UTIs-Natural Solutions For Prevention

September 6, 2016

UTIs affect millions of men and women impacting their quality of life and may even affect their kidneys. Fortunately, most of these infections are uncomfortable with symptoms of burning on urination, frequency of urination, and back and pelvic pain. This article will discuss the usefulness of cranberry juice which may serve as an effective treatment to prevent recurrent UTIs.

A recent study reported in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aug. 2015 showed that cranberry pills (two capsules twice daily, equivalent to two 8-ounce servings of cranberry juice daily) cut the rate of UTIs in half.

Also there is supplement, D-mannose, can also help to reduce recurrent UTIs. Another study found good results from a combination of cranberry and d-mannose.

D-mannose is filtered through your kidneys and concentrated in your bladder and coats the bacteria causing the infections and renders them unable to stay in your urinary tract.

More than 90 percent of all UTIs are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is normally found in your intestinal tract. Problems only arise when this ordinary bacterium is present in high numbers in places where it shouldn’t be—like your urinary system.

Although antibiotics are an effective means of eradicating bacteria within the urinary tract, antibiotics need to be used with caution. Antibiotics are not selective and they kill the pathogenic bacteria in the urinary tract but also kill the good bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics and with the removal of bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract there is a risk of other infections such as vaginal infections, fungal infections and side effects like diarrhea.

Bottom Line: UTIs are so very common and affect millions of American men and women. Cranberry juice and D-mannose may be a solution to preventing recurrent infections. If you have any questions about recurrent UTIs, speak to your physician.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Women

September 4, 2016

Perhaps one of the most common infections in all women and young girls are UTIs.  Nearly 50% of all women will experience a UTI during their lifetime.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in the U.S. In fact, UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body and are the reason for more than 8 million visits to the doctor each year. About 50% of all women will develop at UTI during their lifetime.

Most UTIs involve the bladder (cystitis) are not serious, but some can lead to serious problems like kidney infections. The most common care or treatment for a UTI is antibiotics. Signs of a UTI involve pain or burning when you pass urine, urine that looks cloudy or smells bad, pressure in your lower abdomen, and an urge to go to the bathroom often. You can get a UTI at any age, but there are peak times in life when they are more common.

Many women report UTIs following sexual activity. Another peak time for UTIs in women is after menopause. This is because of lower vaginal estrogen levels. Lower estrogen levels make it easier for bacteria to grow. A woman’s urethra or the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body is very short, about two inches in length compared to man’s urethra which is 8-10 inches long. This short length makes it easy for bacteria to enter a woman’s bladder. The opening of a woman’s urethra is near the rectum and vagina which happen to be two common places where bacteria dwell.

Prevention of UTIs in women may be as simple as instructing women to wipe from front to back following urination and bowel movements. This helps cut the chance of spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra.

For women who notice more UTIs after sexual activity, I will often recommend that women take a low dose antibiotic shortly before or right after sexual activity.

Bottom Line: UTIs are common in women.  Most of these infections are not serious and can be treated with a short course of antibiotics.  For women with chronic or repeated infections, low dose antibiotics may be helpful.

Erectile Dysfunction and the Other “Bones” That Are Important

September 4, 2016

I would like men to think of erectile dysfunction as a harbinger of other chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and also bone disease or osteoporosis.

A recent study from Taiwan 4,460 men aged 40 years and older diagnosed with erectile dysfunction from 1996 to 2010 with 17,480 randomly selected age-matched patients without ED.  The research found that osteoporosis developed in nearly 6% with ED and 3.65% in men without ED.  Men who had ED had a 3 times more likelihood of developing osteoporosis when compared with men who did not have ED.

Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disease in which the bones become brittle and porous escalating the rate of bone loss and increasing the chance of a fracture of the hips and spine.

The researchers think that the men with ED had a lower level of testosterone which is necessary for bone strength and development.  Another explanation offered by the authors is that chronic, low grade inflammation can damage the lining of the blood vessels and perhaps lead to a decrease in the blood supply to the penis which is necessary for an erection to occur.  The same inflammation can also cause the bones to fail in calcium rebuilding of bone and thus lead to osteoporosis.

Finally, there is the theory that there is alternation of the vitamin D with decreased levels in men with ED.  With less vitamin D there is a risk of alternations in the lining of the blood vessels especially those that supply the penis and lead to ED.  Decrease in vitamin D also alters bone metabolism and may result in osteoporosis.

Bottom Line: Men with ED should be check for the co-morbid conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, hormone deficiency and also have tests to be certain that men do not have osteoporosis.

Statins, Cholesterol and Erectile Dysfunction

September 4, 2016

Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of cholesterol in the blood.  Having a high level of cholesterol is potentially dangerous, as it can lead to a hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) such as coronary heart disease, chest pain, heart attacks,  strokes, and even erectile dysfunction\impotence.  Cholesterol that narrows the blood vessels can decrease the blood flow to the penis thus making it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection adequate for sexual intimacy.

Before taking statins, every man or woman should give strong consideration to lifestyle changes such as losing weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol consumption, and consider smoking cessation.  All of these actions can decrease the cholesterol levels.  All of these lifestyle changes can also improve sexual function.

Bottom Line:  Elevated cholesterol levels are deleterious to your health.  Consider lifestyle changes before starting statins.  Your erections and your partner will thank you!

Oh My Gosh, No More Hand Wash

September 3, 2016

Recently the FDA has demanded that certain hand washing products used in antibacterial soaps be removed from the store shelves in drug stores and food stores.  The FDA has shown that manufacturers failed to show they are safe and kill germs and that some of the hand washing products provide no benefits over regular soap.

The FDA has mandated that products containing triclosan and triclocarban must be removed from stores within a year which are present in 40% of the soaps on the market.

I might point out that hand sanitizers and wipes designed to be used without water and containing more than 50% alcohol are not affected by the new rules.

Numerous studies have shown that simple hand washing with plain soap and water is the most effective way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

It is important not to panic about the FDA ruling as the rule is intended for products that require use with water, and does not include hand sanitizers or wipes.

Bottom Line:  Handwashing before eating and after going to restroom is highly recommended as an effective means of reducing infections and transmission of disease.  Washing with plain soap and running water remains one of the most important steps consumers can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading germs to others. If you choose to use a hand sanitizer instead, then I suggest using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.  So wash up!

Adding Spice To Your Sex Life- Cinnamon and Testosterone

July 9, 2016

 

It is normal for a man’s sex drive or libido to decline as he ages. The reason? The male hormone, testosterone, which is responsible for the libido starts to decline about 2-3% a year after age 30. This article will discuss a non-medical solution, cinnamon, that may have an impact on a man’s sex drive or libido.

Animal studies have demonstrated that cinnamon can reduce high blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity and also the testosterone boosting and testicular health. Therefore, it’s very much possible that cinnamon can be used to increase testosterone levels in humans.

 Cinnamon is a spice that you may only associate with baking and desserts, but there are plenty of cinnamon benefits that make it a great spice to use everyday and as a dietary supplement.

When using cinnamon as a supplement be sure to use organic cinnamon and not the conventional variety you typically find in the spice aisle at the grocery store. Just like with vegetables, conventional spices can contain the same herbicides and pesticides when they are conventionally manufactured.

Benefits of cinnamon:

Improves Metabolism

Cinnamon often makes it onto the list of foods that you should be eating if you are trying to lose weight. Cinnamon has the ability to rev up the metabolism, which can help you lose weight more effectively.

By the way, daily exercise is also a natural way to get your metabolism going.

 
 

Reduces Cholesterol

Cinnamon has been shown to help lower the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body, often referred to as the bad cholesterol. This makes it a fantastic all-natural remedy for high cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol over long periods of time can lead to more serious heart problems such as stroke and heart attack.

Reduces Blood Sugar Levels

Cinnamon has been shown to help keep blood sugar levels where they should be, and is often recommended to diabetics to help naturally regulate blood glucose levels. You can use cinnamon even if you are not diabetic as a way to keep your blood sugar within healthy guidelines.

Antibacterial Properties

Cinnamon acts as an antibacterial agent in the body, and with that because of that it is very helpful in treating a myriad of problems. This is why it is often recommended for an upset stomach, because it can help clear harmful bacteria from the digestive system.

Cancer Fighter

Cinnamon has been shown to be effective cancer fighting foods, and there are many reasons for this, but the chief among them is cinnamon’s antibacterial property.

More studies are needed before cinnamon can fully be given the green light and regarded as a cancer-fighting agent.

Heart Disease Prevention

Because of cinnamon’s ability to lower cholesterol levels and improve blood circulation throughout the body, it can be used to help prevent heart disease.

Anti-Inflammatory

The anti-inflammatory nature of cinnamon means that you can use it to help with a number of conditions caused by inflammation.

Helps Balance Hormones

Cinnamon can help balance hormones in women, making it a great all-natural remedy to try before turning to medication like estrogen replacement therapy. Cinnamon acts to lower the amount of testosterone produced by women, while increasing the amount of progesterone.

Helps Brain Function

The aroma of cinnamon has long been thought of as being a brain booster, and modern science is backing that up. Reason enough to start opt for cinnamon scented candles, or cinnamon essential oils for aromatherapy.  Cinnamon can help your brain work better and keep you more alert, just by smelling it.  Rather than use energy drinks or other artificial ways to make yourself zeroed in, you can use the scent of cinnamon to give you that extra mental edge needed during a typical workday.

Clears the Digestive Tract

Cinnamon can help clear out your digestive tract, which will help your body absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat more easily. This also means you’ll have fewer stomach problems including indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation.

Increases Circulation

Cinnamon has a warming effect on the body, and can help improve blood flow throughout. There are plenty of diseases and conditions, like sexual functioning, that are caused by poor circulation, so taking steps to improve that circulation can be very beneficial indeed. Improved blood flow in the body can help improve the sex drives of both men and women, as it helps blood flow to the reproductive organs. For men this means stronger erections and for women it means increased sensitivity of the clitoris and labia.

Improves Your Mood

You can use cinnamon as a sort of aromatherapy to help improve your mood. That’s because for this benefit of cinnamon you simply need to smell it. The aroma of cinnamon acts to shift you to a better mood.

Many things can occur throughout the day to put us in an off mood, so it’s important to have a collection of steps you can take to try and shake you out of a funk and get you back to feeling good.

Alzheimer’s Prevention

One of the more surprising cinnamon benefits is its ability to help prevent Alzheimer’s. Research is promising in regards to cinnamon’s effect on the brain, enough so that it would be smart to start taking it as a supplement if you feel you are at risk for Alzheimer’s.

Bottom Line: Most men and women today want to maintain and restore their ability to be sexually intimate with their partner. Yes, there are pills and medications that can be effective. However, there are natural options, like cinnamon, that are available to nearly everyone and at low or minimal cost that may improve their ability to be sexually active. Also there are numerous other benefits of cinnamon that make it a worthwhile option. It’s hard to think of a spice like cinnamon as being anything more than a flavoring agent, but which is currently being studied for its beneficial effects including sexual intimacy and performance.

Tomatoes and Not Potatoes May Help Prevent Prostate Cancer

July 8, 2016

For many years I have been focused on nutrition and various urologic diseases, especially prostate cancer.  Although the relationship between prostate cancer and diet is certainly a consideration, the use of tomatoes may be one of the strongest preventive options a man can take to avoid prostate cancer.

There are many health advantages of eating more tomatoes, which includes a lower risk of prostate cancer and other cancers as well. While the good news is Americans eat more tomatoes and tomato products than any other non-starchy vegetable, about 90% of adult men fail to consume the 2.5 cups of vegetables per day recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Tomatoes contain a high antioxidant content, specifically lycopene. Lycopene has been the subject of many research studies regarding its protective effect against prostate cancer.

In men with prostate cancer, lycopene supplementation has been shown to be safe and tolerated well in doses up to 120 mg per day for up to one year. Toxicity is generally very mild, with diarrhea as a possible side effect at very high doses.

There appears to be a protective effect of tomatoes and tomato products on the prevention of prostate cancer as well as improvements in biomarkers of disease status, including the PSA levels.

A unique characteristic of tomatoes is that unlike the nutrients in other fresh fruits and vegetables, lycopene is more bioavailable after tomatoes are cooked and processed. This fact opens up even more possibilities for individuals to enjoy the benefits of lycopene.

According to the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, ½ cup of tomato paste contains 18.84 mg of lycopene, while an equal amount of tomato sauce has 17.12 mg, spaghetti sauce has 15.82 mg, and tomato juice has 10.88 mg of lycopene.  One-half cup of raw tomatoes, however, contains only 2.32 mg of lycopene. Non-tomato products that contain lycopene include watermelon (1/2 cup has 3.44 mg) and grapefruit (1/2 fruit contains 1.75 mg).

More recent hypotheses have looked at the advantages of whole tomatoes, which are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium, and identified other protective elements beyond lycopene. Vitamins A and C are potent antioxidants, while fiber has been shown to reduce cholesterol, and potassium is helpful in lowering blood pressure and possibly reducing bone loss.

Experts in nutrition and cancer note that the preponderance of evidence suggests that consumption of whole tomatoes and tomato products should be preferentially recommended because of greater consistency of documented positive outcomes with the whole tomato and the concomitant supply of other important essential nutrients.

Given that tomatoes and tomato products are already dietary favorites, increasing their consumption can achieve several goals, including reduction in the risk of prostate cancer and other diseases, and helping Americans achieve the recommended daily intake of 2.5 cups of vegetables.

Bottom Line: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer (besides skin cancer) in men and the second most cause of death in men following lung cancer.  Men can be easily diagnosed with a PSA test and a digital rectal exam.  Man can also decrease their risk of prostate cancer by consuming lycopene, an antioxidant, which is plentiful in tomatoes.

Smelling Prostate Cancer

February 19, 2016

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in older men with nearly one quarter of a million new cases discovered each year.  It is the second most cause of death in men with over 25,000 deaths each year.  Now there is a new diagnostic device that can detect prostate cancer in men’s urine.

A new device, Odoreader, was developed in the UK which can be helpful in disgnosing prostate cancer by identifying the unique odor in the urine of men with prostate cancer.

The researchers looked at a total of 155 men of which 58 had been diagnosed with prostate cancer by evaluating their urine with the Odoreader. The researchers found that Odoreader was able to successfully identify patterns of volatile compounds from urine samples, and detect those that indicate cancer.

Unfortunately at the present time there is no accurate test for prostate cancer. The standard used to day is the PSA blood test. The PSA test is not specific for prostate cancer and may also detect other prostate conditions such as benign enlargement of the prostate as well as prostate infections. The PSA test indicators can sometimes result in unnecessary biopsies, resulting in psychological toll, risk of infection from the procedure and even sometimes missing cancer cases. This new testing procedure can detect cancer in a non-invasive way by smelling the disease in men’s urine.

The Odoreader could pave the pathway for a new detection technique of prostate cancer, making invasive diagnostic procedures like a prostate biopsy less necessary and potentially saving the lives of many men who fight the disease.

Bottom Line: Prostate cancer is a prevalent medical problem affecting thousands of American men.  Now there is a new technique for the diagnosis of this disease which is non-invasive, accurate, and will help men avoid unnecessary diagnostic studies and perhaps unnecessary surgery.

Vaginal Wind Is Not Like Having Wind In Your Sails!

February 19, 2016

It is not uncommon for women to ask me about passing gas from their vaginas.  This situation goes by many names: vaginal farts, vaginal flatus, fanny farts, vaginal wind just to name a few.  The technical term is referred to as queefing.

What causes vaginal wind?

During sexual intimacy air is pushed into the vagina. Air enters the vagina not only during sex but also at the time of a speculum inserted into the vagina during a pelvic exam or with the insertion of a tampon. Air can also be pulled into the vagina during some kinds of exercise including Pilates.

If you push air in, it has to come out. And, as it escapes, it makes that characteristic sound of air coming out any small orifice such as the rectum. The difference is that vaginal wind does not have any odor like flatulence from the rectum which has an odor because of the methane gas in the colon.  Sometimes vaginal wind can happen right after the air’s been pushed in, sometimes it can be a while later when things like laughing, coughing or walking force the air out. 

Solving the problem

If you want to reduce vaginal wind during sex, avoid lots of deep and fast penetration. If you’re using sex toys with a wide girth you may want to avoid these if they’re making noise after they are inserted.

When to seek doctor’s advice

Fanny farts are very normal and not a sign there’s something wrong. However, seek medical advice if you have vaginal or abdominal pain during and after sex, notice your vagina smells bad, or there’s an unusual vaginal discharge. Particularly if you’ve recently had colorectal, bowel or gynaecological surgery, or have had a baby.

You also need a medical opinion if you’re leaking urine outside of urination, or notice fecal material inside your vagina as this might indicate a connection between the urinary tract and the gastrointestinal tract.

Bottom Line:  Vaginal wind is almost never a condition requiring treatment or therapy.  Yes, it may be a source of embarrassment but should be considered in a light hearted fashion and a source of humor not a hygienic problem.

Good News About Red Wine and Prevention of Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

February 19, 2016

 

ED affects millions of American men.  Most of the men have ED from vascular causes such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or side effects of medications.

Men who consume red wine and blueberries and take regular exercise can cut their risk of developing erectile dysfunction by over a fifth.  My cardiologist, Dr. Frank Wilkow, informed me that two glasses of red wine a day was good for my heart and my erections.  (He also told my wife that one glass of red wine was good for her heart as well!)

Scientists have identified that foods rich in certain flavonoids cut the risk of men experiencing the sexual problem which affects up to half of all middle-aged and older men.

The foods with the greatest benefits include blueberries, cherries, blackberries, radishes and blackcurrant, which contain anthocyanins; as well as citrus fruits, which are packed with flavanones and flavones.

The study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that men who regularly consumed food high in flavonoids were 10% less likely to suffer from ED.

Bottom Line: Men who consume a diet rich in flavonoids plus participate in regular exercise and maintain their body weight are the best way to preserve sexual health as well as a reduction in cardiovascular risk factors.  And another benefit is that men who consume the healthy diet also have a reduction in risk of diabetes.