Painkillers linked to sex problems

One day, you're battling back pain. The next, it's everything from memory loss to physical weakness to erection problems and low testosterone levels.

"Well, that's it," you might think to yourself. "I guess I'm just falling apart!"

I can't tell you how often I've heard that from my own patients, especially first-timers who've come to me after getting nowhere with a mainstream doctor. And if you've ever felt that way yourself, I have some good news for you today: You're not falling apart.

In fact, the problem may not even be you at all.

It's your meds -- because the painkillers given for chronic conditions such as back pain can lead to a downward spiral of poor health, and new research shows how it can even ruin your sex life.

Men who take opioid painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone have a 50 percent higher risk of both low testosterone levels and bedroom problems, according to the study of 11,327 men with back pain.

It doesn't take long before those risks kick in, either -- just three months of normal use. And for the highest doses (120 mg of morphine-equivalent drugs per day or more), those risks kick in almost immediately, according to the study in the journal Spine.

But low testosterone levels and bedroom problems are risks you don't have to face yourself.

In many cases, opioid painkillers aren't even necessary in the first place. I find that nondrug treatments such as acupuncture, natural anti-inflammatories, and cold laser can often bring real and lasting pain relief.

(Prescription meds such as opioid painkillers kill more Americans than illegal drugs. Shocked? Click here to learn more.)

And in the rare cases where opioid drugs are needed, they should be restricted to the lowest dose for the shortest period to prevent low testosterone-- a stopgap measure to manage severe pain while you and your doctor work on finding and correcting the cause of your pain.

Of course, even if you take no painkillers at all, you could still find yourself battling low testosterone levels and everything that comes along with it -- including erection problems, memory loss, and general weakness.

So if you're on one of these drugs and you feel like you're falling apart (or worse) don't worry, a holistic physician can put you back together with a natural testosterone replacement regimen. And if you're in the Southern California area, I can help -- because I happen to run one of the most complete hormone testing and treatment programs around.

Contact my clinic at 855-DOC-MARK for more information or to make an appointment.