There have been a couple of new medical breakthroughs that could help women to have better sex lives. Jennifer Ashton, MD, and Laura Berman, PhD, appeared on the Dr. Oz show to discuss these medical advances and help explain what they could mean for many women.
Vitamin D and Fibroids
Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow from the uterine wall, and most women will have them in their lifetime. Though they are almost always benign, they can grow very large and cause significant discomfort, as well as bleeding. Fibroids most commonly occur in women in their 30’s and 40’s, but can occur at any age. Symptoms tend to vary, and some women experience no symptoms at all, or only feel discomfort during menstruation (hormones aid the growth of fibroids).
Dr. Ashton pointed out that in gynecology, there has been a long known possible link between Vitamin D and PMS, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, and recurring vaginal infections. However, for the first time, there has now been a study that specifically looks at Vitamin D levels in the blood and how this coincides with the development of fibroids. The study found that women with higher levels of Vitamin D in their blood had a 32% lower risk of developing fibroids (which is a significant percentage). It is still unknown if Vitamin D can shrink already present fibroids, and whether or not it can act as a preventative is still being researched.
Dr. Berman, a Sex and Relationship expert, explained that fibroids can make sex very uncomfortable, so women will withdraw from sex, feel anxiety about sex, and try to avoid it. Women can even develop muscle contractions from the anticipation of the pain, and even if the fibroids are removed and the pain is no longer present, the muscle contractions will still persist. This means that women have to be treated for the muscle contractions before they are able to have sex without discomfort again.
Tumor cells insert themselves into the uterine wall, and start to grow there. If there is a lack of Vitamin D, they will continue to grow until they cause problems. Dr. Ashton recommends that the average person take 1,000IU of Vitamin D3 supplement per day. She pointed out that more is not better, in this case, and that too much Vitamin D can lead to kidney stones. Natural sources of Vitamin D include: cheese, milk, salmon, tuna, and fortified cereals.
Osphena “Pink Viagra”
The FDA recently approved a prescription drug called Osphena (dubbed “Pink Viagra” by the media, though it isn’t actually pink). The audience were polled upon arrival, and asked if they would take a pill that could help their sex lives, and without knowing anything about the pill at all, 47% of the them said “Yes”. Viagra has helped men improve their sex lives, but until now, there has been no pill to help women with reduced sex drive.
The pill is aimed at women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms, including dryness and pain during intercourse. Dr. Berman explained that the pill is a prescription medicine that has been approved for menopausal women that have vaginal atrophy – the tightening and thinning of the vaginal walls. Osphena can indirectly improve your sex life, because it makes sex more pleasurable. Sex with your partner strengthens your bond to them, which makes you more sexually attracted to them, and the cycle continues. Also, increased blood flow to the vagina (which happens during intercourse) will also reduce the risk of future dryness and lack of lubrication, over time.
Viagra improves a man’s sex life quite quickly, by increasing blood flow to the male organ and allowing him to have sexual intercourse within hours. Osphena, however, re-invigorates the vaginal tissue over a longer period of time. The drug increases blood flow to the vaginal area, thickens the vaginal walls, and increases lubrication.
Dr. Oz did point out that the pill is not the cure-all for libido and there are other alternatives to consider before using the pills. The use of prescription estrogen creams and pills can be helpful, and are only used within the vaginal area. Also, coconut oil is a natural lubricant and moisturizer with no harmful side effects.