Sexual health is defined as a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being, in relation to sexuality.
Sexual health-related issues involve HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and reproductive tract infections (RTIs). Lack of sexual health is also related to unintended pregnancy and sexual dysfunction (5).
Sexually Transmitted Infections/ Sexually Transmitted Diseases
STDs and STIs are acquired through sexual contact, through blood, semen, vaginal and other bodily fluids. There is a possibility of them being transmitted non-sexually, for example during childbirth (from mother to child) and through shared needles.
Your risk of catching them increases if you have unprotected sex, unprotected oral sex, sexual contact with multiple partners, have a history of infection, like sharing sex toys or inject drugs.
Gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia are caused by bacteria whereas, trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite and HPV, herpes and HIV are caused by viruses.
Signs and symptoms include sores or bumps, burning during urination, unusual or odorous discharge, bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, lower abdominal pain, fever and rash.
They don’t always cause symptoms, so many people are unaware they even have an infection.
It is important to get tested and receive treatment. If left untreated, they can lead to pregnancy complications, high blood pressure, arthritis, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, heart disease, certain cancers and many other health problems.
To decrease the risk of catching an STI you should use condoms and dental dams consistently and correctly, get vaccinated, wait and test (before and after sexual contact with a new partner), stay in a monogamous relationship or abstain (6).
It is all about communication between you and your sexual partner(s).
Unintended pregnancy which can result in surgical abortion, can be avoided by using birth control. The aim of birth control is to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg, prevent an egg from being released each month, alter the lining of the uterus, inactive sperm or thicken cervical mucus.
Barrier methods such as a condom prevent pregnancy and STIs whereas, short-acting hormonal methods such as the pill, patch, injection or ring do not prevent STIs. Long-acting hormonal methods include the implant and IUDs.
Sterilisation is a permanent method of birth control. Lastly, fertility awareness (7), it is a personal choice which type, if any type of birth control, you want to use.
Sexual dysfunction is defined as difficulty during sexual desire, arousal or pleasure. Common issues include erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, loss of libido, vaginal dryness and delaying ejaculation.
As you get older, the likelihood of sexual dysfunction increases, but it can happen at any age due to physical, hormonal or psychological factors (8).
Sexual dysfunction is very underreported and considered a taboo or awkward subject so not many people speak about it. Speak to your doctor if you think your sexual experience is being affected by sexual dysfunction.
Supplements for Sexual Dysfunction
- Vitamin C and Vitamin E are potent antioxidants, they may offer protection to sperm and egg cells, helping to manage fertility problems.
- Zinc contributes to normal fertility, reproduction and normal testosterone levels. Testosterone levels naturally decrease with age, so this may be one of the causes of sexual dysfunction later on in life. Zinc also protects prostate health.
- Selenium contributes to normal spermatogenesis (the formation of sperm cells), helping to maintain normal sperm production.
- L-Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, which stimulates vasodilation and improves blood flow.
- L-Carnitine has been linked to energy production and stamina.
- L-Methionine is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin. An increase in serotonin has been associated with increased sexual libido.
- L-Phenylalanine is a precursor to Dopamine, which mediates pleasure in the brain.
- Ginseng is known for its aphrodisiac and energy-enhancing properties. Its adaptogenic properties help to counteract the effects of physical and psychological stress on the body.
- Ginkgo Biloba is a natural vasodilator, which helps improve blood circulation.
- Many studies have shown that Maca improves sexual libido and desire (3,4).
- Sexovit Forte provides all of the ingredients above in one tablet, for those who want to maintain healthy sexual function.
Many things can cause urinary tract infections, cystitis, bacterial vaginosis, candidiasis, thrush and yeast infections. All of these conditions (apart from BV) can affect men and women.
Causes of BV include a lack of beneficial bacteria (in the vagina), caused by douching, cleaning the vagina with unnatural perfumed soaps, using laundry detergents with perfumes, hormonal imbalance, antibiotics, poor diet, stress and alcohol.
Symptoms can include vaginal discharge, itching, pain when urinating, uterine infections although, as symptoms are often mild, most people do not know they have BV.
BV can lead to premature birth, birth defects, increased susceptibility to STIs/STDs.
UTIs and Cystitis
UTIs and cystitis is urinary bladder inflammation, most commonly caused by a bacterial infection.
Symptoms include pressure in the lower pelvis, painful urination, frequent urination and traces of blood in the urine.
Common causes include vitamin deficiencies, lack of probiotic bacteria, dehydration, frequent use of caffeine and alcohol, antibiotics, diets high in sugar and animal protein.
Candidiasis, Thrush and Yeast Infections
Candida albicans is a type of yeast that lives in our body. Normally, candida causes no problem, if we have enough friendly bacteria and a strong immune system, able to keep candida under control.
Thick, sticky discharge, vaginal infections, brain fog, digestive complaints, joint pain, skin problems, loss of sex drive and hormonal imbalance are signs of thrush and yeast infections.
This is caused by antibiotics, some medications, high sugar diets, weak immunity, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and an accumulation of heavy metals.
Tips to prevent all of the above:
- Wash daily with unscented, gentle soap used around the genitals, not inside (including the anus and pubic hair). Males should ensure they wash behind the foreskin.
- Wear loose clothing and cotton underwear to increase airflow (to be changed every 12 hours) to stop bacteria from building up.
- Make sure you wipe and clean properly after going to the toilet, wipe from front to back.
- Urinate after sexual intercourse to prevent UITs.
- Change your clothes after exercising as sweat can gather around the groin area.
- Lose weight, if necessary, as exercise can influence how much sweat you produce.
- Avoid douching as it removes all of the beneficial bacteria from the vagina and upsets the natural PH.
- Don’t use sprays, perfumes, deodorants or scented wipes on the genital area.
- Change towels and bedding regularly (at least once a week) and don’t share towels with other people.
- Minimise sugar, wheat and alcoholic products as this can increase odour and sweat (2).
Supplements for Sexual Hygiene
Probiotic supplements are useful to help minimise reoccurring BV, yeast infections, promoting a healthy yeast balance, urinary tract health, help balance vaginal flora and PH and decrease odour (1).
- CystiCare contains ingredients such as Cranberry and Citrus Bioflavonoids to maintain a healthy urinary system.
- It is also useful to take supplements that boost the immune system, to fight the infectious bacteria. Such as Vitamin C or Vitamin D, which should always be taken with Magnesium to activate Vitamin D in the body and relax the bladder.
- Black Seed Oil is an excellent immune system booster that helps fight Candida overgrowth, thrush and fungal infections. It can be used both internally and externally.
- Grapefruit seed extract to control candida outbreak.
- Zinc and stomach acid deficiency can contribute to the overgrowth of candida.
- SuperGreens such as Chlorella, Spirulina, Moringa and Alfalfa are known to support detoxification and increase the number of good probiotic bacteria in the gut.
- Garlic helps fight candida and fungal infections.
- Activated Charcoal helps detoxify the urinary tract and bladder.
- Uva Ursi is believed to have natural antiseptic and soothing properties for treating UTIs.
- Nutritional Supplements to Support Sexual Health | HealthAid
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and Cystitis | HealthAid
- Candida Overgrowth, Candidiasis, Thrush, Yeast Infection, Fungal Infections | HealthAid
- Bacterial Vaginosis | HealthAid
- Probiotics for Vaginal Health: Best Types - Dr. Axe (draxe.com)
- How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor: Causes and Remedies - Dr. Axe (draxe.com)
- A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root L. (greenmedinfo.com)
- Effect of Lepidium meyenii MACA on sexual desire and its absent (greenmedinfo.com)
- Sexual health (who.int)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
- Birth control options: Things to consider - Mayo Clinic
- Female sexual dysfunction - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
- Images: Image by Freepik Image by Freepik
Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.