Life Extension Magazine May 2012
Reversing Female Sexual Dysfunction
By Michael Downey
Sexual dysfunction afflicts 43% of women compared to 31% of men.1,2 Yet the only sexual enhancement commercials you see on TV are those promoting drugs to treat male erectile dysfunction.
While prevalence of female sexual dysfunction increases with age,3 40% of affected women do not seek help from a physician.4 One reason is that no pharmaceutical has yet been approved for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction and doctors have no protocol (other than hormone replacement) for this condition.5
The exciting news is that recent discoveries have identified several new natural compounds that work together to halt the mechanisms behind female sexual dysfunction, as well as menopausal symptoms.
This article describes how these botanical-based extracts beneficially modulate six pathways that can lead to female sexual dysfunction. Just one of these extracts—taken alone—reduced sexual dysfunction for over 86% of the women enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in just 40 days!6
You will also learn how another compound made from several plants modulates hormonal activity behind the menopausal symptoms—which frequently trigger female sexual dysfunction. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled human study, this multi-extract blend reduced menopausal symptoms by an average of 62% in 12 weeks!7
Preferring at times not to engage in sexual activity does not indicate a woman has female sexual dysfunction. Disinterest, or even occasional dysfunction, can be a normal response to a variety of life situations.
But when a woman is frustrated and depressed by a lack of normal sexual interest and function, it indicates disruption of one or more pathways in the body’s overall physiological matrix—a condition that demands treatment.
Although the incidence of female sexual dysfunction increases with age,8 it is not an inevitable symptom of aging, and it can afflict women of any age.
One study warned that the increasing number of women with sexual dysfunction complaints indicates that “it is time for physicians to start to acknowledge women’s sexuality with the same importance their patients do.”4
Supporting the underlying physiological mechanisms is a vital step in preventing sexual dysfunction.
As you will learn, several botanical extracts have been studied—Cordyceps sinensis, maca, and a three-extract blend called EstroG-100™—for their ability to complement each other and simultaneously modulate diverse biochemical pathways to provide a multi-factorial treatment for this complex disorder.
How Female Sexual Dysfunction Develops
Female sexual dysfunction can be difficult to diagnose due to the complexities of the female sexual response. It manifests as one or more of a set of symptoms that can come and go: reduction of sex drive, aversion to sex, lack of arousal, vaginal dryness, pain during sex, and inability to feel pleasure or reach orgasm.
Symptoms of female sexual dysfunction may be triggered by physiological changes, especially those that affect the reproductive system such as premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy, postpartum, or menopause.9
Female sexual dysfunction is often the result of reduced levels of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, serotonin, antioxidants, and nitric oxide; or increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and monoamine oxidase.9
In the brain, increased levels of monoamine oxidase destroy the pleasure chemical dopamine.
Menopausal transition is considered the most difficult time to remain sexually healthy and can be a frequent cause of reduced sexual interest or desire in women. Menopause involves symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, anxiety, and memory loss—but the accompanying depression, vaginal dryness, and loss of libido can be elements of female sexual dysfunction.
Up until a decade ago, conventional medicine erroneously treated menopausal symptoms with unnatural-to-the-human-body hormones such as conjugated equine estrogen plus medroxyprogesterone acetate. All that changed with the publication of a landmark July 2002 study called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), which concluded that the benefits of treatment did not outweigh the 26% increased risk of breast cancer, the 29% increased risk of heart disease, and the 41% higher risk of stroke.10-12
Female sexual dysfunction involves the disruption of multiple physiological mechanisms for which modern medicine has no consistently safe and effective treatment.
For this reason, mainstream physicians have been virtually helpless in the face of increasing numbers of women afflicted by female sexual dysfunction or menopause, or both—until now.
Targeting Multiple Pathways
To find an effective, non-pharmaceutical solution to the complexities of female sexual dysfunction, scientists screened numerous botanical sources. They discovered specific botanical extracts to address the multiple underlying causes of female sexual dysfunction. Research scientists narrowed down the search and found that the following botanicals were the most effective in treating female sexual dysfunction:
An extract of Cordyceps sinensis—derived from the Cs-4 strain of this medicinal mushroom—was found to have the ability to modulate various physiological pathways that impact female sexual dysfunction. Its efficacy is believed to originate with its unique composition of pharmacologically active substances.
The Cordyceps sinensis extract works on the following distinct pathways to:
Scientists tested the Cs-4 strain of Cordyceps in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 40 elderly patients suffering from sexual dysfunction. The test group took Cordyceps Cs-4 in dosages that translate to 375 mg of commercially prepared product, because it is formulated as an 8:1 extract. Over 86% of the women in the Cs-4 group significantly improved both hyposexuality signs and symptoms—in only 40 days!6
And in a similar Cordyceps sinensis study of 189 subjects with decreased sex drive, this time including both women and men, improved symptoms were noted in over 66% of participants—again, in just 40 days!6