Are there safe and effective natural treatments for sexual dysfunction?
- There is a great deal of confusion about what really helps to treat sexual dysfunction. Ideally, treatment of this condition should not be accompanied by unpleasant side effects. However there is a growing body of evidence showing that men have chosen to stop their respective treatments due to adverse side effects.
- It is in this respect that traditionally proven natural herbal remedies have a distinct potential advantage over their modern counterparts. Presumably through a process of trial and error lasting thousands of years, practitioners of herbal therapy and traditional healing techniques from different cultures have perfected various treatment modalities to address a wide range of medical problems including sexual dysfunction.
- However, prior to the advent of Good Manufacturing Practice Standards and the implementation of stringent hygiene and uniformity guidelines, these potent herbal remedies were produced in the kitchens and backyards of rural homes and villages. Consequently there were issues pertaining to end product consistency, efficacy, contamination and general quality control. Despite these drawbacks, numerous testimonials from satisfied users of traditional herbal remedies attest to the fact that these treatment options are virtually free from unwanted adverse effects.
- Clearly, what needs to be done to enable more people to enjoy the benefits of these potent side-effect-free traditional therapies is to:
- Apply high processing and manufacturing standards approved by the relevant health and industrial regulatory authorities.
- Test and obtain approval for safe consumption from a recognized laboratory.
- Ensure that there are no adverse interactions between the traditional formulations and other treatment modalities.
In many cases, sexual dysfunction or sluggish sexual responses may be caused by poor systemic health, stress, the build up of toxins and unhealthy lifestyles.
In a way, sexual health can be seen as a sort of ‘barometer’ of overall systemic and psychological health. Men who are healthy, fit and confident about themselves and about life usually report a vigorous and satisfying sex life, regardless of their age.
Normal male sexual functioning: How does it work?
Sexual behaviour is a complex psycho physiological experience and there are many factors involved in healthy sexual functioning.
- The male sexual response begins when the man becomes aroused and blood flows into the erectile tissue of the penis, causing the penis to swell and become erect.
- The male testes will also increase in size and become elevated and the nipples will become erect and sensitive to touch. As excitement increases, there will be a further increase in the size of the glands and the diameter of the penile shaft.
- With continued stimulation, the man reaches a peak of sexual pleasure when there is dilation of the prostatic urethra and seminal fluid (sperm) flows into the urethra.
- This is accompanied by a sensation of impending orgasm, leading to a rhythmic contraction of the perineal muscles and the pelvic reproductive organs, triggering a forceful ejaculation of semen and sexual release, followed by a state of deep relaxation.
What can go wrong?
When a man encounters persistent difficulties in performing his normal sexual functions, he may be suffering from sexual dysfunction. This condition may take many forms. The most common problems are Erectile Dysfunction and Premature Ejaculation.
These conditions can overlap-one man may have more than one condition at the same time. The good news is that solutions are available for all of these problems to help a man and his partner enjoy a satisfying sexual relationship throughout life.
Until relatively recently, a man with sexual dysfunction was likely to suffer in silence. He may have thought of the problem as a personal failure or an unavoidable part of the aging process. He may have been too embarrassed to bring up the subject with his doctor, or just have assumed that there was no good solution, so the condition went untreated. Several developments have changed that situation. Today not only do we have a greater understanding of male sexual health, but also a broader array of treatment options to help alleviate the problems.
- Erectile dysfunction is the persistent or recurrent inability to achieve or maintain an erection good enough to complete your chosen sexual activity satisfactorily, whether it’s masturbation, oral sex or vaginal or anal intercourse. The occasional inability to achieve a satisfactory erection doesn’t normally constitute a problem. You may still hear it called “impotence,” but today doctors usually will refer to it as ED, a more precise term because it refers to only erection problems.
- While psychological factors like anxiety and stress due to perception of inadequate penile size can play a big role in erectile dysfunction, studies have suggested that 20 – 50% of men with this condition have some organic basis for their problem.
- Since achieving and maintaining a healthy erection is dependent upon adequately establishing blood inflow into the penile tissues and sufficiently shutting off blood outflow from the penis, factors which interfere with these processes can cause problems.
- The most common organic causes of erectile dysfunction are:
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Renal or urological conditions
- Nutritional factors (malnutrition, vitamin deficiency)
- Endocrine factors (Diabetes)
- Neurological problems
- Pharmacological factors (alcohol, smoking, recreational and prescription drugs)
- Environmental toxins (lead, herbicides)
- General systemic health problems
- Premature ejaculation is a condition in which ejaculation occurs more quickly than a man and his partner would wish, either during penetration itself or very soon afterwards, thereby causing problems in a sexual relationship.
- It is a very common problem – about one in three men of all ages suffers from premature ejaculation.
- Unlike Erectile Dysfunction, it’s seldom caused by a physical problem. A common physical cause for this condition is a penis hypersensitive to sexual stimulation.
- Most cases of Premature Ejaculation are due to psychological factors such as:
- Stress and anxiety about sex (perhaps because of fears of pregnancy, perceived small penile size or failing to perform adequately),
- Relationship difficulties and
- Lasting effects of teenage sexual experiences where a rapid ejaculation was essential to avoid detection.
Common treatment options for sexual dysfunction include:
- Vasodilators taken orally, via penile injections or inserted into the urethra. These are designed to increase blood flow to the penis
- Vacuum erection devices
- Penile prosthetic implants
- Testosterone therapy
- Microvascular surgery
- Sex therapy
Should I be concerned about unwanted side effects?
While many sufferers have benefited from commonly available treatment modalities, there are growing concerns about unpleasant adverse side effects associated with these treatments.
- Headache, flushing, indigestion, dizziness, distorted vision
- A heart attack in men with heart disease
- Unstable blood pressure in men with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Penile self-injection with vasodilators
- Pain is the most common side effect. Men often say that this is the reason they discontinue this type of treatment.
- There is also a small risk that the penis will remain erect after intercourse. Prolonged erection, called priapism, that lasts longer than four to six hours is a medical emergency. When this occurs, a procedure to empty the blood in the penis must be done right away. An erection that lasts longer than 48 hours usually results in scarring of the tissue inside the penis. This prevents most men from continuing with self-injection therapy.
Vacuum erection device
- These products require manual dexterity. Often it takes at least a week to get the device to work effectively. But even though it is possible to achieve an erection that is rigid enough for vaginal penetration and sexual intercourse, he will not, however, be able to ejaculate because the rings holding the blood in the penis also compress the urethra. This prevents semen from leaving the penis.
Penile prosthetic implants
- Side effects include those related to the anaesthesia used during surgery, local wound infections, and mechanical failure. Mechanical failure may require surgically removing the old prosthesis and re-implanting a new one that works.
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