Intimacy and sexuality is a complex subject that we experience both emotionally and physically. Our physiological and psychological states control our sex drive and how often we are in “the desire or mood”. Research suggests that your digestive system health plays a very important role in sexual desire and libido. The state of your gut could be the reason why some of us experience low libido. However, most of us do not understand the crucial role of the gut in the overall body health and our sexual life in particular. If you have dealt with some gut problems such as constipation, gas or acid reflux at any time, then you have a basic idea of the importance of a healthy digestion tract.
The digestive tract microbiome (a collection of bacteria found in the gut) affects our body functioning substantially, including our sex drive. While many people do not realize that the gut affects how we respond and perform sexually, below are three ways on how gut health can affect your sex drive:
1. How the connection works.
Most research studies have linked decreased libido to compromised gut health. The entire gastrointestinal tract has millions of neurons responsible for sending and receiving impulses and controlling our emotional responses, and, therefore, our sexual desire. While the primary role of the gut is digesting food and absorbing nutrients, the neurons in it make up another “nervous system” usually referred to as the enteric nervous system. You might have experienced the enteric nervous system work before by feeling some emotions such as nervousness, anxiety or disappointment in your stomach. This makes us conclude that your gut acts as a second brain, that feels emotions through a second nervous system; the enteric nervous system.
Another clear thing is the proximity of the digestive system to the sexual organs. Various processes in the gut will affect the performance of reproductive organs directly. Bacteria in the digestive tract produce hormones and enzymes that affect our sex drive. The most common is serotonin which is a neurotransmitter. It is critical to our sexual drive and acts as a mood enhancer. When produced in low quantities, the body does not have the right mood needed for some great sex; the reverse is also true. This chemical also affects our libido in that it enhances blood flow to the genitals, which determines sex drive, particularly in women. The chemical also stimulates the nerves to cause contractions of the genital muscles which is a key factor for women to reach orgasm.
A healthy gastrointestinal tract has a lot of serotonin; this promotes sex drive.
2. Leaky Gut
A healthy gut is a gateway to a healthy body. However, the leaky gut condition; that is characterized by symptoms such as bloating, gas, food sensitiveness, cramps, aches, and pains can result in a host of various health problems. This is some sort of medical mystery that affects our sex drive. It occurs when bacteria in the intestinal walls leak into the bloodstream, a condition known as intestinal permeability. The leaky gut condition results in allergic reactions and damages the intestinal walls; this makes the bacterial in the gut unable to produce the enzymes responsible for hormonal balance (such as serotonin). This reduces our sexual desire and makes it difficult to attain a maximum level of sexual drive.
Some medications such as Acetaminophen and Aspirin contribute to a leaky gut by causing irritation and inflammation. You can restore your gut health by eating healthier food such as olive oil, whole meals, and fish.
3. Antibiotics and libido
Antibiotics are popularly used for treating various bacterial infections. However, they can also ruin your gut health. These drugs eradicate all bacteria, including the beneficial ones, which affects the production of some essential enzymes such as serotonin. This results in poor blood circulation to the sexual organs and lesser nerve stimulation, affecting libido negatively. Some antibiotics also multiply pathogenic bacteria which hinder the production of important chemicals such as serotonin, thus leading to low libido. The use of common antibiotics should, therefore, be controlled so that beneficial bacteria are not eradicated in the process.
Unfortunately, there are many factors in our modern lifestyle that destroy beneficial bacteria. Chronic stress, alcohol consumption, frequent antibiotic use, and diets high in refined foods all deplete healthy gut microbes. The lack of healthy gut bacteria results in several chronic digestive disorders such as candida, bacterial dysbiosis, leaky gut syndrome, and candida. Not surprisingly, all these conditions are linked to low libido.
These are the main ways how gut health can affect your sex drive. You can improve your gut health and libido through eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. Increase fiber content in your diet, eliminate processed foods and have a routine