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Erectile dysfunction can severely limit life’s simple pleasures. It may also cause strife in one’s marital life and be a cause for social embarrassment and low self-esteem. Erectile dysfunction, which is commonly referred to as impotence, is either the inability to continue with an erection into climax for a continued period, or being able to maintain the erection for a very short time or not being able to get an erection at all.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction According to Ayurveda
Erectile dysfunction is usually caused due to a number of factors which include lifestyle habits, physical as well as psychological issues. Defects within the spinal cord, injuries or problems with blood flow may cause erectile dysfunction. An overly abusive childhood or sex associated with guilt may also be responsible. In Ayurveda, the disorder is linked to ‘shukra dhatu’. Any problem with this, may, thus result in multiple sexual problems including erectile dysfunction.
According to Ayurveda, ED is basically a condition of low vitality. Generally, vitiation of vata dosha is responsible for Klaibya or ED. On the basis of the cause, seven types of Klaibya are mentioned in Ayurvedic texts, e.g. Manasik klaibya is caused by psychological factors, Doshaj klaibya is caused by physiological factors, Shukrakshayaj is caused by deficiency of Shukra dhatu, Vyadhi is cause by some other disease like diabetes, Aghataj is caused by surgical or accidental trauma, Shukranirodhaj is caused by suppression of sexual urge and Sahaj means congenital.
Ayurveda takes a more holistic approach. The exact combination of the methods and the exact implementation chosen may vary according to the specific causes.
- Vajikarana therapy – This is a holistic cleansing process that aims to correct the bodily faults which might have been causing ED. It includes certain processes, such as controlled regurgitation, to flush out toxins from the body, specially designed Ayurvedic massages, a tailor made diet, and various other herbal concoctions which can rejuvenate one’s vitality.
- Specified drugs to correct ED – Certain Ayurvedic herbs can be quite effective as well; both in the form of special Ayurvedic medicine or home remedies. Some of these herbs include:
- Bringing in lifestyle modifications – Drinking excessively, smoking and consuming junk food may all lead to weight gain as well as other imbalances within the body. These may affect pressure or sugar levels in your body as well as the heart’s condition, thus resulting in ED. Ayurveda requires one to cut down on or quit certain habits related to one’s lifestyle which might be causing ED.
- Yoga and meditation – Regular exercises would definitely help in this regard. Meditation and yoga would thus be an integral part of the treatment process.
As surprising as it may sound, this disorder is rather common than a rare phenomenon. A lot of men bring their wives/partners to the sexologist, claiming their partners”have no interest in sex”.
The patient gets evaluated with lots of tests and some times are given Injections of testosterone by some dubious practitioners. The partner may have to consume a whole list of drugs, undergo surgeries or suffer domestic violence or face divorce threats/verdict. All this because people are not aware of what we call, Sexual Aversion Disorder. There may not be anything wrong physically or with the hormones with these patients.
What is SAD?
SAD, also known as Sexual Aversion Desire is most commonly described as a feeling of disgust, fear and phobia, revolt, revulsion and lack of genuine interest in sex. Despite what people name it, Sexual Aversion Disorder is not just a common and mood-related downfall in one's sexual desire, rather, it is more about active avoidance and a strong feeling of dislike towards any sexual activity which would otherwise be termed normal for other people.
Other sexual disorders differ from the Sexual Aversion Disorder in a tiny little fact and that is, SAD does not only include a lack of interest, it also comprises of the feeling of disgust and fear (just like a phobia) for any type of sexual activity.
Different patients have different types of aversions such as:
● Some might not like to see the genitals of their partner
● Some do not like the smell of the ejaculations or genital organs
● Some do not like kissing, hugging, cuddling, or mutual mastrubation
● And for some, the fear grows to a complete hatred for intercourse as a whole
A person may become so obsessed with the fear/phobia for sexual activity, that he/she may take every gesture from the partner as demand for sex and may avoid all intimacy or communication between the partners. In long term, aversion for sex might jeopardize their relationship, the bonding and finally the marriage itself.
What causes the SAD and are there any noticeable symptoms included?
Clearly, the Sexual Aversion Disorder is a psychological disorder with a few physiological causes that might be an underlying reason. But the greatest factor which becomes the reason for a person developing an aversion such as this is due to some traumatic past experiences or perhaps issues with the partner itself.
If the cause is interpersonal with the partner, it is likely that the patient is capable of sexual fantasies and imagery. This person avoidance may be situational.
In case of an abusive past, such as physical violence, rape, molestation even verbal abuse or bad parenting, the patient will need an extensive therapy as well as the emotional support of the partner.
However, it is important to remember that no person can be branded as suffering from SAD unless he/she has been evaluated or any other causes have been ruled by an expert sexologist.
Also, SAD can be treated very well, with extensive psychotherapy, marital counseling and cognitive behavioural therapy. The results are very promising. The couple should really be motivated to work on their issues.
Infertility is a condition where a couple trying to conceive in a natural way is not able to do so even after one year of trying. It is also a matter of worry for patients who are over the age of 35 years and those who are not able to conceive naturally even after 12 months of trying constantly.
So here are the causes, risks and treatment for this condition.
There are many causes of infertility. It may be down to a condition present in one or both partners. As per a medical study, 20% of the cases of infertility are due to males, while 40% to 50% cases are due to problems in the female partner. 30% of the cases suffer from infertility due to problems in both males and females. Ovulation and fertilisation are the main elements of the conception process, and any condition in the female or male can upset either function which can make it difficult to conceive. While abnormal sperm production and transport may be a common condition that leads to infertility in males, other factors like side effects of cancer treatments and too much exposure to toxins and chemicals can also play an important role in this regard.
For females, the causes of infertility may range from ovulation disorders, uterine and fibroid tumours, uterine and cervical anomalies, damage to or blockage of the fallopian tubes, endometriosis, primary ovarian insufficiency and pelvic adhesions. Also, factors like thyroid, cancer and medication leading to temporary infertility may be at play.
There are a number of factors that put a male or a female at risk of infertility. Being in your mid 30s usually has an adverse effect on the ovulation and production of well functioning sperm. Further, smoking and tobacco are among the main causes of infertility in either partner. Excessive alcohol consumption may also lead to this problem. Being overweight or underweight can also make a person infertile. Further, not getting enough exercise and routine activities out of your day, can lead to this condition as well.
Male patients can go through treatment for any existing infections, hormonal injections and medication, surgical options like vasectomy reversal, and ART or assistive reproductive technology. Female patients can turn to medication that will stimulate ovulation, Intrauterine Insemination, and surgical processes to correct a uterine septum and remove endometrial polyps, or even a hysteroscopy surgery.
If these methods fail, the patient or the couple can always turn to methods like In Vitro Fertilisation. For other mild reasons, lifestyle changes along with a stress free environment can help in increasing the chances of conception.
Unable to conceive even after repeated attempts can be heart-wrenching. Infertility problems in both males and females have been on an unbelievable rise. In females, infertility often results from hormonal imbalance brought about by health conditions such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Hyperandrogenism. Incidences of infertility are also relatively higher in individuals (both males and females) suffering from diabetes, obesity, thyroid problems, stress, anxiety, and related problems.
Unani approach to deal with Infertility
The lifestyle habits (such as sleeping pattern, substance abuse, sedentary life sans any exercise or physical activities) and dietary practices contribute immensely towards the reproductive health of an individual. Leading an unhealthy or sedentary lifestyle or eating unhealthy foods often results in an accelerated built up of toxins in the body which disrupts the balance between the four humors (Dum or blood, Sauda or black bile, Balgham or Phlegm, Safra or yellow bile). More than often, this disruption affects the reproductive health of an individual making it difficult for a woman to conceive. Used since ancient times in India (as early as the 11th century),
Unani has truly been a savior for millions of couples who had given up all hopes of embracing parenthood naturally and safely without any complications or side effects (as often seen in the case of conventional treatment).
- Ilaj Bil Ghiza (Dietotherapy): Time and again, Unani has stressed the importance of healthy and nutritious eating in dealing with infertility. The food that one eats can play a pivotal role in improving the quantity as well as the quality of the sperms and the eggs. With healthy eating, one also needs to lead a more relaxed and active life. Meditation, mild to moderate exercise and physical activities also work wonders to restore the hormonal balance. In general, walnuts, green leafy vegetables, salmon, oysters, raspberries, blueberries, eggs, bread (whole grain), flax seeds are known to improve the condition of infertility in both the sexes. For men, citrus fruits, garlic, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, carrots, berries, red peppers contribute significantly to deal with infertility and related problems. For women, the fertility boosting food options include eggs, milk, yam, nuts, and lean meat and poultry. One is also expected to avoid or reduce the intake of coffee, alcohol, processed foods, saturated and trans fats, simple carbohydrates, soy products, tofu, fish with a high mercury content (King Mackerel, swordfish, shark, to name a few).
- Ilaj Bil Dawa or Pharmacotherapy: The use of Unani medicines (comprising of herbal concoctions and formulations) have been pathbreaking in dealing with a myriad of fertility problems including low libido, sperm and egg mortality and morphology, enhancing the sperm count. Some of the herbs often used in treating infertility include Withania somnifera, Nigella sativa, Sida cordifolia, Asparagus adscendens, Tribulus terrestris.
- Ilaj Bil Tadbeer or Regimental Therapy: Elevated levels of toxins in the body can immensely interfere with the fertility in both men and women. Ilaj Bil Tadbeer is a detoxification process that goes a long way to cleanse the body of the harmful toxins.
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial Vaginosis is an infection that occurs in and around the female genitalia. It does not usually pose a major health threat and is a mild infection that can be controlled and cured with timely medical intervention. Although it is believed to be sexually transmitted, it can also affect women who are not sexually active.
In some cases, pelvic surgeries, which include caesarean, hysterectomy, abortion or other abdominal surgery, bacterial vaginosis can be contracted during the surgical procedure. This can further complicate the condition of the patient.
Bacterial Vaginosis is a common complaint among women who have physically reached the child bearing age and symptoms of this physical problem can become prominent at any time of the menstrual cycle.
Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis
Dirty, unwashed underwear
Multiple sexual partners
Change in the vaginal pH, causing the reduction in the protective acidic secretion that prevents the growth of other harmful bacteria
Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
The most common sign of bacterial vaginosis is a foul smelling vaginal discharge.
The discharge increases after sexual activities.
Discomfort during urination
In some rare cases, there is itching and dryness
In most cases, bacterial vaginosis does not reveal too many symptoms and does not even cause intense irritation.
Bacterial Vaginosis can be treated with antibiotics that are generally to be continued for a course of 7 days.
Symptoms and discomfort of bacterial vaginosis generally recede within 2-3 days. However, it is recommended that the medicine should not be stopped even after the symptoms disappear.
- Only in rare cases, certain antibiotics may lead to a vaginal yeast infection. In case of redness, inflammation, irritation and undesirable discharge, you must seek medical attention immediately.
The human body works as directed by the various hormones released by the endocrine system. These hormones are essential for coordination of various body functions. From the height a person achieves to the metabolic reactions in the body to the reproductive cycle to the stress levels a person can handle, all are hormone controlled.
Pregnancy is another critical, complicated phase that a woman goes through. It is one of the most awaited phases in a woman’s life; however, it is not very simple either. The above-noted hormones play a major role in this pregnancy, as the baby is dependent on the mother for its initial supply of hormones until it can start producing its own hormones. If the baby does not receive the require amounts, there could be various detrimental effects during development and post birth.
Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid is extremely common in women and there are multiple theories about how hypothyroidism can affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. While the correlation between hypothyroidism and pregnancy are quite well researched, a strong connection stating hypothyroid women being not able to be pregnant is yet to be proven.
The following are some correlations between hypothyroidism and pregnancy.
Increased chance of miscarriage: Women with reduced thyroid functions have double the chances of having a miscarriage. Women suffering from thyroid are at a risk of recurrent miscarriages during the first trimester. The chances of miscarriages during the second trimester are also about 40% higher in hypothyroid women. These women are also at a risk of:
- Premature labour
- Low birth weight
- Increased chances of stillbirth
- Maternal anemia
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Developmental defects and/or delays in the newborn
- Placental abruption
- High blood pressure
One of the reasons identified for infertility in women is hypothyroidism. This range varies from 1% to 40% and so remains to be proven still. In addition, the hypothyroid mother will have a set of symptoms to live through, which may be further complicated given the pregnancy. Thyroid replacement should be religiously done and monitored to ensure TSH levels are at the optimal required levels (2.5 to 3 mIU/L) during the entire duration of pregnancy.
If you have the following, be sure to go through a comprehensive thyroid screening before and during pregnancy.
- Family history of thyroid
- History of thyroid dysfunction or goitre or thyroid antibodies
- Clinical signs and symptoms suggestive of hypothyroidism
- History of repeated miscarriages
- History of head and neck radiation
- Family/personal history of autoimmune disorders
While it still remains to be proven that hypothyroidism per se can stop a woman from being pregnant, there are definitely effects of hypothyroidism on the developing child and the mother. A comprehensive screening and close monitoring through pregnancy are extremely essential.