Category

hormone

How Our Sexual Needs Vary

As humans, we have many different needs. We have the survival instinct to stay nourished, we have the social and emotional capacity to forge relationships, we have an urge toward maintaining healthy hygiene, and, we have the compulsion to keep the species alive and thereby reproduce. Disbarring all of the above, we also have the drive to meet our sexual needs. But, try as we might to provide an umbrella definition to what those needs are, the truth always settles somewhere around each individual has their own set of needs. What I’m trying to say is that we all have different needs which are never static and do evolve over time.

What are sexual needs?

What arouses and dampens sexual desire can come from outside factors as much as it can from within. We are all made biologically different (even though we all kind of have the same parts more or less), and so what attracts one might turn another off and vice versa. Learning to tune into your own body and the sensations you feel, will allow you to better understand what stimulates you. Once you can identify what makes you feel good (and not so good), then you can start to construct your own little body map, let’s call it, of what your needs are, where you like to be touched, the frequency of your needs, the duration that feels right, and so on.

Feeding the need

Your needs fluctuate and change over time. Depending on your age, you might feel more feisty more often or you might feel slightly less interested anywhere from sometimes to never. The frequency of your desire might also be dependent on whether or not you are in a relationship, and of course, the state of that relationship. Men and women (and their respective hormones) also play a role in how our libidos ebb and flow. The key takeaway about knowing your needs is taking a minute to reflect on whether your desires and your wantingness to meet them are aligned.

Communication is key

We have a profoundly sexualized culture. What that means is that sex is all around us, it’s in how we dress, it’s on TV and social media, it’s in our language, it’s everywhere. It’s hard to ignore. But, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. What this paves the way for is a more open society, people who are more readily interested in discussing topics that were once considered private or taboo. Being able to talk about your needs and desires with your partner has become a lot more common, comfortable, and almost expected. So get to it!

What else?

When it comes to matters of sex, it’s important to explore what you like and what you dislike. It’s also important to learn what works for you, in both the appeal department as well as the anatomical realm. If you have the desire to engage in sexual intimacy with your partner, but your physiology is stopping you from meeting those needs, don’t fret… we are a phone call away. With treatments for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation to vaginal dryness and laxity, Elna Sexual Wellness has got your covered. Any questions?

Lori.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Many of you are unfamiliar with the truth behind low testosterone. You’ve seen commercials with a senior-age couple walking along the beach with a voiceover basically hinting at how they could be happier, if only the man would take testosterone replacement therapy to help him maintain his erection. But, that is not the whole story. In fact, that is not even half the story. Testosterone is a hormone responsible for much more than sexual function in males.

The lowdown on low testosterone

Aging is a primary cause for low testosterone. Although men see a steady decline by 1% a year beginning in their 30s, testosterone levels can also decrease due to factors such as:

  • Chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • High cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • Injury or infection to the testicles
  • Chronic illness, such as diabetes or HIV
  • Alcohol/Opioid abuse
  • Obesity

What does testosterone do?

Low testosterone, or male hypogonadism, is a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone. Testosterone is a key hormone in masculine development and helps to maintain ongoing male health. In terms of sexual function, the hormone contributes to arousal, erection, and ejaculation. Should low levels of testosterone occur, erectile dysfunction may begin.

What else?

Another major role that testosterone plays in the body is its contribution to red blood cell production (think iron deficiency), muscle mass, and bone strength (think osteoporosis). The hormone affects mood, clarity of thought and concentration. In adult males, hypogonadism may alter certain physical characteristics and impair normal reproductive function. Low testosterone may also cause mental and emotional changes.

What about testosterone replacement therapy?

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a hormone replacement therapy prescribed to counter the effects of male hypogonadism or low testosterone reproduction. Helping regain sexual function and support overall health, mood, mental function, and energy levels, TRT is a great option prescribed by your doctor to boost testosterone levels.

Taken through direct injection (subcutaneous) or absorbed through the skin (transdermal or topical), TRT has a plethora of benefits. Some include:

  • Increase libido
  • Increase in fat-free mass
  • Improve focus, memory and cognitive skills
  • Prevention of osteoporosis
  • Decline in symptoms of fatigue and depression

It’s important to talk to your doctor if you feel anything shift in your body. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s going on, but you know your body, and you know when something just just doesn’t feel right anymore. That’s when it’s time to check in with your doctor or a sexual wellness specialist about your testosterone levels so you can restore your sexual function, and much more.

Dr. Steinberg

Menopause and the Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

How do you want to spend those long nights in bed: watching endless Netflix or ruffling the sheets? For a lot of women, the biggest hill to climb when it comes to hitting middle age is menopause. While for some, the word menopause has negative connotations—aging, brittle bones, loss of sexual desire—the truth of matter is that menopause can actually be a good thing, especially when it comes to sex!

As you go through menopause, you’ll notice a few things—hot flashes and night sweats aside—namely, your libido will slowly wean. This is due to decreased hormone levels. The transition will leave you feeling at a loss in your partnership, mainly because your desire to engage in sexual activity is no longer what it used to be. This might cause friction in your relationship because it’ll might make you feel unfulfilled in the intimacy department.

The physical effects of falling estrogen levels undermines sexual motivation for many reasons, but one main, and painful reason, is vaginal dryness. Although the lack of lubrication is not directly related to menopause, the age-related decrease in testosterone can have an impact on a woman’s desire to get physical because the idea of potential pain is what lingers in her future. If it doesn’t feel good, then you’ll obviously opt to abstain.

That’s when a quick O-Shot therapy or diVa Laser Vaginal Renewal treatment is well worth the investment: sex in your post-menopause can be more fun than you imagined! (think: no more worries about getting pregnant, no more kids at home interrupting the fun, and you’re finally primed and know exactly what you like!)

Proper hormone management can set things straight and get you right back into the game. No more menses to make a mess of things… you’re a treatment away from remembering how great sex can be without that painful sensation of chaffing skin rubbing you to a jolting halt. Whether it’s lubricants or a non-invasive procedure, Elna Sexual Wellness can help walk you through your options and open up a whole new world of post-menopausal sex!

Call or email today for more information.

 

Lori.

Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction

Before beginning a course of treatment for erectile dysfunction, you’ll first need the condition to be diagnosed. Erectile Dysfunction is when a man is unable to achieve or sustain an erection firm enough for sex. It’s also not a one-off situation. ED is characterized by the inability to achieve or sustain an erection more than half the time. It’s important to understand that ED is more common than you think – it happens to approximately 50% of men between the ages of 40 to 70 years old. Don’t be stressed over it, if anything, that will only add anxiety to the performance and things could get worse from there.

So, you’ve seen your urologist and it’s been established, you have ED. What next?

Oral medications like Cialis or Viagra may be prescribed. They are the most common treatment insofar as PDEs inhibitors are concerned. They increase blood flow to the penis so that an erection may be achieved (and of course, sustained as desired).

There are also injectable medicines that are readily available. Injectable medications stimulate blood flow so as to achieve and sustain an erection as desired.

PRP Therapy is another avenue that may be recommended. Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (also known as the P-Shot) takes the patient’s blood, separates the platelet-poor from the platelet-rich plasma, and then re-injects it into the afflicted area. The experimental PRP therapies revitalize muscles and tissues as well as improve circulatory function.

Erectile Dysfunction Shock Wave Therapy is the application of low-intensity shockwaves sent to reopen the veins and re-establish proper blood flow to the penis.

If your doctor determines that the ED is stemming from something more psychological than physiological, then sexual therapy (counselling) will be recommended. Depression, stress, anxiety (even performance anxiety), and relationship issues can all play a role in ED.

If sex in your relationship is important to, why throw in the towel and succumb to your ED? You don’t have to forever miss the intimacy? Erectile Dysfunction is a treatable condition and most men are able to return to healthy sexual function once they’ve been prescribed a proper course of treatment. So, keep your head up, visit your urologist and set a plan in motion so you can get back in the game!

Dr. Steinberg

The P-Shot

The P-Shot was created by Dr. Charles Runels to help men who suffer from erectile dysfunction get that so-desired pep back into their step. Named after the Greek God of Virility, the Priapus Shot, aka the P-Shot, delivers approximately seven different growth factors into the penis to stimulate the regeneration of new cells, collagen and blood vessels so as to rejuvenate tissue so that a firm and sustained erection can occur.

Unlike our gargantuan-endowed friend Priapus, the P-Shot will not deliver an oversized and permanent erection, but rather will increase blood flow to the penis allowing for spontaneous arousal and desired sexual response. You know what that means? A healthy sexual lifestyle might be in your future!

How does this magical P-Shot work? Good question. It’s simple.

The P-Shot is an experimental procedure that uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which basically means that your own blood is reinjected into your body to attract reparative stem cells that immediately work to restore penile muscle and tissue. Let’s rewind a step.

The Process:

The P-Shot process involves a quick withdrawal of blood from the patient’s arm. Your blood is then transferred to a centrifuge where it spins for about 10 minutes. This process separates the platelet-rich plasma from the platelet-poor plasma. Re-injecting the PRP into the penis, blood flow is stimulated and ready for action.

By harvesting your own plasma-enriched growth factors and injected them back into your blood supply, the P-Shot is essentially a natural treatment, and because it’s natural, the procedure does not present any side effects.

The benefits of PRP Therapy can include:

  • Erections achieved and maintained during intercourse
  • Increased sensation and pleasure
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Restored intimacy in relationships
  • Spontaneous response to sexual desire

The benefits of the P-Shot have been known to last for up to a year. While the P-Shot is a relatively new procedure and is still considered experimental, it is of note that men who suffer from erectile dysfunction have seen improvements. Whether it’s a placebo effect or a direct effect from the treatment… well, let’s just put it this way, it’s definitely worth a (P-)shot to find out!

Dr. Steinberg

What is Anorgasmia?

how to fix dry vagina - montreal

Reaching orgasm might seem like a logical conclusion to sexual activity. However, it shouldn’t be taken for granted that an orgasm just happens. For some, waiting for that orgasm to happen feels like an impossible dream. Whether it’s lifelong, acquired or situational, if you are experiencing difficulty reaching an orgasm, your sex life can feel compromised.

More common than one might think, anorgasmia—the medical term for difficulty reaching orgasm—affects about 10-15% of women. It could feel quite frustrating if you are experiencing this sexual dysfunction, but the truth is there are a wide array of treatments available. Despair not, once you’ve seen a doctor and the cause has been established, you can be well on your way to reaching a (hopefully, mind-blowing) orgasm.

Symptoms of anorgasmia range from long delays to complete incapacity in reaching climax. If you take the time to sit back and think about what is required in order to achieve orgasm, it is actually a more challenging task than one might believe. A combination of sexual arousal, complete relaxation, ease and comfort with yourself or your partner, as well as a few other psychological or emotional factors all work in tandem to bring you to that climactic moment of your sexual activity. It is not just some stroke of luck that your body can take you to that euphoric state… it’s actually hard work for some women (and men)! It’s important to not feel ashamed or stigmatized about your body, and for most, releasing that negativity is the first step toward letting go and feeling comfortable having your body take the lead.

Maintaining your overall sexual wellness is a vital part in overcoming anorgasmia. First and foremost, getting to the root of the issue is a fundamental step that you and your doctor will work on together so as to properly assess the situation and treat it accordingly. For some, the correlation is straightforward, as anorgasmia can be linked to physical, emotional, and psychological factors, like the ones listed below:

Physical factors can include:

  • Illness (diabetes, for example)
  • Aging (low estrogen levels, loss of natural lubrication in the vagina)
  • Medical treatments (such as hysterectomy, oophorectomy, or cancer surgeries)
  • Other sexual dysfunctions (vaginal dryness, dyspareunia)
  • Alcohol abuse

Emotional / Relationship factors can include:

  • Poor communication
  • Relationship conflicts, resentment toward partner
  • Lack of connection with partner
  • Domestic violence or abuse

Psychological factors can include:

  • Stress
  • Past sexual, physical, emotional abuse
  • Negative self-image, embarrassment
  • Cultural/ religious beliefs related to sexuality
  • Mental health conditions (such as depression and anxiety)

The medical field has made great strides in coming up with effective treatments for anorgasmia. From prescription medicine to sex therapy, the range is wide and the options varied. Two treatments that we practice at Elna Sexual Wellness, the O-Shot and diVa Laser Therapy, encourage a more optimized sexual experience by stimulating tissue regeneration around the clitoral and vaginal areas, as well as provide more lubrication to the genital area, which can in turn reduce painful intercourse. Whether it’s a conversation with a counsellor or a non-invasive shot, sometimes, restoring sexual performance just requires that you to take the first step… calling your doctor. Yes, it can be that easy.

Lori

Estrogen in Men – Not Just a Female Hormone

Traditionally, estrogen is thought to be an exclusively female hormone. However, if you take a closer look at what estrogen does, you’ll learn that this “female” hormone plays a vital role in men’s (sexual) health as well.

There are three major endogenous estrogens in females that have estrogenic hormonal activity: estrone, estriol, and estradiol. However, the estradiaol, the predominant form of estrogen, is critical to both men and women. Estradiol plays a key role in sexual function as it is essential for modulating libido, erectile function, and spermatogenesis (the production or development of mature sperm, without which, one might not be able to fertilize the female counterpart).

Estrogen receptors, as well as aromatase (the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen) are abundant in the brain, penis, and testes. All three of these organs are essential to “normal” sexual function. When aroused, estradiol synthesis is increased in the brain as well as in the penis and testes.

Our hormones co-mingle in a variety of ways, for example, estradiol regulates testosterone in the mature penis. Although our hormones work together to balance our bodies, low testosterone or elevated estrogen can increase incidences of erectile dysfunction.

As with women, men can have a fluctuation in estrogen production. When a man’s body produces too little or too much estradiol, there are a range of symptoms that may occur:

  • Sexual dysfunction (low libido, decreased morning erections, decreased erectile function)
  • Enlarged breasts
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Increased abdominal fat (mostly associated with low estrogen)
  • Feeling tired
  • Loss of muscle mass

Estradiol boosts serotonin levels naturally. When this hormone is out of balance, serotonin levels drop (this is true for women too – which is why estrogen is most commonly known as the hormone connected to mood and behaviour). Typically, when one’s serotonin drops, the body will naturally counteract it by kicking out norepinephrine and epinephrine (thanks adrenals!), to balance the body. In cases where a person suffers from chronic stress or has weak adrenals, the whole balancing act gets out of whack. That’s when symptoms kick in:

Hormone therapy is an effective solution in cases where the body isn’t producing a natural amount of any given hormone. Other ways to help your body balance and regulate hormone levels include: reducing stress, eating well, and exercising routinely. You can take your health into your own hands by understanding the basic ways your body functions.

If you are ever uncertain about what does what or how something works (or if something isn’t working the way you think it should), call us up! We encourage you to get in touch if you are ever concerned about anything related to your overall health, especially when related to your sexual wellness. You’d be surprised to learn that you aren’t alone if you call your doctor and #HaveTheBallsToTalkAboutIt

 

Dr. Steinberg

Estrogen and the Cycle – Part 2

Traitement PRP pour femmes Montréal - o shot

All month long, a woman’s body produces estrogen. If you have a “normal” menstrual cycle, then you will see fluctuations in the amount of estrogen produced, with a high during ovulation, and a low when you have your period. But, there are many other factors that play a role in a woman’s increased or decreased production of estrogen.

Estrogen is mainly produced in the ovaries (small amounts are also produced in the adrenal glands and fat tissue). Estrogen then moves through your blood and acts everywhere in your body helping with growth, maintenance, and repair of reproductive tissue, as well as influencing other body tissues and bone mass (think osteoporosis).

As a woman’s body naturally has highs and lows of estrogen levels, you might notice anything from mood or behavioural changes, oil secretions (acne), to fluctuations in sex drive. Although it is natural to see peaks and dips in estrogen throughout the cycle, let’s look at what it might feel like if your estrogen levels dip lower than your monthly usual.

Fluctuations in Estrogen: A Dip

Why would your estrogen levels fall? This question is often asked, and although there is no one certain reason, here are a few possibilities:

  • Hypogonadism
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Pregnancy failure (due to estriol)
  • Perimenopause and menopause (due to estradiol)
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Anorexia nervosa (eating disorder)
  • Extreme exercise or excessive training
  • Temporal and temporary cause: immediately after childbirth and during breastfeeding

Some of the symptoms of low estrogen levels include:

  • painful sex due to a lack of vaginal lubrication
  • an increase in urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to a thinning of the urethra
  • irregular or absent periods
  • mood swings
  • hot flashes
  • breast tenderness
  • headaches or accentuation of pre-existing migraines
  • depression

Taken in stride, any one of these symptoms might be something you feel every now and again, but if these symptoms persist, then perhaps you suffer from low estrogen levels. A simple blood or urine test from your doctor could clarify the situation, and treatment can begin.

Fluctuations in Estrogen: A Rise

Puberty brings on a normal rise in estrogen levels. That’s because estrogen is a “chemical messenger” that helps your body develop from girl to woman. Playing a role in breast development, a more mature curved figure, and hair growth. In terms of adolescent surges in estrogen, the hormone is doing its job. But if you are already a woman (hormonally speaking), then excess estrogen (called estrogen dominance) might contribute to weight gain (or women who are extremely overweight), fibroids (non-cancerous tumors) in the ovaries, loss of sex drive, depression, and fatigue.

Estrogen and Sex

So let’s get down to the business of Sexual Wellness: Reduced estrogen levels can cause shrinkage of the vaginal mucosa. This shrinkage results in the narrowing of the vaginal opening, which is a condition called vaginal atrophy. Commonly, if the opening is narrowed, a woman might experience pain during sexual intercourse. Estrogen plays an integral role in maintaining a healthy sex life, and when it comes to staying lubricated, there are topical creams that can help. However, there are a number of other ways to treat vaginal dryness. The standard treatment today consists of applying vaginal creams or suppositories containing Estrogen. This can be very effective but the regular application of the medication can be messy and cumbersome. 

Here are two other treatments you might want to look into if you’re experiencing an underproduction of natural lubrication:

  1. Vaginal Laser Therapy (diVa) involves a renewal treatment with diVa Laser. It’s an effective solution to vaginal dryness or laxity. The laser painlessly stimulates the thickening of the mucosal layer, restoring a more youthful tone. diVa works both internally and externally to tighten skin, and restore function and appearance.
  2. The O-Shot PRP injection stimulates vaginal and clitoral tissue rejuvenation for a better overall sexual and urinary wellness. Although still a new therapy under evaluation, the early results of PRP therapy are encouraging with minimal side effects. And for many women, the results are almost immediate.

By restoring vaginal health we often see a return in libido, orgasm more easily achieved and vaginal lubrication increased, putting an end to painful intercourse.

Estrogen affects your physical, mental, and emotional health. Impacting everything from your stress levels to sex drive. It’s important that if you feel any symptoms related to a rise or fall in estrogen that you seek medical assistance; professional help may help alleviate any underlying causes. There is no reason you should feel out of sorts, we can help.

 

Dr. Steinberg

Estrogen: A 3-Part Series

Estrogen is a natural hormone produced by the body, and although it is most commonly associated with women, estrogen occurs in men as well. There are a few vital contributions that estrogen has to the healthy development of our bodies, especially when it comes to puberty and reproduction. But, there are times when our bodies may produce too much or too little estrogen; when that happens, shifts occur and a number of symptoms may arise. In this 3-part series, we will go through what estrogen is, the various under- and over-production effects of estrogen in women, and lastly, we’ll take a peek into how estrogen plays a role in a man’s overall health. In this article, you’ll get a simple overview of what estrogen’s role is in our bodies.

vaginal rejuvenation centre for Montreal women

The first thing you need to know about estrogen is that it is produced naturally in the body with fluctuating highs and lows throughout a woman’s cycle. The highest is in the middle of the menstrual cycle and the lowest during your period. As we stop ovulating, estrogen levels drop, this explains the connection between low levels of estrogen and menopause.

Known as the sex hormone, estrogen contributes to a variety of functions:

  • turns a girl into a “woman” through puberty – growth of breasts and pubic hair, and start of menstrual cycles
  • important to childbearing
  • keeps cholesterol in control
  • protects bone health (for example, osteoporosis)
  • affects your brain (mood), heart (decreased estrogen can bring on increased inflammation), skin (dry), and other tissue (vaginal walls)

Estrogen is just one of the hormones that plays a role in the normal sexual and reproductive development in women. Women with low levels of estrogen who are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, might be put on hormone therapy which will introduce extra estrogen to the body to help simulate the hormone cycle. For women who are trying to ward off pregnancy, birth control acts as a bio-identical hormone supplement to maintain levels of estrogen (and progesterone); without a surge in estrogen, your ovaries will not release an egg.

The effects of increased or decreased estrogen levels in the body extend beyond whether our reproductive organs can successfully do their jobs or not. As our sex hormones are not solely made to reproduce, one of estrogen’s other functions is to keep the walls of the vagina lubricated with clear fluid and the lining healthy, thick, and elastic. By maintaining healthy levels of lubrication, the vagina welcomes penetration (i.e. sexual intercourse) without distress or pain. Should the levels of estrogen dip, this can impact the amount of moisture available, making sexual intercourse less enjoyable due to dryness.

Vaginal dryness is a treatable symptom of reduced estrogen levels. Also known as vaginal atrophy or GSM (Genitourinary Symptoms of Menopause), this condition can lead to distressing urinary symptoms. Vaginal estrogen cream has been the only therapy available up to recently. But now, through Vaginal laser Therapy (diVa) or the O-Shot PRP Therapy, we can restore function and appearance of the vagina both internally and externally. Your sexual desire will often return and vaginal lubrication will increase, helping you maintain healthy vaginal function and allowing sexual intercourse to be more pleasurable.

Estrogen plays a vital role in a woman’s development. As we saw, estrogen helps with the reproductive aspect of being a woman (puberty, menstrual cycles, childbearing), but it also helps with a woman’s overall health from affecting mood and behaviour to producing natural lubrication in the vagina.

There is so much to learn about estrogen, in our next blog, we’ll talk more in depth about what happens when your body produces too little or too much estrogen. We’ll take a look vaginal dryness as well as all of the treatments available.

It’s important to know your body and understand what is going on beneath the surface. It may seem like you don’t have control over the what your body naturally does on its own, but you do – and by paying close attention to your behaviour and general health, you can play an active role in tending to your happiness and overall well-being.

 

Dr. Steinberg