In recent decades, the growing prevalence of male sexual dysfunction has been popularized throughout the media. Stumble upon any late-night TV shows or male-centered health websites, and you’ll inevitably be met with a barrage of ads selling this penile dysfunction drug or that libido-enhancing supplement.
But what about female sexual dysfunction? Women who suffer from sexual dysfunction are more numerous than you might think, but because this condition hasn’t been popularized by the media, it’s harder for women to speak out or find treatment where it’s needed.
And they have every reason to seek help — female sexual dysfunction is a debilitating condition, essentially taking all the fun out of sex and often undermining the very foundations of a healthy relationship.
So what exactly is female sexual dysfunction, and how can it be cured without a visit to the doctor?
What is female sexual dysfunction?
According to Mayo Clinic, sexual dysfunction of any form refers to: “Persistent, recurrent problems with sexual response, desire, orgasm or pain — that distress you or strains your relationship with your partner.” This means that any woman who suffers from an issue of any kind related to sexual intercourse could be diagnosed with sexual dysfunction.
Sexual dysfunction affects almost every female at some point in her life. It can occur at any time, from the point at which a woman first becomes sexually active to later on in life. And because there are so many factors at play behind sexual dysfunction — psychological problems, physiological barriers, emotional uncertainty and even lifestyle issues — it can be a very difficult problem to diagnose and treat.
But there are some simple, natural cures you can try to treat your sexual dysfunction and start enjoying a little romp between the sheets again!
Maca has long been a fundamental dietary staple of high altitude South American communities, but only recently has it found center stage in the North American health food arena.
Maca is considered an adaptogenic herb, on account of its ability to lower all forms of stress within the body, regardless of the cause of that stress. Its adaptogenic ability makes maca a good choice for women suffering from sexual dysfunction, as it alleviates the anxiety and stress that often underlies psychological difficulties between the sheets.
Beyond that, however, maca is high in iodine and zinc, both of which are known to support female hormonal balance. This has been demonstrated in two studies, where maca was shown to have a positive effect on female sexual dysfunction and sexual desire.
Another potent adaptogenic herb is ashwagandha, arguably the most popular of them all due to its powerful stress-alleviating and inflammation-lowering abilities.
Part of ashwagandha’s charm lies in its hormone-balancing effects. By lowering cortisol production and soothing the body’s overworked adrenal glands, ashwagandha has been shown to support healthy thyroid function — a critical component of healthy sex drive. With an imbalanced thyroid gland, hormones run rampant and can negatively affect libido, enjoyment, and propensity for orgasm… a fairly important part of good sex, most women would agree!
L-arginine is an amino acid typically found in red meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. But because a lot of women don’t eat enough (or any!) of these foods, they can often be lacking in this important amino acid.
A deficiency in L-arginine can manifest as female sexual dysfunction. With this in mind, supplementing with a high-quality L-arginine product may be a good idea for those suffering from difficulties in the bedroom. Multiple studies have shown that women placed on L-arginine treatment can regain healthy sexual function within a relatively short period of time.
For example, a 2001 study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found that almost three out of four women given a supplement containing L-arginine experienced an improvement in their overall sex life, with notable improvements in sexual desire, sex frequency, clitoral stimulation, and reduction in vaginal dryness.
Funnily enough, ginseng is yet another adaptogenic herb — see a pattern emerging here? Like the others, ginseng is prized for its ability to lower stress and balance hormones within the body. Because it works in a holistic capacity, rather than targeting a specific symptom, it can often prove a handy ally in the fight against female sexual dysfunction.
In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers found that menopausal women given Korean red ginseng extract (more commonly known as Asian ginseng) experienced significant improvements in sexual arousal. Presumably, this effect was due to the hormone-regulating effect of ginseng, offsetting the hormonal imbalances that come part and parcel with menopause onset.
— Liivi Hess