Why Gut Health = Sexual Health

Tuesday 24th November 2020
Stefanie Emery, Eli Khan

Sexual health fails to be discussed enough, and many cease to talk about their sexual disorders. Let us allow ourselves to open our minds (and our legs, when with the right person of course) to this topic—it is just as important as discussing our mental health, or even our physical health as sexual health plays a major role in each of our lives.

There has been a growing body of research around the gut, and this past underrated organ has proven itself to be much more powerful that we first thought. The gut microbiome is made up of not billions, but trillions of microbes—otherwise known as bacteria. Out gut microflora has been linked to being able to influence everything from immune health, digestive health, to even cognitive health. It is now even being referred to as our “second brain” as it has just that much power over our bodies. However, does this organ have the power to influence our sexual health as well?

It’s time to gut serious about your gut health

Photo by Vika Aleksandrova on Unsplash

Gut health is dependent on what you eat, which therefore makes diet incredibly important in taking care of your overall wellbeing. Your gut microflora thrives off of dietary fibre, which is abundant in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts and seeds.

Dietary fibre is largely undigested, and instead remains in the small intestine which allows gut microbes to feed on this, creating short chain fatty acids that result in the many benefits of gut health. These health benefits include improving immune health, lowering levels of cholesterol, improving mood, and even enhancing sexual health.

What is the link between sexual health and gut health?

It can influence your sexual drive

Research shows that the gastrointestinal tract (GI) contains not only an abundance of the body’s serotonin—up to 90% of our body’s serotonin to be exact, and this happy hormone is also the very hormone that controls our libido. Whilst serotonin is our happy hormone, libido is what influences our sex drive.

Through nourishing your gut, you are also supporting the production of serotonin and enhancing your libido!

It can have an effect on levels performance anxiety

Poor gut health can cause inflammation within the gut, and for more extreme cases, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

This discomfort can be present at all times, including during sexual encounters, therefore leading to focusing on the fear of this disorder rather than being present in the moment. This also disturbs the production of serotonin, as your body begins to focus on producing cortisol, therefore decreasing libido.

It plays a role in regulating sexual diseases

From UTI’s to thrush, your gut health may be a large proponent in your vulnerability to the arrival of these uninvited guests.

According to Washington University School of Medicine, “Most UTIs are caused by E. coli that live harmlessly in the gut. However, when shed in the feces, the bacteria can spread to the opening of the urinary tract and up to the bladder, where they can cause problems.” The same study had shown that UTI’s can largely be influenced by the disruption of our gut microflora due to anything from the consumption of antibiotics, to stress.

Additionally, an imbalanced gut can cause candida, which is a type of fungus that grows in areas such as the mouth, stomach, and vagina. When an overgrowth of this fungus occurs, it can result in Candidiasis or thrush. Who knew that eating clean would literally keep you “clean”?

What can you do to benefit your gut health?

As well as eating a diet rich in fibre, a healthy gut can be achieved through reducing stress, or consuming healing herbs such as adaptogens. We personally love adaptogens such as Triphala. Triphala is known for it’s benefits on the digestive system, as this herb contains components that are “believed to cause restoration of the epithelium lining of the digestive tract, and by exhibiting mild laxative properties facilitate passage of stool in the colon.” (Chin Med, 2018). It is also nutrient rich, therefore promoting anti-inflammatory effects, helping beat stress whilst boosting gut health.

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