Archive for September, 2012

Getting It On and Having More Fun and Enjoyment In the Bedroom

September 29, 2012

Sex and intimacy is something not to be taken for granted. A wholesome sex life requires work and attention like a healthy diet, exercise, and a positve mental attidude.
In order to have a maximum enjoyment from sexual intimacy with your partner, I suggest you consider the following:

Avoid excessive alcohol. Drinking too much blunts sexual responsiveness. Shakespeare said it so well, “Alcohol may increase the desire, but decrease the performance.” Want to be powerful in the sack, deep six the sauce!

Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking restricts blood flow throughout your body and especially to a women’s pelvis and a man’s penis. Less blood reaches your sexual organs, which means you could experience decreased sexual arousal and orgasmic response. If you are looking for a reason to part with puffers, your sex life could be the ultimate motivator.

Be physically active. Regular aerobic exercise increases your stamina, improves your body image and elevates your mood. This can help you feel more romantic, more often. Get your heart rate up and get your erections and orgasms up as well

Make time for leisure and relaxation. Learn ways to decrease stress, and allow yourself to relax amid the stresses of your daily life. Being relaxed can enhance your ability to focus on your sexual experiences and may help you attain more satisfying arousal and orgasm.

Bottom Line: Sex and intimacy are not necessary natural and forever. Sex takes time, patience, and a healthy life style. So be healthy, be active and, yes, be sexy!

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You Are Getting Sleepy, Very Sleepy-Rethinking Sleep

September 29, 2012

It is drilled into our psyche that we must have eight hours of sleep every night in order to be healthy. It has been wired into our DNA that 8 hours of sleep are necessary to allow our body to rest, heal, and to be mentally alert the next day. But do we really need 8 hours of sleep? Let’s look at the rest of the worl. Millions of Chinese workers will out their heads on their desk for a nap of an hour after lunch. Daytime napping is come from India to Spain, which is referred to as a siesta.

Research studies show it is common to wake up a little after midnight, lie awake for up to an hour or two, and then drift back to sleep again. It is thought that this segmented sleep or split sleep schedule, may be the most natural or normal way for us to sleep. Often the subjects of the research reported the split sleep schedule gave them a chance for deep thinking such as self-reflection, getting on jump on the next day or even amorous activity.

People who believe they need more sleep and believe that interrupted sleep is a problem and develop sleep anxiety and will often seek sleeping pills or sleep aids from their doctors. If we lie in bed thinking about the sleep we are not getting, we lose the chances of enjoying a peaceful night’s rest.

Other studies have demonstrated that any deep sleep-whether at night or in 30 minute afternoon nap-primes our brains to function at a higher level, letting you awaken with better ideas, find solutions to life’s problems more quickly, and recall information more accurately. Thomas Edison, perhaps one of the brightest minds of the 20th Century was famous for his afternoon naps.

Sleep researchers have now come to conclusion that continuous sleep is not essential for high level job performance. As a result there is now greater acceptance for napping and other alternate daily schedules. Long haul airline pilots are permitted to sleep during these lengthy flights and have been shown to perform better maneuvering the aircraft through the critical take off and landing of the airplane.

The mega Internet company, Google, allows employees to nap at work as they believe napping may improve productivity. Doctors in training are prohibited to work more than 70 hours a week to avoid fatigue and errors when they are sleep deprived.

Bottom Line: Perhaps the day will come that the Spanish siesta will become a part of our culture and we will put aside the dictum of getting 8 hours of shuteye a night.

This article was inspired by an article appearing in the New York Times, September 23, 2012.

If It Doesn’t Fit You’ve Got To Quit-Tight Clothing May Be Hazardous To Your Health

September 29, 2012

 

I recently read a book about Thomas Edison, probably the greatest innovator and creative mind in the 20th Century.  There has not been a game changer since Steve Jobs who has changed the lives of so many people throughout the world than these two men.  It was of interest that Thomas Edison made a point of wearing loose fitting clothes.  He never wore a belt, only used suspenders, and never tied his shoes.  He believed that tight fitting clothing choked off the blood supply to organs, extremities, and to the brain.  It certainly makes sense to me that occlusion of the blood supply with belts, ties, shirts buttoned at the neck, and laced up shoes might diminish the blood supply to head, neck, abdomen and feet.  I know the evidence is soft but certainly anything that decreases the blood supply and thus oxygen to any organ or structure can not be helpful and may even be harmful. 

 

Women are advised to wear loose fitting clothing.  Tight pants and underwear can decrease the blood supply to the pelvis and allow harmful bacteria from the rectum to move to the vagina and gain access to the urinary tract.  Tight fitting clothing can thus be a cause of urinary tract infections and women with recurrent UTIs should be advised to wear looser fitting pants and underwear. 

 

 

Avoid anything tight around a man or women’s middle, which can put pressure on your stomach, can exacerbate the symptoms of gastroesophogeal reflux. Until your symptoms are under control, think stretchy and comfortable clothing,  Opt for the loose-fitting maternity wear, especially if you’re trying to stamp out heartburn.

Although I don’t have scientific evidence that supports this suggestion, I think it is prudent to wear loose fitting clothing and comfortable loose shoes without laces for men and women with claudication or pain in the legs associated with walking.  I think this might apply to those who suffer from restless leg syndrome.  

Bottom Line: If you are suffering from GERD, recurrent UTIs, or pain in your legs, take a hard look at your clothing and loosen your belt, untie your shoes, and unbottom your shirt collar.  As my wise ol’ Jewish mother would say, I don’t know if it will help but it voidn’t hoit!

Impossibilities In The World

September 18, 2012

Occasionally I find humorous articles that I like to pass along and this is one of these that I think you will enjoy.

Testosterone Deficiency – Weighing The Benefits and the Risks

September 17, 2012

For my blog post, I would like to suggest that you read my
letter to the editor at the Times Picayune:
http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2012/09/testosterone_therapy_can_be_be.html

Problems “Down There” That Affect Your Sex Life

September 11, 2012

One of life’s greatest pleasures is intimacy with your partner. Nothing can put the ice on that relationship faster than when there is pain and discomfort for either a man or a woman associated with sexual intimacy. This article will review the most common causes of vaginal pain and what can be done to make the ouch go away.

Vaginitis
The itching, burning, and pain associated with vaginitis results from a disruption in the natural balance of bacteria that live in every healthy vagina. There’s no single cause. Common culprits include hormonal changes due to birth control, menopause, or pregnancy as well as chronic medical conditions, such as HIV and diabetes, which weaken the immune system. Frequent sexual intercourse and sex with multiple partners can be to blame as well. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection in women of reproductive age. Women with BV may have a copious, thin grayish-white discharge. BV is easily treated with oral or vaginal antibiotics.
Yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of one of several strains of Candida, a fungus that lives normally in the vagina. Women may notice a thick white discharge with a slight odor. However, many women complain of genital itching, soreness, or irritation. Treatment consists of a vaginal cream or an oral antifungal medication, Diflucan.
Treatment is painless and easy; most women simply insert at bedtime a prescribed cream or an ovule (a soft suppository) — generally soothing but messy — or they can take a prescription oral antifungal such as Diflucan. You’ll avoid the mess, but relief might take a few days longer.

Atrophic vaginitis is a result of a decrease in estrogen levels and the lining of the vagina becomes thin and easily irritated. Treatments such as estrogen creams or a vaginal estrogen ring can help.

Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, can cause a greenish-yellow frothy discharge, with some itching and burning. This infection is easily treated with oral or vaginal antibiotics.

Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is a condition where the pain so severe you can’t sit comfortably let alone have intercourse. The cause is unknown, but possible contributors include injury to nerves in the vulva, hypersensitivity to Candida, and pelvic floor muscle spasms. Treatment options include estrogens, oral antifungal medication, topical steroid creams, and physical therapy to loosen the muscles causing the spasms.
Vaginismus
This is a rare condition that fewer than 2% of women, which causes the muscles surrounding the vagina to contract so tightly that a woman can’t have sexual intercourse or even insert a tampon. The cause is unknown, but like vulvodynia, vaginismus responds to physical therapy. Now doctors are using Botox to relax the muscles and prevent spasms for up to six months.

Stress Incontinence
Stress incontinence occurs when there’s increased pressure or stress on the bladder or lower abdomen, such as when sneezing, when coughing, or during intercourse. This is a source of great embarrassment to a woman who loses urine during sexual intimacy. The cause is usually due to multiple vaginal childbirths, estrogen deficiency, obesity, and chronic constipation with the chronic straining to have a BM.
The easiest solution is for a woman to use the bathroom prior to sexual intimacy in order to empty her bladder. Kegel exercises can help build up the pelvic muscles that support the bladder and the urethra. Now there are minimally invasive surgical procedures that can help restore continence that can be done on an outpatient basis with immediate results.

Bottom Line: If you think you have any of these, see your doctor. Over-the-counter creams will often make the problem worse. The diagnosis is easily made in the doctor’s office and treatment can begin immediately and you will put the icing back on your sexual cake.

Screening For Colorectal Cancer

September 9, 2012

If you don’t have time to read this blog on colorectal cancer, do take the time to look at this informative and humorous video from Israel about screening colonoscopy. Click Here To View Video

Colorectal cancer is a disease in which cells in the colon or rectum become abnormal and divide without control, forming a mass called a tumor. Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer in men (after prostate cancer and lung cancer) and in women (after breast cancer and lung cancer). It is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States after lung cancer. Although the rate of new colorectal cancer cases and deaths is decreasing in this country, an estimated 141,210 new cases of colorectal cancer and 49,380 deaths from this disease are expected to occur in 2012.

Risk of Developing Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is more likely to occur as people get older. Although this disease can occur at any age, most people who develop colorectal cancer are over age 50.

Polyps are abnormal growths that protrude from the inner wall of the colon or rectum. They are relatively common in people over age 50. Most polyps are benign(noncancerous), but experts believe that the majority of colorectal cancers develop in polyps known as adenomas. Detecting and removing these growths may help prevent colorectal cancer.

A person who has already had colorectal cancer is at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer a second time. Also, research studies have shown that some women with a history of ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer have a higher than average chance of developing colorectal cancer.

Close relatives (parents, siblings, or children) of a person who has had colorectal cancer are somewhat more likely to develop this type of cancer themselves, especially if the family member developed the cancer at a young age. If many family members have had colorectal cancer, the chances increase even more.

Ulcerative colitis is a condition that causes inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the lining of the colon. Crohn colitis (also called Crohn disease) causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, most often of the small intestine (the part of the digestive tract that is located between the stomach and the large intestine). People who have ulcerative colitis or

Crohn’s colitis may be more likely to develop colorectal cancer than people who do not have these conditions.
Some evidence suggests that the development of colorectal cancer may be associated with high dietary consumption of red and processed meats and low consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Some evidence suggests that a sedentary lifestyle may be associated with an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. In contrast, people who exercise regularly may have a decreased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Increasing evidence from epidemiologic studies suggests that cigarette smoking, particularly long-term smoking, increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

Why screening is important? Screening is checking for health problems before they cause symptoms. Colorectal cancer screening can detect cancer; polyps; nonpolypoid lesions, which are flat or slightly depressed areas of abnormal cell growth; and other conditions.

Screening Methods Your doctor may suggest one or more of the following tests for colorectal cancer screening: Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) checks for hidden blood in fecal material (stool). The guaiac FOBT, uses the chemical guaiac to detect blood in samples of stool.

Colonoscopy—examines the colon using a lighted instrument called a colonoscope. During colonoscopy, precancerous and cancerous growths throughout the colon can be found and either removed or biopsied. This procedure is usually done in the doctor’s office or in an ambulatory treatment center. Most patients are sedated during the procedure.

Bottom Line: People should talk with their health care provider about when to begin screening for colorectal cancer, what tests to have, the benefits and risks (potential harms) of each test, and how often to schedule appointments.

The (Better) Life List

September 9, 2012

All of us, myself included, are looking for motivations to participate in regular exercise. I think you will find the following list helpful. Let me know if you have any other ideas to add to this list.

1.Exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system. It releases growth factors, which through a chain reaction, aid in the production of new blood vessels. Another byproduct of exercise widens the pathways where blood flows and in turn boosts blood volume. Increased blood flow reduces hardening of the arteries.
2.Exercise regulates your fuel. It increases regulatory factors that help maintain proper insulin and glucose levels. This is vital since insulin levels drop as we age making it harder for our cells to uptake glucose and use it as energy. When glucose isn’t used for fuel, and is left to its own devices, it creates waste. This waste, such as free radicals, eventually puts the body at risk of stroke and more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
3.Exercise reduces obesity. It burns calories and reduces appetite. High body fat is harmful to the cardiovascular, metabolic, and nervous systems. Being overweight doubles your chance of developing dementia and obesity is frequently paired with high blood pressure and cholesterol.
4.Exercise elevates your stress threshold. It makes proteins that combat free radicals and ex¬citatory neurotransmitters, which stress your cells and trigger the cell death process and aging. Exercise also combats cortisol, a product of the stress response. By lowering your stress thresh¬old, you are also lowering your risk of depression and dementia.
5.Exercise boosts the immune system. It brings the immune system back into equilibrium and fights the effects of stress and age. Even moderate activity increases antibody and lymphocyte levels, which make the body more alert to bodily threats and better able to deal with them.
6.Exercise fortifies your bones. Regular weight training, or any sport that requires you to jump or run, helps counteract natural bone loss. You need a strong skeletal system to continue to stay active as you age. Remember, it is never too late to reverse or prevent bone loss.
7.Exercise boosts motivation and lifts your mood. It strengthens connections between dopa¬mine neurons, which is key to the brain’s motivation system. This will help guard against the trap of becoming sedentary and solitary. It is important to stay mobile as you age. Mobility helps you maintain social connections important to sustaining mood and motivation.
8.Exercise fosters neuroplasticity. It builds a stronger, more flexible brain. Exercise elevates the supply of growth factors and neurotrophic factors in the brain. This leads to better connections, more synapses, and more new stem cells ready to become neurons in the hippocampus. All of these effects improve your brain’s ability to: learn, remember, execute higher thought processes, adapt, and manage your emotions.

Bottom Line: Good health is a choice and a decision. It begins with the right mental attitude, regular exercise and seeing your physician on a regular basis

This blog was inspired by and based on “Spark” by John J. Ratey, MD.

Libido Letting You Down? Solutions to That Problem

September 1, 2012

For men, Libido is your sex drive and it is different from ability to get an erection or be able to achieve a successful pregnancy. Women’s libido is also different from orgasm or her ability to have an egg unite with a man’s sperm. In women, gynecologic conditions may make engaging in sexual intimacy difficult or painful and ultimately impact her libido.

Libido is the name Freud gave to our sex drive. Libido is a multifactorial situation which is influenced by hormones, psychological and physical factors, romance, and the opportunity for fulfillment. It is normal for libido to decline with age going much faster for women after menopause than for men in middle age, which has about a 1% decline each year. But nearly all couples in their 60s and 80% of couples in their 70s continue to find enjoyment with engaging in sexual intimacy.

Hormonal deficiency is a common cause of deteriorating sex drive in both men and women. The solution is very simple and consists of replenishing the deficiency with testosterone in men and estrogens in women. However, hormones won’t solve the problem if there is some other underlying reason for the sex drive going into the tank.
So what is a man and a women with a loss of severe decrease in their sex drive to do? If you are suffering from fatigue, your sex drive deficiency may be a result of anemia, thyroid deficiency, or kidney disease. A few blood tests will make the diagnosis and help your doctor put your libido back on track.

Next talk to your doctor about all of your medications including, over the counter medicines, herbal medications and supplements. If the problem is related to medications, you can usually note the onset of libido problems that occurred shortly after staring a medication that can plummet your sex drive.

If you have heart disease or have suffered a heart attack and you or your partner is fearful that sex will worsen your cardiac problem or cause another heart attack, speak to your physician. A good rule of thumb is that if you can climb two flights of stairs without chest pain or severe shortness of breadth, then it is probably safe for you to engage in sexual intimacy with your regular partner.

If you are a woman and are going through the menopause, that doesn’t mean that you have bury your sex life forever. As a matter of fact, menopause for many women enhances their sex life as they are no longer worried about conception and fear of pregnancy. Some women do lose their sex drive after menopause and this may be a result of estrogen deficiency. Talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy.

I suggest that if you are a woman, try estrogen first. That works for most women as it reduces their hot flashes and pumps up their libido. However, testosterone may also be effective for women in small doses as it is for men who require larger amounts of testosterone in order to restore their libido. Testosterone is available for men and women in a topical gel or a small rice-sized pellet inserted under the skin and replaced every four to six months.

Women may lose interest in sex after menopause because of vaginal dryness (VD). This VD isn’t treated with antibiotics but with topical estrogen creams or vaginal rings impregnated with estrogen or vaginal pellets of estrogen. If a woman can’t take estrogens, then there is always lubricating creams and jellies such as the old standby, K-Y Jelly that alleviates VD and the discomfort associated with the loss of lubrication.

If you are a man and are suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED), this may also impact your sex drive as well. Certainly check your hormones because if low testosterone is the problem, then replacement therapy with gels, injections, or pellets will restore your sex drive 85% of the time.

For both men and women: get lots of exercise. Regular exercise promotes good health. It not only makes you feel good all over, but restores the blood supply to the pelvic area in both men and women.

How about aphrodisiacs?
You will probably receive unsolicited E mails and mail from companies offering an improvement in sex drive and creams and lotions to make a man’s penis bigger. Absolutely none of these studies have withstood scrutiny by medical professionals and probably are a waste of your time and hard earned money. I am an amateur magician and what they have to offer would be real magic if they worked the way the marketing materials described. A loss of sex drive has a problem since the beginning of recorded history and every society and culture have been looking for the magic elixir or potion that can restore the fountain of youth. The ancients have ground up dried beetles (Spanish fly) and rhinoceros horns but to no avail, except that Spanish fly can make you sick. Included in the myths of aphrodisiacs include oysters. They, too, will not restore a man’s libido or potency. According to the FDS, there is no scientific proof that any over the counter aphrodisiacs work to treat decreased libido problems. According to Dr. Ruth Westheimer, “The largest sex organ is not between our legs but between our ears.”

A few words about Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. These are prescribed medications for the treatment of ED and will not resolve problems with libido or sex drive. The drugs are very effective for ED but will not cure loss of sex desire.

Bottom Line: Problems with a man or woman’s libido is common to many middle aged men or women. Many of the problems are related to hormone deficiency and can be effectively treated.

When There’s a Problem In the Jewel Sack-Scrotal Pain

September 1, 2012

Every man has taken one in the jewel box that bends him over in excruciating pain and discomfort. Fortunately, most of the pain goes away in a few minutes. However, the scrotum and its contents are very vulnerable to injury and disease. This blog will describe the most common conditions affecting men “down there”.

The scrotum is located outside the rest of the body in order to keep the testicles a few degrees cooler than the rest of the body. This is intended to keep the testicles which contain the sperm factories just the right temperature for sperm production.

Normal Anatomy of the Scrotum

The testicles have two functions: 1) sperm production and 2) testosterone production. Testosterone is the male hormone responsible for developing male characteristics like a deep voice, a beard, and the all-important sex drive.

Evaluation of the painful scrotum
Your doctor will take a careful history and find out how long the pain or swelling has been present. The doctor will want to know if the pain is associated with trauma like a soccer ball or someone’s foot to the “vital parts.” The association of pain and swelling with a fever is a sign of infection and inflammation. A physical exam will be conducted and a light may be used to see if there is excess fluid in the scrotum. This is followed by a urine exam and an ultrasound of the scrotum. This makes use of high frequency sound waves that are sent from a transducer and then reflected back to the transducer to be processed by a computer and then projected onto a computer screen. This test will usually diagnose most of the conditions that cause pain and swelling the scrotum.

Torsion

torsion of the testicle

This occurs when the testicle twists and inside the scrotum and cuts off the blood supply to the testicle. Although torsion of the testicle can occur at any age, it is most common in young boys and young men between the ages of 12 and 18. The chief compliant is the sudden onset severe pain in one testicle. It usually begins after exercise but can occur when the boy is at rest or even awaken the boy from sleep. The physical exam reveals that the testicle is painful to touch and drawn up high in the scrotum. The diagnosis is confirmed by the ultrasound exam. Immediate surgery is required in order to save the testicle. If surgical treatment is delayed beyond 4 hours, it is less likely that the testicle can be saved. Although torsion only occurs in one testicle, the urologist will always repair the opposite testicle so that torsion cannot occur on the opposite side in the future.

Testicular cancer

Testis Tumor


Most men with scrotal swelling worry about testicular cancer, it is actually relatively uncommon with only 7000 new cases diagnosed each year. The disease usually affects young men between the ages of 15-40. The cause is not known but it is much more common in males who have a testicle that has not descended into the scrotum at the time of birth. The man with testicular cancer usually notices a hard lump on the scrotum. The lump is usually painless. The diagnosis is confirmed with a blood test looking for tumor markers, beta HCG and alpha feto-protein, and a scrotal ultrasound. The treatment is to remove the testicle and the cancer. Testicular cancer has a very high cure rate. All men should learn to do a testicle self exam at least once a month. Any suspicious lumps or bumps should be brought to the attention of a physician.

Orchitis

Orchitis is an inflammation of the testicle that is associated with pain and fever and swelling. Mumps is the most common cause. It is not very common thanks to the use of vaccination in young boys. Mumps orchitis is caused by a virus and there is no treatment except bed rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and pain medication.

Epididymitis

This is a inflammatory condition involving the gland and ducts that are behind the testicle and are responsible for allowing sperm to mature until they are ready to enter the semen. It is usually a bacterial infection that starts in the urine or the prostate and then backs up and goes down the vas to cause an infection in the epididymis. The problem may be accompanied by burning on urination and a urethral discharge. Men may also have a fever.

The diagnosis is made with a physical examination, a urine test which may show evidence of infection. The treatment is bed rest, a scrotal support or tight jockey underwear to support the scrotum, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication.

Hydrococele

hydrococele


A hydrococele is a swelling that takes place slowly over time. Usually months or even years. A hydrococele is a collection of fluid around the testicle, which remains entirely normal. A doctor can easily make the diagnosis by simply transilluminating the scrotum with a bright flashlight held up against the scrotum. The diagnosis can be confirmed with an ultrasound examination.

The treatment is usually surgical procedure which is brief operation, done on a one day stay basis and most men can return to all activities two weeks after the operation.

Spermatococele

Spermatococeles are fluid filled cysts in the epididymis. Spermatococeles are usually painless swellings that can also be diagnosed by tranillunination. Surgery is the treatment of choice if the spermatococele causes discomfort because of its size or if it is cosmetically unacceptable.

Varicocele

varicocele


Varicoceles consist of dilated network of veins in the spermatic cord. This problem is common and occurs in 15% of men and occurs most commonly on the left side. It usually causes minimal discomfort but can be associated with infertility. Treatment consists of surgically tying off the abnormal veins or using a coil placed by a radiologist to occlude the abnormal veins.

Bottom Line: A lump or bump down there should get a man’s attention. Most scrotal conditions can be easily diagnosed in the doctor’s office or with a scrotal ultrasound. Most cases are not serious and prompt treatment will nearly always put a man back in action.