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How The Gut Can Help You Treat Sexual Dysfunction

The Gut + Libido Connection

Sexual dysfunction refers to the challenges an individual may face in aspects of sexual activity, including a reduced sex drive, difficulties with arousal or orgasm, or experiencing pain during intercourse. It is a common problem when it comes to sexual health in both men and women.

A prominent sexual dysfunction in men is erectile dysfunction, which is prevalent in 3-76.5% of men globally. Of women, 40% report they have hypoactive sexual desire disorder (little to no desire to engage in sexual activity), and 14% of those women have the actual disorder present. 

Treatments for sexual dysfunction have been limited to targeting neurotransmitter levels using pharmaceuticals until recent years when studies revealed that the gut affects sexual behavior.

In this blog, we will explore sexual dysfunction in both men and women, its primary causes, and the gut’s role in treating these issues. 

Sexual desire and dysfunction

Sexual desire or libido is a human’s urge for sexual activity. It can come spontaneously or in response to stimuli. It is greatly affected by a mix of hormones, psychological factors, and neurotransmitters in the brain.

Neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine, melanocortin, oxytocin, and vasopressin help increase sexual excitement, while serotonin, opioids, prolactin, and cannabinoids do the opposite. Hormones like testosterone and estrogen are also key in regulating libido.

Psychological aspects, including emotional well-being, stress, personal experiences, and relationship dynamics, play a significant role in shaping sexual desire and response as well.

When the balance of hormones, neurotransmitters, and psychological factors is disrupted, it can lead to sexual dysfunction. 

The conventional method of treating sexual dysfunction involves pharmaceutical interventions targeting neurotransmitters. 

However, recent research on erectile dysfunction (ED) and hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) has highlighted the gut’s role. Both studies came to a similar conclusion: a balanced and diverse gut microbiome can alleviate sexual dysfunction and enhance overall sexual health. 

This new perspective indicates that maintaining gut health is a key factor in managing and improving sexual function.

The gut and libido connection

How a healthy gut helps increase libido

Let’s go over how a well-maintained gut can improve hormonal balance, reduce inflammation, and foster a positive emotional connection with sex, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and satisfying sexual well-being.

Improve hormonal health

The gut microbiome improves hormonal health by regulating testosterone production and correcting the over-conversion of estrogen back to testosterone. 

Testosterone is a primary driver of sexual desire. Higher levels of testosterone are present in men, accounting for their greater sex drive. 

The gut microbiome influences testosterone production due to its ability to absorb nutrients. Since testosterone needs vitamin B12 to maintain optimal levels, low absorption of the vitamin by the gut can lower testosterone levels. 

Optimal gut health is critical for adequate vitamin B12 uptake, supporting healthy testosterone production.

Additionally, Denitratisoma sp. strain DHT3, a gut bacteria, plays a role in converting estrogen into testosterone in women. This process, called retroconversion, relies on bacterial enzymes and is facilitated by methylcobalamin, a form of vitamin B12. 

Retroconversion can help balance the levels of estrogen and testosterone, influencing hormonal health.

Reduce inflammation

A diverse and balanced gut microbiome reduces inflammation, which is a factor that develops HSDD and ED. 

Chronic low-grade inflammation can significantly impact sexual health and performance. Inflammation affects sex organs directly, leading to problems such as painful sexual intercourse in women (dyspareunia) and erectile dysfunction in men.

Research suggests that aside from anti-inflammatory agents, a diverse gut microbiome can help reduce inflammation, improving sexual function and satisfaction.

Promote a positive emotional relationship with sex 

Mood and emotional well-being, essential for a healthy sex drive, are significantly influenced by the microbiome. 

The neurotransmitters that impact sexual desire and response are closely linked to our emotions and mood. Positive emotions and a good mood can activate the chemicals (norepinephrine, dopamine, melanocortin, oxytocin, and vasopressin) that enhance sexual excitement, while negative emotions may trigger those that inhibit it. 

A healthy gut can contribute to a positive emotional state and reduced stress, indirectly influencing libido by promoting a more satisfying emotional relationship with sex. 

A healthy gut's effect on your libido
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Tips on balancing and diversifying your gut microbiome

Your gut is a complex system, but understanding what it needs would positively influence your overall health, including your libido. Here are some ways for you to balance and diversify your gut microbiome:

Consume probiotics

Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that improve the composition of your gut microbiome. They are usually found in fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi. However, the best way to consume probiotics is through supplements since they can be taken directly and contain the recommended cfu of probiotics needed. 

Supplements can be formulated to contain multiple probiotic strains that restore and maintain gut health. For instance, ProTren Trenev Trio contains three bacterial strains, namely Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus.

Follow a gut-friendly diet

The beneficial bacteria in your gut need food to survive. These foods come in the form of prebiotics, which are substances that nourish and support the growth of probiotics. 

Examples of prebiotics include inulin, resistant starch, dietary fiber, and pectin. These substances are found in prebiotic-rich foods like garlic, onion, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is best to incorporate a variety of prebiotic-rich food for a gut-friendly diet. 

Another recommendation is to go for seasonal fruits and vegetables. Adding seasonal food to your diet gives you the opportunity to diversify your microbiome rather than just sticking to your usual food consumption. 

Take herbal supplements

It is proven that herbal treatments offer the same effect as antibiotics when treating bacterial overgrowth. What’s more, herbal supplements do not have damaging effects on the gut compared to their antibiotic counterparts. 

We recommend taking Happy Belly and Super Juice Blend. Happy Belly is an herbal supplement that supports a balanced gut, smoothens the digestive tract, and boosts enzyme production for better nutrient uptake. 

On the other hand, Super Juice Blend is a nutrient-rich powder of vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, probiotics, and enzymes that promote digestive, immune, and overall health.

Get tested and consult a gut expert

Just like your fingerprints, your gut microbiome is like no other, so there is no universal way to restore gut balance and diversity. The best way to know what approach to take for your gut is to get tested and consult a gut expert. 

Tests like the GI-MAP testing can evaluate the gut pathogens present in your microbiome, and a gut expert can interpret your results and prepare a custom plan based on your gut’s needs. 

Dr. Charlie Ware is the pro you need in your corner. He uses his background in epigenetics and functional medicine to formulate gut health programs for each patient. Every person under his care undergoes a one-on-one conversion about their gut status, receives guided treatment at every phase, and goes home with invaluable knowledge on gut healing that they can apply to themselves and their loved ones. 

Advantages of seeking a gut expert

Conclusion

Sexual dysfunction can be a common challenge, but recent research has shed light on the major role of the gut in addressing these issues. From balancing hormones to reducing inflammation and fostering a positive emotional connection with sex, a healthy gut can contribute to sexual health.

Optimize your gut and its impact on your sexual well-being by seeking guidance from a gut expert. Dr. Charlie Ware specializes in formulating personalized health programs addressing issues of the gut and the dysfunctions that come with it. 

Book a 45-minute consultation with Dr. Ware today and gain insights into your unique gut status, receive custom-made treatment, and improve your sexual function and overall wellness. 

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