“sexual dysfunction” is an umbrella term covering disorders that
include male impotence, erectile dysfunction, premature
ejaculation, problems with libido, vaginal spasms, painful
intercourse and other problems that interfere with sexual desire
and pleasure. While many people accept that diminished libido,
impotence and physical symptoms like vaginal dryness come along
with age, there’s a great deal of evidence that nutrition and
health have far more of an effect on maintaining healthy sexual
functioning than the medical world once believed. Research has
established that most causes of sexual dysfunction are not, as
was once believed, psychological and therefore difficult to
treat. Rather, the overwhelming majority of cases of sexual
dysfunction have a root physical cause that can be treated, and
often treated easily.
dysfunction is also far more common than most people know. There
are varying reports that suggest sexual dysfunction may affect
as much as 51% of men and 63% of women in the United States.
Because many people are uncomfortable discussing such a private
aspect of their lives with their doctors, many medical
authorities feel that the incidence of sexual dysfunction is
Sexual Dysfunction Does:
is a large part of most people’s identity. When something
affects the ability to become or remain aroused, to enjoy sexual
activity and intimacy or to achieve orgasm, there can be a
ripple effect that touches on family relationships, partner
relationships and even job performance. Sexual dysfunction can
become a factor in depression, and contribute to feelings of
inadequacy and worthlessness.
Symptoms of Sexual Dysfunction:
defined as difficulty achieving or maintaining erection.
The definitions for
premature ejaculation vary widely, but the common denominator is
that premature ejaculation is “persistent or recurrent
ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation.”
is characterized by a lack of sexual desire.
of the vagina that make intercourse painful.
Persistent or recurrent genital pain that accompanies sexual
dryness can contribute to painful intercourse. It may be due to
lack of arousal, or to an underlying physical cause such as low
levels of needed hormones to produce sufficient lubrication.
Sexual Arousal Disorder
arousal disorder is defined as the inability to become or remain
aroused despite adequate physical stimulation
disorder is the inability to reach orgasm despite arousal and
sufficient sexual stimulation.
Causes Sexual Dysfunction:
There are many
causes for sexual dysfunction. Because sexual well-being is so
intimately involved with personal identity and happiness, what
begins as a physical reaction to a lack in the body can become a
self-perpetuating problem as stress and anxiety create more
pressure to overcome the problem. Some of the most common causes
of sexual dysfunctions include:
diabetes and heart conditions can all contribute to sexual
dysfunction. Circulatory disorders, or any condition that
affects the circulation can prevent blood flow to the sexual
organs – one of the prime ingredients of sexual arousal for both
men and women.
prescribed medications for treatment of depression and
hypertension can lower the libido and decrease sexual desire. In
addition, SSRIs can depress the release of serotonin and other
chemicals that contribute to arousal and orgasm.
high blood pressure, low levels of nitric acid in the blood can
also contribute to both erectile dysfunction in men and arousal
dysfunction in women.
One of the major
symptoms of depression is a lack of sexual desire or interest.
While depression was once believed to have a purely
psychological origin, medical evidence has proved that the
majority of cases of depression have physical causes – most
notably, a lack of vitamin B and a deficiency of essential fatty
acids that are vital for the synthesis of enzymes and for
maintaining healthy neural systems.
Treatments for Sexual Dysfunction:
treatment for sexual dysfunction is dependent on the cause, but
there are some basic self-help strategies that have been shown
to be effective.
is more than just an emotional problem. It makes demands on the
body’s reserves of essential nutrients. Keeping those stores of
nutrients replenished is a big step toward avoiding the physical
effects of stress. In particular, research has shown that the B
vitamins, folic acid (folate), vitamin B12 and omega 3 essential
fatty acids found in fish oil can help relieve stress.
so many of the conditions associated with sexual dysfunction are
affected by diet, maintaining a healthy diet that provides all
the essential nutrients for health is a key element in
maintaining healthy sexual functioning.
those common sense strategies, there are a number of herbs and
supplements that have proven effective in treating diminished
libido and other sexual dysfunctions.
L-arginine is a precursor to nitric acid, which promotes
circulation of blood, it can increase the blood flow to the
genitals that is necessary for physical arousal. In one study,
women given a multi-vitamin supplement that contained L-arginine
reported approximately 40% greater improvement in achieving
arousal and orgasm than those given a placebo. Studies with men
have shown similar improvement in erectile dysfunction.
biloba has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to
restore energy and increase sexual libido. Several small studies
have shown positive results with depression-induced sexual
a naturally occurring hormone that is converted in the body to
both testosterone and estrogen. Because one of the primary
causes of vaginal dryness and tissue problems in post-menopausal
women is lack of estrogen, DHEA can help relieve painful
intercourse and stimulate the body to produce more natural
the causes of sexual dysfunction are many, there is no one
surefire cure-all. There is, however, a lot of evidence to
support the importance of maintaining overall health with
regular activity and high quality nutrition. Because it’s
difficult to get all the nutrients your body needs every single
day, a high quality nutritional supplement can be a valuable
ally in your quest for overall health.