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libido

Intercourse Shouldn’t be Painful

Although the typical female response to sexual arousal is for the vagina to produce a liquid that moistens the area, it should not be taken for granted that our bodies always do what we want them to do. When sufficient lubrication is not produced, often times, in an intimate situation, despite her state of arousal, a woman will suffer from painful intercourse (also known as dyspareunia) due to insufficient lubrication. Dyspareunia is defined as painful sexual intercourse persistent or recurrent genital pain before, during, or after intercourse.

There are a few reasons why a woman might suffer from dyspareunia. Physiologically speaking, the body naturally lubricates the vaginal area. However, decrease in estrogen, the reproductive hormone, often leads to the decrease in lubrication of the vagina. As estrogen dwindles, as it does with childbirth, breastfeeding, menopause or due to certain medical conditions/treatments, the vagina feels the effects. Dryness, laxity, and other symptoms can result in pain during or after penetration, as well as a burning, throbbing, and an itching sensation.Pleasurable sex is not a natural law that comes with the territory. Many women have to work hard for it. In fact, over 40% of women have reported that they suffer from (or have suffered from) painful intercourse. That’s 40% too many! Pain during sex is not, and should not be just par for the course. There are treatments out there to help women, physically and psychologically overcome the pain and distress that sexual intercourse is causing. Some of the options out there include: diVa Laser Treatment, the O-Shot, pelvic floor therapy, and counselling. Most often, the recommendation pairs two (or more) therapies together for optimal results.

Because the cause of dyspareunia is varied and the degree of pain falls on a spectrum (some women feel pain from inserting a tampon, while others can begin to have sexual intercourse only to run dry within a few minutes), the treatments we offer are best prescribed case-by-case.

Let’s look at diVa laser therapy and consider some of the benefits:

  • Increased lubrication and sensation during intercourse
  • Tightened vaginal canal
  • Enhances ability to reach orgasm
  • Improved control over urinary incontinence
  • Significant improvement in confidence and quality of life

Does sexual intercourse hurt? Do you feel like your body is failing you? Is it taking a toll on your overall emotional and sexual health? If you answered yes to any one of these questions, it’s time to pick up the phone or start typing that email. Yes, talking about sex can be difficult, but leave it to us professionals to make sure you feel comfortable so we can sort out whatever issue you may have… contact us and you’ll be one step closer to a healthier (and more pleasurable) sex life!

Lori.

What is Sex Therapy Anyway?

Sex therapy has been around for decades, helping women, men, and couples learn how to navigate the huge topic of sex and sexual wellness. I’ve come to understand that most people have limited knowledge about sex therapy and most of what they’ve gathered comes from movies or social media. Unlike the quasi-sex therapist from Meet the Fockers (think Barbara Streisand), sex therapy is not about touching, nudity, and tips and tricks to spice up your sex life. Sex therapy is a legitimate form of psychotherapy whereby the patient(s) seek the help of a health professional to overcome sexual problems or improve sexual feelings and resolve any intimacy issues they may have.

There are a number of reasons why one would seek the counselling of a sex therapist, and in my field, more often than not, I recommend counselling (specifically with a sex therapist) to my patients – here’s why:

As humans, we have multiple systems working in tandem at all times. To treat one aspect or one (dys)function in an isolated manner would be to disregard the human as a whole person. Sounds simple, but the interdisciplinary approach to medicine is a wave that hasn’t fully caught on worldwide, although, it is my belief that the wave is coming and it will be tidal.

We are holistic beings and I treat my patients as such. That means that if a man should come in suffering from erectile dysfunction, I might treat with Shockwave Therapy, Testosterone Replacement Therapy or the experimental P-Shot, but I will almost certainly recommend counselling as well. Whether the premature ejaculation stems from a physical issue or has a psychological origin, physical inevitably seeps into the psychological and the other way around. It’s the basic nature of a mind / body connection; it’s how each pone of us functions on a very fundamental level.

Sex therapy is a great treatment option for those suffering from a plethora of sex concerns, such as:

  • Concerns about sexual desire
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Ejaculating early (premature ejaculation)
  • Difficulty with sexual arousal
  • Body image
  • Anxiety
  • Menopause
  • Trouble reaching orgasm (anorgasmia)
  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Intimacy issues related to a disability or chronic condition
  • Conflicts with partners about sexual needs, desires, frequency or specific sexual activities

Not limited to the list above, sex therapy is also a forum for people to talk openly and confidentially about any concerns or questions they may have about sex, their sexual lifestyle, and overall sexual wellbeing. You might not have an identifiable physical issue, but might still be interested in sex therapy, because here’s another thing – sex is a part of our lives and it is important that we understand what it means to us and why. There is a strong interaction between thoughts, feelings, social/cultural factors, behaviours, and biological components. By unpacking each one of these five points, a sex therapist will help you identify your values, your beliefs, and your ideas of what sex is as opposed to what you might have previously though sex should be. That is the first step toward a healthier sexual wellness.

There are many benefits to sex therapy. A few notable goals include:

  • Achieving a healthy sexual life
  • Reducing anxiety associated with sexual activity
  • Learning new skills and healthier ways of approaching sex
  • Feeling in control of one’s sexuality and regaining confidence
  • Learning concrete strategies for managing uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, and harmful behaviours that are impacting sex
  • Minimizing pain during intercourse

By understanding and dismantling old attitudes and habits that get in the way of enjoyable sex, sex therapy will help you establish new beliefs that reflect your values so that you can increase sexual arousal, feel less anxious and more comfortable about sex, and ultimately help lead a better, healthier, sexual life. If you aren’t sure sex therapy is for you, call or email to learn more. Put it to you this way, the first step is easy, all you have to do is start talking.

Dr. Steinberg

What is Anorgasmia?

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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

What’s the O-Shot All About?

It’s been around for a while, but more and more women are finally catching on to the major benefits of, drumroll please… the O-Shot. Ground-breaking in its field, the O-Shot provides everything from easier arousal and increased lubrication to much needed relief from urinary incontinence.

It was only a matter of time until science and technology caught up to the sexual revolution. It took a few decades, but the O-Shot is here to stay. Taking a look at a woman’s relationship with sex, the O-Shot responds to many of the common problems women face and seeks to restore sexual function so women can enjoy sexual activity (pain-free!).

 

How does it work?

The O-Shot, also called the “orgasm shot,” delivers regeneration cells that immediately revitalize muscle, tissue and nerves. To alleviate female sexual dysfunction (and increase bladder control), the O-Shot begins with a simple blood extraction consisting of PRP (platelet-rich plasma), which is then injected back into the vaginal area, to increase blood flow, reawaken or stimulate sexual function. A natural solution and highly effective treatment, the O-Shot has multiple benefits, including:

  • Increased sexual desire
  • Improved or resolved urinary incontinence
  • Increased vaginal sensitivity and pleasure
  • Increased natural lubrication
  • Decreased pain during intercourse
  • Increased ability to have a vaginal orgasm

There are a number of ways to treat weakened muscles (like the ones that support the bladder), for example, Kegel exercises (pelvic floor physical therapy), bladder training, and surgery. But another simple, and non-invasive technique used widely is the O-Shot.

If you suffer from urinary incontinence or are experiencing any form of sexual discomfort or dysfunction, consider discussing your options with Elna Sexual Wellness. At the very least, you’ll learn something new!

 

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