Sexual problems appear in a variety of forms, including lack of interest in sexual physical activity, inability for men to achieve and maintain an erection, inability for women to get aroused, as well as climax difficulty for both sexes. Women may also suffer from vaginal dryness and complain of painful intercourse, while some men experience prostate discomfort or issues with delayed or premature ejaculation.
What causes sexual dysfunction in women and men?
The causes of sexual dysfunction and related sexual problems are many and vary from person to person, and of course, can differ based on sex.
Common causes of sexual dysfunction in WOMEN include:
- Hormone imbalance, including that of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
- Deterioration of female sexual organs due to aging and low levels of estrogen, which may cause reduced blood flow to the pelvic region, as well as changes to the genital tissues.
- Prescription medications, such as antidepressants, psychotropics, blood pressure meds like beta blockers, certain contraceptives and cancer treatments among others.
- Medical conditions such as endometriosis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, stroke, high blood pressure and others.
- Substance abuse, including alcohol, drugs and smoking.
- Psychological issues like work pressures, marital problems, past sexual trauma, depression, anxiety, etc.
Common causes of sexual dysfunction in MEN include:
- Low testosterone levels.
- Deterioration of genital tissues and muscles due to aging and/or hormone imbalance.
- Prescription medications, which may include certain anti-depressants, blood pressure meds, pain killers, cancers drugs, medications for Parkinson’s disease, heartburn pills and others (see list from National Institutes of Health here).
- Disorders of the blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and high blood pressure.
- Neurological issues following surgery, stroke, MS or due to diabetes.
- Substance abuse, including alcohol, drugs and tobacco use.
- Psychological issues, like work pressures, marital problems, worries about sexual performance, depression, anxiety, etc.
From sinking sex drives to difficulty performing, it’s time to get back in the saddle again
If you’re a guy who is feeling the love but not in the bedroom due to low libido, or a gal who wants to spice up her sex life but painful intercourse is standing in the way—fear not! There are a number steps you can take and wonderful treatments that exist that help many people address sexual dysfunction, once and for all.
We’ll take a deeper dive into treatments for sexual dysfunction (hormone optimization, tissue injections, lifestyle adjustments, etc.) at the end of this blog. Just know, you’re well on your way there if you decide to be proactive about:
- Getting treated.
- Uncovering the root cause of your sexual dysfunction issues and related side effects.
- Doing your part to live your best healthiest life possible.
But first, let’s talk about a sometimes-related sexual health issue … urinary incontinence.
The loss of bladder control, also known as urinary incontinence, is relatively common, especially as we get older. Incontinence is more likely to afflict women, it may be temporary or chronic, and there are different types of urinary incontinence, which we will review below. It’s also important to note that incontinence is very often treatable (kegel exercises, lifestyle and dietary changes and medical treatment), so don’t despair.
What are the different types of urinary incontinence?
Incontinence takes on many forms. For example, people with stress incontinence experience occasional leaking urine when they laugh, sneeze or cough. While those suffering with urge incontinence (overactive bladder (OAB)) are taken off guard with an urge to urinate so sudden, they may not make it to the restroom in time. According to the Harvard Medical School, the six different types of urinary incontinence include:
- Urge incontinence (overactive bladder or OAB), where the muscles in the pelvic floor and urethra contract involuntarily, so you feel a sudden urge to urinate even when the bladder isn’t full.
- Stress incontinence, where damage to or weakening of the bladder and urethra muscles cause urine leakage after you jump, laugh or cough. In severe cases of stress incontinence, pressure on the abdomen can override the bladder’s ability to hold urine inside.
- Overflow incontinence, where urine leaks out (you may or may not feel like you have to urinate) because you’re unable to completely drain your bladder. This occurs when something blocks the urine from escaping completely, like an enlarged prostate, bladder stone, tumor or scarring.
- Mixed incontinence, where you have symptoms of both urge and stress incontinence, which is common in women who suffer from urinary incontinence, the elderly and men who have undergone prostate surgery.
- Functional incontinence, where the urinary tract and bladder are functioning like they should but you’re unable to make it to the toilet due to a psychological impairment caused by dementia or medication, or a physical ailment like arthritis or confinement to a wheel chair.
- Reflex incontinence, where nerve damage caused by a neurological issues like MS, stroke or spinal cord injury, other types of injuries, surgery or radiation cause the bladder muscle to contract and a large amount of urine to leak.
Common causes urinary incontinence
While we covered some of the causes of incontinence above, incontinence can occur for a number of other reasons. The list below includes many of the common causes of incontinence.
- Food and drinks that act as diuretics (alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, acidic foods, citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, chocolate).
- Tobacco use.
- Medications that act as diuretics (sedatives, heart medications, muscle relaxants and others).
- Aging muscles and tissues in the bladder, urethra and surrounding tissues.
- Pregnancy and childbirth.
- Urinary tract infections.
- Hormone imbalance, especially in women during menopause.
- Enlarged prostate in men.
- Health conditions (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological issues like stroke, M.S., Parkinson’s disease, spinal injury and others).
- Bladder issues including bladder tumors, bladder stones, scarring, trouble emptying bladder completely among others.
- Being overweight.
You don’t have to accept it! How to address sexual dysfunction and incontinence in women and men
If you’re suffering symptoms of sexual dysfunction and/or urinary incontinence, the best place to start is by scheduling an appointment with a trusted and experienced health care practitioner who is willing to diagnose the root cause of your incontinence and sexual problems, as opposed to simply writing you another prescription (the band-aid approach).
For example, patients of EVEXIAS undergo a thorough health exam, which includes lab work, a review of existing medications and health conditions, as well and an in-depth discussion between patient and practitioner regarding the patient’s lifestyle, diet, physical activity, mental and emotional wellbeing, social interactions and wellness practices, among other topics.
Following this assessment, the practitioner will recommend a treatment based on the root cause of the patient’s sexual dysfunction and/or urinary incontinence.
If a medical condition or medication is to blame, the practitioner will work with the patient (and his or her other physicians if needed) to evaluate alternative treatments. Often times changes to diet, physical activity and medication can make a huge difference in a patient’s overall health, which may help resolve sexual health issues.
If an unhealthy lifestyle is to blame, including poor diet, lack of exercise, carrying extra weight and/or substance abuse, it’s time for the patient to step up. Education and the patient’s willingness to change their diet, commit to exercise and place a priority on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health is essential here! So many people believe they just need a prescription, when changing their lifestyle is the key to overall good health (and sexual health).
If hormone imbalance is detected, treatment may include hormone optimization for women or hormone optimization for men. Both men and women experience a gradual reduction in hormone production as they age, so raising hormones to appropriate levels can be all some women and men need to overcome symptoms of sexual dysfunction and incontinence (especially for women during menopause).
If deterioration or weakening of the muscles and tissues of the sexual organs is detected, the patient may also benefit from hormone optimization along with tissue promoting injections. EVEXIAS offers Vitti Pure treatments, which contain anti-inflammatory growth factors to help promote healing and support healthy tissue of the male and female sexual organs. In addition, many female patients with urinary incontinence also benefit from doing kegel exercises regularly.
We can help you address sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence once and for all!
If you’re ready to take control of your sexual health, we’re here to support you! Our experienced practitioners can counsel you on the best approach to sexual dysfunction and incontinence based on your specific needs.