Dear Pharmacist: My wife and I have always had a healthy sex life but lately I'm not able to take care of matters. It is affecting our relationship badly. My physician prescribed Cialis which works, but I don't want to rely on medicine at my age! According to blood tests, I still have high cholesterol, so I have to keep taking my statin drug which I've taken for seven months. What should I do? -- R.T., Sanibel
Dear R.T.: Your medicine might be hampering your bedroom bliss. Getting an erection requires healthy circulation. When blood flow to the heart is impaired, it's called angina; when it's to the penis, it's called erectile dysfunction. These two conditions often go hand-in-hand because they are a problem of circulation, but physicians often treat them separately. Blood thinners and sex pills get the job done, but they don't fix the problem of clogged pipelines and poor blood flow. The underlying disease progresses until you have a heart attack or a stroke.
If you have erectile dysfunction, assume (until proven otherwise) that you have mild heart disease or pre-diabetes. The focus of testing should be to rule out those conditions using micronutrient and hormone panels offered by SpectraCell, Genova or Metametrix labs. Conventional blood tests won't paint a full picture of hormones such as cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, estradiol and progesterone. Statins make sexual matters worse because they are drug muggers for testosterone hormone.
According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, research from 3,484 men demonstrated that, "Statin therapy might induce an overt primary hypogonadism and should be considered as a possible confounding factor for the evaluation of testosterone levels in patients with erectile dysfunction." Your statin drug reduces cholesterol, and therefore reduces testosterone levels. As your cholesterol numbers decline (which makes your doctor happy), your interest in lovemaking flops (which makes your wife unhappy). Whom to please?
Losing weight helps tremendously because it improves blood flow and helps balance hormones. Many guys have a little (or sometimes rather protuberant) spare tire around the belly. If that's the case, lose it. The more fat cells you have, the more estrogen you have. Estrogen causes water retention, and high levels are tied to hundreds of diseases including cancer.
Furthermore, high estrogen causes low testosterone, relatively speaking, and you need testosterone to woo your beloved.