Sexual Wellness for Increased Vitality
by Jacob Deakins
Sexual health is paramount for overall wellness. It’s not only fun and pleasurable, research shows it can make us live longer. However, sex tends to be a topic that is uncomfortable for patients and practitioners alike. Very seldom is sexual wellness discussed unless the patient has something wrong such as erectile dysfunction or pain and even then, the conversation can be awkward. This should not be the case. Sexual wellness is a topic that encompasses a multitude of areas, but all are vital for overall health. These range from hormonal, biochemical, physical and emotional. These areas should each be addressed independently, but also considered as a complex and well-maintained apparatus within each of us.
One such area is erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is more common than most men realize. Approximately 40 percent of men in their 40’s, 50 percent of men in their 50’s and 60 percent in their 60’s have experienced ED, and it gets worse with every year that passes. Unfortunately, it is not a “one size fits all” approach, or as simple as just prescribing a medication like “the little blue pill.” Every patient is unique.
ED can lead to anxiety, depression and loss of confidence while interfering with current relationships. It can also prevent men from pursuing new relationships, decrease their work productivity, and cause many to miss out on other opportunities.
What can be done? The causes of ED are complex, and likely multi-faceted. However, at the basic level it is all about blood flow. We need to have adequate blood flowing into the tissue, while keeping it there until the sexual experience is complete, and then we can relax. There are three ways to accomplish this.
Adequate Blood Flow: As we age the vasculature may become narrowed or “blocked” by plaque or buildup. In the penile tissue, this plaque slows blood flow, thus preventing adequate pressure to build within the upper chambers of the penis and prevents a full erection. Without full pressure, the veins that exit the penis are not compressed, and blood “leaks” out, resulting in ED.
Nitric Oxide: We also need the release of a chemical called nitric oxide (NO) to dilate the vessels, and the production of NO declines as we age. The nitric oxide pathway is often targeted by our “standard” approach with drugs called PDE5 inhibitors, but if NO is already lacking, or in short supply, these drugs become ineffective while still carrying the risk of side effects.
Blood Vessels: If we need more blood flow, we need blood vessels to carry it. VEGF1 (Vascular endothelial growth factor) is a substance that helps maintain and grow new blood vessels. If this is increased, we can deliver more blood to the penis resulting in firmer, bigger erections.
So, is there a way to achieve all of above three things? Fortunately, the answer is yes, with a safe, painless procedure called GAINSWave. Using a tried-and-true modality in medicine called ESWT (extracorporeal shock wave therapy) we can address blood flow, which is the root cause of ED.
With an FDA-approved ESWT device, clinics can offer this treatment protocol which reduces plaque buildup, stimulates the production and release of nitric oxide, as well as grows new vessels by stimulating VEGF1.
Of course, since it is a medical procedure and everyone has a different baseline, an individualized approach to wellness is always preferred. A patient’s outcome is more successful when their entire lifestyle is addressed—including sleep, nutrition, hormone balance and overall wellness.
There are a multitude of reasons why sexual health is important. By focusing on diet, lifestyle, hormone replacement and other natural treatments, we can continue enjoying sex well into our later years, all while reaping the associated health benefits.