Understanding the Link Between Low Libido and Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Causes and Natural Remedies
Updated: Sep 8
Hey Guys. Let’s chat about low libido and erectile dysfunction. First things first...what's the difference?
Low libido refers to a low mental sex drive
Erectile dysfunction (ED) refers to the inability to maintain a physiological erection
These two conditions tend to go hand-in-hand and can be quite complex. That’s because their physiological and emotional components overlap. For example, if your libido is low, it makes it difficult to obtain an erection. On the other hand, if you struggle with erectile dysfunction, then self-conscious insecurities can arise and cause low libido. It’s a mixed bag. So let’s dive in and try to figure out what may be happening for YOU:
The 3 Most Common Causes of Erectile Disfunction (ED) and Low Libido includes:
Compromised Arteries - Anything that clogs your arteries or prevents blood vessels from dilating in your pelvis can inhibit blood flow to your penile vasculature. This leads to a lack of strong blood flow that is needed to create pressure in the penis to expand and erect. “Compromised arteries” includes more conditions than you may think: Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, obesity, high cholesterol, treatments for prostate cancer or BPH. If you have any of these conditions and are experiencing low libido or erectile dysfunction, we’d recommend you fix the underlying condition.
Compromised Nerves - If you have nerve dysfunction, the sponge-like erectile tissue referred to as the “corpus cavernosum” cannot relax to allow blood flow into the penile space (making it a hard “no” for an erection). Conditions that can compromise nerves include: Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, surgeries or traumas that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord, certain prescriptive medications, Parkinson’s disease, alcoholism and other substance abuse.
Compromised Mental State - It all starts in the mind. Don’t most things? Without libido, your brain will not send a message to the pelvic nerves and arteries to initiate an erection. So what causes a low libido?! Oh, lots of things: Low vitamin D levels, poor self-image, lack of trust and care in a relationship, low testosterone levels, compromised sleep, certain prescriptive medications, and a standard american diet void of nutrients and minerals.
Hopefully you’re making some connections here as to what is happening with you. We always ALWAYS suggest that you fix the underlying condition before taking a bandaid approach with blood vessel dilators such as Viagra (though, we praise this magic pill as well). But did you know that erectile dysfunction can predate a cardiovascular event by 5 years (AKA stroke, heart attack, blood clot)?! THAT. Is why it’s important to address your underlying cause. Speak with our Naturopathic Doctor or Physical Therapist to get a clearer understanding of what is happening with your body.
Regardless, we have 3 Natural Remedies that are Beneficial for most causes of Low Libido and ED:
Exercise! Did you know that exercise naturally boosts testosterone? Specifically short term, high intensity exercises! It also increases serotonin (your happy hormone needed to increase libido) and helps detoxify (I’m looking at you fast food lovers). Our suggestion? High Intensity Interval Training exercises with your partner as a 4-for-1: Boost testosterone, serotonin, detoxification, and bonding.
Panax ginseng: This magical herb used to keep warriors strong and endurance boosted during war time. A recent double-blind study with 60 patients concluded that 12 weeks of taking 1,000mg of Panax ginseng three times daily resulted in a significant improvement in erection rigidity, penetration, and maintenance. Pretty. Cool.
Counseling: 43% of men wish that they could talk more to others about personal problems they have experienced. Big news guys - counselors may make the biggest impact in both your libido and ED! Since the brain is where it all begins, this is a beautiful place to begin. Take your time to find a counselor you trust.
And just for fun, here’s a smoothie we’d suggest to start your morning:
1 frozen banana
½ cup frozen blueberries for cardiovascular health
1 tsp Panax ginseng powder for testosterone
1TBSP pumpkin seeds for zinc
1 TBSP peanut butter for L-argnine (an amino acid that helps dilate blood vessels)
1 tsp spirulina for minerals and L-arginine
1 cup water
Best to be enjoyed as a first meal at noon to promote intermittent fasting that is synergistically beneficial for ED and low libido.
At IVY Integrative, you can work with one practitioner or build your own team of holistic practitioners! Reach your optimum health in-person or online. Check out our Get Started page to learn how to work with us!
Dr. Chelsea Leander ND, RH (AHG)