“Sexual health is more like a gateway to other underlying issues. When people come to me about their sexual health, it’s rarely an issue with their genitalia.” ~ Dr. Amy B. Killen
Sexual Health as an Indicator
Sexual dysfunction is a common issue that affects both men and women, and it refers to a difficulty experienced during any stage of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from sexual activity.
Sexual dysfunction is often an indicator of underlying physiological, psychological, or relational issues or some combination of those factors.
The good news is that sexual dysfunction can often be treated and cured once we figure out the root cause.
Treatment options vary depending on the type of sexual dysfunction and may include medication, therapy, or lifestyle health protocols.
Physical Health and Sexual Function
1. Foundations of Health
After we’ve screened for mental and relational health factors, we often start by identifying the type of sexual dysfunction we’re aiming to treat and establishing the foundations of health.
Foundations for health include but are not limited to:
- Adequate hydration
- Proper diet and nutrition
- Stress management
- Social connection
2. Chronic Illness
Many chronic health concerns, such as circulation issues related to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, low energy, and chronic stress, can all have a direct impact on sexual health and dysfunction.
3. Hormone Imbalance
A common and often overlooked reason for low libido and arousal in women can be hormonal birth control. While it certainly has its place for many women, it is one of the most common reasons for lack of arousal in women.
Low testosterone, unsurprisingly, is a common reason for low libido in men. However, many other factors come into place in the case of erectile dysfunction.
For men with erectile dysfunction, medications like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) have proven effective in helping to achieve and maintain an erection.
In addition to medication, health and lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, and stress management can also be factored in sexual dysfunction that can be addressed with a healthcare practitioner.
Functional and Naturopathic Doctors aim to establish the foundations of health and identify the root causes of dysfunction when it comes to sexual health. Whether related to a chronic health condition, low energy, stress, or hormonal factors, they can help identify the reasons and treat or refer, depending on the cause.
Mental Health and Sexual Function
For both men and women, psychological and relational factors can significantly contribute to sexual dysfunction.
1. Mental Health Conditions
For both men and women, underlying mental health conditions, especially depression, can significantly cause low libido.
Performance anxiety can be a significant cause of sexual dysfunction in men, and sexual dysfunction may be the ‘canary in the coal mine’ to indicate a need to seek professional help, whether with a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or functional doctor with a focus on mental health.
Cognitive behavioral can benefit low sexual arousal, particularly in women, and may help address issues, such as anxiety and depression, at the root of the dysfunction.
2. Relational Issues
Tension in relationships, unsurprisingly, can contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Sex therapy or couples therapy can help address the psychological and emotional factors contributing to the issue.
3. Consumption of Pornography
Consumption of pornography is a common reason for sexual dysfunction, particularly in men.
Because of its effects on dopamine pathways in the brain, a diminished response to arousal in an intimate setting may ensue.
Because of the increasingly widespread availability of this content, this is a relatively new issue plaguing many young men in particular.
If largely abstaining from this content proves difficult, many resources are available to help support a struggle with pornography addiction.
Next Steps to Better Sexual Health
It’s important to note that sexual dysfunction can have both physical and psychological causes and that effective treatment depends on identifying the underlying reason(s) for it.
With the proper diagnosis and treatment, many people with sexual dysfunction can experience significant improvements in their sexual health and well-being.
You have what it takes inside you to make a definite choice that will change the future trajectory of your health.
Our team at Tiger Medical has the experience, clinical skills, and coaching acumen to help you get your vitality and sexual health back.
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