Impotence and viagra alternatives according to traditional Chinese medicine
What is erectile dysfunction/impotence?
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to maintain an erection hard enough to perform sexual intercourse. This condition is more and more common as the individual ages. By the age of 40, this happens to 40% of men. The percentage rises to about 70% in men aged 70 years. In addition to age, other emotional and physical factors affect the condition, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, diseases of the endocrine glands, lifestyle, diet, neurological and nervous system diseases, medications, drugs, anxiety and depression. Men can also have problems with erections after various forms of cancer treatment. A man's ability to get an erection can also be significantly affected by surgery or radiation on the pelvic area, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and many medications. The leading drug prescribed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction is viagra, but it can cause side effects such as headache, facial redness, muscle pain or mild nausea, etc.
Understanding impotence in TCM
In TCM, impotence is understood as the strength or weakness of the male sexual function, which is associated with the energies of certain functional systems, including those of the kidney, liver and heart. The kidney system is crucial for sexual function and reproduction. It stores our innate energy (essential energy, also called kidney water), which we pass on to the next generations. Kidney water can control human reproduction, growth and development, memories and endurance. The kidneys provide the material and machinery for sperm production, while the heart plays an important role in erection and arousal. Kidney water represents yin (nurturing energy), while heart fire is yang (exciting energy). Nevertheless, they depend on each other to maintain a dynamic balance that can otherwise manifest in impotence.
Today, chronic stress and excessive intellectual work are the most common causes of kidney water energy exhaustion. Male sexual dysfunction is closely related to a fast-paced lifestyle. A state of chronic stress means that the body constantly consumes energy, but does not recover it. Impotence is only one of the possible symptoms resulting from the general depletion of vital energies.
Pathology of impotence in TCM
Treatment of impotence with TCM
The erection process depends on the two most important factors: sufficient energy and a smooth flow of energy. Part of the kidney's water energy is actually used for blood production. During arousal, nerve impulses travel to the nerves in and around the penis, causing increased blood flow to the organ, which causes it to become hard and erect. If it does not have enough blood, the penis cannot be raised. Another possible condition is that the water or blood energies are not of sufficient quality and that the circulation channels are not clean. Blood stasis and polluted water are the most common causes of blocked energy channels. These pathological factors block the flow of energy (called Qi) and the blood or normal water energy is blocked or obstructed in the lower abdomen, preventing the necessary blood flow to produce and maintain an erection.
The factors that contribute to impotence tend to be complex. While on the one hand we need to strengthen our inner energy, on the other hand we need to cleanse ourselves of toxins. Consolidating energy without purging could worsen the blockage, and purging without consolidating energy could further exhaust the system. It's a delicate balance, so you should be advised by an experienced professional. Common TCM approaches to treatment are acupuncture to improve energy circulation combined with taking herbal supplements to cleanse the body and enrich essential energy.
Last but not least, TCM also emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach – if a person needs treatment for impotence, a TCM doctor will examine their diet, sleep patterns and chronic health problems in order to provide them with comprehensive care. If we focus only on erectile function, we can of course achieve a short-term effect through excitement, but it will further deplete deeply stored energy.