ALTERNATIVE DOCTOR, LLC
Sexual dysfunctions cover a wide variety of disorders, including male impotence, premature ejaculation in males, spasms of the vagina, pain with sexual intercourse, and problems with sexual desire (libido) and response. Men over age 65 are at increased risk for impotence. Impotence, however, is not a normal part of aging. The causes of sexual disorders vary, and include psychological causes and some medical conditions, such as illness or injury.
Signs and Symptoms
What Causes It?
What to Expect at Your Provider's Office
Your health care provider will do a physical examination. He or she may ask about your ethnic, cultural, religious, and social background, which can influence your sexual desires, expectations, and attitudes. Blood tests can help distinguish between psychological and physical causes for sexual dysfunctions. Other tests for men may include penile tumescence measurements, which are done while you are sleeping to determine whether an impotence problem is psychological or physical.
Various drugs are available for impotence and vaginal discomfort. Psychotherapy, sex therapy, or behavioral therapy can be helpful for many sexual disorders. Surgery on the veins of the penis is performed in severe cases. This treatment is still considered experimental. An implant in the penis may help for severe impotence that does not respond to other treatment.
Over the Counter
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Sexual dysfunction secondary to decreased circulation, hormonal imbalance, depression, or anxiety may be reduced with alternative therapies.
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots.
For sexual dysfunction related to poor circulation:
For sexual dysfunction secondary to hormonal imbalance:
For sexual dysfunction associated with depression or anxiety:
St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), kava kava (Piper methysticum), skullcap (Scutellaria laterifolia), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), and gotu kola (Centella asiatica). Combine equal parts in a tea (1 cup twice a day) or tincture (20 to 30 drops twice a day). May take six weeks for results.
Homeopathy may be useful as a supportive therapy.
Contrast sitz baths promote circulation. You will need two basins that you can comfortably sit in. Sit in hot water for three minutes, then in cold water for one minute. Repeat this three times to complete one set. Do one to two sets per day three to four days per week.
Therapeutic massage can reduce the effects of stress.
Most sexual dysfunctions are long-term and require professional care.
Certain drugs and herbs used for treating these psychological or physical disorders may have serious side effects. Marital counseling and other forms of interpersonal therapy are also important.
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Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs: The Enlightened Person's Guide to the Wonders of Medicinal Plants. Rocklin, Calif: Prima Publishing; 1995:127, 149–150.
Scalzo R. Naturopathic Handbook of Herbal Formulas. Durango, Colo: 2nd ed. Kivaki Press; 1994:66.
Tierney LM, McPhee SJ, Papadakis, MA, eds. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 1999. Stamford, Conn: Appleton & Lange; 1999.