We’ve all heard that a good sex life isn’t just something that feels…well, good! It also provides a plethora of health benefits such as:
- Alleviation of joint and muscle pain through the release of natural opiates that are an extremely effective pain reliever
- Stress relief
- Energy boost
- Stimulation of the immune system
- A stronger connection to our partner
Yet many people are in the same boat of daily management of a full time career, a home, children, homework, meals, exercise and more leaving little energy left for your sexual relationship. And that’s unfortunate because you could probably really use some of those benefits we mentioned above when you have that much going on. Right? But what if it’s not just time that’s keeping you from a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship? Sexual dysfunction can be caused by:
- Taking prescription medications
- Hormone imbalances
- Drug abuse
- Depression or anxiety
- Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, sleep apnea
A health coach can help! Although nutrition is important in the battle against obesity, diabetes & heart disease and for helping to potentially wean off of prescription medications for these in the future, those are only a part of what a health coach will address with you. In the coaching world, we refer to nutrition as a “secondary source” of energy. “Primary foods” (or non food sources of nourishment) are what really fuel us. Some primary food examples are: the feeling of being deeply in love and feeling exhilarated by your lover’s presence, or working at a job that is meaningful and stimulating. When you’re working with a health coach, we’ll take some time to explore your personal balance between primary food and secondary food. We will work on making changes that alleviate stress and promote well being which in turn will help to fuel your sex drive.
In addition to feelings of dissatisfaction, stress and well-being, there are hormonal reasons that sex drive declines as people age. In females, progesterone levels begin to drop during peri-menopause, which can start as early as age 35. Low progesterone levels cause women to experience breast tenderness, mood swings, “fuzzy” thinking, irritability, sleep disturbance and water retention. No wonder we don’t feel like having sex! In addition to health coaching, there are supplements available that may help alleviate symptoms. Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E may be helpful in raising progesterone levels even in women who are post-menopausal, which in turn lessens anxiety, as well as having a positive effect on serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters that have been proven to affect sexual desire and function.
There are also several botanicals that help support normal sexual function. Damiana helps support normal sexual drive while Ashwaganda has been shown to promote normal engorgement of sexual tissues. Because aging can effect both vaginal tone and comfort P. mirifica is a botanical that can promote normal vaginal secretions and vaginal muscle strength. (Dr. Deedra Mason, Director of Clinical Research Market America.)
In males, erectile dysfunction (ED) affects 25 million men in America. As men age, hormone production declines resulting in changes in sexual function, energy and mood. (Dr. Deedra Mason) The supplement zinc initiates enzymes important in vasoconstriction of the blood vessels involved in sexual arousal. Ginseng is thought to help the body make more nitric oxide – as does Viagra. Botanicals such as ginkgo, Tribulus terrestris, Epimedium and the amino acid L-arginine may all increase blood flow to the penis and enhance sexual arousal. (Dr. Deedra Mason)
Vitamin C may help both men and women as it increases blood flow and one study indicates that it may increase libido in women. Essential fatty acids found in evening primrose oil, fish oil and borage oil also help improve blood flow.
A health coach can help you evaluate whether different exercise modalities might be right for you too. You might also try yoga and meditation, as they can reduce the effects of stress and relieve anxiety about sexual dysfunction. Massage is another fabulous stress reducer.
Sexual health is important so don’t let yours fall to the wayside! Let us help get you back on track and feeling good. We’re just a call away!
Giedre Trahan is an Integrative Health Coach at Integrative Wellness Advisors, working in Denver, Colorado, and helping people make changes towards optimal health and well being.