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Is it a Man’s World? Can Homeopathy help with Erectile Dysfunction?

by June Sayer(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 251 - January 2019

Due to the anatomy of a woman’s body and the fact that throughout her life (barring any unforeseen or unusual circumstances) her female hormones will come into play as she passes through puberty into the menarche.  If she is able, or chooses to conceive, she will become pregnant and give birth to children and later on she will enter the menopause.  It is no wonder then that so much is written about female hormonal health and the problems many women experience.

 

Is it a Man’s World?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Illu_repdt_male.jpg

 

Men, on the other hand, do not have such intricate anatomy and the purpose of this article is to discuss erectile dysfunction. But first let me briefly outline how the male reproductive system works.

There are four different structures within the male anatomy that each have a role to play in the function of the male reproductive system. The testes produce sperm and the hormone testosterone, the accessory glands produce a fluid that carries the sperm to the penis, the mixture of sperm and the fluid is known as semen.  Accessory ducts store and also carry these secretions from both the testes and the accessory glands to the penis and when sexual intercourse occurs the semen is deposited by the penis into the female vagina.  This then sets into action the course of reproduction.[1]

Hormones are chemical messengers that set off changes within the body when required to do so.  The hormones FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinising hormone) control the production and secretion of the major male hormone testosterone.  GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) within the hypothalamus controls the release of both FSH and LH.  Aside from testosterone several male hormones (also known as androgens or sometimes referred to as steroids) play an important part in the health of muscles, bone and skin.  DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) the main androgen for men and women metabolizes to form testosterone - the hormone that is responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics.  Women produce testosterone but generally in much smaller amounts.

Balanced hormones are necessary for the good health of both men and women.  We tend to think of oestrogen as an important female hormone and testosterone the important male hormone, but men make oestrogen through the enzyme aromatase that transforms testosterone into estradiol.  Oestradiol is essential for exerting an influence on libido and erectile function.[2]  Low levels of testosterone can lead to unpleasant symptoms that include low libido, fatigue and erectile dysfunction.  However, if men do not have sufficient oestrogen it could predispose them to osteoporosis and bone fracture[3] but an excess of oestrogen could contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.[4]

The effect of ageing on the reproductive system tends to be more noticeable in women due to the fact that the ligaments supporting their breasts become lax and the vaginal lining has a tendency to become less moist.  In males whilst the testes do not decrease in size, the sperm count reduces, the prostate gland begins to atrophy and testosterone secretion lessens.  So while there could be an expectation that age may have a bearing on erectile dysfunction this is not necessarily the case since men well into their 80s can retain their sexual virility even if the need to ejaculate may decrease with advancing years.  When a man has sexual thoughts or dreams of sexual intercourse an erection can occur.  If the genitals or surrounding pubic area are physically stimulated that too can produce an erection and also lead to ejaculation, the erect penis returning to its flaccid state within a few minutes after orgasm.

Erectile dysfunction is classified as the inability of a man to reach and then maintain erection of the penis sufficiently so that he may satisfactorily apply himself in the act of sexual intercourse.[5]  Previously erectile dysfunction was termed impotence although that word could also imply that there was loss of libido, inability to reach an orgasm or premature ejaculation.  There are a number of reasons for erectile dysfunction with physiological causes such as atherosclerosis due to vascular insufficiency, trauma or surgery to the pelvis.  Some medical drugs prescribed for high blood pressure and other ailments may have side effects that can affect sexual function as can a disorder of the endocrine system, i.e. diabetes, hypothyroidism.  Alcohol can reduce a man’s ability to satisfactorily perform the sexual act.  Psychological reasons for erectile dysfunction are stress, depression and performance anxiety.

A man who is experiencing erectile dysfunction should contact his GP who can arrange for him to undergo a series of tests that would include a full blood count, a glucose tolerance test, and serum hormone levels that could rule out any organic causes.

In respect of how homeopathy could help, one of the first things that needs to be addressed is to discover how big a part stress is playing in his personal life.   Financial worries, looking after relatives, job pressures are all worth investigating during the consultation and how much stress is affecting his performance which in turn can have a profound effect on his confidence.  It is of course a very sensitive subject for males to discuss with a female practitioner but in my own experience having the partner present during the consultation helped to provide reassurance and remove any embarrassment as the discussions took place in a clinical, non-judgmental way.

Sayer 251 Erectile Dysfunction

There are a number of homeopathic remedies listed in the Male chapter of the Homeopathic Repertory[6] that cover issues with the male erection, such remedies are Agnus Castus, Argent Nit, Baryta Carb, Conium, Graphites, Lycopodium, Nat Mur, Nux Vom, Phosphorus to name just a few.  It is then up to the homeopath to determine which is going to be the most appropriate remedy to prescribe because homeopathy takes into account the whole person, not just the symptom/ailment.

If we look at the remedy Lycopodium we will discover that it covers loss of confidence and poor self-esteem as well as aversion to starting anything new due to the underlying anxiety, panic attacks and fear of failure.  A man having issues with erectile dysfunction will be experiencing some, if not the majority of these symptoms.   The person needing this remedy may also be suffering from digestive troubles such as wind and bloating, may be of a quarrelsome nature or one that finds fault with others easily, a dislike of company yet not wanting total solitude. Highlighted in the Materia Medica[7] information is performance anxiety.

The remedy Agnus Castus is listed as being used for impotence with genitals cold and relaxed.  Argent Nit (along with Lycopodium is a remedy for fears and anxieties although there are many differences between the two remedies).    The male section of Argent Nit describes impotence, erection fails when sex is attempted.   Baryta Carb may be more suitable if the prostate gland is enlarged or when sexual desire is diminished.  Nux Vom is suited to people who have a tendency to live the ‘high life’ in the sense that they like to work hard and play hard using alcohol as a coping mechanism and have a high sex drive.  Suffice it to say that an excess of alcohol, as mentioned above can hamper their effects at sexual arousal as can sexual excess.  The person could experience impotency or the penis becoming relaxed during sex.

The person needing Conium could be wishing to enter into a new relationship after a prolonged illness or bereavement as the symptoms are sexual desire without erection, sexual nervousness with feeble erection.   Graphites people are easily offended obstinate and moody and feel their anxiety mostly in the morning when they wake.  The male symptoms are either an aversion to sex, lack of sexual enjoyment or impotence from excessive sexual indulgence.

Grief and stress play a major part in the person requiring the remedy Nat Mur.  They are known to keep all their emotions hidden inside so that they can become irritable, abrupt and can hold a grudge for a very long time.  They do however, have a fear of intimacy especially if they have been disappointed or let down by a previous partner and as such they can become somewhat depressed.  They find it difficult to express their grief and although they have a sexual desire it may be associated with physical weakness or they might become averse to sex following grief.

The remedy Phosphorus is suited to people who need a lot of reassurance as they are not only sympathetic to others but they are also excitable and impressionable.  The male symptoms are listed as irresistible desire but impotent with erections feeble or none at all.

Regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet is of the utmost importance to keep us all in good health, avoid drinking excess alcohol, avoid microwaving food in plastic as the chemicals within plastics can upset hormone function.  Bananas are rich in B vitamins (the vitamins that become depleted easily during stress).  The supplement Ginkgo Biloba appears to promote healthy blood circulation and may help to reduce blood pressure.  Maintaining a healthy weight as increased body fat can also lead to an imbalance of hormones.

In conclusion, firstly ensure that there are no medical reasons for erectile dysfunction and I would not suggest attempting any of the above remedies without seeking professional help as the information listed above is very brief in respect of how a homeopath would chose the most appropriate remedy.

Homeopathy is gentle, non-toxic and non-addictive and can safely be used by all ages and does not interfere with any prescribed medication.

References

  1. Van Wynsberghe, Donna, Noback, Charles R, Carola, Robert, Human Anatomy & Physiology 3rd Edition McGraw Hill Inc
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4854098/
  3. References No. 22 & 23 https://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2010/5/Why-Estrogen-Balance-is-Critical-to-Aging-Men/Page-02
  4. References No. 8 & 9
    1. https://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2010/5/Why-Estrogen-Balance-is-Critical-to-Aging-Men/Page-02
  5. Pritchford, Paul, Healing with Whole Foods,1993 North Atlantic Books
  6. Murphy, Robin ND, Homeopathic Clinical Repertory 3rd Edition
  7. Murphy, Robin ND, Nature’s Materia Medica 3rd Edition

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About June Sayer

June Sayer DHom (Med) MARH MRHom DNTh DIridol Homeopath Nutritionist Reiki Master/Teacher became fascinated by homeopathy after seeking treatment for her children and herself some 23 years ago; this dramatic change in their overall health led her to train as a homoeopathic practitioner. She qualified from the Hahnemann College in 1992 and has been in practice since that date. She is one of the founding directors of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and has a practice in Southend on Sea, Essex where she enjoys training individuals in the art and practice of homoeopathy. She may be contacted on Tel: 01268 928223;  june@betterhealthnow.co.uk  www.betterhealthnow.co.uk   www.homeopathinessex.co.uk   

 

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