> by Susan Wilson, MD <

Modern American society is fast paced and getting faster. Tension is everywhere — there’s job stress, financial stress, family stress, relationship stress. The list goes on. To add insult to it all, we now know stress can wreak havoc on male sexual function. 

Normal sexual function involves a virtual symphony of interactions among the vascular, hormonal, psychological and neurological systems of the body. Stress, unfortunately, has a negative effect on all of the players in that symphony. Get super stressed out for long periods of time and you can end up with erectile dysfunction (ED), diminished libido (sex drive) and abnormal ejaculation.

What to do? That’s where things can get confusing. Currently, the market is jammed with proprietary herbal remedies and concoctions that claim to boost performance. Most of these are of no benefit whatsoever. There are also expensive minor surgical procedures that are advertised as a quick fix. While there are cases that require more complex measures, it makes sense to try the simple solutions first.

And stress is key. Reducing stress results in better health from head to toe. By reducing stress in your life, you also go a long way toward warding off hypertension, heart disease, depression and anxiety, and you sleep better. But let’s get back to better sexual function. Reducing stress can improve libido and in some cases erectile function. 

Techniques to bring down the stress in your life include exercise, meditation, yoga, and biofeedback training. Also consider reducing your workload and/or your time spent thinking about your workload. Sleep more, and play more. What do you like to do? Golf, fish, hike? Then do it. Schedule it and do it. Or take up a new hobby, 

and make sure you clear time for it. And unplug so you can 

be truly present. 

If you’re doing all of that like a boss and still having trouble with sexual function, consider seeing a specialist in hormonal optimization and anti-aging medicine. A well-trained, experienced anti-aging specialist can help guide you along the path toward better sex. 

But be selective. If, while shopping around, you encounter a website that makes it difficult or even impossible to find the doctor’s biographical information, then move on and look elsewhere. Also, know that if you find a site that focuses on the most expensive treatment options, you will likely be offered these treatment options first. 

Instead, you want your new doctor to start slowly with you, working with you to make sure you’re reducing stress and addressing hormone deficiencies.  He or she will also evaluate the effect of other health problems and medications on your performance. 

Hormonal replenishment to boost testosterone levels and medications that address ED will likely be among the first options your new doctor will discuss with you. Don’t be afraid to give them a try. But also know that specialized compounded forms are frequently superior and almost always less expensive than commercial offerings.

Good luck. Enjoy your stress-reduction efforts and the fruits they bring, both sexual and otherwise, and do know that if you need extra help beyond that, qualified practitioners who understand male sexual function are out there and available to help. 

Laura Olsen

Houston, TX