Archive for the ‘bicycle riding’ Category

Sex Life In the Tank? Suggestions For Getting Back on Track

August 18, 2012

Sex Life In the Tank? Six Suggestions For Getting Back on Track

The movie, Hope Springs, with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, which describes a couple that, have fallen out of love and had their sex life in the tank. With the help of a therapist, staring Steve Carrell, they were able to rekindle the sexual fire that they once had. What can you do if the same thing is happening to you?

Try Something New-It Is The Spice of Line
There’s biological evidence that novel experiences, both sexual and non-sexual, cause the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that’s connected to the pleasure center in your brain. Remember how exciting your romance was when you first met and first had sexual intimacy? That’s because the romance was novel and everything is novel and your brain responds accordingly.

Be creative. Try a different place, a different time, a different position, a new sex toy. Sex every Saturday night in bed with papa on top for 4 minutes is not going to cut it. Try having a morning quickie. Attempt sex in the shower, or on the kitchen island. Do it on the floor or in the changing room at Victoria’s Secret. It isn’t a secret that you won’t be the first couple that tried that venue! Try it at 25,000 feet on your next flight.

Got a headache or are too tired? Take a Romantic Break
All couples are tired at the end of a long day with many demands. By the time you get everyone to bed and deal with unavoidable chores, you just don’t have the energy for a romantic evening.
Instead of waiting until just before you put out the lights, take a break from the computer the newspaper or a TV show (unless it is Modern Family) for a romantic encounter before going night-night.

Take Your Sex Life Off of the Back Burner
Make a date with your partner. Set aside one day a week to have time together. Hire a baby sitter and leave the home for something special. I don’t suggest that you go for the humdrum such as dinner and a movie thing, which seems like it’s supposed to be a lead-in to sex. Instead tray a shared experience such as biking, bowling, or something silly. Return from your night out with new sexual vigor and you can be sure you will be singing, “Come on baby light my fire!” Now don’t make date-night a once upon a time event. Make it a priority and stick to it like you stick to the other obligations on your schedule. Let it become a habit, and you’ll feel reconnected, and the desire will just grow from there.

If It Hurts, Get Help-NOW
Sometimes it’s not that you’re not feeling in the mood, it’s that your body isn’t cooperating because sex is actually painful. This can be a big issue for women approaching menopause, and you might be too embarrassed to tell your partner. It is entirely normal for women to have vaginal dryness after menopause. When the vaginal lining becomes thin and dry this can result in painful intercourse. This pain is due to an estrogen deficiency and can be corrected with oral or topical estrogen creams or vaginal tablets.

For women who have had breast cancer and should not use any estrogen supplements, there are lubricating jellies like K-Y jelly Vaseline, or Replens that do not contain any estrogens but do decrease the friction and pain associated with sexual intimacy.
Some men have a condition called Peyroine’s disease, which results in a significant bend of the penis resulting in pain for both the man and the women. There are treatments for this condition and men should see their urologist. (For more information on Peyroine’s disease see my YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkZZPBdWztY)

Your Libido or Sex Drive Has Mysteriously Disappeared
A dwindling libido may not just be a sign of aging. It may be the sign of another health problem or behavioral issue. For example: Depression, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances can all contribute to sexual dysfunction. In men, the inability to get an erection can be an early warning sign of diabetes or heart disease, or testosterone deficiency. Some medications, including antidepressants and blood pressure drugs, can lower your sex drive. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can put a damper on sexual response. Even too much time on the bike can lead to problems in bed. Both men and women who are always on their spin bike or the small seat on a road bike can have problems with orgasm and arousal, because of the pressure put on the nerves and blood vessels that supply the penis or the vagina. Sleep apnea can also be a culprit and can lead to lack of oxygenation of the genital tissues. See blog (http://neilbaum.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/not-enough-sleep-can-lead-to-not-enough-sex/) for more information on sleep apnea and its treatment.

Bottom Line: Sex at age 20 is easy and fun and occurs without any effort. Sex in mid life can take some work, effort, and time. Invest in your relationship; you will be happier, healthier, and will have more love and affection from your partner. If that isn’t reason enough to get your sex life back on track, tell your partner that Dr. Baum prescribed it!

If you have any ideas for putting the fire and passion back into your relationships, let me hear from you. I’m always looking for new ideas. Don’t hold back. No idea is too wild or far out.

This blog was modified from a recent post on WebMD by Gina Shaw (https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?hl=en&shva=1#inbox/13939af485fb6048)

Pain in the Pouch- Scrotal Pain May Be Coming From Somewhere Else

June 9, 2012

By far, most causes of pain in the pouch is from the testicles and the epididymis, the gland behind the testicle where sperm are nurtured and mature. But there are other causes of scrotal pain that must be considered and which have different treatments.

Testicular tumors do not usually cause pain, but it is possible. Since testicular cancer is common in young men (between the ages of 18 and 32) and is often cured if treated early, prompt medical attention to any lump is important. If you feel something down there that is new or is hard, see your doctor right away.

Inguinal hernia—An inguinal hernia is part of the intestines which protrudes through the inguinal canal (passageway connected to the scrotum). Inguinal hernia is suspected if swelling or pain above the scrotum worsens with coughing, sneezing, movement, or lifting. This condition is fairly common, especially in young boys, and it occasionally causes pain in the scrotal area. Premature infant boys have the highest risk for inguinal hernia. This condition usually results from an abdominal wall weakness present at birth, but symptoms may not appear until adulthood.
Hernias do not resolve without treatment and may cause serious complications if not treated. Hernia repair surgery is usually required to treat this condition. Often this surgery can be done through a laparoscope which consists of a several pencil sized openings in the lower abdomen. Most men can go home the same day of the surgery and resume all activities, including heavy lifting in 3-4 weeks after surgery.

Pudendal nerve damage (neuropathy), also called “bicycle seat neuropathy,” may cause numbness or pain. Pudendal nerve damage can result from the pressure of prolonged or excessive bicycle riding (e.g., competitive cycling), especially improper seat position or riding techniques are used. Special bicycle seats have been designed to decrease pressure on the area between the scrotum and the rectum, potentially preventing or resolving this problem. Pudendal neuralgia is the painful type of this nerve damage. Sometimes called “cyclist’s syndrome,” pudendal neuralgia is painful inflammation of the pudendal nerve. The pudendal nerve carries sensations to the genitals, urethra, anus, and perineum (area between the scrotum and anus), so the pain can be felt in any of these areas. Pain can be piercing and is more likely to be noticed while sitting. If untreated, nerve damage can lead to erectile dysfunction or problems with bowel movements or urination, such as involuntary loss of feces or urine (e.g., urinary incontinence).

Pudendal Nerve Damage

Narrow bike seat can cause pudendal nerve injury

Surgery—Temporary testicular pain and swelling can be expected after surgical procedures in the pelvic area, such as hernia repair and vasectomy. Post-surgery pain that lasts longer than expected should be reported to a physician. Chronic or recurring pain may be the result of a surgical complication or an unrelated problem, and may need treatment.
Kidney stones—Stones usually cause abdominal pain, but the pain radiates into the testicular area in some cases. Intense, sudden, and severe pain in the scrotum that cannot be explained by a problem in the scrotum may be caused by kidney stones.

Swelling with mild discomfort—Conditions that cause swelling in the scrotal area also may occasionally result in mild discomfort. These conditions include varicocele, hydrocele, and spermatocele. Many cases are benign (mild and non-threatening), but swelling and discomfort in the scrotal area should be addressed by a doctor. If a hydrocele (an abnormal fluid-filled sac around the testicles) becomes infected, it can lead to epididymitis, which can cause severe pain.
Unrelieved erection—An erection that does not end in ejaculation sometimes can cause a dull ache in the testicles. This minor ache, commonly called “blue balls,” is harmless and usually goes away within a few hours or when ejaculation occurs.

Bottom Line: Scrotal pain is common condition that usually involves the structures in the scrotum. However, there are other conditions that can cause scrotal pain. If your doctor evaluates these other causes of scrotal pain, effective treatment can relieve the discomfort.

Tips for choosing the right exercise equipment

February 4, 2012

Many of my patients and followers on my blog are interested in exercise and nutrition. This article copied from the Harvard Medical School Newsletter will provide you with suggestions for obtaining effective yet safe exercise equipment.

You can launch an effective exercise program using only what nature gave you: your body. But because regular activity remains an elusive goal for most people, a multibillion-dollar industry has blossomed around the promise of surefire success. Health club memberships and home exercise equipment are excellent exercise solutions for many people. Do keep these cautions in mind, though:
• Even the best equipment and most tricked-out gyms only produce results when used regularly.
• Learn to use equipment properly to avoid injuries that could sideline you temporarily or permanently.
• Exercise equipment comes in all sizes, shapes, and price ranges. It pays to check consumer ratings and follow our other tips for smart consumers before making your purchase.
Following are some basics you should know if you’re in the market.
Cardio equipment
If you stop by any gym, you’ll see rows of machines designed to simulate cycling, walking and running, kayaking, rowing, skiing, and stair climbing. Whether motorized or not, sized for heavy-duty gym use or in lighter home versions, these machines offer good cardio workouts that burn calories and fat. What’s more, your workout takes place indoors, away from fickle weather.
Price varies from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending upon whether a machine is motorized or programmable, and whether it has add-ons, such as devices to measure heart rate, calories or METs burned, time elapsed, and so forth. While this information tends not to be entirely accurate, it could encourage you to step up your workouts or may be important if your doctor has advised you to limit activity. The following are some of the more popular types of aerobic exercise equipment.
Cross-country ski machine
This machine lets you exercise arms and legs simultaneously, as you would in cross-country skiing. The sliding motion is easy on the knees. On some machines, you have to move one ski forward to make the other move back. On others, the skis move independently. In addition, certain ski machines use ropes, while others have stationary handgrips. Check out all these types to see which one is most comfortable for you. Look for a wide foot bed for stability.
Elliptical trainers
These machines provide a circular up-and-down motion that’s a cross between a ski machine and a stair-stepper. They provide a nearly impact-free workout, which is easy on the joints. Resistance and grade can be adjusted automatically or manually on some models, and levers with handgrips to work the upper body may be available, too. It may take a little while to get used to the unusual motion. Look for comfortable handlebars and nonslip pedals with curved ridges. Try the machine out at varying speeds and grades to make sure it feels stable.
Rowing machines
Rowing machines work the back, arms, and legs simultaneously, offering as close to a total-body workout as available from a machine. Unless you’re used to rowing, the motion initially may feel unfamiliar, and some people find it hard on the back. When purchasing one, consider pulley models instead of piston models for a more realistic rowing experience.
Stair-steppers
These machines provide a low-impact workout that approximates climbing flights of stairs. Some modes have levers with handgrips to work arms, too. Beginners may find stepper machines strenuous, and the motion can be hard on the knees. Look for machines that provide independent foot action and are equipped with handrails and large stair platforms.
Stationary bicycle
An exercise bike takes no training and is easy to use, although it can be uncomfortable for long stints. While riding isn’t as effective in preventing osteoporosis as weight-bearing exercise, it does provide an excellent cardiovascular workout. Look for a model with a comfortable, adjustable seat and toe clips. If the seat is too hard, find out if you can replace the seat with a cushioned model bought separately.
Treadmill
This machine enables you to walk or run indoors. Some models offer a flexible, less joint-jarring surface. Opt for a motorized treadmill. When purchasing one, look for a strong motor (the machine will last longer), a belt that’s long and wide enough for your stride, a sturdy frame with front side rails for safety, and an emergency stop device. You should be able to adjust the speed and grade so you can walk at a comfortable pace.
Strength equipment
By harnessing gravity, body weight, external weight, or tension as a resistance force, these devices help you build strength. As with cardio equipment, styles and prices range widely, from expensive professional equipment most often found in gyms and health clubs to affordable, portable home models.
If you’re just starting out, you can save a fortune by selecting a few basics — comfortable walking shoes plus hand weights or resistance bands or tubing — instead of investing a considerable sum of money in weight lifting machines.
Ankle weights
These are optional for strength exercises like the side leg raise and hip extension. Look for comfortably padded ankle cuffs with pockets designed to hold half-pound or 1-pound weight bars to add as you progress. Ankle weight sets are usually 5 to 10 pounds. A single cuff may suffice, depending on the exercises you intend to do.
Exercise mat
Choose a nonslip, well-padded mat for floor exercises. A thick carpet or towels will do in a pinch.
Hand weights
Depending on your current strength, start with sets of weights as low as 2 pounds and 5 pounds, or 5 pounds and 8 pounds. Add heavier weights as needed. Dumbbells with padded center bars and D-shaped weights are easy to hold. Weighted bands that strap onto wrists and kits that let you screw weights onto a central bar are available, too. Weights are a good place to save cash by checking sports resale stores.
Resistance bands and tubing
Resistance bands or tubing can be used for a full-body strength workout. Attractive features include low cost, light weight, portability, and ease of storage. As with weights, you can measure how challenging the resistance is by how many repetitions of an exercise you can do: if less than eight, resistance is too high; if more than 12, it is too low. Positioning your hands or feet closer together or farther apart on the band or tube before starting an exercise helps vary resistance. Try different positions to learn which make repetitions easier or harder.
Bands. These look like big, wide rubber bands. They come in several levels of resistance from very light to very heavy, designated by color.
Tubing. Look for tubing with padded handles on each end. These also come in several levels of resistance from very light to very heavy, designated by color. Some brands come with a door attachment helpful for anchoring tubing in place when doing certain strength exercises.

From Harvard Medical School, 1-31-12

11 Suggestions For Decreasing Prostate Symptoms

May 11, 2010

The prostate gland is walnut sized organ at the base of the bladder.  In order men the gland increases in size and causes symptoms such as going to the bathroom frequently, dribbling after urination, and getting up at night to urinate.  Here are a 11 suggestions that you might consider to relieve those symptoms.

1.  Don’t drink anything several hours before you go to sleep.

2.  Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea as the caffeine acts as a diuretic

3.  Limit your alcohol consumption especially at the dinner meal.

4.  Avoid spicy foods.

5.  Take medications such as your diuretics or water pills early in the day when going to the bathroom to urinate is not such an inconvenience.

6.  Avoid antihistamines and decongestants

7.  Don’t hold off going to the restroom

8.  Use the clock to help with urination. Make an effort to urinate every 3-4 hours.  Putting your bladder on a schedule is very helpful and a good habit to have.

9. Go and then go again. Stand at the toilet and empty your bladder, walk away from the toilet for a minute or two and then return and try emptying the bladder again.

10. Avoid cold seats such as at football games in the winter.

11. If you bike ride, especially for long distances, stand on the pedals every 10 or 15 minutes to take the pressure off of your prostate gland.

Bottom Line: These steps won’t cure the enlarged prostate but they will lessen the symptoms.  If your symptoms persist, consider a visit to your urologist

Living With Prostate Gland Enlargement-Lifestyle Changes

April 26, 2010

Prostate enlargement or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is a common, non-cancerous condition affecting nearly 14 million men over the age of 50.

The symptoms of prostate gland enlargement include decrease in the force and caliber of the urinary stream, frequency or urination, urgency, feeling of not emptying the bladder and nocturia or the need to get up at night to urinate.

Although lifestyle changes will not cure the problem, they can alleviate some of the symptoms.

Making some lifestyle changes can often help control the symptoms of an enlarged prostate and prevent your condition from worsening. Try these measures:

Remember what goes in must come out.  Therefore don’t drink anything several hours before you go to sleep.  Especially avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee (also causes insomnia) and tea as the caffeine acts as a diuretic and causes increased urine output that may result in getting up at night to empty your bladder,

Limit your alcohol consumption especially at the dinner meal.  Again alcohol acts as a diuretic causing increased production of urine causing your bladder to fill up sooner than you would like.

Avoid spicy foods.  These appear to irritate the bladder and can result in urinary frequency and nighttime voiding.

Check your medications.  Some medications like lasix and hydrochlorothiazide are diuretics and increase urine production.  I suggest you take those medications early in the day when going to the bathroom to urinate is not such an inconvenience.  You may also speak with your doctor about lowering the dosage of the diuretic especially the evening dose if you are bothered by nighttime urination.

Avoid antihistamines and decongestants as these cause the bladder to decrease the force of contraction and results in the bladder not to empty as well.  If you have to take anti-histamines, use them earlier in the day.

Don’t hold off going to the restroom.  This habit distends the bladder and can result in a weaker muscle to expel the urine from the bladder.

Use the clock to help with urination.  If you find that you are going to the bathroom infrequently and then more at night, make an effort to urinate every 3-4 hours.  Putting your bladder on a schedule is very helpful and a good habit to have.

Go and then go again.  Double voiding is a technique to ensure adequate emptying of the bladder.  If you stand at the toilet and empty your bladder, walk away from the toilet for a minute or two and then return and try emptying the bladder again.  This helps to expel more urine from your bladder than just standing there one time and voiding.

Avoid cold seats such as at football games in the winter.  The cold temperature seems to cause the muscles around the prostate gland to contract and makes urination difficult.  Instead take a blanket or a cushion. Your prostate gland will be glad that you did.

If you bike ride, especially for long distances, stand on the pedals every 10 or 15 minutes to take the pressure off of your prostate gland.  Also consider using a seat that has a groove down the middle which alleviates the pressure on your prostate gland.

Bottom Line: These steps won’t cure the enlarged prostate but they will lessen the symptoms.  If they don’t help, see your doctor for medication one of the treatments that reduces the obstruction of your prostate gland.

Attention Bicycle Riders-Your Seat May Be Affecting Your Sex Life

April 25, 2010

A middle age bike rider, who was perfectly potent, noted that his penis went numb at the end of a two-day, 200 mile charity ride.  The numbness continued for nearly six months and was accompanied by the inability to achieve an erection adequate for sexual intimacy or impotence.  After a work-up revealed arterial damage at the base of the shaft of the penis, his potency returned after treatments that increased the blood supply to his penis.

To understand the relationship between bicycle seats and impotence, you need to know a few things about male anatomy. The penis is a hydraulic system. During sexual stimulation, its twin chambers fill with blood until it’s firm and erect. After stimulation ends or there’s ejaculation, the blood leaves and the penis softens again. The trigger for this increased blood flow is nerve impulses that originate in the brain and race down the spinal cord to the penis.

When you’re riding a bicycle, your weight is being focused on the perineum, the area between the rectum and the scrotum, and that’s where the arteries and nerves that feed the penis are located. Since the arteries are essentially unprotected, they’re prone to damage from constant  pressure from the bike seat.   When a man sits on a bicycle seat he’s putting his entire body weight on the artery that supplies the penis.

There are a number of things you can do to protect your potency:

• Penile numbness and excessive genital shrinkage are warning signs that there may be too much pressure on your perineum. The nerves in the perineum are being pinched, which means the artery that feeds the penis is also being compressed.

• Make the following changes in your riding style and/or your positioning on the bike: 1) Make sure your saddle is level, or point the nose a few degrees downward. 2) Check to see that your legs are not fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Your knees should be slightly bent to support more of your weight. 3) Stand up every 10 minutes or so to encourage blood flow.

• There are a multitude of anatomic racing saddles on the market, ranging from ones with a flexible nose to models with a hole in the middle. You may want to experiment with a wider, more heavily padded brand or a “double bun seat” that places the weight on the bones and off of the perineum.

• Heavier riders may be more at risk of arterial compression damage because of the greater weight that’s placed on the perineum. If you’re in this category, you should consider a wider saddle with extra padding.

• When riding a stationary bike, the tendency is to stay seated and grind against big gears for long periods. Get off of the seat as frequently as you would on your regular bike and be certain that it’s set up the same in regards to riding position.

•  Get off of the seat when riding over rough or irregular terrain. Use your legs as shock absorbers.

Most men are not aware of the relationship between their bike and their erections. My final advice for good health is that men shouldn’t necessarily ride farther but ride a lot smarter.

Attention Bicycle Riders-Your Seat May Be Affecting Your Sex Life

February 22, 2010

A middle age bike rider, who was perfectly potent, noted that his penis went numb at the end of a two-day, 200 mile charity ride.  The numbness continued for nearly six months and was accompanied by the inability to achieve an erection adequate for sexual intimacy or impotence.  After a work-up revealed arterial damage at the base of the shaft of the penis, his potency returned after treatments that increased the blood supply to his penis.

When you’re riding a bicycle, your weight is being focused on the perineum, the area between the rectum and the scrotum, and that’s where the arteries and nerves that feed the penis are located. Since the arteries are essentially unprotected, they’re prone to damage from constant  pressure from the bike seat.   When a man sits on a bicycle seat he’s putting his entire body weight on the artery that supplies the penis.

There are a number of things you can do to protect your potency:

• Penile numbness and excessive genital shrinkage are warning signs that there may be too much pressure on your perineum. The nerves in the perineum are being pinched, which means the artery that feeds the penis is also being compressed.

• Make the following changes in your riding style and/or your positioning on the bike: 1) Make sure your saddle is level, or point the nose a few degrees downward. 2) Check to see that your legs are not fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Your knees should be slightly bent to support more of your weight. 3) Stand up every 10 minutes or so to encourage blood flow.

• There are a multitude of anatomic racing saddles on the market, ranging from ones with a flexible nose to models with a hole in the middle. You may want to experiment with a wider, more heavily padded brand or a “double bun seat” that places the weight on the bones and off of the perineum.

• Heavier riders may be more at risk of arterial compression damage because of the greater weight that’s placed on the perineum. If you’re in this category, you should consider a wider saddle with extra padding.

• When riding a stationary bike, the tendency is to stay seated and grind against big gears for long periods. Get off of the seat as frequently as you would on your regular bike and be certain that it’s set up the same in regards to riding position.

•  Get off of the seat when riding over rough or irregular terrain. Use your legs as shock absorbers.

Most men are not aware of the relationship between their bike and their erections. My final advice for good health is that men shouldn’t necessarily ride farther but ride a lot smarter.

Dr. Neil Baum is a urologist in private practice in New Orleans and can be reached at 866 4825.


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