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In my last post, we touched on a rather hushed subject… female sexual dysfunction.
Hopefully, more women are realizing there’s no reason to say goodbye to a healthy and fulfilling sex life as they age. And no reason not to talk to others about it and seek help.
As promised, in this follow-up, I’d like to share natural treatments for female sexual dysfunction, including herbal and neurochemical supplements, sex aids, acupuncture, regenerative interventions, and more.
When it comes to supplementing it’s generally a good idea to follow dosage recommendations per your supplement brand of choice. In some instances, as you’ll see below, I make specific recommendations on how much to use…
- L-arginine at higher doses stimulates nitric oxide (a vasodilator) to improve blood flow to genital organs.
- Niacin is a vasodilator that also increases blood flow to the pelvic region and promotes the regression of hardened arterioles.
- Omega-3 oils are anti-inflammatory and help cell-to-cell communication, and cell hormone receptivity in target tissues. I usually recommend 3 grams daily of EPA/DHA (pills).
- Antioxidants such as pycnogenol, grape seed extract, and Vitamin C 3000 mg twice daily should reduce inflammation and improve hormone function. (High doses of vitamin C are unlikely to be harmful but can cause unpleasant symptoms in some people. If you experience heartburn, headache, nausea, diarrhea, take less.)
- Zinc is the main mineral in the maintenance of human reproductive function.
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced naturally by the adrenal glands: it is a precursor to testosterone (which then is converted to estrogen). Levels of DHEA naturally decline as you age and also with adrenal insufficiency. Studies have found that DHEA boosted sexual arousal in older women.
- Tongkat Ali works by increasing testosterone levels which is a prominent hormone that gives you energy level, mood, fertility, and sexual desire.
- Maca may have positive effects on sexual desire in healthy menopausal women and help reduce sexual dysfunction when antidepressant medications are being taken. Maca root can be found as a powder to add to smoothies and coffee.
- Yohimbe (surprisingly helpful for sleep apnea) relaxes and dilates blood vessels in the genital area; it may also stimulate sexual desire.
- Black Cohosh has estrogen-like properties and increases blood flow to the pelvis to increase arousal and response to sexual stimulation.
- Chasteberry (Vitex) increases sexual desire by boosting the hormone progesterone and the neurotransmitter dopamine; also, it decreases prolactin that is known to interfere with sexual desire.
- Ashwagandha and Ginseng (adaptogen herbs) increase nitric oxide production to improve blood flow
- Ginkgo biloba increases blood flow to tiny arterioles; it also directly triggers smooth muscle relaxation. It is helpful to treat female sexual dysfunction caused by anti-depressants.
- ArginMax contains Panax ginseng, L-arginine, Ginkgo biloba, Damiana, multivitamins, and minerals. Two large clinical studies found ArginMax to improve sexual function in menopausal and other women with low sexual desire.
- Zestra is a blend of borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, angelica extract, coleus extract to apply directly to the female genitalia. A preliminary study showed it increased sexual sensation, arousal, pleasure, and satisfaction in “normal women” and women with arousal problems as well as helping with sexual side effects related to antidepressants.
The use of sex aids (more commonly known as sex toys) is not readily accepted by all. For the most part sex toys are designed solely to increase pleasure, but between partners may also help to create arousal.
Acupuncture works for many things, including reversing the Chi blocking sexual desire and orgasm. Emerging research is establishing that acupuncture may be an effective treatment modality for sexual dysfunction including impotence, loss of libido, and an inability to orgasm.
A new drug (Bremelanotide) for low sexual desire in women
A study of more than 1,200 women showed that only about 25 percent of those who took bremelanotide experienced some increase in sexual desire versus 17 percent of those who took a placebo. Not very impressive in my view.
PRP “O” shot
You may remember Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) from my previous reports. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) from your own blood contains growth factors that stimulate stem cells to proliferate tissue wherever it is placed — even when injected into key areas of the female vagina and clitoris. This series of shots using your own PRP can be magical for desire, arousal, and orgasm. I don’t currently perform this procedure, but one experienced physician verbally reported just more than 50 percent success rate. It should be repeated every 1-2 years. The “O” shot name was coined by Charles Runnels, M.D., author of the “Vampire Facelift.” Now PRP and nanofat can be injected (sequentially) along with RF or laser devices to give the most effective regenerative intervention of all.
RF or LASER energy to the vaginal tissue along with PRP injection is cutting-edge and showing to be the best form of regenerative treatment to restore female sexual function due to aging.
Hopefully, one, or some of these suggestions together, will work for you.
To a healthy and sexual relationship,
Michael Cutler, M.D.
- Khamba B, Aucoin M, Lytle M, Vermani M, Maldonado A, Iorio C, Cameron C, Tsirgielis D, D’Ambrosio C, Anand L, Katzman MA. Efficacy of acupuncture treatment of sexual dysfunction secondary to antidepressants — J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Nov;19(11):862-9. PMID: 23790229
- A new drug for low sexual desire in women: Bremelanotide — Harvard Health Publishing