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Constance Tambakis Odom, MD graduated in 1987 with her Doctorate of Medicine from the New York Medical College, and was an Anesthesiologist Resident from 1988 to 1991 at the Brookdale Medical Center PGY II (CA-I)-PGY IV (CA-III). She is Board Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology since 1998 and American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine since 2002. Constance Odom, MD is affiliated with the American Medical Association, American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, American Society of Anesthesiology, Georgia Society of Anesthesiology, Hellenic Medical Society of New York, North Carolina Society of Anesthesiology, and Society of Ambulatory Anesthesia.
A loss of libido is one of the most common challenges facing men and women world over. Left unattended to, it has been shown to cause serious relationship problems and even lead to loss of self-esteem. Research has shown that 32 percent of women and 15 percent of men. It can occur at any age whether you are old or young due to any of a number of reasons. Some of these reasons include depression, being overweight, stress, medication, problems in the relationship, low testosterone, lack of enough exercise, use of drugs and alcohol intake among others.
With all these causes and the sensitive nature of low libido, it is only natural that the search for tips and ways of boosting libido has been going on for long. The good news about this is that there are several ways you can indeed boost your libido and get back to enjoying your sex life. For many centuries various techniques have been explored and their effectiveness recorded, and now scientists and therapists agree on several ways which an individual can re-discover and increase their libido. If you suspect you are suffering from low libido or you are interested in discovering ways to boost it, then worry not, you are not alone in the quest and we have some solutions for you.
Before delving into the different libido boosting ways, it is important to have an accurate picture of what libido is. Libido is defined as an individual’s desire for sexual activity. It is your sexual drive meaning when you have low libido, you tend to find sex unexciting and you seek to avoid it. Having low libido can come as a surprise to many who may find it hard to understand the situation especially given the fact that it is a condition largely associated with old men and women.
It is important to note that women and men share some causes of low libido while there are some causes which are gender-specific. In men, age is one of the causes of low libido which explains why you may associate it with older men. Individuals are different but while a number of men still retain their sexual drive in their 70’s to some the levels drop, and desire reduces.
Where age is not a factor, there are other causes of low libido with the next common factor being depression and stress. A decrease in libido can also be caused by an endocrine disorder. This disorder results in the low amount of testosterone level; which is the male sex hormone. When its low level, the libido is also affected. Sleep apnea is also another factor which also affects the levels of testosterone though it is not well known or discussed.
It is necessary not to confuse erectile dysfunction and low libido. While both can be caused by low levels of the male sex hormone, they are different and unrelated. It is possible to have males with erectile dysfunction but having a normal or even a high sex drive. This is usually true in most erectile dysfunction cases. Erectile dysfunction refers to a condition whereby the man is unable to attain or maintain an erection which is possible regardless of his desire for sex.
In women, the low sexual drive is a complicated affair with many possible causes. These causes range from issues with the relationship partner, medication side effects, cultural and social influences and perspectives, media projection of sexuality. Medical conditions like fibroids, thyroid complications, and endometriosis are also significant causes of low libido in women.
Women are also susceptible to low testosterone levels. Testosterone levels in women are usually at the highest levels when women are in their 20’s but start dipping as they approach menopause, and with this deep, the sexual drive can be affected. A woman’s sexual drive can also be affected by forms of birth control such as pills and other methods which interfere with the woman’s hormones.
For both men and women, the sexual drive is controlled by two chemicals in the body. These are prolactin and dopamine which are biological chemicals meaning they are produced by the body. According to theory, dopamine increases your sexual desire while the prolactin reduces your sexual desire. Taking medication is one of the main ways which these two chemicals can be affected. Some medicines increase the production of prolactin and others inhibit the production of dopamine. Any of these situations will easily result in low libido.
Besides, causing low libido, any impact of medication on these two chemicals can result in other side effects on the body. For example, low prolactin levels have been associated with several symptoms of poor sexual and psychological health. It is also associated with other health conditions such high blood sugar levels and general unhealthiness including a large Body Mass Index.
The issue of overweight and obesity is a crucial one because studies show that obese people are 25 times more likely to have sexual problems. High blood sugar levels and chronic diseases like diabetes are some of the conditions associated with obesity and which have a significant impact on your sexual libido. It is a condition that affects the libido in both the men and women and in men it also results in erectile problems. However, studies indicate that a small drop in your weight will have a significant improvement on your sexual drive.
Having explored the different underlying causes that result in low sexual desire, it is now time to look at the natural ways you can use to improve your libido. There are four main ways you can achieve this, and they are;
1. Using your diet
3. Using natural essential oils
4. Positive lifestyle changes
When it comes to diet, there two things involved. You need to know which foods you should be using more frequently, and you also need to know which foods to keep off. Foods that will help you boost your libido include;
1. Foods rich in Vitamin C- such foods are linked with better libido levels, especially in women. This is because, Vitamin C is essential to the blood circulation in the body and the more of it you take, the better your body blood flow is enhanced. You should make a point of consuming foods rich in Vitamin C on a daily basis. Examples of such foods are broccoli, red peppers, and oranges.
2. Foods rich in Iron- Iron is an essential mineral in the body especially in the formation and replenishing of blood and blood cells. Iron deficiency can result in several sexual problems including a drop in desire, difficulty in having an orgasm, arousal and even lubrication with the effect being greater in women. Great sources of iron in the body include kales and spinach and grass-fed beef.
3. Sweet potatoes- sweet potatoes are rich in potassium which is a mineral used in combating a number of blood conditions including high blood pressure that can affect libido and even cause problems with attaining an erection in men.
4. Natural aphrodisiacs- aphrodisiacs have been used through the ages to improve sexual desire and activity. Indeed there are some natural aphrodisiacs which not only increase the desire for sex but also enhance the blood flow to the genitals further heightening desire.
5. Foods rich in collagen- as one grows old, the production of collagen in the body drops. This affects various areas of the body with the most direct factor being the loss of the skin elasticity. It also leads to a number of sexual health problems in both men and women. Besides the loss of libido, collagen loss also causes erection challenges in men while women in women it causes the vaginal wall to loosen. Foods that can help you with collagen are those rich in Vitamin C since it helps in the synthesis of collagen. You can also use Vitamin C supplements to boost collagen production.
6. Dark Chocolate - dark chocolate preferably one with low sugar has been known to have several health benefits and one of them is facilitating the release of phenyl-ethylamine and serotonin enzymes which have aphrodisiac effects and are great at lifting the moods thus enhancing your overall libido levels.
7. Taking enough water- this may initially look out of place, but a look at the benefits it has on the sexual organs and its role in various sexual activities will change your mind. First, water prevents dehydration, a situation that can easily dampen your sexual desire. It is also helpful in dealing with conditions like vaginal dryness, headaches, and general fatigue.
8. Nutmeg, clove and other spices- this may not be a popular choice for people who do not have a liking for spices but with a little try, you can get over any existing apprehensions. Spices are great sources of antioxidants which help with the blood flow, and in the case of nutmegs and cloves, they help men to enhance their sexual behavior.
9. Watermelon-this is one of the best superfoods around. A study done in 2008 shows that fruit has similar effects like that of Viagra. The plant contains a number of phytonutrients which are helpful in relaxing the body and improving blood flow which is helpful when you are looking to improve your libido without having to risk the side effects of the blue pill.
10. Almonds – Almonds are densely packed with important nutrients from minerals to proteins and vitamins including Vitamin E, zinc and selenium and healthy fats which are all crucial in improving your sex drive and boosting your reproductive health.
11. Brazilian nuts are an important addition to your diet because of their rich selenium content. As discussed above in almonds, the selenium content is helpful in sexual health.
12. Avocados: ancient Aztecs seemed to have discovered the aphrodisiac properties. Earlier no wonder they named it after the male testicles from which avocado is derived. It has Vitamin B6 and folic acid which are energy boosters especially after a long day at work saps away your energy and mood. Vitamin B6 also regulates prolactin which is a libido enhancer. Further, the mono-saturated fat content of the avocado is essential in the formation of testosterone.
13. Asparagus: this nutrition rich herb does a lot of good to your skin and hair improving your moods and confidence. This is thanks to its vitamins A and C content. It also contains high levels of vitamin B and potassium and also provides a boost for histamine which helps enhance stronger orgasms.
14. Fatty Fish: wild Salmon's, tuna and sardines are known for their omega-3 content. Most people know this is good for the heart but do not know that it is also great for your libido and sexual experience. The nutrient increases dopamine levels in the brain which in turn increases blood circulation and flow in the body relaxing you and stimulating arousal.
As you focus on including this variety of foods in your diet, you will also want to be wary of the following foods which of you can help it; you should avoid altogether or, you can reduce how frequently you take them.
1. Foods with high Trans-fats content- these foods are harmful to your sexual drive and can also lead to further complications in reproductive health like affecting a woman’s pregnancy term while also leading to abnormal sperm production in men.
2. Poor quality protein largely from factory fed beef, as opposed to grass farmed beef, can cause a hormonal imbalance due to the antibiotics and added hormones in the beef.
3. Processed foods and those rich in sodium- like fried foods, this kind of foods negatively impact on sexual desire and performance. Worse, they are agents of high blood pressure which I turn prevents the optimal flow of blood in the genital areas.
4. Usual dairy products- use of dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter can expose one to synthetic hormones which in turn negatively affect the progesterone and testosterone levels in the body lowering one’s sexual drive.
5. Consumption of sugar – sugar has been shown to have adverse effects on the testosterone levels and other sex hormones. For men, in particular, a study done in 2013 showed that after consumption of sugar, the testosterone levels in the body reduced by 25% and remained low for several hours after the consumption irrespective of any underlying condition.
6. Use of microwave popcorn bags – while it is very convenient to do your popcorns in the microwave, you are literally exposing yourself to perfluoroalkyl acids which have been shown to reduce the sperm count significantly. The same also goes for the chemicals found in the lining used in nonstick cooking ware which is also linked to a lower sex drive.
7. Alcohol – This seems to be odds with the usual expectations and wild sexual encounters common when the alcohol brakes down any inhibition. When you overindulge in alcohol, you lose arousal and sensitivity which significantly affects your sexual desire.
8. Caffeine- caffeine is another drink which should be taken in moderation because when taken excessively easily leads to a decrease in the sexual activity and vitality.
At times you may need to boost your libido a bit faster or you could be looking to fortify the gains you have made by using a healthier diet. To give you that short-term boost you need, you can turn to the several natural supplements available. Men and women libido needs tend to differ and this means there are different supplements for each sex.
If you are a man and you need to increase your sexual drive, herein are the five important supplements to consider;
1. Gingko Biloba: this supplement is derived from the plant and it helps improve blood flow to the genitals. The recommended dosage is 120 milligrams taken twice a day.
2. Maca: research done on this supplement indicates that it boosts sexual desire. For dosage, take 500 milligrams three times daily.
3. Tribulus: the origins of its use as an aphrodisiac are in China and it has shown to help improve sexual desire levels and other sexual activity. Its recommended dosage is 85- 250 ml daily.
4. Niacin: this is Vitamin B3 a vasodilating agent which works to ensure proper blood flow to the body.
5. L- Arginine – this is another vasodilator which helps with blood flow and improves the flow of blood to the genital area. The recommended dosage is 1,000 milligrams taken twice each day.
1. Maca: this is the only supplement shared by both sexes though for different functions. In women, this supplement helps restore hormonal balance, increase sexual desire and fertility. The recommended dose is 500g taken three times a day.
2. Iron: This is a crucial mineral supplement that should be taken when you are suffering from anemia caused by lack of iron. You have to be careful when taking up iron supplements because they could easily cause constipation. It is therefore advisable to use the supplement along with a Vitamin C source. Take 25 to 30 milligrams once every day.
3. Panax ginseng: this supplement is especially useful for ladies approaching or in their menopause, and they have low libido. It boosts the sexual desire levels. The recommended dose is 1000 milligrams taken once daily for three weeks.
4. Yohimbine: this supplement helps those who could be having difficulty getting an orgasm which largely leads to low libido levels should use this. The directed dosage is 15-30 milligrams daily.
5. Ashwagandha this final supplement is taken 500 milligrams once or twice a day, and it has been shown to be much more effective in helping women fight sexual distress.
Natural essential oils are another way you can use to boost your libido naturally and in a safe way. You can use them to complement the other methods. These essential oils include jasmine oil, cinnamon oil, sandalwood oil and rose oil among others. They are effective for both men and women and generally work under one principle; they are aphrodisiacs and help improve the mood and an
Sandalwood is the most effective of the essential oils to both men and women. It helps to balance the levels of testosterone in both genders and its natural aphrodisiac properties have seen it used in perfumes to increase desire and a relaxed sexual mood. You can borrow this application and add drops o sandalwood to your lotion or deodorant.
Another essential oil that is used for boosting sexual desire is cinnamon oil. It is also used to help treat impotence. It works by stimulating the enzymes to create a pathway that increases the blood flow to the genitals.
Another approach you can use to enhance your libido and sex life is adopting a few simple practices while abandoning those that are hampering your sex life.
This is a simple lifestyle change that can have great rewards for your sex life while improving other aspects of your body health. Moderate exercise helps with blood flow throughout your body. Exercise also improves your mood and general perception of your body while driving blood better into your genital area. Some exercises like yoga even help improve the quality of your orgasm by promoting better circulation in the specific area.
2. Quit smoking
In case you were looking for another reason to stop smoking or not to start, then its effect on your libido levels and sexual life are what you need. Recent research shows that men who smoke have sex about 6 times a month while
non-smoking men have sex twice as often that number. Aside from killing your libido, smoking affects your fertility and satisfaction generally destroying your sexual life.
Along with smoking, you will need to cut down your alcohol and even make a switch to a preference of red wine. This is because such a choice offers you several benefits including antioxidants which are good for your blood circulation.
Another lifestyle change you need to adopt is improving your self-esteem and how you view your body. A poor sense of self-esteem and self-worth affects your personal confidence levels which in turn affects your libido. You need to adopt a positive outlook on life and focus more on your strengths. You should also find ways to manage your home and work-related stress to prevent depression and other health effects.
Your libido is largely dependent on how well blood flows to the genitals, your moods and that around the area you intend to have sex on, the image you have of yourself and personal confidence, medical condition, hormonal balance and your age. You are not entirely powerless to boost your libido level and rejuvenate your sex life. With a few changes and adopting new and healthier practices, you can boost your libido naturally.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.