Healthy living sparks sexual health
Preserving bliss in the bedroom has little to do with Viagra®, and nearly everything to do with your overall health. The secret to a good sex life? Live a healthy lifestyle. “Sexual health issues are so important to discuss because they can be warning signs of more serious medical conditions,” says Amador Delamerced, M.D., internal medicine physician with The Christ Hospital Medical Associates.
- Look past your privates.
“Fatigue, decreased libido and erectile dysfunction (ED) are some of the most common men’s health problems,” Dr. Delamerced says. But the culprits have more to do with poor overall health. High blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels can impede blood flow and damage nerve endings in the penis and drain your body of energy. A healthy diet, at least 30 minutes of exercise daily and stress management techniques can lower these numbers. If you’re still not feeling your best, it might be time for a clinical exam. “We can also help screen for health conditions like cancer, thyroid problems or anemia,” Dr. Delamerced adds.
- Steer clear of STDs.
Diseases in private places will not only affect you and your partner, they could lead to infertility, urinary tract complications, cancer and even death. What’s also startling, Cincinnati’s rate of syphilis is nearly nine times higher than the nation's, and gonorrhea and chlamydia rates are double and triple. Along with genital herpes and HIV, these are STDs that can be prevented by following safe sex guidelines. Or, simply remember the ABCs of safe sex: Abstinence, Be faithful and Condom. “When a man becomes sexually active or starts a new relationship, he should come in for testing,” Dr. Delamerced says.
- Ask yourself: Is it hormones or something else?
Although men don’t experience the dramatic plunge in hormones that women do during menopause, their testosterone levels drop approximately one percent every year after age 30. Low testosterone can lead to low libido, mood swings, weight gain and sleep disturbances. You can’t slow the aging process, but you can talk to your doctor about testosterone replacement therapy or other medications to deal with androgen deficiency of the aging male, also known as male menopause.
- Take inventory of your medication.
“Medications like antidepressants, blood pressure pills and steroids can cause ED,” Dr. Delamerced says. Instead of stopping medication, ask your physician to alter the dosage. Also, don’t think of erectile- and libido-boosting pills as a quick fix. Consider lifestyle changes when possible and consult your doctor (not your buddy) if you think you need a prescription like Viagra®.
- Redefine pillow talk.
Yes, talking about your privates is just, well, private. But, communicating your needs and potential problems with your partner and your physician can preserve the intimacy and spark in your relationship. “Too many times, men overlook sexual health until it presents a problem,” Dr. Delamerced says. “We can have an open discussion about it and order the right tests to address any issues. Plus, it’s a great way to ensure your overall health.”
Find a physician who can address your sexual health concerns at www.TheChristHospital.com or call 1-877-904-4YOU.