Articles on sex hormones

Hormones in Sex

Dr. Ramesh Maheshwari, Sexologist
In regard to sex and reproduction the most important endocrine glands are pituitary gland and the gonads or sex glands –Testes in male and ovaries in female. The anterior pituitary gland secretes two gonadotropic hormones:Follicle stimulating  Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH).They play major roles in the function of male and female function. During pregnancy placenta secretes human chorionic gonadotropic hormone that has the same property as LH. This hormone stimulates the interstitial cells of fetal testis and  produces testosterone which promotes formation of male sexual organs. No testosterone is produced during childhood until the age of 10 to 13 years and lasts throughout life. On stimulation by LH from anterior pituitary, Testosterone is produced by the interstitial cells  of Leydig in the testes. FSH from anterior pituitary stimulates conversion of primary spermatocytes into secondary spermatocytes in the seminiferous tubules of testis. However, for complete formation of spermatozoa testosterone is needed. Thus FSH iniates proliferative process of spermatogenesis and testosterone does final maturation of spermatozoa. Testosterone secretion, after puberty, causes the penis, scrotum and testis to enlarge until the age of 20. Testosterone causes secondary sex characteristics of the male. In female, the anterior  pituitary produces gonadotropic hormones FSH and LH which act on ovaries and produce estrogen and progesterone. During the reproductive years there is monthly rhythmic changes in the rate of section of female hormones and as menstrual cycle, is of 28 days.Variation from   20 days to 36 days is taken as normal. At the age of about 8, the anterior pituitary begins secreting gonadotropic hormones, FSH & LH. These act on the ovaries. One of the follicles grows and ovulation takes place on the 14th day (counting from the first day of menstruation). During the growth of the follicle, estrogen is secreted. Following ovulation, the follicle develops into corpus luteum degenerates. The ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone decrease greatly and menstruation begins. Estrogen is responsible for secondary sex characters of the female. Progesterone is concerned with final preparation of uterus for pregnancy and the breasts for lactation. Male’s capacity to be stimulated sexually shows a marked increase  with the approach of adolescence. The frequencies of response to the point of orgasm reach the peak within three or four years after the onset of adolescence. Frequencies of sexual response in the male begin to decline after early thirties and drop steadily into old age. Among females, the median frequencies of sexual activities remain constant from late teens into the fifties and sixties. In maximum incidences of sexual response are not approached until some time late twenties and thirties. Individuals who are physically exhausted or in ill health are not easily aroused sexually if aroused they may not be capable of effective action and may fail reach orgasm. Estrogen occurs in equal amount in pre-adolescent female and male. But at the time of adolescence, estrogen increases abruptly in female. At the onset of adolescence there is no upsurge of sexual activities in the female. It is the male who suddenly becomes sexually active at adolescences. Androgen are found in both males and females. Adrenal glands also produce androgens. In preadolescence, the androgen levels begin to rise more markedly in the male. There is sudden upsurge of sexual  responsiveness and sexual activity are among males. In females, the levels of sexual  response and sexual activity are much lower than the levels in the males.When Testosterone is given to normal male, there is increase in frequency of morning erection, the frequency of erotic response to various stimuli and the frequency of masturbation. Testosterone is also used to increase the low rate of coitus which results in infertility. Sperm count also may increase by administration of Testosterone. However, indiscriminate use of testosterone may involve some danger like inhibited pituitary function and damage to the gonads. It may accelerate malignancy of prostate. Serum prostatic specific antigen estimation and  a digital examination of prostate are mandatory prior to administration of Testosterone. Both, androgen occur simultaneously in both the female and male bodies. There is a theory that estrogens counteract the effectiveness of androgens. Some clinicians use estrogen in effort to reduce the levels of responsiveness of males convicted as sex offenders. Though estrogens reduce the amount of androgens, the use of estrogens to lower sexual responses is debated. The adrenal cortex produces androgens and estrogens in both the males and females . In menopause when the estrogen level falls, the androgen produced by the adrenal glands is responsible for the growth of hair on the face females. Similarly, When the level of androgen falls in elderly males, the estrogen from the adrenal glands dominate and produce enlargement of breasts in the males. Hormonal levels may affect the intensity and frequency of response, the frequency of sexual activity , but there is no relationship between the hormone and individual response to particular sort of psychological stimuli. There is no evidence to prove that the patterns of sexual behavior can be modified by hormone therapy.

Sex Therapy

Dr. Ramesh Maheshwari, Sexologist
Sex therapy is based on behavior therapy. It is a type of re-educative therapy. The fundamental of behavior therapy is that all the behaviors are learned, even the maladaptive behaviors. The behavior therapist helps the client to unlearn the unadaptive behavior and replaces it with newly learned adaptive behavior. The aims of behavior therapy are primarily educational and techniques facilitate improved self control.From amongst several techniques that are used in behavior therapy, ‘systematic desensitization technique’ is used in sex therapy. Prior to 1970, sexual dysfunctions were managed by psychiatrists. After  1970, the masters and Johnson model of sex therapy made it possible to treat sexual dysfunction by psychologists, social workers, nurses, counsellors, and medical doctors.Their approach included :Instead of treating the affected individual, the couple is treated. It is the relationship that is affected. This strategy provides an opportunity to gain  the co-operation and understanding of both the partners in overcoming the problem.Two therapist-a man and a woman work together as a team. This gives each partner a same sex therapist to whom he or she can relate more easily.Masters and Jonson recognized that it was important to identify organic conditions that might require medical or surgical treatment instead of sex therapy.They also found that explanining the anatomy and physiology of sexual response to the clients often had important therapeutic benefits.To individualize the therapy so as to meet the specific needs of each couple.The therapist must avoid imposing his own values on the client.The fear of performance and ‘spectatoring’ are often central to the cases of sexual dysfunction. The pressure of performance is removed initially by banning sexual contact. Couples are then helped to rediscover the sensual pleasures of touching and being touched without the goal of particular sexual response (Sensate Focus Exercise).Blaming each other for the sexual problem is discouraged.When a couple’s relationship improves outside the bedroom, it is apt to have positive results in the bedroom too.Basis : Sexual response is the function of Autonomic nervous system and is a physiological change when effective sexual stimuli are present , and a person is psychologically prepared to respond to them. All the sense organs are to be used to create a situation conducive to sexual response . (touch is most important).Systematic Desensitization : A mode of psychotherapy where all the anxiety provoking stimuli are arranged in an ascending level, and the client is exposed to, one by one, both the partners are to be involvedRelaxation: Deep breathing, deep muscle relaxation and plesant imagery are incorporated.Reassurance.Stages :Sensate focusWoman superior positionLateral positionMen superior positionFormat: No rigid format Variations in time, frequency and structure depending upon the dysfunction, the patient and the therapist.Results: Not as definite as in pharmacotherapy.As you shall sow and water, so you shall reap: A skilled and knowledgeable therapist is like a good seed. Client’s receptive mind is like fertile soil. Compliance and co-operation by wife is like watering by gardner. When all the three factors combine, the results are good. When sex therapy works, it does wonders and results are unparalleled for that particular couple.Contraindications:Severe DepressionActive psychopathologySubstance abuseIIInessHostility in couple-interaction

Nutrients and Hormonal Imbalance in Men

Dr. Priyam Sharma, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Do you feel tired and irritated, suffer from a low libido and low testosterone levels, and seem to be losing hair along with your temper? Often people confuse these symptoms with signs of aging, but they can also be the cause of a hormonal imbalance in men.Though aging is a known trigger of hormonal imbalance, a poor diet, lack of exercise and an unhealthy lifestyle can also trigger hormonal imbalance. The good news is the hormones can be controlled and imbalances can be set right with a few changes to your diet. Getting the right amount of food and nutrition in the body can reverse your hormonal problem, and help you optimize your health. So, start making the following changes now.Include calcium-rich, healthy foods like milk, cheese, leafy veggies, almonds, broccoli and kale to your diet.Hormonal imbalances can cause kidney stones, fractures, and weakened bones; by increasing the intake of calcium-rich foods, you can keep all these side effects away.Increased consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids like oily fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, tofu, winter squash and olive oil will help in maintaining the balance of the hormones in the body.Vitamin D is an essential nutrient which can help maintain a healthy balance of hormones in the system. Milk, eggs, fish and cod liver oil are rich in vitamin D. You can also get Vitamin D by standing under direct sunlight for a few minutes every day.Increase intake of small, medium and long chain fatty acids. Avocados, coconut oil, salmon and some dairy products contain essential fatty acids in abundance, which are the building blocks for male hormone production in the body.These are some safe and natural ways to balance and restore hormones in the body. The right balance of micronutrients and macronutrients will help produce optimal hormone levels, so eat up and be healthy!

How Much Sex Should You Really Have?

Dr. Rahman, Sexologist
How much sex should you really have?Sex is an extremely personal and subjective matter. Different individuals relate to and indulge in sex differently. The idea of sex also varies from person to person and may not always fit the stereotypical penile-vaginal penetrative intercourse.There is no way of determining exactly how much sex is good and how much of it is too much. Some people like to be sexually active with thorough regularity while others find comfort in abstinence. Age also plays an important role here with people between the ages of 18-29 indulging in higher levels of sexual activity than those who are middle-aged or elderly.The different levels and frequencies of sexual activity have varying degrees of impacts on the overall mental, physical and sexual health of a person. There are numerous health benefits attached to having an active sex life, which manifests themselves in both the body and the mind.The health benefits of having sexAs per studies conducted, it has been shown that having sex, at least, two times a week can boost overall physical and mental health. The many health benefits of being sexually active are as follows:It improves immunity and makes the body more resilient to diseasesIt improves bladder control in women and prevents urinary incontinence It prevents erectile dysfunction in menIt improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressureIt acts as a stress relieverIt improves functioning of the heart and lowers the risk of heart diseaseIt reduces sensitivity to painThere are several other benefits of sex, which include the effective healing and nurturing of the body in a holistic manner.

How to Begin Your Sex Life?

Dr. Ashwini Billampelly, Sexologist
How to begin your sex life is the question which looms largely on the minds of some people who have opted for virginity until  late age of 25 or more!Here are some tips for those who are looking forward to begin with the most important relationship of their lives: 1: Prepare yourself - GET READY mentally and physically. Make sure you are healthy and normally developed. Make sure all your organ systems are working fine. Do the investigations if necessary. Take time to learn about your own body and your that of your partner. Share your ideas about hygiene and mend your ways if your partner so desires. Get well acquainted. 2: Develop a good mental rapport with your partner. Whether an arranged or a love marriage; good communication, sharing your sexual fantasies, body image, expectations in life, health issues is a must. Many people think putting out their best foot is essential to impress a would-be partner. But in time you will realise HONESTY is the most attractive quality in a spouse.3: Do not commit to a relationship until you are absolutely sure of what you want. If you are anxious about your sexuality, do not rush in anything.4: Do not carry baggage of  any feelings of guilt attached to your sexual being, appearance or financial burdens if any. Interpersonal comfort  and openness is very essential in a couple’s life. 5: Find what you like the most about each other and appreciate your partner frequently. You can begin with the “likes” and then point to minor “dislikes” in that order! That minimizes the impact and hurt caused by criticism. Criticism is a part of good communication, but should not be used to put the other person down. Both partners should be mature enough to take it lightly. 6: Be Well -Informed: - Relaying on porn videos or discussing with  friends or trying to use commercial sex to learn about how to perform sex has its own disadvantages. You may land up with infections or worse,  or myths and irrational fears.  Seek premarital counselling session from an expert sexologist.  Wish you happy life!

Safe Sex Education - the Only Way Forward!

Dr. Amar Deep, Homeopath
Planned Parenthood believes that parents and guardians should be the primary sex educators of their children. As with other complex issues, many parents may need support, resources, and expertise from schools and other organizations. It is important that young people receive age-appropriate sexual health information and develop practical skills for keeping healthy. Educators can help families by providing culturally meaningful learning opportunities in safe and non-judgmental environments so that young people can learn about sexuality in a healthy and positive context.Sometimes, people mistakenly believe that “sex ed” refers only to sexual behavior (e.g., sexual intercourse) and not the full array of topics that comprise sexuality. These include information and concerns about abstinence, body image, contraception, gender, human growth and development, human reproduction, pregnancy, relationships, safer sex (prevention of sexually transmitted infections), sexual attitudes and values, sexual anatomy and physiology, sexual behavior, sexual health, sexual orientation, and sexual pleasure. Comprehensive sex education covers the wide array of topics that affect sexuality and sexual health. It is grounded in evidence-based, peer-reviewed science. Its goal is to promote health and well-being in a way that is developmentally appropriate. It includes information and communication skills building as well as values exploration. Sexuality is an integral part of each person’s identity. Learning about our sexuality and achieving sexual health and well-being are lifelong processes that begin at birth and continue throughout our lives. Although parents and guardians are the primary sex educators of their children, children also receive messages about sexuality from many other sources. Some of them may have more negative than positive impact. Schools and other community-based organizations can be important partners with parents to provide young people accurate and developmentally appropriate sex education.The goals of comprehensive sex education are to help young people gain a positive view of sexuality and to provide them with developmentally appropriate knowledge and skills so that they can make healthy decisions about their sex lives now and in the future. Medically accurate sex education is an investment in our children’s future — their well-being. Our “return on investment” could be a generation of young people who have heard more helpful messages about sexuality than the provocative media images and/or silences they currently witness. It could be a generation of women and men comfortable in their own skin; able to make well-informed, responsible decisions; form healthy relationships; and take care of their bodies.It can be normal to feel overwhelmed by the task of developing and implementing comprehensive sex education in your school or program. Some educators find it helpful to talk with other professionals — mentors and/or supervisors — who have already implemented comprehensive sex education. It is important to get support from your school or organization. While this may feel like a huge undertaking, break it down into discrete steps such as:Assessing the needsResearching solutionsGarnering supportDeveloping a planDeveloping or selecting a curriculumCreating lesson plansGathering resourcesHaving fun!It may help to keep in mind that you may be the only adult who will ever talk to a young person about sexuality in an honest, accurate, and nonjudgmental way. Your good intentions, your positive, healthy attitude, your nonjudgmental tone, and the information you offer may be more than appreciated — it may save a young person’s life. Armed with knowledge about comprehensive sex education, you now need to jump in!  Talk with a mentor or colleague, browse your local library, or surf online to become acquainted with the breadth and scope of resources available. Contact Planned Parenthood educators near you to talk with and learn more about this important topic. Many Planned Parenthood affiliates provide consultation and training to assist with implementing sexuality education programs.

Balance Your Hormones to Lose Weight

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Routinely cheating on your eating plan or shying away from physical activity may explain why your weight loss has come to a screeching halt - or failed to take off in the first place. If you’re not burning more calories than you take in, pounds will stick around. But if conscientious calorie counting and regular gym sessions get you nowhere, consider another factor at play in the feud against fat—your hormones. Though as yet there is no proven miracle combo of foods or behaviors that will jump-start those internal executors into setting our fat on fire, we can give our hormones a better chance by creating a stable environment in which they can work.Eat Whole FoodsThink a diet high in fiber, complex carbs, and low-glycemic-index foods like whole grains and fiber-rich vegetables and fruit, as well as unsaturated fats, which will take longer to metabolize and help you stave off cravings, says Alice Chang, M.D., assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism in the department of internal medicine at UT Southwestern.Eat foods in their intact form, Greene adds: whole oranges, for instance, instead of juice. "One glass of juice might take three oranges, plus the added sugar," he says, "but if you were eating oranges themselves, you'd probably stop after one-and-a-half." Having five or six small meals of lean protein and complex carbohydrates throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar stable.MoveCameron recommends exercising an hour per day, five days a week, to combat hormonal weight gain. But that doesn't have to mean a solid hour of running: "Park the car at the end of the lot," she says. "Take the stairs."Strength-training can also help with hormonal balance, says Brian McFarlin, Ph. D., associate professor of exercise, physiology, nutrition, and immunology at the University of Houston: "It alters the cortisol level, helping you burn calories and fat. Even at rest, muscle burns more calories than other tissue."Check Your StressFor most people, basic stress-relief measures, such as getting a massage or seeing a counselor, "will lead to better hormonal balance," Gluck says. A variety of research shows that people who practice yoga three times a week tend to gain less weight; one study published last year by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that middle-aged people who did yoga gained less weight over a 10-year period than those who didn't.Get  Plenty  Of  SleepA 2004 study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed that subjects who slept less had lower levels of leptin [satiety hormone] and higher levels of ghrelin [hunger hormone]. Other research has shown that just three days of sleep disruption increases insulin resistance in humans.These 10 hormones hold the secret to losing weight and feeling great.InsulinIn essence, insulin governs your body, and it has a profound effect on aging.GlucagonGlucagon performs the exact opposite function of insulin—it melts fat.LeptinIf a person is having trouble in controlling appetite, it is always a leptin imbalance problem.Human Growth HormoneHuman growth hormone (HGH) is the quintessential anti-aging hormone.ThyroidThe thyroid hormone keeps us fit, provides energy, improves thinking abilities, boosts the immune system, decreases bad cholesterol, and lowers blood pressure.TestosteroneTestosterone makes men masculine, but it is also present in small amounts in women, and aids libido in both genders.EstrogenEstrogen increases alertness, lowers body fat, protects against heart and Alzheimer’s disease, and more.ProgesteroneProgesterone reduces anxiety and has a calming effect on mood - it makes women happy.Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)DHEA is gaining ground as a hormone that improves one’s sense of well-being, relieves fatigue, fights depression, and plays a role in the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.CortisolCortisol, a stress hormone, gives us energy. This major hormone keeps us alive thanks to its three essential and powerful properties: it increases blood sugar levels (and thus energy levels), raises blood pressure, and neutralizes inflammation.