Gut health doesn’t just have to do with digestion of food, not feeling constipated, and nutrient absorption. There is a strong link between gut health and depression, weight loss, and immune support as well! However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Gut health can affect your intimacy with your partner, too. After all, Hippocrates once said, “All diseases begin in the gut.” This adage includes sexual disorders.
As we’ve been following in the Thryve Insider, poor gut health has caused a 1.4% annual increase in infertility rates. Now, researchers have found a surprisingly impactful connection between gastrointestinal disorders and intimacy . But, how are the two connected? Let’s take a look.
Gut Health and Intimacy
Your gut’s microbiome plays a major role in your interest in, or ability to have intimate relations. Millions of neurons line your GI tract and send signals to your brain to control emotional responses.
These, along with the billions of bacteria and cells in your gut biome, create a system that has a large impact on your behavior and sex drive. In fact, research has shown that nearly 90 percent of serotonin, the hormone that controls libido, is produced by gut microbes .
So, if your gut isn’t healthy, your body and brain likely won’t be able to respond to sexual stimuli or intimate situations as they normally would.
An unhealthy gut’s negative effects on overall health and feelings of wellness can cause libido to plummet. Many GI problems, like gas in stomach, diarrhea, nausea, or bloating can often ruin date night.
Similarly, an unbalanced microbiome, or gut bacteria, can interfere with your gut’s serotonin production and decrease feelings of sexual arousal.
Performance Anxiety and Sexual Disorders
Common gastrointestinal issues, such as IBS, can lead to several sexual problems.
For example, many IBS sufferers report experiencing performance anxiety due to the fear that they’ll have an IBS episode in the middle of intimate activities.
Stress over gastrointestinal issues may take the fun out of most intimate scenarios or impede on attempts to making a baby.
Instead of producing serotonin, your body will feel stressed, secreting cortisol. 30 women were tested for arousal levels in the presence of elevated cortisol.
“Women who show an increase in cortisol in response to sexual stimuli in the laboratory have lower levels of functioning in certain areas of their sexual life compared with women who show a decrease in cortisol. Stress related to sexual performance may interfere with sexual arousal .”– J Sex Med
This anxiety can force libido to plummet and make it much harder to have sex. While IBS can also cause other intimacy issues, men with IBS are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction while women are more likely to experience painful sex .
Increased Risk of Disease
Lastly, an unhealthy gut can leave you susceptible to diseases that can hinder your ability to have sex. Researchers have linked undiverse gut microbiomes to various issues ranging from inflammation all the way to obesity and even depression. The mental and physical stress that these disorders cause, as well as various treatments, can negatively affect your interest in intimacy.
How to Improve Your Intimate Life
We all want to reignite that spark in the bedroom. Luckily, there are several ways that you can improve your sexual health by tackling or planning around your GI issues.
Eat Gut-Friendly Foods
Diversifying your gut’s microbiome will improve your wellbeing in several ways, including your sexual health. Eat more fiber-rich and fermented foods while avoiding overly-processed snacks.
Also, consider trying out microbiome testing through a personalized gut health program. That way your gut biome will receive targeted probiotic recommendations that will work for you.
Exercise can help your body adjust its gut microbiome to a healthy level. Cardiovascular fitness, in particular, can help diversify your gut’s bacteria.
Moving around causes the microbes in your system to bump into one another, essentially sparking chemical reactions. Naturally, this creates more diversity in your microbiome.
Try to get around 150 minutes of cardio exercise in a week, whether that means several 30-minute jogs or some quick bike rides to the grocery store. Also, try out some yoga poses for GI problems.
Plan Your Dates Accordingly
If eating triggers your gut issues, consider planning dates that don’t involve it at all. There are plenty of fun first date activities that aren’t centered around food.
- Trip to the Museum
- Walk in the Park
- Hanging Out at a Fair
- Going to a Music Festival
- Try An Escape Room
- Watch a Play
Once you develop a more trusting relationship, you and your partner should create a list of fun dates that work best for your body.
Seek Help for Sexual Disorders
If you have persistent sexual issues, speak with your doctor about possible medical treatments.
Sexual issues or long-term GI problems may cause worse problems down the road. Being proactive with your health will buy yourself extra time with a quality life.
Your gut health is a vital aspect of a healthy, adult lifestyle. If you’re experiencing intimacy issues, consider how you’re caring for your gut. Taking a few proactive steps and making small behavioral changes can make a significant impact on your intimate life and overall health.
Take the first step in reclaiming your life and try our microbiome testing. Enroll in the Thryve Gut Health Program today.
 Christensen B. (2014). Inflammatory bowel disease and sexual dysfunction. Gastroenterology & hepatology, 10(1), 53–55.
 Yano, J. M., Yu, K., Donaldson, G. P., Shastri, G. G., Ann, P., Ma, L., … Hsiao, E. Y. (2015). Indigenous bacteria from the gut microbiota regulate host serotonin biosynthesis. Cell, 161(2), 264–276. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.047
 Hamilton, L. D., Rellini, A. H., & Meston, C. M. (2008). Cortisol, sexual arousal, and affect in response to sexual stimuli. The journal of sexual medicine, 5(9), 2111–2118. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00922.x
 “Painful Intercourse (Dyspareunia).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 Jan. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/painful-intercourse/symptoms-causes/syc-20375967.