Complementary And Alternative Therapies For Sexual Dysfunction

If you’re dealing with sexual dysfunction, you may want to consider complementary and alternative treatments. According to the University of Maryland, complemenatary and alternative treatments can be useful in treating sexual dysfunction caused by decreased circulation, hormonal imbalance, depression or anxiety.

Herbal Treatments

Some herbs may help alleviate sexual dysfunction symptoms. However, some of these herbs can interact dangerously with medical conditions or medications, so always work with a knowledgeable healthcare provider if you decide to take supplements. Herbs can also have side effects.

Possible herbal treatments for men include ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto and yohimbe. Yohimbe, in particular, has potential serious side effects. Also, two studies have suggested that Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is effective for erectile dysfunction.

Alleged all-natural male sexual enhancement products abound, but caution is in order. The availability of products to enhance male sexual performance or treat erectile dysfunction prompted the U.S. FDA to investigate some of these products. According to the FDA, many contain ingredients not listed on the label that are similar to prescription erectile dysfunction drugs. These ingredients can be dangerous, especially for people taking prescription drugs that contain nitrates.

For women, one study showed Argin-Max–a combination of arginine, ginseng, ginkgo, damaina and some vitamins and minerals–helps sexual problems. Another possibility mentioned by the University of Maryland is yohimbe combined with arginine. Again, these products have potential serious side effects, so work with your healthcare provider.

Supplements

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. According to the University of Michigan, some men with erectile dysfunction have low blood levels of DHEA. One double-blind study found a significant improvement in both erectile function and interest in sex in the men who took DHEA.

For women, DHEA levels decline with age. According to the University of Maryland, DHEA may help increase libido in older women but has no effect on younger women. DHEA is a powerful hormone, so if you want to use it, work with your health care provider.

Other nutritional supplements that may help sexual dysfunction by increasing blood flow are vitamin C and essential fatty acids, such as those found in fish or flaxseed oil. The University of Maryland notes that a combination of Vitamin E, Vitamin B6 and zinc may support hormone production, and vitamin B-complexes can help reduce the effects of stress.

Other Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Other complementary and alternative treatments that might help treat sexual dysfunction include:

  • Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine
  • Hypnosis
  • Sex therapy
  • Stress reduction techniques, including massage, meditation, and yoga.

Resources

FDA Consumer Center. (2010). Caution about sexual enhancement products. Retrieved June 29, 2010, from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/psn/transcript.cfm?show=96#8

Mayo Clinic. (2008). Erectile dysfunction herbs: A natural treatment for ED? Retrieved June 29, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/erectile-dysfunction-herbs/MC00064/METHOD=print

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2010). Sexual dysfunction. Retrieved June 29, 2010, from http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/sexual-dysfunction-000150.htm

University of Michigan Health System. (2007). Erectile dysfunction. http://health.med.umich.edu/healthcontent.cfm?xyzpdqabc=0&id=6&action=detail&AEProductID=hw_cam&AEArticleID=hn-1213000#hn-1213000-integrative-options