Natural Solutions to Increase Libido and Hormone Health
Apr 30, 2016 06:55AM
● By Allie McFee
In “Spark Up Your Love Life” Lisa Marshall shares natural ways to boost the libido, including scheduling time for intimacy, expressing emotion and improving physical health.
Some area women’s healthcare providers honor these natural concepts by including them in treatment plans as important first steps to restoring libido. These experts agree that lifestyle improvements restore hormone health, which then leads to a healthier sex drive. It’s also more cost effective and paves the way for long-term wellness.
Stress and Hormones
“In hormone balance, it’s like having a chair with four legs,” says Robin Eldib of Indy Wellness Center. “Those four legs are insulin, thyroid, adrenals, and the sex hormones comprised of estrogen, testosterone, DHEA and progesterone. You can’t have one balanced and expect it to balance all; they all affect and support each other.”
Eldib is a nurse practitioner and hormone specialist offering lifestyle consultations based on thorough thyroid and sex hormone testing. She also offers bioidentical hormones, which are plant-based hormones (not synthetic) made in a pharmacy from yam or soy, but aims to prescribe as little as possible.
“We use the smallest amount for the shortest time possible,” she says, “but first we always look at lifestyle to find the root cause. Did the client take birth control, how is her blood sugar and is she under stress?”
If under chronic stress, the adrenals will steal progesterone to make cortisol, which combats stress and eventually imbalances the sex hormones. Also, high cortisol can raise insulin levels, affecting blood sugar spikes that tax the whole endocrine system.
Reduce the Stress
Many women are finding relief from stress with Oriental medicine, which includes acupuncture and the use of Chinese herbs. These methods also provide fertility support and hormonal regulation.
“Ninety percent of my patients say acupuncture lowers their stress,” says Greg Golden, Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture. “There is a big connection between stress and hormone balance. Acupuncture helps regulate the neurotransmitter activity and response in order to regulate blood flow, blood pressure and the hormones.”
The use of Chinese herbs and acupuncture increases the patient’s ability to not internalize external stressors, which according to Golden means “leaving work stress at work, and moving through stress with less of a physical response.”
Emotional Expression and Embracing Life
According to Dr. Sara Gottfried, Harvard Physician and author of The Hormone Cure, when under stress, men have a tendency to “fight or flight”, but women will “tend and befriend”. In tribal times, when there was a threat on the tribe, women united to protect the young rather than flee.
Red Tent Indy provides a safe haven for women of all ages to come together to “tend and befriend”. They gather bi-monthly at White Pine Wilderness Academy for emotional support and to discuss topics involving womanhood within society’s ideals, and honoring the transitions of menstruation and menopause.
“Women that are approaching menopause have difficulty embracing the change because of the cultural ideologies of idealizing youth,” says Victoria Floyd, nurse and midwife of Carmel Midwifery, “but it’s important to embrace the stages of life and realize aging isn’t something to be afraid of. It’s just another part of the journey.”
Foods for Libido and Hormone Health
For Floyd, helping her menopausal clients learn about and embrace the experience is her first choice before the use of bioidentical hormones.
“Post-menopausal women are not meant to have high levels of estrogen,” says Floyd. “We don’t want to add supplemented hormones right away because there’s an underlying reason [for symptoms] and we want to give the body a chance to create its own equilibrium. That doesn’t mean bioidentical hormones don’t have a place, but it’s not the first thing we offer to create balance.”
Secondly, Floyd looks at lifestyle, particularly nutritional deficiencies. She recommends certain foods to increase libido health by restoring hormones. For example, cholesterol is needed for hormone production, so eating good quality fat is important. Unfortunately, the trends of low-fat diets are exasperating the imbalances.
For the libido, Floyd recommends foods with less preservatives and chemicals, and foods from the oat family. She recommends drinking homemade oat straw and red clover infusions, especially for women that are approaching menopause, a time when libido naturally lessens due to dropping levels of estrogen.
“These foods and herbal infusions help women feel more amorous, and increase mucous membranes to help soften and lubricate,” says Floyd. For herbal infusion recipes, she recommends herbalist’s Susun Weed’s book Menopausal Years, The Wise Woman Way.
Floyd also states that unfermented soy acts as a hormone mimicker and should be avoided, and Eldib sometimes recommends Chaste Berry herb, or Vitex, to balance hormones and increase progesterone naturally in menstruating women.
In a society structured on productivity, women face many challenges in meeting the lifestyle essentials of nourishing their bodies with the right foods, exercise, and stress relieving activities. Through healing modalities, women’s support groups, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, and bio-identical hormones, women may find relief by balancing hormones and restoring important functions, like libido.
Robin Eldib of Indy Wellness Center is located at 4510 W. 71st St., Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-427-5366 or visit IndyWellness.com.
Greg Golden of Natural Golden Energy Acupuncture has two locations in Indianapolis and one in Fishers. For more information, call 317-832-9434 or visit NaturalGoldenEnergy.com.
For more information on bi-monthly Red Tent Indy meetings, visit RedTentIndy.com.
Victoria Floyd of Carmel Midwifery is located at 3802 W. 96th St., Ste. 310, Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-437-3681 or visit CarmelMidwifery.com.