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Sexual Vitality

In today’s world of chronic stress - racing to work, picking up children from various activities, trying to get household chores accomplished and just trying to “keep up,” it is no wonder that many people don’t have enough gusto in the bedroom to do anything but sleep. Sexual dysfunction is an umbrella term that encompasses everything from low libido to erectile dysfunction, female sexual dysfunction, decreased orgasmic potential and pain with sexual activity. Given the many aspects of sexual function, how do we best help our patients?

It is widely believed that testosterone is the sole key player in sustaining a healthy libido in both sexes and medications such as Viagra, a phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor (PDE5i), have become a popular way to manage erectile function. With new studies that have been done in both women and men, we now understand that these views are somewhat limited. Testosterone, while very important in sexual function, is not the only hormone that plays a role. PDE5i medications, while helping to maintain erections in some men, are not successful treatments for all men, do not address the underlying cause of dysfunction and have not been shown to be as effective in the female population when used for arousal disorders.

What the newest research is showing is what we have known all along: human beings are complex and, likewise, so is our sexual function. A study that was published in the International Journal of Impotence Research suggests that testosterone levels, while very important in sexual function, may have a less significant role than cortisol in erectile function. Likewise in women, higher levels of stress, and thus dysfunctional cortisol production, correlated with lower levels of genital arousal. In younger women there is a correlation with the use of birth control pills, the ensuing hormone imbalance and increased sexual dysfunction. Peri- and post-menopausal women often present clinically with low libido and pain with sexual activity, as the female organs are receiving less influence from estrogen and progesterone. Across populations, we also know that properly balanced neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, are crucial to the maintenance of a healthy libido and the ability to achieve orgasm.

Ultimately, in order to best help patients who are experiencing sexual dysfunction, a holistic approach is key. This includes ruling out contributors to sexual symptomatology including medications (i.e. antidepressants and birth control pills), major illnesses (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, anemia, neurological disorders) and lifestyle influences (i.e. alcohol and tobacco use). Once this screening has been done, a more functional approach addressing neuroendocrine balance can be taken. While testosterone testing may be beneficial, screening testosterone alone is likely to miss additional contributors to sexual dysfunction. Assessing and addressing additional neuroendocrine imbalances, including the remaining sex hormones, cortisol, and neurotransmitter testing, provides a more complete picture of contributors to patients’ sexual dysfunction And can easily and accurately be done with Labrix’s NeuroHormone testing.


  • Fernandes T, Costa-Paiva LH, Pinto-Neto AM. (2014). Efficacy of vaginally applied estrogen, testosterone, or polyacrylic acid on sexual function in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11(5), 1262-70.
  • Hamilton LD, Meston CM. (2011). The role of salivary cortisol and DHEA-S in response to sexual, humorous, and anxiety-inducing stimuli. Hormonal Behavior, 59(5), 765-71.
  • Hamilton LD, Meston CM. (2013). Chronic stress and sexual function in women. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10(10), 2443-54.
  • Kobori Y, Koh E, Sugimoto K, Izumi K, Narimoto K, Maeda Y, Konaka H, Mizokami A, Matsushita T, Iwamoto T, Namiki M. (2009). The relationship of serum and salivary cortisol levels to male sexual dysfunction as measured by the International Index of Erectile Function. International Journal of Impotence Research, 21(4), 207-212.
  • Sansone A, Romanelli F, Gianfrilli D, Lenzi A. (2014). Endocrine evalulation of erectile dysfunction. Endocrine. April 6.


Labrix West Coast Core Training has been approved for 6 hours of general CE credit (Oregon) for Naturopathic Physicians.

Labrix Founder and Medical Director Dr. Jay Mead, CEO and Associate Medical Director Dr. Erin Lommen, and Staff Physicians Dr. Robyn Kutka, Dr. Lylen Ferris, and Dr. Sara Wood present the fundamentals of hormone balancing, broken down into simple core concepts and related in a single day of engaging presentations and discussions. This event is designed for the provider who is new to the field of hormone balancing or is looking to brush up on the basics.

Join us for this 8-hour training and leave with the tools and knowledge necessary to:

  • Identify patients who would benefit from hormone balancing
  • Understand the roles of major sex and adrenal hormones in men and women
  • Appreciate the relationships between the various hormones and the entire endocrine system
  • Recognize the role that sex and adrenal hormones play in several prominent disease processes
  • Treat hormone imbalances with nutritional supplements, botanical medicines and BHRT
  • Learn to incorporate neurotransmitter (NT) evaluation and treatment into your practice

This event will be held on Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower.

Labrix has secured a room block at the rate of $179/night. Click here to reserve your room.

If you are serious about adding this powerful tool into your practice, register to attend and secure your seat.

Registration is $150 and following successful completion of the course, you will receive a $100 credit on your testing account. Register anyone else in your practice (with a clinical degree) and you'll automatically receive $25 off their registration.

Sign Up Now For This CE Approved Live Webinar Event

Labrix is proud to sponsor the upcoming live webinar on Friday, July 18th from 7:30-8:30am PST:
“Progesterone- A Powerful Hormone for Women and Men.” Dr. Gina Nick Cushman, NMD, PhD will present the webinar via and will discuss utilizing an integrative approach to hormone balance and the prevention and treatment of many of the diseases of aging with the use of bioidentical progesterone.

Dr. Gina Nick Cushman, NMD, PhD

Dr. Gina Nick Cushman, NMD, PhD is a California and Hawaii licensed practicing physician who has treated thousands of patients using BHRT, and trained healthcare professionals worldwide on this emerging treatment modality.

Click here to learn more about this webinar presentation.
Sign Up Now For This Free, Live Webinar Event

Labrix' own Dr. Lylen Ferris is presenting a free, live webinar via Functional Medicine University, on Monday, August 25, at 5:00 pm PST. Dr. Ferris' webinar, "Moodiness, Madness, or Menopause?", will provide clinical answers for optimization of hormones, serotonin and other neurotransmitter imbalances.

Dr. Lylen Ferris, ND

Lylen Ferris is a licensed Naturopathic Physician living and practicing in Portland, OR. In addition to maintaining her private practice, Dr. Ferris works as a Staff Physician at Labrix Clinical Services where she has reviewed, interpreted and advised on tens of thousands of salivary hormone panels and neurotransmitter reports.

Prior to joining Labrix as a staff physician, she completed a residency in advanced women’s health and gynecology at the National College of Natural Medicine where she oversaw patient care and as well as taught gynecology and clinical education classes. Her extensive knowledge of women’s health and endocrinology coupled with her love of teaching have led her to develop curriculum and present at numerous integrative and alternative health conferences.

Click here to learn more about this webinar presentation.