Although we here at Desert Wellness treat men and women, as well as children, for a variety of issues, many people come in seeking help in getting their groove back. The “groove” they’re missing consists of energy, confidence, and motivation, but can also include libido, sexual satisfaction, and intimacy. There are several ways we treat a lack of groove, but only after first determining what may be causing the changes.
Root of the Problem
Our naturopaths will perform blood work to see if there are hormone imbalances, since imbalanced hormones tend to cause a whole host of health issues. In women, we also look at imaging to see if there are any uterine abnormalities, ovarian cysts, or other abdominal issues. Imaging is helpful if women are experiencing regular cycles.
Hypothyroidism may be the issue if your thyroid is not working or not working properly. There may also be too much inflammation causing the lack of groove. Reviewing the results of testing will help us determine where the root of the problem is so we know how to treat a patient’s health concerns.
Losing Your Groove
A loss of groove can happen at any age. Teenage girls’ cycles can get messed up, their thyroid is off, and they don’t have a groove anymore. It can also happen in the mid-30s, which is when testosterone levels start to decrease, especially for females. Between 40 and 50, women may be perimenopausal. All those hormones are a bit of a mess. And for men, andropause, which occurs somewhere between 40 and 50, could be a time when that groove starts to take a rain check.
Loss of Groove Symptoms
This loss of groove can mean different things for different people, as we’ve already mentioned. You may have lost your groove if you’re having any/all of these issues:
Energy – if you don’t have enough energy halfway through your day (to say nothing about how exhausted you may feel by the end of the day)
Confidence – if you struggle with feeling confident enough to do the same things you did when you were younger
Motivation – no motivation to do anything except what you absolutely have to do (and sometimes not even then)
Libido – you are no longer interested in sex
Sexual Satisfaction – because of physical maladies, you are not satisfied sexually (sex may be too painful, so you aren’t able to enjoy it)
Intimacy – not having any energy, confidence, or libido may make you avoid intimacy, especially if you know sex won’t be satisfying
If you are confident, motivated, and have energy, it often results in your being more successful. Having your groove could be construed as having success – success in whatever you want to do. This even includes your social life, since you have to be motivated in order to even want to be social. Many of our clients say they no longer want to go out; they used to be very social and go out all the time, and now they just want to sit around all day long and maybe binge watch Netflix instead of getting up and even making the effort to go out. And then finally, just having extra energy in general to spend with your kids, with your family, with each other; it takes energy to want to do those things.
Hormonal imbalances affect a lot of bladder and lower pelvic issues which can cause pain. When there is decreased estrogen or decreased collagen, sometimes pain gets in our way. This pain gets in the way of physical exercise, and also gets in the way of intimacy because of vaginal dryness.
If there are problems with collagen and estrogen in the vaginal walls, there will be a lot more laxity and the cells in the vagina will be very weak. This also results in urinary leakage. The vaginal canal becomes weak because of the decrease in estrogen and there is leakage because the bladder fills up and pushes against the weak vaginal wall. Bladder leakage occurs during laughing, jumping, coughing, and especially exercising. The more weakness there is in the vaginal wall, the more leakage there will be. Decreased estrogen decreases the cell health, and this can happen even as young as 35.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also happen more frequently. UTIs often stem from bacteria that hide in the flow, from bowel movements, dirty underwear, or from E. coli found in food, which sets up an acidic environment on the walls of the urinary tract. UTIs are noticeable by a burning and an urgency to go. Intercourse also causes UTIs, as does menopause because there is decreased estrogen. Women over 50 have a more than 50% chance of developing a UTI over their lifetime and we can actually become more sensitive to UTIs as we age because the tissue ages. We treat it by prescribing antibiotics, but we can also prevent it by drinking a lot of water, which dilutes your urine and keeps it from being so acidic. D-Mannose keeps E. coli from sticking to the bladder walls. We can also treat the vaginal flora with specialized probiotics, though you sometimes need a different probiotic for the urinary tract versus the GI tract. You can also take L-glutamine, both for the bladder infections and for the GI.
Pelvic pain from irregular or painful periods is often caused by too much estrogen. Perhaps you never had issues before with your period, but now all of a sudden you’re having a lot of bleeding. That’s generally because, as we grow older, we lose progesterone and become estrogen-dominant. Estrogen dominance can cause a lot of issues, a lot of bleeding, a lot more pain. So having too much estrogen and not enough progesterone, we build up the uterine lining, which causes pain, cramping, excess bleeding, and clots. This can even increase your chances for some sorts of cancer. Another thing that can cause a lot of pain, especially during periods, is the prostaglandins, which control inflammation and are released later during your cycle.
There is also adenomyosis – which is when you have some endometrial tissue growing in the muscle of the uterus – or endometriosis – where endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus. Either way, it’s painful: worse when you have too much estrogen, and when you have too much inflammation.
Vitamins, Supplements, and Herbs
Vitamin D has a positive effect when it comes to hormones in general. Magnesium and zinc will also affect hormone deficiencies. Magnesium is considered the go-to for any inflammation, though food allergies can also cause inflammation. We can recommend probiotics that work, but sometimes you may just need to cut some of the foods out that are inflammatory. As for herbs, we use chaste tree berry from yams for progesterone problems.
In order to balance a woman’s cycles, we often use vitamin D, but for a lot of our younger patients (think 30 somethings), we use seed cycling. Seed cycling is where we divide the cycle up using flax seeds, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds, which spreads out estrogen levels for half of the cycle and give more progesterone during the second half of the cycle. When you do this on a regular basis, it results in a balancing of the cycle.
Additionally, maca powder is known as the fertility herb and often works for patients who have overall low hormones, aren’t ready for replacement, and just need a little boost. Sometimes that will help with the vaginal dryness.
The first thing we do for vaginal dryness is measure estrogen and supplement it via pellets, creams, or vaginally. If you’re not an appropriate candidate for estrogen pellets or estrogen replacement, we will use a very low dose Estriol cream that’s directly inserted into the vagina. This treats just those cells and is very good for rejuvenating a little bit and helping out with the dryness.
The lining of the bladder is made of the same material as the lining of your stomach. If you have reflux or GI pain when you eat spicy foods, tomatoes, alcohol, chocolate, or coffee, these foods create more acid in your system. Eliminating these foods usually helps many patients.
The number one physical complaint of women after pregnancy is vaginal laxity. Even if you haven’t gone through childbirth or had a child vaginally, vaginal tissues weaken. The physical effects of vaginal laxity are a feeling of looseness, decreased sensation, an overall reduction in sexual satisfaction, urinary leakage, and even vaginal atrophy. This not only affects your groove physically, but your mental and psychological groove is where we lose confidence because of a change in body image. It’s a negative impact in our relationships and obviously our desire for intimacy. The reason there’s no desire is because you can’t feel anything (or it hurts) and it’s just no fun. We can help with all these symptoms by balancing your hormones and through other treatments.
Along with replacing hormones, though, we need to rejuvenate the vaginal cells. One of the ways we do this is with our Viveve treatment. Viveve is our in-office treatment for vaginal laxity, which increases sensation, but also decreases bladder leakage because the treatment strengthens the vaginal walls.
Viveve uses radio frequency and is a cryo-cooled procedure that lasts just over 30 minutes and doesn’t hurt. A wand is inserted vaginally, delivering radio frequency. As the radio frequency is delivered, so is cryogen. There is heat, but you can’t feel it and the heat rejuvenates the tissue three millimeters down. Every time there’s a pulse in the treatment and the radio frequency is delivered, the cells begin to rejuvenate.
Once the treatment is complete, you’ll feel more vaginal lubrication within the next two to four weeks if you had vaginal dryness. After about a month, you’ll feel some tightening and less urinary incontinence. By 90 days, all of that tissue has been rejuvenated. And in another 90 days, you can expect 90% of urinary leakage to be gone. Most of the time, you do not need another treatment. It is a once and done, painless procedure. Taking care of yourself will keep your results longer. There’s no downtime and it’s very safe.
It’s an effective treatment for vaginal dryness, as well. If you’re unable to retreat with estrogen (perhaps because of breast cancer or some other negative effects of estrogen), we can still vaginally treat symptoms of dryness. Viveve will also help with chronic yeast infections and UTIs by changing the cells in the vaginal wall and creating a more livable environment with healthy cells.
A 50-year old patient had ongoing pubic pain. She was menopausal, but she even had appellate pains when she was in her 30s. We started her with pellet therapy and once we got her hormone levels up, we also added some estrogen cream, which is when her pain decreased by 90%. Her pain has continued to decrease over the last year.
A 17-year old athlete had no cycle. We identified Hashimoto’s, which is a big problem with the thyroid, and we treated her using seed cycling. It only took two months for her period to come back and she’d been missing it for a year. She was only 17 and she didn’t have her groove. She had no motivation or drive. She didn’t have any hormones. So we had to give her back her hormones. We did that with seed cycling and balancing her thyroid levels.
A 35-year old who’d had three vaginal births had been contemplating Viveve. She made up her mind to move forward with the treatment when she had to run to where an event was being held in order not to be late. By the time she arrived, she had to completely change her clothes because she had suffered urinary leakage. That was her final straw. She came in and had Viveve done and she hasn’t had any leakage since.
Getting Your Groove Back
At Desert Wellness Center, our naturopaths do a lot of hormone balancing. We address not only women’s health issues, but also men’s health issues. We treat our patients holistically, looking at them as a whole. Contact us today if you are looking to get your groove back, are interested in stopping bladder leakage, learning more about Viveve, or addressing hormone imbalances.