Archive for April, 2011

Stretching Before Running – Forget What You’ve Been Taught

April 28, 2011

The Particulars: More than 70 million people throughout the world run recreationally or competitively. Recently, there has been controversy about whether or not frequent runners should stretch before running or not at all.
Data Breakdown: Of 2,729 runners who run 10 or more miles per week and participated in a study, 1,366 were randomized to a stretch group, while 1,363 were randomized to a non-stretch group prior to running. Runners in the stretch group stretched their quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius/soleus muscle groups. Stretching before running neither prevented nor caused injury. The most significant risk factors for injury included a history of chronic injury or having suffered an injury in the past 4 months, higher BMI, and switching pre-run stretching routines. The risk for injury was the same for men and women, regardless of whether or not they were high- or low-mileage runners, and across all age groups.
Bottom Line: Stretching before running does not appear to prevent or cause injury in people who run 10 or more miles per week.

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When Things Aren’t Right “Down There”-When Women Should Call Their Doctor*

April 21, 2011

For most women, a couple of irregular menstrual cycles or an occasional yeast infection are just a part of life — nothing that time or simple treatment won’t cure.  However, there are a few symptoms that warrant a call to the doctor.  This article will cover when you should call your doctor for problems “down there”?
1. Pelvic Pain
Pain at the time of ovulation, is referred to as Mittelschmerz.  However, if you have pelvic pain that persists or doesn’t ease with simple home treatment, call your doctor.
When a woman has chronic pelvic pain, doctors will check for benign uterine fibroids and endometriosis. They will also look for pelvic inflammatory disease, which usually appears as a triad of pelvic pain, vaginal discharge, and fever.
In addition, abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding may signal an ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus.  This is a medical emergency and you need to visit an emergency room if you can’t reach your doctor.
Ovarian cancer is another condition that can cause pelvic pain.  The symptoms of bloating, pelvic pressure and frequency of urination for more than two weeks is a potential sign that you should be checked for a possible ovarian cancer.
2. Irregular Bleeding
If you’re not on any kind of birth control and you have irregular bleeding that lasts for more than a month or two, you should always be checked.  Irregular bleeding includes: periods that last longer than normal, bleeding mid-month, having two periods per month, bleeding after sex, and other unusual patterns.  Abnormal bleeding may stem from multiple causes that aren’t serious, among them, perimenopause or uterine fibroids or polyps.
If you bleed every time after sex, that may indicate that the cervix is being easily irritated especially if there’s some infection of the cervix.  Sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, can cause cervical lesions that bleed with sex.
If you’re postmenopausal, be especially vigilant about any vaginal bleeding; it’s a potential sign of uterine cancer. Uterine cancer, compared to ovarian cancer, is extremely treatable. It’s very curable because it’s generally found in an early stage and it has an early warning sign, which is postmenopausal bleeding.
3. Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
Abnormal symptoms include a strong odor; an unusually large amount of discharge; accompanying itching, burning, or irritation; unusual color; or blood in the discharge.
4. Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness in postmenopausal women or vaginal atrophy can cause spotting after intercourse. Because older women have less estrogen, their vaginal tissue thins or atrophies and becomes dry and irritated.  Not only does vaginal dryness make sex painful, but vaginal thinning also leaves women more susceptible to infections and can contribute to urinary incontinence.
Most women can find relief with estrogen creams, rings, or tablets that are applied or inserted directly into the vagina.
5. Sores or Lumps
Sores in the genital area may point to herpes, a sexually transmitted disease, or cancer. Symptoms of cancer of the vulva include unusual lumps, wart-like bumps, or red, flat sores that don’t heal. Sometimes, the flat sores turn scaly or discolored.
Bottom Line: Most problems “down there” are innocuous but you should know when to call your doctor.  These are the five most common symptoms that need your attention and that of your doctor. 

*Modified from WebMD, 4-20-11

Acupuncture Treatment For Premature Ejaculation

April 19, 2011

Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common condition affections millions of American men.  Treatments include the time-honored squeeze technique described by Master’s and Johnson, topical medication applied to the penis to reduce the sensation, and oral medication including the SSRIs to increase the intra-vaginal latency time or time before ejaculation occurs.  The use of acupuncture increased the time before ejaculation from 16 seconds to 65 seconds compared to an increase of 33 seconds with the use of a placebo.

Bottom Line: Acupuncture may just be another arrow in the doctor’s quiver for the treatment of PE.

Couch Potato? You Are Going To Die Sooner From Prostate Cancer

April 19, 2011

Engaging in vigorous activities such as biking, tennis, jogging, or swimming for at least three hours per week may substantially improve prostate cancer survival.  A recent report from The Journal of Clinical Oncology which studied 2700 in men with prostate cancer.  Both vigorous and nonvigorous activities were associated with significantly lower overall death from all causes.  For example, men who walked 90 minutes or more per week had a nearly 50% lower risk of dying compared to men who walked for less time or less distance.  The study also pointed out that men who exercised at least three hours per week had a 60% reduction of death from prostate cancer than men who spent less than one hour per week in vigorous activity.

Bottom Line:  Get off of that couch and start exercising.  Your prostate gland will thank you!

Want To Live Longer With Prostate Cancer? Take Two Aspirin And Call Me In The Morning

April 12, 2011

Aspirin was linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer death as reported by Dr. Kevin Choe from University of Texas Southwestern School Of Medicine.  The study reported 5295 men with prostate cancer treated with either radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy.  The average follow up was 5 years.  They found that death attributable to prostate cancer were significantly reduced in the aspirin-taking group of men compared to the group who did not take aspirin.  The most significant reduction in death from prostate cancer was noted in men with high-risk disease, i.e., those with the highest PSA levels before treatment or the highest grade of malignancy noted on the pathology report.  The findings showed that only 2% of the high-risk patients who took aspirin died from prostate cancer compared to 8% of the men who did not take aspirin.

At 10 years the difference was even more striking: 4% mortality in the aspirin group compared to 22% in men who did not take aspirin.

Dr. Choe did not discuss how aspirin improved survival but the risk of taking aspirin is so minimal that there is very little downside to taking aspirin if you have prostate cancer.

Bottom Line:  Aspirin is an amazing drug that has a multitude of uses and many undiscovered applications.  Perhaps one of those is in the treatment of prostate cancer.

 

Not Having Sex Can Be Hazardous To Your Health and Your Heart-I’m Not Kidding

April 10, 2011

Sex and exercise are highly recommended if you want to be healthy.  Not having sex or being a couch potato can be fatal.  Researches at Tufts Medical Center in Boston reviewed the medical records of patients with sudden cardiac death.  They found that those who engaged in unaccustomed strenuous activity, i.e., sex, more than doubled the risk of a fatal heart attack!  The study noted that every additional instance of physical activity, i.e., sex again, reduced the risk of a fatal heart attack by nearly 50%.

Bottom Line: If you aren’t having regular sex, you need to embrace this wonderful healthy activity “very gradually and very carefully.  So if mama has a headache, tell her to get with the program because and that Dr. Baum said it is good for your health and your heart.

 

Lasers For the Prostate Gland-Makes An Old Man Pee Like A Young Boy

April 5, 2011

Meg Farris, the health and science reporter at WWL, did a nice segment on the use of lasers for treating the enlarged prostate gland.  For more information go to:

http://bit.ly/f2wYjR

Social Media, i.e., Facebook May Be Hazardous To Your (Children’s) Health

April 3, 2011

I had plenty of giggles on my face when I heard about the unique features and opportunities of social media.  For example, if you are Catholic, you can go to an iPhone app, Confessions: A Roman Catholic App, and make contrition for your sins 24\7.  Another article reported that there were social media users who made the ultimate sacrifice: giving up Facebook for Lent!  Now there is evidence, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics who warn that Facebook can make “troubled tweens and teens feel more alone and inadequate” and be a contributor to depression.  (http://bit.ly/icYVHV)  They have even given a name to this condition, Facebook Depression!  (http://bit.ly/fYxmEK)

So what is a parent to do?  First, there’s probably no way to make your child abolish their participation of Facebook.  You can, however, have a discussion with your children about being honest and realistic about their posts on Facebook and other social media sites.   And finally, when parents can see examples of “cyberbullying”, they can bring this to the attention of their children and school officials and let them know that you think online bullying is the same as true school bullying. Now that we see bullying for what it is, it’s much harder to pretend it’s not a problem.  Bottom line: Don’t be depressed about social media.  It’s here to stay and the sooner that parents obtain a greater understanding of this method of interaction, the better they will be able to communicate with their children.

 

Lighting Up A Cigarette Can Put The Fire Out of Your Sex Life

April 2, 2011

Smokers will often report that the zing has gone of his thing.  The desire goes out the window and so do the firmness of the erections.  By stopping smoking and beginning an exercise program, you can turn back the clock….the sex clock!

Being able to dump the cigarettes is a real accomplishment — especially when you consider how smoking can become intertwined with the intimacy of a relationship. Researchers at the University of Arizona began to study couples where at least one member of the relationship smoked.

Smoking has a direct, negative effect on the sexuality of a man on every level,” says Panayiotis M. Zavos, PhD, director of the Andrology Institute of America and professor of reproductive physiology and andrology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

From their work with couples being treated for infertility, Zavos and his fellow researchers have found that men’s smoking had a significant and negative effect on the ability to conceive. But they also turned up a surprise: Smoking significantly diminished a man’s sexual desire and satisfaction — even for young men in their 20s and 30s.

The smokers reported having sex less than six times a month, whereas the nonsmoking men were having sex nearly twice as often. This difference is especially significant considering that these couples were actively trying to conceive.

Smoking and sex drive

When diminished desire is combined with impaired performance, overall satisfaction is likely to suffer. When asked to rate their satisfaction with the sex they were having on a scale of 1 to 10, nonsmoking couples averaged 8.7, while couples with male smokers fared far worse with an average of only 5.2. Professor Zavos states, “that nearly any man’s sexual satisfaction and frequency [of having sex] would increase if he stopped smoking.”

Other experts agree that smoking can impair sexual performance. Smoking causes damage to smooth muscle inside the penis that interferes with erectile functioning, says Richard Milsten, MD, co-author of The Sexual Male and a urologist for more than 30 years in Woodbury, N.J.

Bottom Line: If your sex life has gone into the tank and you are a smoker, you might try a treatment that will not only jump start your sex life, but will add life to your years.

Excerpted from WebMD: http://men.webmd.com/features/want-better-sex

Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD

 

Split Hairs, Not Pills-Splitting Pills Is Inaccurate and Potentially Dangerous

April 1, 2011

All physicians have had discussions with patients about splitting their medications.  Pills are usually split to decrease the cost of medications by 50%, or because of adverse effects, or because the patient has difficulty swallowing the pill.  A study published in the January issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing (JAN) reports that nearly a third of pills that are split deviated from recommended dosages by 15%. Split tablets are often of unequal sizes and a substantial amount of the medication can be lost during the splitting process.  This variation is of particular clinical importance for heart medications, anti-coagulants, anti-depressants, and antibiotics.  Patients will split medications with scissors, table knives, or with a device specially designed for splitting pills and tablets.  The most accurate method of splitting tablets was found to be with the use of the splitting device which is available in nearly every pharmacy.  (

So what should we recommend to our patients?  If patients are going to split medications, they should first tell their doctor so this can be recorded in the chart. Second, they should a splitting device as this is the most accurate.  Finally, if it is is a problem with ingesting the medication, then suggest a liquid formulation.