Erectile dysfunction is common in men over 50. However, recent surveys have shown that around half of all men in their 30’s and 40’s are experiencing some degree of sexual dysfunction that they feel is a problem. It’s not often true erectile dysfunction (defined as the persistent and consistent inability to maintain an erection through satisfactory intercourse). So, it’s often written off or ignored. And most men avoid talking about these problems with their doctors. Our Toronto Naturopaths believe sexual dysfunction is important and should not be ignored no matter how young the man. Here’s why.
- Reproductive function is the first system that the body puts on hold when there’s a lack of energy, high stress, or depletion of nutrients. Reproduction always comes after survival – that’s how humans have evolved and survived historically. So a change in sexual function can indicate that there’s an underlying health issue, and treating the sexual dysfunction usually means preventing a slew of other health issues that it forewarns.
- Young adults report low energy as their number one reason for using natural health products. This reflects the factors that people in their 20’s, 30’s and even 40’s today have to deal with: increased financial pressure, high stress work environments, years of higher education, social isolation, social media and constant connection through modern technologies. Chronic stress and burnout frequently lead to lower sex hormone levels, because the same hormonal building blocks will be shunted towards the stress hormones that we need to keep ourselves going, cope and perform with life’s stresses. Long term chronic stress is a major risk factor for disease, so sexual dysfunction is a sign from your body to get some support and reboot your lifestyle.
- Rates of anxiety and depression in young adults are much higher than ever before. Perhaps this is due to the same factors causing low energy, as well as digestive dysfunction which is another major contributor to mood disturbance, as more and more studies are showing. As a result of being anxious, our hormonal and neurological response is a “fight-or-flight” reaction, no matter if there was a tiger chasing us or we simply spiraled through some scary thoughts. This physical response shunts blood to places we use when we’re literally running away from a threat like our lungs, eyes and running muscles. Meanwhile, it shuts down sexual function completely. So it’s never just in our heads; anxiety is a full body state. Sexual dysfunction is a sign that some mind-body strategies, lifestyle changes or therapies are called for so we can stay within our psychological window of tolerance and find a healthy equilibrium between dealing with our challenges and continuing to live our lives.
Our Toronto Naturopaths perform a comprehensive health assessment that always includes energy and mood, as well as other key areas that affect hormone levels such as gut function, inflammation and nutrient levels. These factors are important for testosterone production. We use lab testing to zero in on the most effective nutritional, herbal and lifestyle treatments. Our patients often find that improvements in energy and mood are among the first benefits they see to treatment. Because we are addressing the underlying keys to healthy sexual function, we believe this is the place to start for young men experiencing sexual dysfunction. Patients can discuss their sexual concerns with us directly in a safe and confidential space, or come in for overall improvement to their health and see the benefits.