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inflammation and sexual dysfunction

(Not to Mention Male Sexual Dysfunction)

Sexual Dysfunction

“Low sexual desire truly is a silent epidemic among women”   Louann Brizendine, MD, founder and director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, from an article in Prevention.
If you are into natural health, you have undoubtedly heard of Prevention Magazine.  I have not been the biggest fan of Prevention because, amazingly enough, they are rather anti-Chiropractic (plus they are not always as “natural” as they would lead you to believe).  Megan Othersen Gorman recently wrote an article for their site called Women Have Options for Low Libido.  Because so many women (and even men) are affected by this problem (HERE are a number of articles on the subject), I was curious to see what her take was. 

After citing statistics (the results of polling 450 women) she stated that 27% of premenopausal women and 34% of postmenopausaul women, are very dissatisfied with their current level of sexual desire,” she also let us know that 70% of the 450 said that, “their relationships have suffered as a result“.  Now, I’m not a rocket scientist when it comes to math, but we’re going to put pencil and paper to this thing and do a little bit of figuring here, because something is not adding up.  I am not sure what the split actually was on this study, but let’s assume that 65% of the women polled (293) were pre’s, and 35% of them (157) were post’s.  This would mean that of the 450 women polled, 79 of the pre-menopausal group, and 53 of the postmenopausal women are not happy with their libidos. 

The problem is, however, that 70% of all women polled said that their decreased libido (Female Sexual Interest and Arousal Disorder is what scientists actually call this phenomenon) has affected their relationship(s).   This works out to 315 total women.  But only 132 of the entire group of 450 (just under 30%) is dissatisfied with this.  This would mean that there are 135 women of the 450 who have low libidos that have affected their relationship(s) —- but are not “dissatisfied” with it.  This is probably helps to explain why Gorman concludes that, “very few have sought help“.  Why would this be?  Why would so few women be seeking help for a problem that affects so many?  Could it be that the “options” which Gorman talked about in the title of her article are not really options at all?  Let’s take a look.

  • Psychotherapy
  • Go places (one physician quoted in the paper said there were “places to go for treatment” but did not elaborate.)
  • Talk to your doctor
  • Talk to your friends
  • Visit a website and sign a petition (“Even the Score” is the name of the site.  It touts the fact that there are 26 drugs to help men with this problem, while there are 0 for women, and wants you to sign a petition so that the FDA will actively promote the need for such.)

Wow!  I’m sorry, and maybe I’m way off base here, but these options don’t really sound to me like viable options as far as getting to the root of the problem is concerned.  The so-called FEMALE VIAGRA was not approved by the FDA, not because the FDA has it out for women, but because it could not pass their criteria (it was rather ineffective, with too many side effects).   When it comes to boosting your libido, “talking to your friends” is iffy at best.  As for talking to your doctor; the article itself panned this idea, saying that since doctors had nothing to prescribe for women with FSIAD, they (physicians) did not want to even “discuss” the topic.  And as far as “psychotherapy” is concerned, this option automatically assumes that the low libido is a mental issue — it’s all in the women’s head.  The reality of the situation is that science is showing this problem might just be far more physiological than psychological.

Take Inflammation, for instance.  Most health problems (HERE is a list) have been shown to have a common cause —- INFLAMMATION.  It was just a few days ago that I showed you how DEPRESSION is caused by Inflammation (HERE).  Is it possible that Sexual Desire could also be affected by Inflammation?  This is undoubtedly the case, although it is difficult to say exactly to what degree.  While we know for certain that this is true in men, it is only recently that Inflammation has been linked to the female sex drive.  Let me show you a bit of what I am talking about.

  • BLOOD SUGAR ISSUES:  First and foremost on the list of things that cause both Inflammation and low libido in both men and women is BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION.   Not only is DIABETES heavily associated with NEUROPATHY, but Neuropathy is heavily associated with Sexual Dysfunction (HERE).  If you want to read more about this relationship, simply follow THIS LINK.  Diabetes is an Inflammatory problem, and sugar is itself extremely Inflammatory (HERE), and probably why almost all health problems are being tied back to Blood Sugar issues of some sort or other in the scientific medical literature.

  • OBESITY:  Obesity as a libido-buster is indisputable in the male population.  It’s probably number one on the list.   Although it would be folly to claim that the same 70% of the American female population that’s OVERWEIGHT is the same 70% that has libido issues, there is undoubtedly a great deal of overlap.  There has to be — especially if we throw in those who are “SKINNY FAT“.  Obesity is an Inflammatory problem, and for the record, this bullet point is doubly true if you are talking about BELLY FAT

  • IBS AND OTHER INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE:  Up until recently, IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME was not characterized as an “Inflammatory” health problem.  Many are now backing off this position and putting right along side things like Crohn’s Disease and Colitis.  A July 8, 2014 article on IBDCrohns.About.com (Lack Of Sex Drive With IBD: It’s Common For People With Crohn’s And Colitis To Experience A Lack Of Libido) says, “Adults with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may experience a loss in their sex drive“. 

  • DEPRESSION:  DEPRESSION is not only heavily associated with IBS, it is heavily linked with diminished libido as well.  Not only is Depression a known Inflammatory problem (HERE), there are so many studies / articles on this topic that I am not going to spend any real time on it.  By the way, even though huge numbers of anti-depressants are prescribed for low-drive women who have been diagnosed with Depression, this class of drugs is one of the single largest killers of sex drive known today (HERE).

  • AUTOIMMUNITY:  There are dozens of diseases that involve one’s own Immune System making antibodies against it’s own organs, glands, or tissues (HERE is a partial list).  Not only are all of these diseases “Inflammatory” in nature, the majority of the list would cite diminished libido as one of the common symptoms.  Does this prove cause and effect?  Probably not.  But then again, have you ever heard of people being diagnosed with an Autoimmune Disease and then realizing their sex drive has improved?  HERE is a list of my posts on Autoimmunity.

  • CHOLESTEROL ISSUES:  Not only is HIGH CHOLESTEROL an “Inflammatory” problem that is heavily linked to Sexual Dysfunction, the drugs people are given for it (STATINS) actually cause Sexual Dysfunction — particularly in males (HERE).

  • HORMONAL PROBLEMS:  Although I certainly believe that hormones can be extremely complex, I also know that many hormonal problems are related to Inflammation.  An article on Connections (Chronic Inflammation: The Silent Enemy Burning Within) stated that, “the complexity of hormonal effects on inflammation is evident in the scientific literature,” then went on to talk at length about the subject.  Could the opposite be true as well?  In other words, could Inflammation effect the hormonal system?  I believe it does, and allow me to show you just one simple example.  Having an overly-fat body is considered an “Inflammatory” problem (see the bullet point above on Obesity).  Interestingly enough, fat cells create both Inflammation and Estrogen.  The problem is that ESTROGEN DOMINANCE causes (or at least heavily contributes to) Obesity as well as any number of other Inflammatory Health Issues.  It’s a huge viscous cycle.  Not surprisingly a 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (SHBG, Sex Hormones, and Inflammatory Markers in Older Women) talked about these markers as being, “independent and significant correlates of a pro-inflammatory state“.  Best guess is that over the next decade, this bullet point will be largely proven.

Just to let you know, there is yet another new drug (“Female Viagra”) coming down the pike.  European physicians / researchers Poels, Bloemers, and Van Rooij head up a team from the Emotional Brain in the Almere Stad Area of the Netherlands.  Emotional Brain is a think tank and research center for women’s sexual health, and currently has two drugs that are currently going through Phase II of the FDA’s testing procedures for efficacy and safety.  The drugs are called Lybrido or Lybridos

I always find it fascinating that drug companies such as Emotional Brain are allowed to do their own research for FDA approval.  Probably why it has been incredibly difficult to trust EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE.  The June 2014 issue of Pharmacology, Biology, and Behavior carried a study called
Two Novel Combined Drug Treatments for Women with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder.  After saying that, “Low sexual desire is the most common sexual complaint in women.  As a result, many women suffer from sexual dissatisfaction which often negatively interferes with their quality of life,” the study tells us what the drugs are.  Both contain Testosterone, with one containing a precursor to SEROTONIN, and the other containing a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor — a drug given to men for ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION.


So, the big question (whether you are male or female) is how to get that sex drive back?  It is my belief that rather than specifically targeting the hormonal system — most specifically the hormones that control one’s libido such as TESTOSTERONE — you must deal with your body as a complete organism.  I get it; everyone wants a pill, potion, or lotion to solve this problem.  Heck; this is how people want to solve all their health problems.  It’s the promise of modern medicine. It’s easy for the doctor and easy for the patient.  Unfortunately, all too often these promises are hollow.  To get the “Big Idea”, I would suggest that you first read everything on Inflammation that you can get your hands on (HERE), and then formulate a plan to get healthy (HERE’S a start).  You’re right.  Getting healthy is never easy.  But it’s worth it.  Just ask those who have done it.  Oh; and if you appreciate our site, don’t forget to take two seconds and like us on FACEBOOK.

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