An Often Under Managed Problem
Sexuality is a complex process and behavior. It is
coordinated not only by various systems of our bodies such as the endocrine,
nervous, vascular and others. It is also related to personal experience, social,
cultural beliefs, and changes with age. Sexuality is also much affected by
interpersonal relationships or lack thereof. Each partner brings different needs
and response to the sexual relationship. Any disturbance in any of these areas
can potentially lead to sexual dysfunction.
For centuries, in many old cultures as well as new cultures,
the society tends to focus on the needs and the problems of male sexual
dysfunction. During the last 40 years in the West, feminine rights, liberation
and sexuality have gone through dramatic changes. Coupled with increased aging
and menopause of American female baby boomers, prevalence of female sexual
dysfunction complaints, awareness has surged. The creation of Viagra was
immediately followed by intense pharmaceutical inquiry into a female version of
Viagra. The popular press has now spent much of their efforts in educating the
public about Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). These sexual problems are not new.
In fact, thousands of years ago, Taoists in China believed that a healthy sexual
life style could lead to good health and minimize illness. Some Taoists even
believe that cultivating great sexual health and habits can lead to longevity
and immortality. The famous Taoist text, "The Tao of Sex" is one of the earliest
texts in the world addressing issues of sexuality ranging from specific sexual
positions to usage of herbs for sexual dysfunctions.
There are four areas of Female Sexual Dysfunction desire,
arousal, orgasmic, and pain disorders. They frequently overlap and need to be
ascertained properly. Many medical conditions are a source of direct or indirect
sexual problems. Diabetes, incontinence, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and
mood disorders are just some the conditions that may disturb normal sexuality.
Medications such as antidepressants and antihypertensives can suppress sexual
desire. Gynecologic conditions can also contribute to sexual difficulties. For
example, chronic recurrent bladder infection can diminish desire. Chronic
vaginal or cervical infections can make sexual intercourse less desirable.
Normal progression through menopause can also exhibit vaginal dryness and
decreased libido. Psychological conditions from past sexual molestation and rape
can create physical problems. Current relationship problems can also dampen
desire and arousal.
Chinese Medicine offers many tools for addressing these
issues. Acupuncture, which has proven neurological and endocrinal effects, can
be used in vaginismus - a condition where the outer vaginal muscle contracts to
prevent entering of any foreign objects. It is also frequently used in sexual
pains especially due to endometriosis, and chronic bladder infection.
Acupuncture can also relax one's mood, enhance sensuality and arousal. Herbal
medicine is frequently used in combination or alone, especially for hormone
regulation. It can also be used in chronic bladder infections associated with
sex. Herbs are frequently stimulating to the sex drive as well.
The key to good sexual health is to eradicate problems right
away when they arise. Inform your gynecologist and your practitioner if you feel you might suffer from these issues.