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How To Maximize The Potential Of Your Sexual Health

How To Maximize The Potential Of Your Sexual Health

Sexual Health

– All right, hello A-Fest. So I attended my first Fest┬áback in Jamaica, Sexual Health. so I’m super excited to be here with you guys, talking to you about one of my favorite subjects which is Sexual Health, obviously. I grew up in a small town in Texas where we didn’t talk about sex. My elementary school was surrounded, on three sides, by churches and on the fourth side by the neighborhood gun store. So I learned about sex, the old-fashioned way which was to ride the bus to school. I remember one time I asked my mom what a virgin was and she told me it was someone who’s never been married.

And she wasn’t trying to be evasive or clever, that’s just how she thought about sex. If that little girl from Burleson, Texas knew that she would later spend a good portion of her days asking questions like, “How hard are your erections? “Are they hard, hard, or just kind of hard? Or showing women how to use the vibration function of their pelvic floor simulator, she would not have ever believed it. But here I am. My name is Amy Killen, I’m a physician specializing in anti-aging and regenerative medicine. And today I’m going to convince you that sexual health is not a luxury. Just like exercise and nutrition and stress management, active sex life is one of the main pillars of health that leads to longevity. So I want you to close your eyes for a minute and imagine yourself in 20, 30, 40 years, imagine how healthy your heart and your muscles are, ’cause you’ve taken great care of them. You can hike and you can bike and you can 10X all day long and none of it phases you. Your mind is sharp, your joints are flexible, and you live in a community of friends and family that you care about. Maybe you have a little organic herb garden outback. And you spend time, every day, meditating on your own grassy knoll. Do you see anything else for yourselves in the future? What about active sex life? Do you see that for yourselves? Because you should. You can open your eyes. Today I’m going to talk to you about some of the medical therapies and therapeutics that are currently available that can help you achieve peak sexual performance today and sexual longevity tomorrow. So before I do that, I want to tell you a little bit about my story. This is an old picture of me. I began my career as an ER doctor and I worked in the ER for about 10 years.

 

I love the ER, you know, it was an adrenaline-packed kind of environment where you got curbside drop-off gunshot wounds and 4:00 a.m. heart attacks. And it was amazing. By the time I was 33, I was fortunate enough to have twin daughters who are 20 months old, Ripley and Nixon, and a newborn son, Mars. When Mars was two weeks old, my husband came home one day and he said, “Honey, I have some news. “I got a job working out of state “that requires me to live out of state “but I’ll be home on the weekends “for at least a day and a half. “So everything’s going to be fine.” So all of a sudden I was working at a job that started at 4:00 a.m. in the ER, and it becomes we were the lone parents who had three kids under the age of two. During those days, I survived on Diet Coke and Slim Jims with a giant helping of sleep deprivation on the side.

 

The final straw for me came when my family was suffering from a lice epidemic. So my little twin, curly-headed, daughters both came down with lice and so we hired this lice lady, like a lice farrier online whisper or something, and she came into our house. That’s really a job by the way. She came into our house and got rid of the lice she told us that we need to do lice checks on each other, every few days to keep the lice at bay. So there I was with my husband and I’m sitting between his legs on the playroom steps, as he’s looking for lice eggs in my hair and all of a sudden it struck me, as he’s looking for lice eggs in my hair, that this was the most intimate that we had been with each other in months. Comedian, Margaret Cho once said, “My boyfriend and I live together “which means we don’t have sex, ever. “Now that the milk is free, “we’ve both become lactose intolerant.” In trying to keep our heads above water between our jobs and our travel and our kids and our lice epidemics, we had forgotten about each other. As so often happens in these situations, our sex life had kind of slowly and just insidiously disintegrated.

So I started looking for a solution and I approached it like I would any problem that kind of came into my ER doors, so very logically and analytically. I took a deep dive into sexual medicine. I read everything I could read, I attended conferences, I sought out mentors. And I didn’t just learn about sexual health, I learned about health, health. Really, this was the first time that I had learned how to be healthy. And I learned how closely related and dangerously intertwined it all is. You know, physical health and mental health and emotional health and spiritual health and relationship health and sexual health. And I also learned how common it is to have sexual problems. But we just don’t talk about them. I was a physician with three kids and I never talked about it. I had no problem removing rectal foreign bodies or talking to 12 years olds about birth control options but I was still uncomfortable talking about my own sexual problems. And that’s when I realized that a door was open to me and I needed to walk through it. I needed to get the word out about sexual health. Because I learned, firsthand, that the benefits of sex aren’t confined to the bedroom. The effects of an active sex life spill over and they infiltrate every little nook and cranny of our lives to make us happier and healthier. Now, when I talk about sex, know that I’m talking about all kinds of sex. There’s no one right way to have sex or to enjoy it.

And this becomes increasingly important as we get older and have to kind of be a little bit more creative. There are a variety of different parts and partners fitting together and colliding in any number of ways. It’s in that fitting together where the magic happens. So no matter the shape of our particular sex puzzle, the act of having sex of being sexual is a good thing. And I’d like to help you maintain the parts and pieces that keep your sexual jigsaw so satisfying. All right. So we all know that we feel closest to our partners in the minutes and hours and days after having sex. And we know that couples that have regular sex tend to be happier and tend to stay together longer. Right? All right, good. But the thing is, it’s actually so much more than just that. Multiple studies have shown us that men and women who have regular sex have lower mortality rates, they die less often. There’s a big study in men that showed the men who had sex twice a week versus men who had sex once a month, had a 50% lower death rate over a 10-year period. They died half as often. I’m doing some math for you guys. And there can be several reasons for this, of course, right. Sex means intimacy. And we know from the Blue Zone data that close personal relationships are really important for longevity. Sex is an exercise with occasional high-intensity, interval training in between. Depending on how you’re doing it, maybe. Sex is a great way to relieve stress. Also important for longevity.

What you may not know is that sex is also great for your immune system. It helps you fight infections. It decreases your risk of depression. It helps you sleep better. It decreases pain. It decreases blood pressure. Sex has also been shown or at least tied to longer telomere length in women. Longer telomeres are directly linked to longevity. So this sounds pretty good, right? More sex, longer lives, closer relationships, better immunity. Sign me up, right. The problem is that a lot of people out there have sexual dysfunction. Of men over the age of 40, 40% have some degree of sexual dysfunction. 40% of women have sexual dysfunction at some point in their lives. And the most shocking number is this one, 75% of the men with sexual dysfunction and at least that many women are currently untreated. What I want to talk to you about today is some of the things we can do to treat these sexual problems. And I will be the first to admit that sexual problems are oftentimes not due to dysfunction of the sexual organs themselves, right? There are a thousand different things, they kind of creep into our lives, they could put the brakes on sex at the level of the brain. But for today’s conversation, let’s assume that the brain is ready, it’s ready to go. What can we do to keep our sexual organs functioning at a high level for decades to come? I’m going to keep this really simple.

There are six super sexy, super scientific strategies to help you reach your sexual potential, no matter what age, that utilize prevention and regeneration. The first one is to take care of your body. This seems obvious. But remember that your sexual organs are just like any organs in your body and they really appreciate good blood flow. Inflammation due to poor lifestyle choices leads to atherosclerosis, which is plaque and your blood vessels. Plaque and your blood vessels cause decreased blood flow. This is especially important for men because lack of blood flow is the top cause of erectile dysfunction. But women also need blood flow for things like vaginal lubrication and clitoral engorgement. So doing just basic lifestyle, good choices, things like making sure that you’re keeping your blood sugar down, keeping your blood pressure down, watching your cholesterol, not smoking, making sure you’re exercising and avoiding obesity, can all make a huge difference in helping to prevent sexual dysfunction in the first place. The second thing, the second one is to increase your nitric oxide or boost your nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide is the main chemical messenger that tells your blood vessels to vasodilate, which means open up. And as you get older, you lose the ability to make nitric oxide because nitric oxide is made by the cells that line your blood vessels. So as you get older, you develop atherosclerosis and all of a sudden you can make as much nitric oxide. And this becomes a big problem because now you’ve got blood vessels that are full of plaque, so they’re more narrow and you’ve lost the ability to open them up, you can’t vasodilate them. This leads to significant sexual dysfunction. Again, especially in men but it’s important for men and women. Medications like Viagra work by keeping your nitric oxide levels around longer. So you have more blood flow for longer.

But you still have to have your own nitric oxide for those medications to work. So you can do things like eating foods that are high in nitrates, so green leafy vegetables, beets, pomegranate, exercising is great for nitric oxide, red light therapy can be helpful, supplements with-Arginine and L-citrulline and antioxidants and all of these things can help boost your levels. It’s really important for general health and also for sexual health to keep those nitric oxide levels as high as possible. Strategy number three is to optimize your hormones. As we get older, our hormones change. Hormones like testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen tend to go down with age. And these hormones are really important for both maintaining interest in sex at libido as well as for maintaining the structural integrity of our sexual organs. So for women, for example, we tend to start seeing decreases in progesterone and testosterone in the mid-30s. And then estrogen just plummets after menopause. We often at this point, see patients who really have no interest in sex. All of a sudden, you know, some fuzzy pajamas and a book seem like the only way to spend an evening in bed. The other thing that happens for these women is that you see thinning of the vaginal tissue. So it becomes more irritated and friable so that when they do have sex, it’s not fun, it’s painful.

For men, it’s testosterone, we start seeing lowering tests of testosterone generally in about the early 40s. Of note, men’s testosterone today is quite a bit less than it was even 50 years ago, on average in the population. Probably due to lifestyle changes and environmental stresses. So that’s not a good thing. Testosterone, very important for libido. I had a male patient recently who had low testosterone who told me, “If a hot naked girl walked by me “on the sidewalk right now, “I would look up for a second, “but would immediately go back to checking my email.” That’s how interested he was in sex. Testosterone is also really important for maintaining the structural integrity and health of the cells of the penis. We know that men who have chronically low testosterone tend to have cells in the penis that are not as elastic and they can’t stretch as much. So you lose the ability to get and maintain an erection. So replacing hormones or keeping them at higher levels can be really important for sexual health. Number four, stem cells. This is one of my favorites. You just heard my colleague, Dr. Harry Adelson talk about stem cells at length, so you guys are all experts at it by now. But stem cells are your body’s repairmen. And as we get older, our stem cells become a little bit less active. So in regenerative medicine, what we’re trying to do is kickstart our body’s stem cells into starting to regenerate tissue again. So we can use stem cells in sexual medicine, just like we can for musculoskeletal medicine. And what we’re trying to do is use one of many strategies to sort of make your stem cells more active. One of them is using platelet-rich plasma.

So you’ve heard about that already, PRP uses growth factors that are already in your blood to then send signals to your stem cells to tell them to start working again. We can inject PRP directly into the sexual organs. In men, we have what’s called the priapus shot or a P-Shot. All the men are like cringing right now. Where we inject PRP into the penis. In a woman, we have the O-Shot. Isn’t she fabulous? I just love this picture for some reason. This orgasm shot, it’s also called, where we inject PRP into the vagina and clitoris. We do numb these areas up first with some topical numbing cream. So it is not as bad as it sounds. With both of these procedures, we can see things like increased blood flow, improvement in sensation, heightened pleasure, stronger orgasms. And then we can also add things to the PRP to make them even more effective. So we can add stem cells, whether, from the patient or other sources, we can add growth factors, we can add exosomes. With all of these stem cell regenerative therapies, we find that we can get improvement in your sexual experience, whether or not you had dysfunction in the first place. A couple of years ago, I treated Dave Asprey’s wife, Lana with a stem cell O-Shot. And a couple of months afterward, she got on stage at a big event, kind of like this, and she told everybody about how she was now having toe-curling orgasms.

Which made me pretty happy. But she didn’t have dysfunction beforehand, but she definitely noted improvements afterward. And that’s kind of what we see with a lot of these therapies. All right. The number five strategy is shockwave therapy. Also called low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy. This uses high-intensity sound waves delivered through a handheld device, like a little mini jackhammer. And it’s been primarily studied in men with erectile dysfunction, but we’ve actually started using it and seen the benefit in men in just increasing, improving performance in general. And we’re starting to touse it in women as well. And what this does is it creates this little microtrauma in the tissue that sends out all these signals that do things like increase blood vessel formation, increase local nitric oxide production, recruit stem cells to the area. And so all of a sudden you have improved blood flow in that tissue, which obviously would be great if you have erectile dysfunction or any kind of flow-related dysfunction. These are very easy, 20-minute procedures. There’s no pain, there’s no downtime, there are no risks. And men afterward, tend to report things like firmer erections, more sensitivity, just better orgasms, things like that. Our own Ben Greenfield, I don’t know if he’s here or not, but he wrote an article after his experience with getting one of these. So you can read this, but he said, “Viagra-like hard-ons? “Check. “Vascularity and size? “Check. “A satisfied, albeit exhausted wife? “Check.” Ben, I hope you’re here somewhere. Anyway, shockwave therapy is newish and it’s amazing and it’s very safe and I recommend you check it out. And then the last thing that we can do that I think is super cool, are these vaginal lasers and energy devices.

And this includes kind of a whole category of lasers and radiofrequency devices, where we use a combination of light and or heat to sort of get the cells around the vaginal tissues to increase collagen and increase elastin and increase blood flow. So we can use these types of treatments for all kinds of things. And women afterward, will notice improvements invaginal tone and tightness, increased vaginal lubrication, improvements in stress urinary incontinence symptoms, people who have a hard time with jumping, you know, without peeing. Increased sensitivity, increased pleasure, all of those things. So it’s really good. For me, I love the fact that we finally have something in our arsenal that we can use for women with sexual dysfunction, because we haven’t had that many effective treatments for women, up until now. All right, so as a little recap, six super sexy, superscientific strategies to improve sexual function. Number one was just taken care of your body. Number two was, what was number two? Increase nitric oxide. Number three, optimize hormones. Number four, stem cells. Number five, shockwave therapy. Number six, vaginal lasers. As I am finishing up this talk, I want to share with you a story of one of my patients. So I saw a guy recently, about the 50-year-old gentleman, who had had severe erectile dysfunction that had been going for about four years. And it started after he had prostate cancer surgery. And he’d been to see several different doctors and they told him that basically, he needed to get a penile implant, that was kind of his only recourse. And so he came to see me as kind of a last resort. So we did a series of, kind of, a combination of all of these therapies. This is what I like to do, I like to incorporate a bunch of things at once. So we did stem cells and PRP injections into the penis, we did the shockwave therapy sessions, we increased nitric oxide, we gave testosterone, and made a couple of minor lifestyle changes. About three months later, he called me and told me that he had, had sex with his wife for the first time in four years. And you know, he was ecstatic, if you can imagine.

He confided in me that this newfound vigor, which he never thought that he was going to have again, had brought him closer to his wife and had made him feel more confident, that he actually felt alive again. The thing is, it’s so much more than even that. His active sex life may help boost his immunity and fight infections, fight depression, decrease pain, decrease blood pressure, help him sleep better, and decrease stress. His active sex life may help to decrease his risk of dying over the next 10 years by half. This is why I do what I do. Not all of my stories have such happy endings, but I love the fact that there now exist. That actually is a funny little joke. I love the fact that there know. What’s funny is, I didn’t even think of it, there are always these double entendres that happen whenever I talk and I don’t even play on a lot of them, but anyway. I love the fact that there now exists, the possibility of these happy endings. Sex, you know, sex is intimacy. Sex is glue. It affects how we feel about our partners and how we feel about ourselves. It affects how we go about our day and how we look at the world around us. And it’s wonderful and it’s powerful. And a lot of us take it for granted. But sexual health is not a luxury. And sex isn’t just feel good, it’s one of the main pillars of health that supports us in this quest for longevity. And I got to say of all the things that I can do to make myself live longer, I will take sex over spinach, any day. Thank you.

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