s sexual desire. Factors that can lead to low libido include stress, sleep deprivation, depression and chronic medical illnesses.
Sleep deprivation and stress have been identified to cause early onset of male menopause (premature andropause) as well as lower testosterone levels.
Sexual function or dysfunction depends on the balance and integrity of the ANS (autonomic nervous system). Because it stimulates nerves, acupuncture directly affects the ANS and can help release neurotransmitters that improve blood flow, control erection and help to naturally increase testosterone into the blood.
ED or erectile dysfunction can be due to a psychogenic or organic cause or both. One way to ascertain what causes ED is to see if you experience NPT (nocturnal penile tumescence) or spontaneous erection during sleep. If you are experiencing this your ED is of a psychogenic cause or, in other words, your ED is caused by extreme emotions such as anxiety or depression among others.
A psychogenic origin for one’s ED can be exacerbated by physical or organic causes as well. The doctor needs to rule out any organic causes before any psychogenic causes can be diagnosed and treated.
Substance abuse (street drugs, pharmaceutical drugs, smoking, alcohol, etc) as well as prostate problems, metabolic syndrome, diabetes or cardiovascular disease are some of the organic factors that cause ED. Many antidepressants can also lead to changes in sexual desire and erectile function.
From the standpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), ED may be the result of either a stagnant or excessive condition or due to a deficiency in vital energy. With an accurate and detailed diagnosis of the problem TCM and acupuncture can improve blood flow and movement into the genitals and correct any underlying deficiency.
About 30% of American men suffer from PE or premature ejaculations according to the American Urological Association. PE is not an organic sexual problem and doctors consider it to be a neurobiologically-caused condition. PE happens due to certain psychological issues like anxiety or even because of inexperience. It is a sexual dysfunction due to a man’s inability to control the ejaculatory process. Risk factors for this are men with prostate conditions. PE treatments can include drug therapy like SSRIs that can help delay ejaculation and behavioral therapy. The problem with SSRIs is that they negatively affect erection. ED drugs can also lower the efficacy of other natural treatments for PE such as acupuncture and herbs.
From the perspective of TCM, PE like ED is as sign of either a deficiency or excess of certain factors. Poor dietary selections like alcohol and greasy foods as well as too much sexual activity, being emotionally stressed out or being overworked can play a part in the body’s inability to control ejaculation. Chinese herbs and acupuncture can bolster the ability of the body to remove the excess factors that are causing PE. Herbs and acupuncture can also help properly control and strengthen the ejaculatory function by treating the underlying deficiency of a man’s PE.
Diet and Lifestyle
Diet and lifestyle have very big roles to play in the quality of a man’s sexual life. As lack of exercise, unhealthy diet and chronic and acute stress can substantially affect your sex life, listed below then are some recommendations to help better your sexual function.
- Be sure that you get adequate amounts of magnesium, vitamin D and zinc every day since all of them help increase testosterone levels and better urogenital function.
- Take care of your emotional life
- Get more sleep
- Minimize stress by getting acupuncture therapy and/or performing mindfulness practice or meditation
- Make it a habit to exercise regularly – By exercise, this means no stressful and excessive physical exercise (chronic-cardio). This type of exercise only increases cortisol levels which in turn lowers testosterone levels. High cotrisol levels lead to muscle wasting, fat gain and insulin resistance.
- Stop eating processed, greasy and heavy foods
- Stop or limit your tobacco smoking
- Avoid or limit your intake of drugs and alcohol
- Go for regular screening tests and medical checkups with your doctor
For over 500 centuries Chinese men have benefited from acupuncture therapy that helped improve sexual performance. It effectively addresses both the psychological and physical causes of male sexual dysfunction.