Sort by Tag

Exploring the Importance of Intimate and Sexual Health

Revitalize Your Intimacy: A Guide to Sexual Wellness After 50

 

Exploring the Importance of Intimate and Sexual Health

In this episode, Dr. Christi covers the importance of Intimate Health and Sexual Vitality, emphasizing its significance for individuals of all ages, particularly those over 50. Explore the profound impact intimacy has on longevity and well-being as Dr. Christi discusses groundbreaking treatments and protocols designed to rejuvenate your sexual vitality and foster deeper connections, regardless of age. From bioidentical hormone treatments to soundwave technology, discover how these innovative approaches can enhance your intimate wellness journey and enrich your overall quality of life.

 

What You’ll Learn

  • Understanding the distinction between intimate health and sexual health
  • Hormonal impacts on sexual function and intimacy, particularly in menopause
  • Innovative treatments for enhancing sexual wellness and satisfaction

 

Ready to reclaim the intimacy and vitality in your life? Take the first step today by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Christi. Whether you’re seeking hormone optimization, dietary guidance, or personalized wellness protocols, Dr. Christi is here to support you in achieving your health goals. Contact us now to start your transformational journey towards a healthier, happier life!

 

Listen to the audio version below.

 

Transcript:

Dr. Christi: Hi, I’m Dr. Christi, and I am going to talk today about the importance of intimate health, also known as sexual health. I want to make a distinction though between intimate health and sexual health. I’m not talking about STDs or fertility. I’m talking about sex, keeping the body healthy, and functional, and feeling good so that we can continue to have good sex throughout our life. Now, as a urologist and urogynecologist, I have studied sex and sexual function for the past almost 30 years. And I’ve seen a big evolution in the treatments that are available for men and for women. So I’m gonna talk on both of these. I’m gonna start with the women. That is what I initially founded my practice on 10 years ago, Houston female urology. It was based on women’s urological needs, their bladder function, sexual function, kidney diseases such as kidney stones. So we’re gonna focus on the women first and then we’re gonna touch on the men and some of the breakthroughs that are available for treatments.

I’ve developed some protocols here to help men and women have their very best sex of their lives in the last half of their life. It’s something that is available for most people, something that we don’t really think about until we get to that age and we realize we thought 50 was old and we realize it’s not old. We don’t feel old, we feel young, we feel vibrant. Hopefully we do, hopefully we don’t feel as old as we thought we would. And we recognize that we still have a lot to offer to the world, to our partner, and that we still want to embrace and live life to its fullest that we don’t want to just hang it up and say, well, that was for my younger self. That’s not something that I can do now, but it’s something that is available to us now. And I believe that sex after 50, or even after menopause, let’s say, which could occur even younger, can be actually the best sex, the best intimacy of one’s life.

So for women, what happens after, as we age, we have hormonal changes. And those are big driving factors that impact our sexual function and our intimate health. Of course, the biggest one is menopause. Menopause is where the ovaries stop producing hormones. They stop producing estrogen and progesterone. And the sexual organs that are sensitive to estrogen, in particular, begin to dry up, thin out, and fade away. Particularly the vaginal wall is very sensitive to estrogen and I see patients every day that have vaginal thinning because of lack of estrogen.

What happens when the vaginal wall’s thin out is they become very sensitive. So for two reasons, number one, they tear more easily. The vaginal wall will split and be fragile, kind of like thin skin where it’ll just, it’ll break and cause problems and be very sensitive. But in addition, just being thin itself, there’s sensitivity to the surrounding organs that becomes sometimes too sensitive, too irritated when the vaginal wall is thinned out. In addition, we don’t get the lubrication during intercourse and we’re more prone to urinary tract infections. So all of these things combined make it very uncomfortable, unpleasant to have sex after menopause.

I am a huge proponent for hormones for the vagina. And there’s a couple of ways that can be done. One of the quickest ways is to put estrogen directly on the vagina. So we use an estradiol bioidentical cream that is applied with a plunger or with the finger into the vagina. And that is gonna feed the cells of the vaginal walls so that instead of just thinning out, dying away, barely hanging on to life, they begin to reproduce again. They begin to plump up. We get thickening of the vaginal walls. We get lubrication. We get new blood flow into the area so that things feel more comfortable again, more sensitive. The natural flora of the vagina becomes healthier so UTIs become less prominent. So that is one of the most important fundamental things that we can do to preserve our intimate health. For someone that the estrogen cream doesn’t work for them, we also have laser treatments that can do the same thing, equally efficacious to the vaginal estrogen creams.

But with some simple laser treatments that really don’t hurt, patients are always surprised they do not hurt, we can resurface the vaginal wall. And studies show a biopsy before and after the course of laser treatments goes from very thin, paper thin vaginal wall to a nice plush vaginal wall again. So it feels much more comfortable. It’s a very effective treatment.

The other thing that we like to do with our patients, that I like to do with my patients and my whole team, when I say we, I mean, I have a team of physician assistants who are outstanding and also equally passionate about helping patients with these issues. But part of our protocol is to also look at the hormones overall in the system. The other hormone that really goes down with aging is testosterone.

And it’s not just in men, it’s also in women. Testosterone is very important in women. It gives us drive. It gives, it’s very important to our hypothalamus, to our sense of who we are as a person. A lot of people, when they get older, they kind of lose that sense of, I just don’t feel like myself. I don’t feel like I have that vibrant energy that I once has and that joy of living and feeling optimistic about the future. And sometimes that goes back to a hormonal lack or imbalance. So by testing those hormones, we can see where we need to replace and we can replace it. And I use some bioidentical compounded hormones that I can easily inject into the
patient and a simple injection will last for a few months and it makes a huge difference. We can put the testosterone and estrogen directly in to the body in a slow release form and get really good smooth levels and replace back to the levels of our youth. Now this is very safe. This has been done for decades and shown in multiple studies that it is safe, it does not cause cancer. Let me repeat that, hormones do not cause cancer. That is a myth. And I’m on a mission to get that message out that hormones are very beneficial and very helpful for patients, not only for their intimate health, but their overall health. And that’ll be a topic for another podcast will be going through the safety of hormones and the benefits for all different organ systems. So those are some of the those are the foundational things for intimate health. Then we look at how is the body responding? Do we need help with orgasm? And we’ve got several different treatments we can do different protocols for orgasm.

The goal is that I want my patients to want to have sex, that they enjoy it, they feel comfortable, they don’t have pain, and they have orgasm. Now, orgasm is one of the most amazing feelings that we can experience. And it’s not just the pleasure of that moment, but it also is good for our health. It’s good for decreasing our stress levels, anxiety. It helps our heart health. It helps the brain to relax and to just have a reset. And it also helps release oxytocin, which helps us bind with our partner and connect with our partner so that our bond is strong and becomes unbreakable.

So that is the goal. That is what we want and we want to improve our patients’ overall health. And a big part of that is intimate health. Intimate health is an essential piece that often gets left out of a wellness plan, a longevity plan. But for us, it is essential and it’s something that we want to address. There are occasions where there’s issues that go beyond the scope of what we do, such as relationship issues or psychological issues around sex is a very supercharged topic. There’s childhood issues, religious issues, relationship issues, there’s layers and layers of thoughts, thought patterns, habits conditioning that goes into it. And so I work with some great partners to help patients work through those issues. Now for men, there have been some amazing breakthroughs that I’ve seen in my career. Of course, when I started my career was when Viagra came out, and that was an absolute game changer. I mean, when I was in med school, we learned that erectile dysfunction was mostly in the brain, you know, that it was a psychological condition and that men needed counseling for erectile dysfunction. Well, they came out with Viagra and we had a wonderful, easy treatment for it. Of course we had, now I’m proud to say, I trained at Baylor College of Medicine in the urology department, which was where the penile prosthesis was invented, believe it or not, right here in Houston, Texas.

So that’s an implant, it’s silicone, it’s a pump up for erectile dysfunction. They’re still used a lot, they’re great. They work really, really well in some men. Viagra doesn’t work for them, nothing else works. And that is really the only option that they have. And they do like it, they do enjoy it. It’s a surgical procedure with a little pump in the scrotum, a little reservoir in the lower abdomen. So, whenever they’re ready to have intercourse, they can squeeze the pump in their scrotum and the water will transfer from the reservoir into the cylinders and the penis to create the erection. And then they’re able to have intercourse again and be able to have that bonding with their wife.

Now, over the last few years, there has been increasing interest in alternative treatments and one of the protocols that we have here is a sound wave treatment for erectile dysfunction. This has been used for many years. Now, sound waves, sound wave technology has been used in different aspects of medicine for decades. It’s used in joints by orthopedics on the tendons to help stimulate blood flow to the area. The sound waves cause a little microtrauma to the tissues and that stimulates the cells to start getting active again. Okay, we’ve got a little trauma here. We need to do some repair work. Let’s bring in some blood flow. Let’s bring in some growth factors to build up that tissue. We’ve used sound waves in urology for decades to break up kidney stones. So we do a real powerful focused sound wave onto the stone and break it into dust so that the dust and particles can then pass out of the body without invading the body at all. The sound waves just travel through the tissue and break the stone into dust. So for men, the erectile dysfunction can be treated with sound waves. They’re lower intensity, obviously, than the kidney stone sound waves. But we can treat the shaft of the penis with sound waves and cause that microtrauma that stimulates the cells and blood vessels, gets them going so that they can build up again. What we need for a good erection is we need good blood flow that’ll flood into the penis and will stay there for the erection. And the Soundwave protocol has been shown to help with that.

Now men, of course, also, we don’t wanna forget about hormones for men and their overall health. And testosterone, we generally think about that for men, primarily even more than for women. And we can test the testosterone and we can put the bioidentical hormones, inject them into men in a low, excuse me, a slow release format so that they will gradually get the hormones that they need over six months. The levels will go up and then stay fairly steady throughout that six months until the hormones are absorbed completely. And the idea is that we want to re-instill more before they go down so that we can keep the levels at a more sustained therapeutic level. And the idea for men and women with testosterone treatment is to get back to a level that we would have when we’re in our 20s or 30s at our healthiest. And again, these hormones have not been shown to cause cancer in men. They are not shown to cause prostate cancer. We keep an eye on that. We screen for that. We make sure that and catch it if it’s going to happen. But keep in mind that most men do develop prostate cancer in their life, but they mostly die with prostate cancer, not of prostate cancer. So if you live long enough, you might have a small nodule of prostate cancer, but it very rarely becomes significant. And testosterone replacement does not cause prostate cancer. So there should be no fear there of it. In men, we also see incredible improvements in health with testosterone.

It’s like juice that feeds the body, the whole, the brain, the heart, everything to stimulate the cells. Hey, let’s get going. Let’s, let’s, let’s stop just dividing. Then, you know, this cell gets sick. So we’re going to let that one go. Let’s keep dividing, making more cells and building back up. So, um, and of course, I just want to add real quickly, muscle mass is critical as we get older and testosterone has been known obviously to build muscle mass. We don’t go crazy, we’re not doing you know incredible Hulk type hormones. We’re not getting anywhere near that. We’re getting to a nice even healthy level. So that’s a brief overview of intimate health and some of the primary treatments and technologies that I think are most impactful for patients to help that part of their life be really healthy and to enjoy their life to the fullest.

I hope that helps and I hope that if you have any questions or you’d like to do a consultation that you’ll reach out to us we’re real passionate about what we do here and just love helping people to live their best and fullest life.