Archive for January, 2013

Eating Healthy For Super Bowl

January 31, 2013

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Many of you will be gathering around the TV sets this Sunday for the Super Bowl. This is an opportunity to go wild with poor food choices during the four hours of America’s greatest sports attraction with nearly one of two American’s watching the game and nearly a billion viewers world wide. However, you can decide to eat healthy and I would like to provide you with a few options that will make for a really super healthy Super Bowl.

Sliced Peppers with Salsa
For a homemade alternative to chips and dip, try sliced peppers or other veggie sticks with salsa. Cut up red and green bell peppers and use them as tortilla chips for dipping in salsa. This is a fun way to sneak more vegetables into your diet. You can dip a whole pepper’s worth of “chips” and stay under 50 calories.

Edamame
Go out on a limb and try something entirely different. These green pods, known as edamame, are a popular appetizer in Asian restaurants. It’s fun to open the pods and pop the young soybeans into your mouth. One serving has 122 calories, and 5 g of fat.
Lettuce Wraps
If you’re craving spicy chicken, skip the wings and try lettuce wraps. You can make these at home by wrapping diced spicy chicken and vegetables in a lettuce leaf. Each wrap has 160 calories and 7 g of fat. If you order this appetizer at a restaurant, be sure to share. A plate of four wraps has a total of 640 calories, 28 g of fat, and 650 mg sodium.

Vegetable Soup
Like salad, having a bowl of soup can curb how much you eat during the rest of the meal. The key is choosing a low-calorie option, such as a tomato-based vegetable soup. A 12-ounce bowl has about 160 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, and 1,240 mg sodium. Stay away from cream-based vegetable soups, which are higher in calories and saturated fats. When buying canned soup, look for those marked “low in sodium.”

Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp cocktail is very low in saturated fat and calories. It’s also a refreshing source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote healthy circulation. To keep the calorie count low, stick to tomato-based sauce. A serving of shrimp with cocktail sauce has about 140 calories.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Stuffing mushrooms instead of potato skins helps keep the portion size down. Mushroom caps filled with cheese and breadcrumbs have less than 50 calories each. That means you can eat half a dozen and still keep your appetizer under 300 calories, along with 19 grams of fat, and 720 mg of sodium.
Beef Skewers
When you’re craving a meaty appetizer, opt for beef skewers. In Asian restaurants, this may be listed as beef satay — skewers of beef with peanut sauce. At home, you can grill skewers of lean beef with onions, garlic, hoisin, soy, and barbecue sauce. A quarter-pound serving has about 130 calories, 5 g of fat, and 803 mg sodium.

Crab Cakes
Blake recommends using appetizers to work in healthy foods you might be eating too little of. Seared crab cakes offer an appealing way to get more seafood into your diet. Served with chili sauce, a typical crab cake has about 300 calories, 20 g of fat, and 960 mg sodium.

Spinach Salad
The best appetizers are low in calories, but satisfying enough to curb how much you eat during the rest of your meal. Salads made with spinach or other leafy greens do this very well. Studies suggest you’ll eat about 10% less during a meal if you start off with salad. A cup of fresh spinach with a tablespoon of vinaigrette has about 80 calories.

Vegetable Kabobs
Grilled vegetable kabobs offer a nutritious, low-calorie alternative to fried onions. If this isn’t on the menu, ask for a side of grilled vegetables as your appetizer. Veggie kabobs are also easy to make — try skewering onions, red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini. Brush with a lower-fat garlic and herb marinade. Two large kabobs will have about 75 calories.

I don’t care who you root for or what will be the outcome of the game. I do hope you practice healthy life styles and consider a consuming healthy food during the game.

This article was modified from WebMD, Best and Worst Appetizers.
http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-best-and-worst-appetizers?ecd=wnl_din_013113&ctr=wnl-din-013113_promo_1&mb=

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Help For Women With Overactive Bladder-Now Available Without a Prescription

January 27, 2013
Oxytrol Patch For Overactive Bladder

Oxytrol Patch For Overactive Bladder

Millions of women suffer from overactive bladder-when you gotta go right now! In the past there are prescription medications used to make women more comfortable. Now the FDA has approved Oxytrol for Women, the first over-the-counter treatment for overactive bladder.

The condition affects more than 20 million American women, according to Merck, the drug’s manufacturer.
It will still only be available in prescription form for men.

Oxytrol helps relax the overactive bladder muscle that leads to symptoms such as the sudden need to urinate and leaking of urine.
Oxytrol for Women is in the form of a patch, applied to the skin every four days, Merck says.

It is expected to hit store shelves by the fall.

Oxytrol in pill form by prescription will still be available. Oxytrol for Women contains oxybutynin, a drug that helps to relax the bladder muscle. It belongs to a class of drug called anticholinergics. It is the first of this class to go over-the-counter for overactive bladder treatment.
Among side effects reported in the studies were skin irritation at the site of the patch, constipation, and dry mouth. Most women who develop overactive bladder are 45 to 60 years old. Many do not seek professional medical help due to embarrassment.

Many women who suffer with bladder problems wait on average seven years before seeking treatment.

Bottom Line: If you are using the restroom more than 8 times a day or three times a night, see your doctor or at least try over the counter Oxytrol.

Incontinence-There’s An App For That

January 26, 2013

Now an app is available, iDry, that helps men and women suffering from urinary incontinence log data on their urinary symptoms, provides reminders for exercises to help control the condition, and enables users to share progress with their physician. The app can also provide predictions for future success. It is available in a free version and a premium version that allows users to create their own interventions and E-mail charts and log data to their doctor. This is available for iPhone and iPad and more information is available at http://www.idry.org.

Preventive Healthcare For Women – What You Need To Know

January 21, 2013

Women have had an interaction with the healthcare profession from birth to old age. They have achieved good health as a result of frequent visits to their doctors and practiced good health habits. This blog is written for the purpose of providing women with suggestions for continuing the process of maintaining good health.

Why Screening Tests Are Important
Remember that old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Getting checked early can help you stop diseases like cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis in the very beginning, when they’re easier to treat. Screening tests can spot illnesses even before you have symptoms. Which screening tests you need depends on your age, family history, your own health history, and other risk factors.

Breast Cancer
The earlier you find breast cancer, the better your chance of a cure. Small breast-cancers are less likely to spread to lymph nodes and vital organs like the lungs and brain. If you’re in your 20s or 30s, your health care provider should perform a breast exam as part of your regular check-up every one to three years. You may need more frequent screenings if you have any extra risk factors.

Screening With Mammography
Mammograms are low-dose X-rays that can often find a lump before you ever feel it, though normal results don’t completely rule out cancer. While you’re in your 40s, you should have a mammogram every year. Then between ages 50 and 74, switch to every other year. Of course, your doctor may recommend more frequent screenings if you’re at higher risk.
Cervical Cancer
With regular Pap smears, cervical cancer (pictured) is easy to prevent. The cervix is a narrow passageway between the uterus (where a baby grows) and the vagina (the birth canal). Pap smears find abnormal cells on the cervix, which can be removed before they ever turn into cancer. The main cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a type of STD.
Screening for Cervical Cancer
During a Pap smear, your doctor scrapes some cells off your cervix and sends them to a lab for analysis. A common recommendation is that you should get your first Pap smear by age 21, and every two years after that. If you’re 30 or older, you can get HPV tests, too, and wait a little longer between Pap smears. Both screenings are very effective in finding cervical cancer early enough to cure it.
Vaccines for Cervical Cancer
Two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, can protect women under 26 from several strains of HPV. The vaccines don’t protect against all the cancer-causing strains of HPV, however. So routine Pap smears are still important. What’s more, not all cervical cancers start with HPV.
Osteoporosis and Fractured Bones
Osteoporosis is a state when a person’s bones are weak and fragile. After menopause, women start to lose more bone mass, but men get osteoporosis, too. The first symptom is often a painful break after even a minor fall, blow, or sudden twist. In Americans age 50 and over, the disease contributes to about half the breaks in women and 1 in 4 among men. Fortunately, you can prevent and treat osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis Screening Tests
A special type of X-ray called dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) can measure bone strength and find osteoporosis before breaks happen. It can also help predict the risk of future breaks. This screening is recommended for all women age 65 and above. If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, you may need to start sooner.
Skin Cancer
There are several kinds of skin cancer, and early treatment can be effective for them all. The most dangerous is melanoma (shown here), which affects the cells that produce a person’s skin coloring. Sometimes people have an inherited risk for this type of cancer, which may increase with overexposure to the sun. Basal cell and squamous cell are common non-melanoma skin cancers.
Screening for Skin Cancer
Watch for any changes in your skin markings, including moles and freckles. Pay attention to changes in their shape, color, and size. You should also get your skin checked by a dermatologist or other health professional during your regular physicals.
High Blood Pressure
As you get older, your risk of high blood pressure increases, especially if you are overweight or have certain bad health habits. High blood pressure can cause life-threatening heart attacks or strokes without any warning. So working with your doctor to control it can save your life. Lowering your blood pressure can also prevent long-term dangers like heart disease and kidney failure.
Screening for High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure readings include two numbers. The first (systolic) is the pressure of your blood when your heart beats. The second (diastolic) is the pressure between beats. Normal adult blood pressure is below 120/80. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is 140/90 or above. In between is prehypertension, a sort of early warning stage. Ask your doctor how often to have your blood pressure checked.
Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol can cause plaque to clog your arteries (seen here in orange). Plaque can build up for many years without symptoms, eventually causing a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking can all cause plaque to build up, too. It’s a condition called hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. Lifestyle changes and medications can lower your risk.
Checking Your Cholesterol
To get your cholesterol checked, you’ll need to fast for 12 hours. Then you’ll take a blood test that measures total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, and triglycerides (blood fat). If you’re 20 or older, you should get this test at least every five years.
Type 2 Diabetes
One-third of Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it. Diabetes can cause heart or kidney disease, stroke, blindness from damage to the blood vessels of the retina (shown here), and other serious problems. You can control diabetes with diet, exercise, weight loss, and medication, especially when you find it early. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.
Screening for Diabetes
You’ll probably have to fast for eight hours or so before having your blood tested for diabetes. A blood sugar level of 100-125 may show prediabetes; 126 or higher may mean diabetes. Other tests include the A1C test and the oral glucose tolerance test. If you’re healthy and have a normal diabetes risk, you should be screened every three years starting at age 45. Talk to your doctor about getting tested earlier if you have a higher risk, like a family history of diabetes.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It’s spread through sharing blood or body fluids with an infected person, such as through unprotected sex or dirty needles. Pregnant women with HIV can pass the infection to their babies. There is still no cure or vaccine, but early treatment with anti-HIV medications can help the immune system fight the virus.
HIV Screening Tests
HIV can be symptom-free for many years. The only way to find out if you have the virus is with blood tests. The ELISA or EIA test looks for antibodies to HIV. If you get a positive result, you’ll need a second test to confirm the results. Still, you can test negative even if you’re infected, so you may need to repeat the test. Everyone should get tested at least once between ages 13-64.
Preventing the Spread of HIV
Most newly infected people test positive around two months after being exposed to the virus. But in rare cases it may take up to six months to develop HIV antibodies. Use a condom during sex to avoid getting or passing on HIV or other STDs. If you have HIV and are pregnant, talk with your doctor about reducing the risk to your unborn child.
Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death after lung cancer. Most colon cancers come from polyps (abnormal masses) that grow on the inner lining of the large intestine. The polyps may or may not be cancerous. If they are, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body. Removing polyps early, before they become cancerous, can prevent it completely.
Screening for Colorectal Cancer
A colonoscopy is a common screening test for colorectal cancer. While you’re mildly sedated, a doctor inserts a small flexible tube equipped with a camera into your colon. If she finds a polyp, she can often remove it right then. Another type of test is a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which looks into the lower part of the colon. If you’re at average risk, screening usually starts at age 50.
Glaucoma
Glaucoma happens when pressure builds up inside your eye. Without treatment, it can damage the optic nerve and cause blindness. Often, it produces no symptoms until your vision has already been damaged.
Glaucoma Screening
How often you should get your eyes checked depends on your age and risk factors. They include being African-American or Hispanic, being over 60, eye injury, steroid use, and a family history of glaucoma. People without risk factors or symptoms of eye disease should get a baseline eye exam, including a test for glaucoma, at age 40.
Bottom Line: It’s good health sense to talk with your doctor about screening tests. Some tests, such as a Pap test or breast exam, should be a routine part of every woman’s health care. Other tests might be necessary based on your risk factors. Proper screening won’t always prevent a disease, but it can often find a disease early enough to give you the best chance of overcoming it.

Sex and The Senior Man-Help Is Available For Men With ED

January 20, 2013

It wasn’t too long ago that erectile dysfunction (ED) was believed to be a natural part of aging.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Middle age and older men who are healthy and have an opportunity to have sexual intimacy can expect to be successful in the bedroom. 

 Once taboo, ED has emerged from the shadows, thanks in large part to the widespread media attention give to Viagra, Levitra and Cialis. However, a wide variety of treatment options are now available that provide hope for men of any age suffering from ED symptoms. There simply is no reason to suffer in silence, whatever your age.

 Approximately 30 million men in the U.S. suffer from ED. An estimated 50 percent of men at age 50 experience some ED symptoms, and the percentage jumps 10% with each decade in life.

 Most men certainly aren’t willing to accept a decline in our eyesight with age—we use glasses when needed. In much the same way, ED is more than a minor inconvenience and can seriously impact quality of life for men and their partners.

 Related Health Risks

ED is a medical condition and can be an early warning sign of a much more serious condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, elevated cholesterol levels or disease of the blood vessels to the brain, which could lead to stroke. ED symptoms can also be a manifestation of depression.  This makes it even more important to pay attention to your ED symptoms.

 Aside from these physical symptoms, ED can take a serious toll on your overall well-being and mental health, causing strain on your relationships and unnecessary anguish and stress.

 Talk to Your Doctor

Talking to your doctor about your ED symptoms can feel embarrassing or difficult, but there’s no reason to be ashamed or uncomfortable. An active sex life can be just as important to your overall health as is proper nutrition and exercise.

 When you visit the doctor, tell him/her about other medical conditions you may have so you can determine whether your ED may be the symptom of a greater problem. Make a separate appointment to discuss ED, to make sure you have enough time to discuss your concerns. Ask for a referral to a urologist, a doctor who specializes in men’s urinary and sexual health issues.

 Be sure to discuss the all the possible issues surrounding your ED, the hurdles you face in all areas of sexual function, including your ability to get and keep an erection, sensitivity and other issues that may help pinpoint the root cause.

 Treatment Options

For many men, oral medications are not only very safe, but also quite effective. Pills such as Viagra, Levitra and Cialis are effective for about 70% of men. But for those with other health factors, such as cardiac disease, diabetes, oral medication may not be an option, or they may become less effective over time. For these men, there are a number of other treatment options available, including:

  • Vacuum pump therapy, which requires the use of a small pump to mechanically enhance blood flow and create an erection. These devices are totally noninvasive, but they can be somewhat awkward to use and not conducive to spontaneity.
  • Transurethral suppositories are tiny pellets of medication inserted into the urethra opening – a minimally invasive treatment, but still somewhat uncomfortable. This also requires some advance preparation.
  • Injection therapy, while the concept is disturbing to most men at the start, involves the use of a very fine needle to inject medication to produce an erection. Because of both the psychological and physical discomfort, in spite of high levels of effectiveness, many men do not find this to be a long-term solution. About 50% of men who try injections, do not continue their use.
  • Penile prosthetic implants are surgical devices concealed within the body that restore erectile function to as near natural as possible and still allow for spontaneity. While the concept itself is nothing new, the devices and implantation procedures have evolved considerably to make the procedure quicker and easier on the patient. While implants carry the same risks associated with any surgery, implant procedures generally have extremely high success rates and provide an effective solution for many men. Implants may not be for everyone, but they are a viable option to restore erectile function for most men over the age of 50, and they carry a very high satisfaction rate among patients and partners.

 Choosing a treatment that’s right for you depends on a number of factors, including your relationship status, the importance and level of physical intimacy required, and other health issues. Ask your doctor about the success rate and risks with each option and about what you can reasonably expect in the form of results. It’s unlikely that any treatment will restore erectile function back to the way it was in your younger years, especially with advanced age, but ED treatment can allow all men to enjoy and active and satisfying sex life well into their golden years.

 No matter what your age, it’s important to take that first step and talk to your doctor about ED symptoms. It’s never “normal” at any age to not have normal sexual function. With the wide variety of treatment options available, there’s no longer any reason to ignore the problem as a fact of life.

Bottom Line: ED is not a natural consequence of aging.  Help is available and no one needs to suffer the tragedy of the bedroom.

 

Modified article by Gerald Brock. By Healthy Aging Admin Published 09/16/2010 Health News

Medical Testing At Age 50-This Is Test You Can’t Afford to Fail

January 20, 2013

Most men and women do not need the services of the medical profession between the time they leave their pediatricians around age 18-20 until age 50. The exception is women who see their obstetrician for perinatal care and deliverying their children. Around age 50 you should start making regular visists to your doctor. This article will discuss the routine tests that you should consider when you reach middle age.

When you go for your annual physical, make sure your doctor performs or recommends these simple tests that may save your health — and your life — later. (Note that your doctor may recommend additional tests based on your personal health profile.)

Thyroid hormone test. Your thyroid, that innocuous looking gland in your neck, is the body’s powerhouse, producing hormones needed for metabolism. Aging (and an erratic immune system) can wreak havoc causing a variety of problems, especially in women. That’s why women should get a thyroid test at age 50 and then every 5 years.
The rectal exam. Dread it; hate it; joke with your friends about it: Just make sure you get one — every year. Along with other tests your doctor may recommend, it may give clues to treatable problems in your colon (think colon cancer) or prostate for men. Screening colonoscopy is recommended for everyone at 50 years old.
Stepping on the scales. This is the age when most people start gaining weight. Watch this weight gain carefully, and fight back with healthier eating and exercise. Being overweight puts you at high risk for developing a number of diseases — and studies show that weight loss can improve your odds.
Blood pressure. Untreated high blood pressure is an equal opportunity killer: It kills your heart, your brain, your eyes, and your kidneys. Don’t let hypertension sneak up on you. Get the test. It’s simple; it’s cheap; and it’s quick.
Cholesterol profile. Do you have high cholesterol? Find out — at least once every 5 years (more if you’re at risk for a heart attack). Controlling your cholesterol can add years to your life.
Blood sugar. Untreated diabetes can destroy your health, causing heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness. Don’t let it. Get a fasting blood sugar test at least once every 3 years and take control of diabetes early.
For women only: Pelvic exam and Pap smear. You may think you have suffered enough — at least 20 years of pelvic exams and Paps! But you still need these — especially if you’re sexually active. Ten minutes of mild discomfort once every 1 to 3 years pays big dividends in protecting you from cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.
For women only: Breast exam and mammogram. At this age, don’t ever let a year go by without getting a mammogram and having your doctor examine your breasts for any changes. Early detection of breast cancer can save your breast and your life.
Looking for moles: Love your skin. Check your skin monthly for any unusual spots or moles. Be sure to ask your doctor to check your skin once a year, as well.
Protecting your eyes. Vision-robbing diseases become more common as you age. Be sure to get your eyes examined regularly — every 2 years until age 60 and then yearly after that. Go more often if you have vision problems or risk factors for eye problems.
Checking your immunizations. People over age 50 should get a flu shot every year. And don’t forget, even healthy people need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years, and one of those should contain the pertussis vaccine for whooping cough. Be sure to ask your doctor to update any immunizations that you might need. Consider Hepatitis A and B vaccines if you haven’t already had them.

Use your birthday as a gentle reminder to schedule a visit to your dentist, and call your doctor to see if there are important tests you should take. By investing an hour or two now, you may be able to add years to your life.

Bottom Line: When you go for your annual physical, make sure your doctor performs or recommends these simple tests that may save your health — and your life — later. Remember of you don’t take time for your health, you won’t have time to enjoy life in your senior years.

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 Amazon.com

New book on women's health

New book on women’s health

Female Sexual Dysfunction-Women, You Can Be Helped

January 20, 2013

It is of interest that women have just as many sexual problems as men. In the past 15 years, more attention has been given to male sexual problems, mostly erectile dysfunction, as medications have been available for treating this common condition. Now women with decreased desire, decreased lubrication, decrased aroiusal, and lack of orgasm can now be treated.

What Causes Sexual Dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction in women can be a result of a physical and\or psychological problem.

Physical causes. Many physical and/or medical conditions can cause problems with sexual function. These conditions include diabetes, heart disease, neurological diseases, hormonal imbalances, menopause plus such chronic diseases as kidney disease or liver failure, and alcoholism or drug abuse. In addition, the side effects of certain medications, including some antidepressant drugs, can affect sexual desire and function.
Psychological causes. These include work-related stress and anxiety, concern about sexual performance, marital or relationship problems, depression, feelings of guilt, or the effects of a past sexual trauma.

The most common problems related to sexual dysfunction in women include:

Inhibited sexual desire. This involves a lack of sexual desire or interest in sex. Many factors can contribute to a lack of desire, including hormonal changes associated with menopause, medical conditions and treatments (for example, cancer and chemotherapy), depression, pregnancy, stress, and fatigue. Boredom with regular sexual routines also may contribute to a lack of enthusiasm for sex, as can lifestyle factors, such as careers and the care of children.
Inability to become aroused. For women, the inability to become physically aroused during sexual activity often involves insufficient vaginal lubrication. This inability also may be related to anxiety or inadequate stimulation.
Lack of orgasm. An absence of orgasm can be caused by a woman’s sexual inhibition, inexperience, lack of knowledge, and psychological factors such as guilt, anxiety, or a past sexual trauma or abuse. Other factors contributing to an absent orgasm include insufficient stimulation, certain medications, and chronic diseases.
Painful intercourse. Pain during intercourse can be caused by pelvic organ prolapse, endometriosis, a pelvic mass, ovarian cysts, vaginitis, poor lubrication, the presence of scar tissue from surgery, or a sexually transmitted disease. A condition called vaginismus is a painful, involuntary spasm of the muscles that surround the vaginal entrance. It may occur in women who fear that penetration will be painful and also may stem from a sexual phobia or from a previous traumatic or painful experience.

The diagnosis of female sexual dysfunction begins with a physical exam and a thorough evaluation of symptoms. The doctor performs a pelvic exam to evaluate the health of the reproductive organs and a Pap smear to detect changes in the cells of the cervix (to check for cancer or a pre-cancerous condition).

An evaluation of your attitudes regarding sex, as well as other possible contributing factors (such as fear, anxiety, past sexual trauma/abuse, relationship problems, or alcohol or drug abuse) will help the doctor understand the underlying cause of the problem and make appropriate treatment recommendations.

Treatment of Female Sexual Dysfunction

Most types of sexual problems can be corrected by treating the underlying physical or psychological problems which include:

Providing education. Education about human anatomy, sexual function, and the normal changes associated with aging, as well as sexual behaviors and appropriate responses, may help a woman overcome her anxieties about sexual function and performance.
Enhancing stimulation. This may include the use of erotic materials (videos or books), masturbation, and changes in sexual routines.
Providing distraction techniques. Erotic or non-erotic fantasies; exercises with intercourse; music, videos, or television can be used to increase relaxation and eliminate anxiety.
Encouraging non-coital behaviors. Non-coital behaviors (physically stimulating activity that does not include intercourse), such as sensual massage, can be used to promote comfort and increase communication between partners.
Minimizing pain. Using sexual positions that allow the woman to control the depth of penetration may help relieve some pain. Vaginal lubricants can help reduce pain caused by friction, and a warm bath before intercourse can help increase relaxation.

The success of treatment for female sexual dysfunction depends on the underlying cause of the problem. The outlook is good for dysfunction that is related to a treatable or reversible physical condition. Mild dysfunction that is related to stress, fear, or anxiety often can be successfully treated with counseling, education, and improved communication between partners.

Hormones play an important role in regulating sexual function in women. With the decrease in the female hormone estrogen that is related to aging and menopause, many women experience some changes in sexual function as they age, including poor vaginal lubrication and decreased genital sensation. Low levels of the male hormone testosterone also contribute to a decline in sexual arousal, genital sensation, and orgasm. Women can use a topical gel containing testosterone or receive a small pellet of testosterone, the size of a grain of rice, placed under the skin which can result in enhancement of their libido and sex drive.

Many women experience changes in sexual function after a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). These changes may include a loss of desire, and decreased vaginal lubrication and genital sensation. These problems may be associated with the hormonal changes that occur with the loss of the uterus. Furthermore, nerves and blood vessels critical to sexual function can be damaged during the surgery.

The loss of estrogen following menopause can lead to changes in a woman’s sexual functioning. Emotional changes that often accompany menopause can add to a woman’s loss of interest in sex and/or ability to become aroused. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or vaginal lubricants may improve certain conditions, such as loss of vaginal lubrication and genital sensation, which can create problems with sexual function in women.

I think it is important to mention that some postmenopausal women report an increase in sexual satisfaction. This may be due to decreased anxiety over getting pregnant. In addition, postmenopausal woman often have fewer child-rearing responsibilities, allowing them to relax and enjoy intimacy with their partners.

Bottom Line: Many women experience a problem with sexual function from time to time. However, when the problems are persistent, they can cause distress for the women and her partner, and can have a negative impact on their relationship. If you consistently experience these problems, see your doctor for evaluation and treatment.

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 Amazon.com

New book on women's health

New book on women’s health

Hot Flashes? Exercise Your Way To Cool The Fire

January 20, 2013

Hot flashes are one of the most disturbing aspects of menopause. It makes women uncomfortable and can wreck havoc on their lives. This blog will describe how exercise can cool the hot flash.

Increased energy and a fit body are just a few of the benefits of exercising. There is another advantage of working out for women. For menopausal women who exercise, they experience fewer hot flashes in the 24 hours after physical activity.

Women who are inactive or obese are more likely to have a higher risk for hot Women in a study at Penn State had fewer hot flash symptoms following exercise. As well, women who were identified as overweight, had a lower level of fitness, or experienced more frequent or more intense hot flashes, sensed the smallest reduction in symptoms.

Bottom Line: Becoming and staying active on a regular basis as part of your lifestyle is the best way to ensure healthy aging and well being, regardless of whether you experience hot flashes or not.

The findings are published in the current issue of Menopause.

Brain Health and Your Blood Pressure-One More Reason To Check For and Treat Hypertension

Researchers at University of California, Davis found that high blood pressure could damage the brain’s structure and function in people as young as 40.

They found accelerated brain aging among hypertensive and prehypertensive individuals in their 40s, including damage to the structural integrity of the brain’s white matter and the volume of its gray matter.

This suggests that vascular brain injury develops insidiously over the lifetime with discernible effects. The study is the first to demonstrate that there is structural damage to the brains of adults in young middle age as a result of high blood pressure.

Structural damage to the brain’s white matter caused by high blood pressure has been associated with cognitive decline in older individuals.

The research emphasizes the need for lifelong attention to vascular risk factors for brain aging.

Normal blood pressure has a systolic blood pressure below 120, and a diastolic pressure below 80. Prehypertension blood pressure range is a top number between 120 and 139, and a bottom number between 80 and 89.

Elevated blood pressure affects about 50 million Americans and is associated with a 62 percent risk of cerebrovascular disease, and a 49 percent risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study says there is evidence that lowering blood pressure among people in middle age and in the young elderly can help prevent late-life cognitive decline and dementia.

Bottom Line: People can influence their late-life brain health by knowing and treating their blood pressure at a young age, when you wouldn’t necessarily be thinking about it.

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 Amazon.com

New book on women's health

New book on women’s health

All You Need Is Love-Putting Romance Into Your Sex Life

January 19, 2013

February is the month of love and romance. Wouldn’t it be nice to jump start your love life and put some fun and fantasy back into your relationship with your significant other? Let me give you a few suggestions that may just light the fire of your partner.

Exercise. Aerobic workouts (running, biking, swimming) not only improve blood flow to the tissues “down there” for both men and women but can also boost your mood, pumping up “feel good” brain chemicals called endorphins. Exercise also has the benefit of increasing the testosterone level for both men and women about one hour after working out and will have a natural way of increasing your libido or sex drive.

Stress. Stress is anti-erotic. Too much stress increases the stress hormone cortisol, which causes testosterone to plummet. Stress relief can be obtained in just 15 minutes a day, whether through meditation, yoga, chilling to music, or just lay down and get your legs up and take the weight off of your shoulders.

Try something different. Recent research shows that partaking in new and challenging experiences with your partner can boost the brain chemical dopamine, which helps fuel sex drive. Try watching an erotic video or a sex toy. I recommend Lelo.com for some very sophisticated erotica.

Consider supplements. Ginkgo biloba has been used to treat sexual dysfunction, although the evidence for benefit is very weak. Still, it’s relatively safe (just don’t take it if you’re on a blood thinner), and the placebo effect may be enough to put you in the mood.

Take a deep breath. Certain scents are known to be attractive to women. Humans have a complex sense of smell. Certain scents have the effect of making a person hungry, tired, relaxed, happy and sometimes, turned on. Aromatherapy has been used for over 5000 years as a healing art and is still widely practiced in the Far East. Certain scents have been used for lovers for almost as long. In fact, scents are mentioned in the Kama Sutra as part of the art of seduction. You can uses these in baths, in a diffuser, or added to massage oil for extra intimacy. Some of these erotic scents include basil, cedarwood, frankincense, ginger, lavender, lime, orange, lime and rose.

Alcohol, just enough to turn on but not so much to turn off. One alcoholic drink can lubricate a nervous first-date situation. By reducing anxiety one drink can help get you in the mood. Remember, that too much booze can be a depressant and dampen the moment of intimacy and can even make it difficult for a man to obtain an erection.

Stop Smoking. It’s well known that smoking can have a terrible affect on blood flow to the sexual organs as it causes the blood vessels to narrow. It also saps your stamina and most people don’t like kissing cigarette breath.

Massage. Massage techniques can do wonders for sexual arousal particularly if you’re stressed, worried or angry. Prepare the room with soft lighting and soothing music then start with a back massage.

Bottom Line: Loss of libido is just one aspect of male and female sexual dysfunction. This Valentine’s Day make a commitment to bring Cupid into your sex life. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new and put a little romance into your relationship with that special someone.

Dr. Neil Baum is a physician at Touro Infirmary and the author of What’s Going On Down There-The Complete Guide To Women’s Pelvic Health. Available from Amazon.com

Vaccine and Hygiene For Preventing HPV STD

January 8, 2013

Vaccines are available to guard against a variety of different
infections and illnesses and are indicated for a number of different
patient populations. This blog will focus on human papillomavirus
(HPV).

Most HPV infections are asymptomatic and typically resolve in 1-2
years. the HPV infection is not female specific as the infection can
cause genital warts, warts in the throat, oral and anal cancers. The
HPV vaccine can prevent most of these cases if the vaccine is given
before exposure to the virus. If the HPV vaccine is given at an early
enough age, the vaccine can also prevent vaginal cancer in females.

Two vaccines have been developed for the prevention of HPV and both
vaccines are offered as a 3-dose series that is typically completed
over six months.

Gardasil vaccine provides immunity against HPV infections of 6, 11,
16, and 18 genotypes. Genotypes 6 and 11 are associated with the
majority fo cases of condyloma accuminata or genital warts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended
the routine use of Gardasil for boys and young men 9-26 years of age
for the prevention of genital warts and other HPV related disease in
men and bosy. It is recommended that boys and men receiving the
injections complete the entire series for maximum protection.

Bottom Line: HPV is a common sexually transmitted disease, most
infections are asymptomatic, however certain types can casue cancer of
the penis, vagina, and throat. Early vaccination in both boys and
girls helps prevent infection and future complications. For more
information contact your physician or pediatrician.