Archive for February, 2013

Circumcision Tied to Less Sexual Pleasure-At Least In Belgium

February 26, 2013

I have read articles that circumcision results in less enjoyment from sexual intimacy than men who have retained their foreskins.  A report from Belgium supports that claim.

The study implies that men circumcised either as children or adults report less intense sexual pleasure and orgasm than their uncircumcised counterparts.

The new study surveyed 1,369 men over the age of 18, who responded to leaflets handed out in train stations across Belgium.

The men were asked whether they were circumcised, and were then asked to rate how sensitive their penis was, how intense their orgasms were and whether they experience any pain or numbness when aroused.

310 men who took the survey were circumcised, and 1,059 were not. Each rated how sensitive their penis was on a scale from 0 to 5, with higher numbers being the most sensitive.

Overall, uncircumcised men reported between 0.2 points and 0.4 points higher sensitivity and sexual pleasure compared to circumcised men.  This small difference does not seem significant.

Currently, about half of U.S. baby boys have their foreskin surgically removed at birth.

Some religions, such as Judaism and Islam, consider circumcision part of religious practice, while other people choose circumcision for possible health benefits – including a reduced risk of urinary tract infections.

It is also of interest that Dr. Aaron Tobian, who studies circumcision but was not part of the new study, said that previous randomized controlled trials looking at sexual performance and satisfaction did not find a difference.

One possible explanation for any potential difference in sensitivity is that a man’s foreskin may protect the glans from rubbing against underwear and clothing. It’s possible, the researchers write, that friction makes the head of the penis thicker, drier and ultimately less sensitive.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks, but stops short of recommending universal circumcision (see Reuters story of Aug. 27, 2012).

Bottom Line: I personally haven’t heard too many complaints from circumcised men about their sexual enjoyment.  Not one man has ever come to my office and asked to have his foreskin restored.

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Sex Drive In The Tank? DHEA Is An Option

February 13, 2013

Women with a decreased sex drive or decreased libido now have treatments that can restore their interest and enthusiasm for sexual intimacy. Options include testosterone, yes the hormone produced in the testicles of men, but also produced in small amounts in women and is responsible for a women’s sex drive. Testosterone is available in pills, lozenges, patches, gels injections, and small rice-sized pellets inserted underneath the skin. Although there are advantages and disadvantages to each, most gynecologists and urologists will not prescribe pills, which can increase the risk of liver toxicity and lower levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol).

A slightly “milder” alternative to testosterone is DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). This steroid hormone is converted to testosterone. Supplementary DHEA, which is available in pill or cream form, increases testosterone levels by one-and-a-half to two times. So it’s not surprising that DHEA provides many of the same therapeutic benefits, including increased sexual interest and enhanced physical and mental satisfaction.

If you think you might be a candidate for testosterone therapy, here’s what to do:
Have your testosterone, DHEA and estrogen levels measured. Normal concentrations of testosterone range from between 25 and 100 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
Eat a well-balanced diet to stabilize your hormones Fiber and foods rich in minerals, such as potassium and magnesium can help balance hormones. Tofu, tempeh and other soy products are excellent sources of phytoestrogens, plant compounds that behave like mild estrogens in the body, helping relieve menopausal symptoms. Other sources of phytoestrogens include apples, alfalfa, cherries, potatoes, rice, wheat and yams. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will also help maintain optimal health as you transition into menopause.
If you begin androgen therapy, be sure to report any side effects, such as acne, deepening of your voice, go to your doctor so he or she can monitor your progress and decrease your dosage as necessary.

Bottom Line: Although it is not for everyone, emerging research may reveal androgen to be one of the most promising therapies available to menopausal women. Sexuality and vitality need not be passing pleasures of youth.

This was modified from “Testosterone: A Major Breakthrough for Menopausal Women”. This article appeared in Fit & Health and can be accessed at: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/women/menopause/testosterone-major-breakthrough-for-menopausal-women5.htm

Oh, What a Night

February 12, 2013

The Super Bowl has come and gone and our city was on the world’s center stage for one week. I am so very proud of our city, our thousands of volunteers who worked so very hard for weeks and months before the event, our citizens who rolled out the red carpet to fans from Baltimore and San Francisco, and our leaders for creating a flawless experience for fans, the teams, the media and for all who were involved in making it possible for everyone to have such a good time.

Yes, we had 34 minutes of dim light in the Dome but that didn’t dampen the sprits of everyone there. Kudos to Doug Thornton and his team who managed the potential crisis with calm and keeping their cool. His team certainly did live by the mantra, “the show must go on!”

Bottom Line: We have handed the Super Bowl baton for Super Bowl LXVIII to New York and New Jersey. We have raised the bar as we proudly sing, “If you can make it here, you just might be able to make it anywhere.” Good luck New York\New Jersey; we are rooting for you.

Dr. Neil Baum
New Orleans, LA

It’s never too early to quit smoking

February 9, 2013

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Everyone knows that smoking is deleterious to your health. If you are looking for a reason to quite, read the rest of this blog.

Lifelong smokers die an average of 10 years younger than nonsmokers. The good news is that smokers who manage to quite by age 35 can add that decade back onto their life expectancy. Even kicking the habit before age 60 can add 6 more years of life.

Bottom Line: Don’t start smoking, but if you already have, the benefits of quitting are enormous.

Sperm Counts May Decrease With Excessive TV Watching

February 6, 2013
Watching TV may be relaxing but it may affect your sperm count and your fertility

Watching TV may be relaxing but it may affect your sperm count and your fertility

Men, here’s another reason to work up a sweat: It boosts your sperm count.

Couch potatoes who watch lots of TV have fewer sperm than men who exercise moderately or vigorously each week.

Men who reported exercising more than 15 hours a week had 73 percent higher sperm counts than men who exercised fewer than 5 hours a week. And men who watched more than 20 hours of TV had 44 percent lower sperm counts than men who watched little to no TV.

It is possible that exercise produces more antioxidant enzymes that can prevent a natural process called oxidative stress from damaging cell membranes in the body. This damage can disrupt the creation of new sperm cells. Another possibility is that when men watch TV, their scrotums get squished against their bodies, making that region hotter and possibly preventing new sperm from being made.

Research has shown that sperm production slows if the scrotum temperature rises 1.8 to 3.6ºF (1 to 2ºC) above normal body temperature.

Bottom Line: If you want to improve your sperm count, you should get active and get off of the couch.

Urinary Tract Infections-Help Without Medication

February 5, 2013

Urinary Tract Infections Are One of the Most Common Maladies affecting women and is a source of pain, discomfort, and inconvenience. There are several action steps that most women can take to help reduce the frequency of these infections.
There are several simple, do-it-yourself techniques that may prevent a urinary tract infection. Some may work some of the time, or only in some women. But, because they carry no side effects, they certainly are worth trying to prevent the often painful and bothersome symptoms the infection can bring.
Here are some steps you might consider if you have more than 3-4 infections a year.

• Drink plenty of fluids – the equivalent of six to eight 8-ounce glasses of liquids – every day to flush bacteria out of your urinary system.
• Make sure you’re getting vitamin C in your diet, either through food or supplements. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, makes your urine acidic, which discourages the growth of bacteria.
• Drinking cranberry juice may also produce the same effect. Cranberry tablets are a more concentrated form of cranberry juice without the sugar content.
• Urinate every two to three hours whether you have the urge or not. Keeping urine in your bladder for long periods gives bacteria an opportunity to grow.
• Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays and scented douches. They also may irritate the urethra.
If you suffer from urinary tract infections more than three times a year, your health care professional may suggest one of the following therapies to try to prevent another recurrence:
• See you doctor about a low dosage of an antibiotic medication, such as trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or nitrofurantoin, taken daily for six months or longer
• If you infections occur after sexual intimacy, a single dose of an antibiotic medication taken after sexual intercourse.
Bottom Line: Recurrent urinary tract infections impact millions of American women. A few of these steps can probably reduce the frequency of these infections. If you have any questions, check with your doctor.

Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence)-a Dangling Stress Test

February 5, 2013

Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence may more than affect your relationship with your significant other. ED just may be a warning sign of impending heart disease.

Men with even mild erectile dysfunction — but no known heart problems — face a major extra risk of developing heart disease in the future. And as erectile dysfunction becomes more pronounced, signs of hidden heart disease and earlier death risk grow.

Not surprisingly, men already known to have a heart condition along with severe erectile dysfunction fare worst of all. Among men aged 45 and up without diagnosed heart disease, those with moderate or severe erectile dysfunction were up to 50 percent more likely to be hospitalized for heart problems. Erectile dysfunction boosted the risk for hospitalization with a diagnosis of heart disease.

Men with erectile dysfunction should take action by seeing a health professional and asking for a heart check.

An estimated 60 percent of men aged 70 and up suffer from moderate to severe erectile dysfunction. The condition can place major limits on sexual activity and require the use of drugs like Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis that can come with side effects.

A variety of causes can contribute to impotence, but it is widely acknowledged that erectile dysfunction is predominantly the result of underlying cardiovascular disease.

Doctors already believe that erectile dysfunction is an early warning sign of heart problems. The arteries of the penis are smaller than those of other parts of the body including the arteries to the heart and may be more likely to reveal problems when their lining deteriorates before heart symptoms occur.

Bottom Line: Men with severe erectile dysfunction, compared to those with no problem, were eight times more likely to have heart failure, 60 percent more likely to have heart disease and almost twice as likely to die of any cause.
 So before you ignore erectile dysfunction as occurring with age, think of your ED as a dangling stress test and see your doctor and get your heart checked out.