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SOLUTIONS FOR EVERY STAGE

MENS' HEALTH

There are health concerns unique to men

 

Men have unique, gender-specific health concerns that they should know about.  Certainly, there are plenty of similarities between the functioning of a man’s body and a woman’s,  but there are enough differences to consider this its own field of health and wellness.

Additionally, being a guy means you have an increased risks for certain diseases, so seeing a healthcare practitioner who can keep an eye out is key.  Every practitioner needs to keep a man’s heart health, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and presence of risk factors for certain cancers and stroke in mind.

Acupuncture may help with many men’s health issues

 

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine effectively assist with a number of men’s health concerns. The goal of all treatments is to restore the inherent health of the human body, so you won’t require treatment or medication (in this case, herbal medicine) for the rest of your life. My goal is to fix you up and send you on your way rather than have you become dependent on receiving treatment or taking herbs for the rest of your life.

Men’s health in Oriental Medicine (OM) – that’s the umbrella term for acupuncture and herbal medicine together – is called andrology. The most ancient scholarly texts of this medicine discuss men’s health.  Men have needed specialized treatment for maintaining health since at least 700 years before the common era.  In short, we have a lot of experience.  It’s comforting to know that men have been having the same health problems for a long time.  We’re not alone, and we’re certainly not the first ones to experience these issues.

Modern Chinese medicine and acupuncture, combine this wealth of knowledge from long ago, with Western science and medicine to take an integrative approach to men’s health.

How can Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine assist with these conditions?

For more detailed information, I encourage you to visit the condition-specific pages listed.  Generally speaking, acupuncture and herbal medicine are used to restore balance – or homeostasis, from a more Western scientific understanding – to the body. When the natural rhythms, ebbs and flows, and cycles of life are out of sync, disease arises. I use acupuncture and herbal medicine to help put things right again.

What are the major aspects of men’s health?

 

We always need to keep our eyes on how healthy the heart and cardiovascular system are.  We also need to make sure blood pressure stays in the normal range.

After this, of course, the major concerns I see from men in the clinic revolve around their sexual health and infertility.  This can be a difficult thing to discuss with loved ones or a health professional, but many men will encounter a condition that can affect sex drive, sexual function and fertility in their lifetime.   The only way to deal with these issues is by speaking frankly about them.  I offer a safe environment in which to discuss your concerns.

You can believe me . . . what ever you have to say, it won’t be the first time I’ve heard it.

Many of the issues men have about their sexual health can be resolved through treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.  I see patients with these concerns routinely, and also see remarkable changes that last.

  • Erectile dysfunction: The symptoms of erectile dysfunction include difficulty getting and maintaining an erection and lowered sexual desire. I also treat the emotional component involved in erectile dysfunction.

  • Low libido: Low libido (low sex drive) is a decreased desire to have sex. 

  • Premature ejaculation: Premature ejaculation means early ejaculation or ejaculating before it is desired.

  • Male Factor Infertility: Male factor infertility is the umbrella category for any cause of infertility due to the male partner. There are many causes of male factor infertility. The symptoms are the changes in sperm mentioned below.

  • Low sperm count: Low sperm count is classified as having fewer than 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen. This is a common cause of infertility in men.

  • Poor sperm morphology: This means that the sperm have an abnormal shape. This can negatively affect fertility, and make it difficult to conceive a child. 

  • Urinary Dribbling: This is sometimes referred to urinary incontinence. Urinary dribbling is an involuntary dripping or leakage of urine from the bladder. It is the result of loss of bladder control, and can affect men of any age. 

  • Prostatitis : The symptoms of prostatitis include painful or difficult urination and pain in the lower body.

  • Enlarged Prostate / BPH: Less than half of men who have this will display any symptoms at all. 

ED / ERECTILE

DYSFUNCTION

Standing Tall (E Tuu Taaroaroa !)

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or maintain an erection to allow for satisfactory sexual intercourse. In both Chinese and Western medicine, there are many causes of erectile dysfunction, also known as ED. Both medical traditions accept that there can be both physiological and psychological causes for the change in the quality of your erection – that is to say a problem in the body or one in the mind.

While it is generally accepted that erectile dysfunction increases with age, Chinese medicine theory believes that through the employment of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and health maintenance exercises and practices, a strong and satisfactory erection can be achieved at any age. Generally speaking, Chinese medicine puts an emphasis on health maintenance rather than healing disease, though it certainly does that quite well. So, a key part of any treatment is going to emphasize this principle when working to improve the quality of a man’s erection.

It is important to note that other diseases, like diabetes and atherosclerosis, and some medications can cause ED and a decrease in man’s satisfaction with his erection.

What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) symptoms are:

  • Inability to get an erection

  • Inability to keep an erection

  • Decreased sexual desire is commonly a related symptom

 

What causes erectile dysfunction?

The causes of erectile dysfunction can be both physical and psychological. An erection begins in the brain with sexual arousal. The brain releases chemicals to tell the nerves to relax the muscles that control the blood vessels leading into the penis. This increase in blood causes an erection. If this process is interrupted at any point, ED can result.

The specific causes of ED, according to modern biomedicine, include:

  • Heart and vascular disease

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Obesity and metabolic syndrome

  • Diseases, including diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis

  • Altered hormone levels (especially low testosterone)

  • Medications, alcohol, tobacco, and other recreational drugs

  • Depression, stress, and anxiety

 

 

How is erectile dysfunction diagnosed by a doctor?

A diagnosis of erectile dysfunction can be made by a health care professional. Usually, a physical exam and an interview about sexual and medical history are enough to diagnose erectile dysfunction. However, the following tests may also be performed when diagnosing ED:

  • Blood and/or urine sampling for laboratory testing

  • Ultrasound imaging

  • Nocturnal erection test, also known as a nocturnal penile tumescence or NPT

  • Psychological exam

  • Neurologic tests

These tests for ED will identify the type of ED as either:

  • Physiological: a breakdown somewhere in the arousal pathway between the brain and the penis

  • Functional: the inability of the penis to become erect, even if the pathway is working properly

  • Psychological/mental: caused by stress, anxiety, and/or depression

In 2007, Kasper et al. created three classifications your doctor may use to describe your specific kind of erectile dysfunction. They are:

  • Failure to initiate erection

  • Failure of the penis to fill with blood

  • Failure to the penis to store blood

 

How is this different from Acupuncture and Chinese medicine diagnosis of ED?

Chinese medicine was created in a time before blood tests, x-rays and other medical diagnostic procedures, so we rely mainly on asking question and some observational techniques.  I’m not going to look at your genitals or ask to see your erection.  I am going to look at your tongue, take your pulse, and palpate your abdomen.

By finding out when you experience ED, what else is happening at that time, your stress level, how the quality of your erection differs from what your ideal erection is and the presence of other symptoms, I can diagnose the ED as one of the patterns of disharmony we expect to see with these symptoms.  There are both modern and pre-modern Chinese medicine diagnoses for ED.

 

How is erectile dysfunction treated by Western medicine?

Western medical (allopathic) erectile dysfunction treatments include:

  • Oral medications: Viagra, Cialis, Levitra are drugs that increase blood flow to the penis (ironically, many of these drugs can worsen the root cause of the complaint making the “cure” leave you in a worse off condition than you were before the drugs)

  • Injected medications: the drug alprostadil is available as an injection or suppository (Muse)

  • Devices: penis pumps

  • Surgery: penile implants, blood vessel surgery

 

How does acupuncture and herbal medicine treat the symptoms associated with ED?

Not surprisingly, acupuncture and herbal medicine are the key modalities I use. In the case of erectile dysfunction, we’re also going to talk about diet and exercise. Typically, I also teach my patients some short Qigong exercises and self-massage techniques for you to do at home (you can also do this kind of massage with an intimate partner).    Back to Mens Health List

PE / PREMATURE

EJACULATION

Stayin' in da Saddle

What is premature ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation, or PE for short, is defined as the “[p]ersistent or recurrent ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation that (1) occurs before, upon or shortly after penetration and before the person wishes; (2) is associated with marked distress or interpersonal difficulty; and (3) is not a direct effect of substance abuse…”.1

In 2001, Aschka et al. estimated that up to 60% of men in the U.S. experience premature ejaculation. More conservative estimates put prevalence closer to 27-40% of men.2  Prevalence of PE is higher in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and chronic prostatitis than in men in the general population.

Generally speaking, premature ejaculation is not considered a disease in its own right, but rather a side effect of anxiety, other psychological causes or lack of sexual experience. More and more commonly, practitioners are considering PE to be a neuro-biological condition.

In an effort to take the pressure off, I usually remind the men who come to me for help to "reduce"  premature ejaculation that time until orgasm is typically between 3 and 7 minutes according to research done by Corty and Guardiani in 2008.   Men who are able to have intercourse for a longer period of time have to teach themselves techniques to restrain their orgasm.   Men have to learn orgastic control through trial and error.   You’re not born with this ability.   Additionally, the first Chinese medicine text to mention PE was published in 610 BCE, so this particular scourge on men has been around for quite some time.

What are the symptoms of premature ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation is characterised by ejaculation that occurs too early — before a man or his partner wants — during a majority of sexual encounters and/or masturbation.  PE is uncontrolled and occurs with a very low level of sexual stimulation.

What causes premature ejaculation?

The exact causes of premature ejaculation are not understood. It is probably caused by a combination of physiological and psychological factors, which could include:

  • Anxiety, depression, stress, and/or guilt

  • Hormone or other chemical imbalances

  • Abnormal thyroid function

  • Inflammation or infection

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Medications

  • Genetic factors

  • Early sexual encounters that involved the need to rush through intercourse

How is premature ejaculation diagnosed by a physician?

A diagnosis of premature ejaculation can be made by interviewing the patient and/or his partner(s). Other medical tests can be performed to determine the underlying cause of premature ejaculation in a male patient.

These tests include:

  • A psychological analysis will reveal if premature ejaculation is psychological/mental in nature or caused by stress, anxiety, or overstimulation

  • Blood and urine laboratory tests can detect if premature ejaculation is caused by a hormone imbalance

  • Specific tests of thyroid function can determine if premature ejaculation is caused by a thyroid problem

How is PE diagnosed by an acupuncturist?

I will ask you a lot of questions, look at your tongue, and palpate your pulse and abdomen.  These are our traditional diagnostic modalities, created in a time before X-rays and blood tests.  The questions an acupuncturist asks help determine your mental/stress state, your general wellbeing, and to better understand exactly how PE is affecting you.

How is premature ejaculation treated medically?

Treatment for premature ejaculation may include one or all of the following:

  • Sexual therapy: masturbation, non-penetration forms of sex, the squeeze technique, distraction methods, different sex positions, condom use

  • Medications: no drug has been FDA approved to treat premature ejaculation, but antidepressants and anaesthetic creams have had shown some success

  • Counselling: talk therapy focusing on underlying psychological causes of premature ejaculation

  • Mechanical devices such as penile constriction rings

  • Relaxation exercises

 

How are the symptoms of PE treated by acupuncture?

Acupuncturists use what is called pattern diagnosis to explain the various health complaints of our patients.  These patterns are usually named after internal organs that we know from biology class, but they don’t necessarily directly correspond to the literal organs in our bodies.  By asking a lot of questions during your visit, I will decide what pattern best fits your symptoms.  This pattern will then guide the treatments through the selection of acupuncture points and herbal medicines.

In addition to acupuncture and herbal medicine, I often recommend dietary modification, Qigong exercises and self-massage.  Of course, you’re welcome to do these massage techniques with your sexual partners, too, as an intimacy building experience.

______________________________________________________

1. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders VI
2. International Journal of Impotence Research (2006) 18, S5–S13. doi:10.1038/sj.ijir.3901507

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PROSTATE TROUBLE ?

No Drugs Required

 

What is an benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)?

The prostate gland is a reproductive gland just below the bladder of a man. It encircles the urethra, the tube in the penis through which urine and semen pass. The prostate contributes fluids and nutrients to the semen.

Benign prostatic hypertrophy, or more simply an enlarged prostate, is generally considered a normal part of the aging process. The prostate gland grows bigger, and can cause problems with urination when it begins to squeeze the urethra or press on the bladder.

The reason an enlarged prostate is called benign prostatic hypertrophy (that last ‘H’ sometimes stands for hyperplasia) is this condition is not cancer and does not contribute to cancer risk.

What are the symptoms of an enlarged prostate?

Less than half of all men with an enlarged prostate show symptoms. Those who do have symptoms of BPH, usually have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Urinary dribbling following the end of urination

  • Inability to urinate (urinary retention)

  • Feeling of incomplete urination

  • Incontinence

  • Nocturia, or the need to urinate more than 2 times at night

  • Pain with urination or bloody urine (these may indicate infection)

  • Slowed or delayed start of the urinary stream (hesitancy)

  • Strong and sudden urge to urinate (urgency)

  • Weak urine stream

 

What causes BPH?

The cause of BPH is unknown, but the prostate does seem to become enlarged as part of the normal course of aging.

Additionally, doctors have noticed that men who have had their testicles removed at a young age do not develop BPH.  If the testicles are removed after the onset of BPH, the prostate will return to its original size.  So, it is suspected that some process happening in the testicles plays a roll in the development of an enlarged prostate.

According to the National Institutes of Health, here are some additional BPH facts (quote):

  • BPH is so common that it has been said all men will have an enlarged prostate if they live long enough.

  • A small amount of prostate enlargement is present in many men over age 40 and more than 90% of men over age 80.

  • No risk factors have been identified other than having normally functioning testicles.

 

How is an enlarged prostate diagnosed by my doctor?

Your doctor’s primary tools for diagnosis are taking a medical history and a digital rectal exam to feel your prostate gland for any inflammation. Additionally, your doctor might perform the following tests:

  • Urine flow rate

  • Post-void residual urine test (checks to see how much urine is left in your bladder after urination)

  • Urinalysis to check for any abnormalities in the urine (i.e., infection, blood)

  • Urine culture to check for bacteria

  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to rule out prostate cancer

  • Cystoscopy, a test that allows the doctor to see inside the urethra and bladder

Your doctor might also use a survey to evaluate the severity of your symptoms. A commonly used survey is this one:the American Urological Association BPH Symptom Score Index Questionnaire.

 

How does acupuncture diagnose BPH?

Acupuncture and the theories behind it were developed thousands of years ago, and so do not rely on the same tests a doctor would perform.  Rather, as an acupuncturist, I will ask you all about what your subjective experience of having an enlarged prostate is, like the frequency of urination or the sensations and discomfort you may be feeling.  I will also collect some objective information – pulse, tongue and abdominal diagnosis – by looking at how you present to me in the clinic.

I then put all of this information to create a Chinese medicine diagnosis, or pattern of disharmony. This guides your treatments.

 

How will my doctor treat an enlarged prostate?

Since the prostate of most men becomes enlarged as they age, and because about half of men have no symptoms of this enlargement, doctors often take a wait-and-see approach. There are some self-care remedies a doctor might recommend during this waiting period. They are:

  • Don’t hold it, and urinate when you have the chance even if you don’t feel you have to

  • Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine after 5pm

  • Evenly space drinks throughout the day rather than drinking all of your fluids at once

  • Don’t drink anything within 2 hours of bedtime

  • Keep warm and get regular exercise (This is spot-on from an acupuncture perspective)

  • Do Kegel exercises

  • Reduce stress

 

More active interventions by a doctor might include:

  • Medications (Alpha-1 Blockers, like doxazosin, prazosin, or tamsulosin, to relax the neck of the bladder and prostate; Finasteride and dutasteride to lower levels of hormones produced by the prostate (but these also reduce sex drive/libido))

  • Surgery (Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP) or Simple prostatectomy)

  • Prostatic stent

 

How will acupuncture treat the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate?

I use a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy and nutritional supplements to decrease urinary urgency and night urination, stop discomfort and decrease hesitancy.  This is done by using the pattern diagnosis mentioned above to treat the symptoms I see before me.  There is no one-size-fits-all treatment.  It’s about treating You the Individual, and the whole you, too.  Every treatment is fully customized for your specific constellation of symptoms. And relief awaits.

What is prostatitis?

Prostatitis is swelling of the prostate gland, a gland about the size of a walnut just below a man’s bladder. The prostate contributes to the liquid portion of semen (ejaculate). Prostatitis has a number of causes, but the primary signs are pain and difficult urination. Prostatitis can be acute or chronic.

What are the symptoms of prostatitis?

Prostatitis is when the prostate gland becomes inflamed or swollen. Prostatitis symptoms may include:

  • Abnormal urination: painful, burning, difficult, dribbling/hesitant, or frequent

  • Pain: back, groin, abdominal, perineum (area between the scrotum and the rectum), penis, testicles, during orgasm

  • Flu-like symptoms

 

What causes prostatitis?

Chronic and acute bacterial prostatitis are caused by bacterial infections. The exact causes of non-bacterial prostatitis — chronic pelvic pain or chronic abacterial prostatitis — are unknown. Other causes of prostatitis may include:

  • Immune or nervous system problems

  • Direct injury to the prostate

  • Defective nerve and/or muscle function

  • Blockage of the urinary tract

  • Build-up of toxic chemicals in the urine

 

How is prostatitis diagnosed by my doctor?

A diagnosis of an inflamed prostate can be made based on the medical history and physical exam of a patient. These tests can identify several possible risk factors of prostatitis, including:

  • Being young or middle aged

  • Not drinking enough liquids

  • Being under a lot of stress

  • Genetic predisposition

  • Nerve problems

  • Stroke

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Diabetes

  • Radiation from cancer treatments

Your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam, which can detect inflammation and tenderness of the prostate. Further tests are required to identify the specific type of prostatitis: urine, blood, and semen tests can detect an acute or chronic bacterial infection. These medical tests for an inflammation of the prostate gland can also rule out conditions that cause similar symptoms:

  • Overactive bladder

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

  • Post-bladder cancer

  • Urethral stricture

  • Narrowing of the penis meatus

 

How does an acupuncturist diagnose prostatitis?

An acupuncturist’s main mode of diagnosis is inquiry.  Basically, we ask a lot of questions to figure out what’s going on. I never perform digital rectal exams in my clinic.  Men who seek treatment will either already have a diagnosis by a doctor, or will have symptoms that fit the bill.  If symptoms persist, and a patient has not been to a doctor, I will refer to a urologist to make a diagnosis and rule-out other problems.  More recently, urologists have begun to refer their patients out for acupuncture to help treat the symptoms of prostate inflammation, like problems with urination.

As part of an intake interview with an acupuncturist, we will discuss not only the symptoms you are having related to inflammation of prostate, but also about your health in general, lifestyle and diet, so I can get a better understanding of the whole you.  I treat people, not diseases.

 

How is prostatitis treated by a doctor?

Treatment of prostatitis depends on the underlying cause. Treatments may target the cause or the symptoms of an inflamed prostate (like problems with urination) and may include:

  • Antibiotics—oral or intravenous—to treat prostatitis caused by a bacterial infection

  • Drugs called alpha blockers relax the area where the prostate and bladder meet and help alleviate painful urination

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers also help with pain

  • Prostatectomy is surgery to remove all or part of the prostate

 

How does acupuncture treat prostatitis?

By piecing together the signs and symptoms, I identify a pattern of disharmony.  Patterns are how Chinese medicine quantifies and qualifies illness.  The names of patterns often have words we recognize from high school biology class about internal organs.  This isn’t a direct correlation, so don’t get caught up in the name or what it might mean.

Acupuncturists use the pattern diagnosis to dictate the treatment plan.  The treatment will involve acupuncture and herbs to unwind the disharmony of the pattern to restore balance to the body.  I also use dietary therapy and tui na massage to support these modalities.  I often give patients a bit of homework in the form of self-massage to be used as a treatment between acupuncture appointments.

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MALE FACTOR

INFERTILITY

Strong Seeds ( Nga kaakano kaha)

What is low sperm count?

Oligospermia, or low sperm count, is a condition where the number of sperm present in ejaculate is lower than normal because sperm production has become inhibited. This is defined as less than 20 million sperm per cc of semen. When all sperm is absent from the ejaculate, the condition is called azoospermia.

Low sperm count is often symptomless. When symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • The inability to conceive a child

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Testicular pain, swelling, or lumps

  • Signs of hormonal disorders, such as loss of facial hair or sweating abnormally

 

What is low sperm motility?

Low sperm motility, or asthenospermia, is part of Male Factor infertility.  Asthenospermia is a men’s health condition in which fewer that 20-40% of sperm are moving effectively.  In a normal sample of sperm greater than 40% motility will be present and the mean sperm speed will be 20 μm/second.  When your doctor analyzes your sperm sample, the sperm are graded on a 4 point scale set by the World Health Organization (WHO), A to D, based on how much and how effective the movements are.  Some doctors use different scales, so the report you see from your semen analysis may be different from the WHO standard.  Some of the men I speak to say, “Well, if I have 20 million sperm in each ejaculation, and I only need 20% to be good swimmers, that’s good.  That leaves me with 4 million sperm to do the job.”  Unfortunately, that doesn’t take into account all of the other sperm abnormalities.  So it is important to make sure your sperm are “swimming on all cylinders,” so to speak.

The only obvious symptom of low sperm motility is trouble getting pregnant despite proper timing of intercourse and there not being any evidence of female infertility. This generally indicates a problem with a man’s sperm, and is called Male Factor infertility. That aside, there aren’t any symptoms of low sperm motility you can see with the naked eye. Your doctor will have to analyse a semen sample for microscopic analysis to see the “symptoms.”

 

What are the causes of low sperm count or motility?

  • Stress, anxiety and worry

  • Hyperthermia (i.e., overheating of your testicles)

  • Endocrine (hormone) imbalance

  • Urological problems

  • Vitamin deficiencies

  • Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, recreational drug use

  • Certain medications

  • Genetic factors, Chromosomal defects

  • Retrograde ejaculation

  • Swelling of the veins (varicocele)

  • Infections or tumors

  • Undescended testicles and defects in the sperm duct

  • Hormone imbalances

  • Obesity, malnutrition, or vitamin deficiency

  • Exposure to environmental toxins or other elements, such as heat

  • Medications or medical treatments

  • Psychological disorders, such as stress, overwork, or anxiety

 

How can acupuncture help with male factor infertility ?

Chinese medicine has several different disease categories, also known as patterns, that describe the disharmonies in the body leading to infertility, and specifically low sperm count (oligospermia).

The first discussion of male infertility dates back to the Huangdi Neijing, one the oldest acupuncture texts. This book dates back to the late Warring States period (475-221 BC) and the early Han period (206 BCE–220 CE). Male fertility issues have been around for a while, and acupuncture has been used for just as long.   This text also talks about the normal cycles of life and how to maintain health throughout our lifetime.  This gives rise to the concept of Yang Sheng, or nourishing life, which informs how we can eat, sleep, live our lives and always be healthy.

Research has shown that acupuncture can improve sperm motility. Chinese herbal medicine also has herbs that have been show to specifically increase motility.  In my experience, treating the whole person often will resolve fertility issues without the need of specific treatment for the sperm.  In acupuncture theory, there is something called a pattern of disharmony.  This is a way to explain all a patient’s symptoms in a tidy package.  Since most symptoms, even when they seem varied and unrelated, often are related from the perspective of acupuncture theory.  So, once I have determined the pattern diagnosis, I use that information to inform the acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments.  By treating according to the pattern, fertility will improve.  In addition to acupuncture and herbal medicine, I use dietary therapy and teach patients self-massage to do alone or with a partner.  These self-massage exercises are beneficial to one’s health and also build intimacy with your sexual partner.

Acupuncture can always be used without herbal medicine, but results will be more significant if acupuncture and herbs are used together.

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LOW LIBIDO

What is low libido?

Low libido is probably one of the least likely things you’ll hear a man freely talking about. But that doesn’t mean it’s not happening to men. With that said, low libido, also known as low sex drive, is a subjective feeling of disinterest in having or lack of desire to have sex. Sometimes this means there is a lack of desire for masturbation, too. Low libido is also known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

Low libido can cause a strain on relationships when one partner wants to have sex more often than the other. It’s important to be open when discussing sexual desire and needs with your partner. It’s easier for partners to accept a decreased interest in sex as medical problem when you talk about not having lost attraction, too. Low sex drive doesn’t mean you don’t find your partner attractive, pretty, handsome, etc.

It’s important to keep in mind that there’s no average for how much sex a person is supposed to want to have. Everyone is different. That being said, low libido is about you feeling like you don’t want to have sex often enough. If that’s the way you feel, let’s talk about bringing back your desire through acupuncture and herbal treatments.

What are the symptoms of a low libido?

Low libido is simply defined as having low sex drive; that is, a low desire to have sex.

What causes a low libido?

The causes of low libido can be both physical and psychological, and may include:

  • Age

  • Psychological disorders, such as depression and stress

  • Hormone levels (especially low testosterone)

  • Endocrine disorders

  • Certain medications

  • Alcohol and other recreational drugs

  • Sleep deprivation

 

How is a low libido in men diagnosed?

Low libido becomes a medical condition when it negatively affects a man’s (and perhaps his partner’s) life. There is not a specific test for low sex drive because it is subjective, but the specific cause of low libido in a male patient can be diagnosed with medical tests.

A doctor will likely perform:

  • A medical history will inform a medical professional if the male patient is taking any medications that cause low libido or if he is overly fatigued due to sleep deprivation

  • A psychological analysis will reveal if low libido is psychological/mental in nature or caused by stress.

  • Blood and urine laboratory tests can detect if a hormone imbalance is causing low sex drive

 

How does acupuncture and Chinese medicine diagnose low libido in men?

The biggest difference between Chinese medicine and Western medicine is the amount of talking we acupuncturists do.  First time patients are often surprised by how many questions we ask and the level of detail we’re trying to gain.  The contrast is especially stark by comparison since we all know about the quotas and patient minimums doctors are forced to fill.

In addition to all of the questions we ask about your general health, mental state and your specific health concerns, we also feel your pulse, palpate your abdomen and look at your tongue.  There is no reason to examine your genitals as part of the diagnosis.

The reason we ask so many questions is because the major diagnostic methods of Chinese medicine were created thousands of years before the medical tests we have come to know today.

How is a low sex drive treated by Western medicine?

Once the cause for low sex drive is identified, that cause can be treated to improve a man’s libido.

Treatments to improve sex drive include:

  • Finding alternative medications that do not affect sex drive

  • Counseling to improve a man’s mental-emotional outlook

  • Testosterone supplements, which can be in the form of shots, patches, or gels

 

How does acupuncture treat low libido?

Acupuncture, herbal medicine and dietary therapy are the primary therapies.  In addition, I may suggest you take some nutritional supplements.  In some  cases, I will also teach you some exercises and self-massage techniques.  Self-massage is something you can also do with your partner to build intimacy.    Back to Mens Health List

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