Archive for December, 2012

Eating and Exercising Your Way To Prostate Health and Preserving Your Potency

December 30, 2012

Location of prostate gland at the base of the bladder and surrounding the urethra

Location of prostate gland at the base of the bladder and surrounding the urethra

I am frequently asked by my patients “What can I eat to reduce my risk of developing prostate cancer?” This is one of the most common questions I am asked by men concerned about prostate health. Undoubtedly, many hope that their doctor will rattle off a list of foods guaranteed to shield them from disease. Although some foods have been linked with reduced risk of prostate cancer, proof that they really work is lacking, at least for now.
Aim for a healthy eating pattern
Instead of focusing on specific foods, dietitians, physicians, and researchers tout an overall pattern of healthy eating — and healthy eating is easier than you might think. In a nutshell, here’s what experts recommend:
1. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Go for those with deep, bright color.
2. Choose whole-grain bread instead of white bread, and choose whole-grain pasta and cereals.
3. Limit your consumption of red meat, including beef, pork, lamb, and goat, and processed meats, such as bologna and hot dogs. Fish, skinless poultry, beans, and eggs are healthier sources of protein.
4. Choose healthful fats, such as olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), and avocados. Limit saturated fats from dairy and other animal products. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats), which are in many fast foods and packaged foods.
5. Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, such as sodas and many fruit juices. Eat sweets as an occasional treat.
6. Cut down on salt. Choose foods low in sodium by reading and comparing food labels. Limit the use of canned, processed, and frozen foods.
7. Watch portion sizes. Eat slowly, and stop eating when you are full. One of my best suggestions that I have tried to adopt is to eat my entre from a smaller salad plate which makes the portion look bigger. Also, try eating with your non-dominate hand as this will slow down your eating. Finally, after you eat your first portion, wait 10-15 minutes before taking a second portion. This allows your brain to catch up with your stomach and will give you a feeling of satiety without overeating.

Stay active
In addition to eating a healthy diet, you should stay active. Regular exercise pares down your risk of developing some deadly problems, including heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. And although relatively few studies have directly assessed the impact of exercise on prostate health, those that have been done have concluded, for the most part, that exercise is beneficial. For example:
1. Based on questionnaires completed by more than 30,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, researchers found an inverse relationship between physical activity and BPH symptoms. Simply put, men who were more physically active were less likely to suffer from BPH. Even low- to moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking regularly at a moderate pace, yielded benefits.
2. Using data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, researchers also examined the relationship between erectile dysfunction (ED) and exercise. They found that men who ran for an hour and a half or did three hours of rigorous outdoor work per week were 20% less likely to develop ED than those who didn’t exercise at all. More physical activity conferred a greater benefit. Interestingly, regardless of the level of exercise, men who were overweight or obese had a greater risk of ED than men with an ideal body mass index, or BMI.
Italian researchers randomly assigned 231 sedentary men with chronic prostatitis to one of two exercise programs for 18 weeks: aerobic exercise, which included brisk walking, or nonaerobic exercise, which included leg lifts, sit-ups, and stretching. Each group exercised three times a week. At the end of the trial, men in both groups felt better, but those in the aerobic exercise group experienced significantly greater improvements in prostatitis pain, anxiety and depression, and quality of life.

Bottom Line: There’s not much you can do about your genetics or what you inherited from your parents. But there’s a lot you can do by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Your prostate gland will thank you.

This article was modified from an article appearing in The Harvard HealthBeat on October 4, 2011

Can Too Much Exercise Be Hazardous To Your Health and Your Heart?

December 30, 2012
Excessive endurance exercise can do long-term harm to the cardiovascular system

Excessive endurance exercise can do long-term harm to the cardiovascular system

Wait a minute; you have been harangued to get off the sofa, put down the chips and salsa, and get moving. Is that bad advice? Probably not. However, I do want to report on a study from Mayo Clinic that suggests that too much running may hurt you. If you are a runner there is nearly a 20% reduction in death over not running. However running more than 20 miles per week appears to cancel out that benefit. Jogging slowly decreases mortality risk, whereas running at a pace faster than 8-minute miles has been found to put extra stress on the heart. More than an hour of intense aerobic activity per day can cause serious heart problems. Many runners assume that if moderate exercise is good than more is better.

Bottom Line: Probably, like so much else in health, moderation is the watchword. Exercising more than one hour a day may not be good for your health or your heart. My suggestion is to do cross training and that is running mixed with biking, weight lifting, and even an occasional day of rest with no exercise.

Happy New Year to everyone. The Whiz

Spices May Really Be The Spice Of Life

December 30, 2012
Paul Prudhome's Magic Seasoning

Paul Prudhome’s Magic Seasoning

I know I have focused on male and female pelvic health but I would also like to blog on other aspects of health that I think are worthy of mention. This blog discusses the health benefits of adding spices to meals.

It has been reported in medical journals that spices can increase your metabolism and improve your heart health. A study of two groups: one receiving high fat meals and the other group had the same identical high fat diet but had an added mix of spices-rosemary, oregano, and cinnamon. Each rich foods typically increases blood levels of insulin and triglyceride fats, which heighten the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Volunteers eating the spicy meal saw increase in triglycerides and insulin that were significantly lower than those of the group who ate the diet without the spices.

The investigators believe that antioxidants found in spices are responsible.

Bottom Line: Spices may be helpful for boosting metabolism and may be heart healthy. So add a little spice to your life and you just may increase the length of your life.

For more information on using spices in your cooking check out Chef Paul Prodhomme’s website:

Deciding Upon the Prime Cut- The Circumcision Decision

December 28, 2012

No descriptor required!

No descriptor required!

Parents often ruminate about the decision to circumcise their young baby boys. Certainly if you are of the Jewish faith, there is no question that you will consider cicrcumcision for your new baby boy. For non-Jews, and non-Moslems, the decision is much more difficult.

New evidence is out that circumcision reduces the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. A review of current medical research points out that the medical benefits of circumcision outweigh the risk of the procedure. Circumcised infants are 90
% less liekly than uncircumcised infants to develop urinary tract infections. Later in life, the circumcised boys are at a lower risk of contracting HIV, herpes, penile cancer, and human papilomavirus, which when passed to female partners, can cause cervical cancer. The serious complicaitons occur in only about 0.2 percent of baby boys who under the operation.

Bottom Line: The circumcision decision is often difficult for most parents to make. I suggest you speak to your pediatrician and obstetrician about the “prime cut.”

Losing Your Urine When You Cough Or Sneeze-Treating Incontinence With a Pessary

December 27, 2012

Pessary For Treating Mild Stress Incontinence

Pessary For Treating Mild Stress Incontinence

Stress urinary incontinence or loss of urine with coughing, sneezing, or even bending over to put on your shoes affects millions of American women. Often times a woman is looking for a treatment that does not involve medication or surgery. For certain women a vaginal pessary is an option. A pessary is a removable device placed into the vagina. It is designed to support areas of the pelvis such as occurs with pelvic organ prolapse.
There are a variety of pessaries available, made of rubber, plastic, or silicone-based material. Among common types of pessaries are the inflatable , the doughnut, and the Gellhorn.

Frequent Urination: Causes and Treatments
Gotta go all the time? The technical name for your problem is frequent urination or overactive bladder. In most people the bladder is able to store urine until it is convenient to go to the toilet, typically four to eight times a day. Needing to go more than eight times a day or waking up in the night to go to the bathroom could mean you’re drinking too much and/or too close to bedtime. Or it could signal a health problem.

Why It Is Done
Pessaries are used as a nonsurgical approach to the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse. They are frequently used to treat uterine prolapse in young women during pregnancy. In this instance, the pessary holds the uterus in the correct position before it enlarges and becomes trapped in the vaginal canal.
Pessaries are also used when symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse are mild or when childbearing is not complete. They can be used in women who have other serious chronic health problems, such as heart or lung disease, that make a surgical procedure more dangerous.

Pessaries are sometimes used to see what the effect of surgery for pelvic organ prolapse will be on urinary symptoms. This is called a “pessary test.” If you have a problem with incontinence with a pessary inserted, a separate surgery to fix the incontinence problem may be done at the same time as a prolapse surgery
How Well It Works
Pessaries do not cure pelvic organ prolapse but help manage and slow the progression of prolapse by adding support to the vagina and increasing tightness of the tissues and muscles of the pelvis. Symptoms improve in many women who use a pessary, and for some women symptoms go away.

You will need to see a doctor to be fitted for a pessary which will hold the pelvic organs in position without causing discomfort. Pessaries come in a variety of sizes and should be fitted carefully.

What To Expect After Treatment
Your pessary will be fitted in your doctor’s office. You may need to experiment with different kinds of pessaries to find one that feels right. The pessary needs to be remove, clean, and reinsert the pessary on a regular schedule. Most often this is done by the doctor or his\her staff but some women prefer to do this themselves. The cleaning schedule is determined by the type of pelvic organ prolapse and the specific brand of pessary.

Possible complications from wearing a pessary include:
• Open sores in the vaginal wall.
• Bleeding.
• Wearing away of the vaginal wall. In severe cases, an opening can form between the vagina and the rectum.
• Bulging of the rectum against the vaginal wall (rectocele formation).

Complications can be minimized by having a pessary that fits correctly and that does not put too much pressure on the wall of the vagina.
In post menopausal women, estrogen (cream, ring, or tablets) is sometimes used with a pessary to help with irritation caused by the pessary.
What To Think About

Pessaries often are an effective tool for managing pelvic organ prolapse without surgery. They may be the best choice if you are a young woman who has not finished having children, if you have been told that surgery would be risky for you, or if you do not wish to have surgery for other reasons.
A pessary may not be a good choice after having a hysterectomy. This is because the walls of the vagina are no longer held in place by the uterus and cervix. Women with severe prolapse following a hysterectomy may have difficulty keeping the pessary in place.
Many women can have sexual intercourse with their pessary in place. But you cannot insert a diaphragm (a round rubber device used as a barrier method of birth control) while wearing a pessary. If you have not reached menopause, you may want to discuss birth control with your doctor.

Bottom Line: Stress incontinence is common condition affecting millions of American women. The treatment with a pessary is an option that does not require the use of medication or surgery.

For more information on women’s health, I suggest my new book, What’s Going On Down There-Everything You Need To KnowAbout Your Pelvic Health. the book is available from

New book on women's health

New book on women’s health

Raise Your Testosterone Level-Au Natural

December 27, 2012

Effects of Testosterone

Effects of Testosterone

Testosterone is the male hormone responsible for sex drive or libido, muscle mass, energy level, and strength of your bones. Many men have a low testosterone level that can easily be checked with a simple blood test. If it is low, there are means to increase the level without taking testosterone supplements.

Begin by looking at your lifestyle. Some changes that are good for the rest of you could also benefit your testosterone level, if it’s low.

1. Get Enough Sleep.

Poor sleep can have consequences for your testosterone level.

Poor sleep is the most important factor that contributes to low testosterone in many men. A lack of sleep affects a variety of hormones and chemicals in your bloodstream. This, in turn, can have a harmful impact on your testosterone. If you’re having problems getting good sleep on a regular basis, talk to your doctor as you may have obstructive sleep apnea or prostate problems that require you to get up multiple times a night and disturb your sleep.

2. Keep a Healthy Weight.

Men who are overweight or obese often have low testosterone levels. For those men, losing the extra weight can help bring testosterone back up.

3. Stay Active.

Testosterone adapts to your body’s needs, Yu says. If you spend most of your time lying on the couch, your brain gets the message that you don’t need as much to bolster your muscles and bones.

But when you are physically active, your brain sends out the signal for more of the hormone. Walking briskly at least 10 to 20 minutes a day is a great way to get started. You can take it to the next level by building strength with several sessions of weights or elastic bands each week.

4. Take Control of Your Stress.

If you’re under constant stress, your body will be churning out a steady stream of the stress hormone cortisol. It will be less able to create testosterone. As a result, controlling your stress is important for keeping up your testosterone. If you are experience increased stress at work, cut back on long work hours. If you’re logging lots of overtime, try to whittle your workday down to 10 hours or less. Spend two hours a day on activities that you enjoy that aren’t work- or exercise-related, such as reading or playing music.

5. Review Your Medications.

Some medicines can cause a drop in your testosterone level. These include: opioids ( fentanyl, MS Contin, and OxyContin), glucocorticoid drugs such as prednisone, and anabolic steroids used for building muscles and improving athletic performance.

6. Forget the Supplements.

Finally, although you’re likely to encounter online ads for testosterone-boosting supplements, you aren’t likely to find any that will do much good. Your body naturally makes a hormone called DHEA that it can convert to testosterone. DHEA is also available in supplement form.

Bottom Line: Testosterone deficiency is a common problem affecting millions of American men. The problem is easily diagnosed with a blood test. Moderate to minimal decreases in the testosterone level can be treated with life style changes. Significant decreases may require testosterone replacement therapy. If you have any questions, see your doctor.

Move Over Viagra-Weight Loss May Be An Alternative To Medication For Treating ED

December 26, 2012

Losing Weight Will Improve Sexual Function

Losing Weight Will Improve Sexual Function

Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is a common problem that affects nearly 30 million American men. ED is often associated with diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and obesity. A new study shows that shedding as little as 5 percent of body weight helped obese diabetic men reverse erectile dysfunction.

31 obese men with type 2 diabetes were placed on a low calorie diet. The researchers found that modest weight loss rapidly reversed sexual and urinary problems that plague men with diabetes. And the effects lasted for as long as a year.

Previous research had shown losing larger amounts of body weight through surgery, like 30 percent, would improve sexual symptoms in overweight men.

Bottom Line: Most men know that carrying extra weight can have an impact on more than just a man’s quality of life. Losing weight can reduce blood pressure, brings the blood glucose and cholesterol levels under control. If those aren’t reason enough to lose weight, think about your erections which may become stronger and last longer.

Watch Out Viagra, There’s A New Kid, Stendra, on the Erectile Dysfunction Block

December 26, 2012

It was nearly 15 years ago that Viagra was introduced to medical community and men havne’t looked back as this medication turned the sex revolution over on its head. There have been millions of Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis written world wide making it one of the most popular drugs of all time.

Now new erectile dysfunction drug, Stendra, that reportedly works in less than 15 minutes has just received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

More than 30 million men in the U.S. are affected by erectile dysfunction (ED). The new drug Stendra, the brand name for avanafil, is the first new erectile dysfunction drug in a decade for this class of drugs known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors.
Similar to its counterparts, the drug works by helping increase blood flow to the penis. This is potentially the fastest acting of the four of the drugs used to treat ED. Patients taking Stendra are recommended to take the drug 30 minutes before sexual activity but clinical trials have shown the drug works as fast as 15 minutes. Viagra may take an hour to start working.
In clinical trials, 77 percent of men with general ED were able to get erections after taking Stendra, compared with 54 percent of men taking a placebo pill. Stendra resulted in successful intercourse for 57 percent of men with general ED, compared with 27 percent of men on placebo.
According to the FDA, the most common side effects for men taking Stendra were headache, face redness, nasal congestion, cold-like symptoms, and back pain. In rare cases men may get an erection that does not go away after four hours – a condition known as priapism. If that happens, patients should seek immediate medical care.
As with other PDE5 inhibitors, Stendra should not be used by men who also take nitrates commonly used to treat chest pain, because the combination can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Bottom Line: Erectile dysfunction is a common problem affecting millions of American men. Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are effective but a new drug, Stendra, may have an advantage of faster onset of action.

10 Reasons Why Sex Is Good For You

December 22, 2012

We all know that sex is fun and enjoyable, but how many know why good sex is good for your health and well-being? Let me share with you a few reasons to have sex with your partner.

1. Less Stress, Lower Blood Pressure
Having sex could lower your stress, and your blood pressure.
People who had had intercourse responded better to stress than those who abstained. The diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of your blood pressure) tends to be lower in people who live together and often have sex. Women who get lots of hugs from their partner tend to have better blood pressure.
2. Sex Boosts Immunity
Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. This might just be the perfect “vaccine” for the common cold!
3. Sex Burns Calories
Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. Doubling up, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions. Don’t want to run a mile? Try hopping in the sack for 30 minutes!
4. Sex Improves Heart Health
Having sex may be good for your heart. Men who had sex twice or more a week were half as likely to have a fatal heart attack than men who had sex less than once a month.
5. Better Self-Esteem
One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves. Great sex begins with self-esteem. … If the sex is loving, connected, and what you want, it raises it. If you’re already feeling good about yourself, a great sex life may help you feel even better.
6. Deeper Intimacy
Having sex boosts levels of the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which helps people bond and build trust. Women have higher oxytocin levels if they have more physical contact with their partner.
7. Sex is a pain relivier
Sex boosts your body’s painkillers, called endorphins. So if your headache, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex, that may be why.
8. More Ejaculations May Make Prostate Cancer Less Likely
Frequent ejaculations, especially in 20-something men, may lower the risk of getting prostate cancer later in life.
It is my observation after 30 years in practice that men who have chronic prostatitis do better if they have frequent ejaculations compared to men who are abstainers.
9. Stronger Pelvic Floor Muscles
For women, doing pelvic floor muscle exercises called Kegels may mean will enjoy more pleasure — and, as a perk, less chance of incontinence later in life.
10. More sex and less sleeping pills
The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep.
Bottom Line: Getting enough sleep has also been linked with a host of other health perks, such as a healthy weight and better blood pressure. If you are still looking for a reason to have more sex, tell your partner “Dr. Baum said it was a good idea!”

Don’t Mix Viagra and Grapefruit

December 22, 2012
Posted on December 19, 2012 at 9:31 PM
Updated Wednesday, Dec 19 at 9:46 PM
Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @megfarriswwl
NEW ORLEANS — You may remember a few weeks ago, doctors expanded the list of the number of medications that can have serious interactions with grapefruit or its juice.
It went from 17 medications to 43.
And few people know the most popular pill for men should also be on that list.
It’s been called the most popular drug in the world, the little blue pill Viagra. And while most men know they should not take Viagra if they are also using a nitrate drug for chest pain or heart problems, you may not know about this.
“Viagra, which is used for treating erectile dysfunction, when combined with grapefruit juice can reach toxic levels that result in men having hot flushes. It can also significantly lower their blood pressure and it can produce unwanted side effects,” explained Dr. Neil Baum, a urologist and men’s hormone expert at Touro.
Dr. Baum said a little as one grapefruit or an eight ounce glass of juice can cause a change in absorption for 24 hours.
“The grapefruit juice in the small intestine where pills are absorbed, prevents the breakdown of the medication. So when it’s absorbed, it’s absorbed in larger quantities and can reach toxic levels,” said Dr. Baum.
The reason Viagra should not be taken with a nitrate medicine is because it can cause a serious drop in blood pressure. For that reason, doctors say men who become dizzy, nauseated, or have pain, numbness or tingling in the chest, arm, neck, or jaw, should get medical attention right away. And taking Viagra in the same day as grapefruit can have a similar effect.
“It can drop a man’s blood pressure. It can cause a man to feel hot and warmed and flushed and so taking away the enjoyment that sexual intimacy is supposed to create. It can subtract from that and can make the man quite uncomfortable,” Dr. Baum added.
Some other fruits can also have the same effect. They are Seville oranges, limes, and pomelos, but sweet oranges do not cause this interaction.