SOLVING A CASE OF SCIATICA
Flibanserin is an interesting drug simply because of its history. It was developed by Boehringer Ingelheim (initially as an SSRI Antidepressant), being presented to the FDA for acceptance in June of 2010. After failing to receive a single vote of approval, B.I. abandoned the drug, selling it to a company called Sprout Pharmaceuticals. Sprout did a couple more safety studies (one pertained to whether or not is was safe to drive after taking it) and resubmitted it to the FDA last month --- almost five years to the day after the first submission --- where it was approved by a vote of 18-6. What changed in that half decade? Nothing much --- except for the fact that the feminists were howling about the unfairness of it all (Sprout used an effective propaganda campaign known as "Even the Score"). A very vocal group of women got what they wanted by robustly denouncing the FDA as a sexist organization because they had given the 'thumbs up' for sexual drugs for males, but not for females (there are currently 26 such drugs for men and other than Flibanserin, none for women). The problem is, according to Deborah Kotz' June 16, 2010 issue of US News and World Report (Flibanserin Failure: Female Viagra Drug Disappoints).....
"The drug didn't boost women's desire any more than a placebo in two clinical trials."
In response to the pressure to be 'politically correct', the FDA caved. I use the word "caved" because not only does this drug carry some potentially serious side effects (but then again, WHAT DRUGS DON'T?), but using the most generous language possible, it would be stretching things to categorize the drug's efficacy as even "modest". It is currently being marketed as being able to increase the number of monthly "satisfying sexual events" for women who have been diagnosed with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) --- a "disease" that many critics claim was made up for the express purpose of selling and promoting this drug (see last week's study in the Journal of Medical Ethics --- Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: Inventing A Disease to Sell Low Libido). How modest are the results? After accounting for the "PLACEBO EFFECT," Flibanserin increased the number of satisfying sexual events for women (not necessarily defined as an orgasm) by an average of one half to one per month. Gulp!
BETTER THAN VIAGRA, FLIBANSERIN,
One out of five isn't exactly great odds --- particularly in light of what we are learning about the side effects of SSRI's. What can you do to increase those odds? Next month's issue of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization published a study on happiness as it relates to frequency of sex (Does Increased Sexual Frequency Enhance Happiness?). The researchers created two groups of married heterosexual couples (64 couples in each group, ages 35 to 65). Group one was given no instructions as to frequency of sexual relations. However, whatever the weekly frequency was for the individual couples in group two, the researchers told them to double it.
Because, "Research has found a positive correlation between sexual frequency and happiness," the researchers were wondering if doubling the amount of sex couples have, would increase their amount of happiness. They actually found that because the sex was "mandatory," the couples from group two found themselves enjoying it less, actually ending up with a slightly lower overall "happiness" level than when they started the study. But what about those couples who are having little or no sex?
Rather than resort to the drugs that your doctor will invariably prescribe you, there are things that you can do to improve this problem on your own. The cool thing is that when you do things like (or at least similar) to what I suggest, you'll probably end up solving a boatload of other health problems as well. How's that for a side effect?
- UNDERSTAND DEPRESSION: As I've been showing you, both Depression and the drugs used to treat it are major known causes of Sexual Dysfunction. Educate yourself concerning both. Because knowledge is power, you need to be sure to read everything I have written on Depression ---- including the fact that it is one of the myriad of health problems caused by inflammation (HERE or HERE). Control your body's levels of Systemic Inflammation, and at the very least, you'll improve your sexual situation. It is also critical you realize how intimately related GUT HEALTH is to Depression.
- CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR: BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION ISSUES are probably the number one factor that will adversely affect your sexual function. Much of this has to do with the fact that the function of your entire ENDOCRINE SYSTEM (TESTOSTERONE and the various FEMALE HORMONES) is intimately related to your levels of Blood Sugar ---- even in the absence of full-blown Diabetes (HERE). In fact, the brutal truth is that sugar turns men into women, and women into men (HERE). If the way you eat is not doing an excellent job of regulating your blood sugar, start looking into a different way of eating (I prefer PALEO or KETO).
- DEAL WITH YOUR BELLY FAT: For decades, BELLY FAT has been a top predictor of Sexual Dysfunction in men (see "Testosterone" link in previous bullet), probably because it is so intimately related to Blood Sugar. As I have shown you through previous links on this post, it has recently become a predictor of female Sexual Dysfunction as well.
- DEAL WITH XENOHORMONES: XENOESTROGENS are bad news for both men and women. One of the best ways to go about this is by making sure that your body can BIOTRANSFORM properly.
- EXERCISE: There are about a million benefits of exercise, including increased blood flow. If you take a look at the studies on PubMed linking regular moderate exercise to improved sexual health, you'll quickly realize that it would take hours to go through all of them. A September, 2013 issue of Cochrane Collaboration (Exercise for Depression) reviewed 39 studies comparing exercise to drugs. "When compared to psychological or pharmacological therapies, exercise appears to be no more effective." That's a nice way of saving face, but the meaning is the same. Exercise might not be more effective than drugs, but it's not less effective either. There were four similar meta-analysis in 2014 which all came to similar conclusions. HERE some posts on the type of exercise I feel is best for most people.
- OTHERS: HERE is my general protocol for dealing with the underlying physical issues related to Sexual Dysfunction. As for emotional issues, spiritual issues, or CERTAIN ADDICTIONS, make sure to see a qualified counselor.
One more thing for the women struggling with Infertility. According to a recent study (Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunctions in Infertile Women) from the European Journal of General Medicine "Infertility may interact with a woman’s sexual expression by causing or exacerbating sexual problems as a consequence of the diagnosis, investigation and treatment of infertility. Conversely, sexual problems may contribute in infertility." In other words, the fact that some of the crazy treatments given for INFERTILITY can cause sexual dysfunctions is easy to buy. Not so well understood is the fact that it cuts both ways --- Sexual Dysfunction has been shown to be intimately related to Infertility. Once you begin to understand PCOS, this will make more sense.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
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