Archive for March, 2013

No Sperm, No Baby, No Problem

March 29, 2013

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Women have received a bad rap.  The assumption that most problems associated with the difficulty to conceive and have a baby is the fault of the female partner.  However, let the truth be told, 1\3 are a result of female problems, 1\3 are a male issue, and 1\3 are linked to both male and female problems. 

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that two-thirds of couples treated are ultimately able to conceive.

Part of the issue today is that many women are waiting much later in life to have children.  As women get older they’re going to see more problems trying to conceive. Men are capable of fathering children later in life, certainly into their 40s and 50s. They don’t have the same fertility issues that women have at that age.  That is, the biologic clock of men ticks longer than for women.

Common causes of men’s infertility can be hormonal problems, injuries, illness, medications, or a previous vasectomy. Lifestyle issues like smoking and alcohol use may affect sperm production, but are secondary factors.

A common cause of infertility in men is varicocele, an enlargement of the veins in the scrotum that heats the testicles, affecting the number and shape of sperm.  A varicocle is a common problem and up to 30 percent of all men have a varicocele.

Varicocele can develop in adolescence, and may be discovered by a pediatrician. Because of the long-term effects that can lead to infertility, a pediatric surgeon or urologist may recommend a procedure to correct the problem, depending on the severity. The purpose of the surgery is to seal off the affected vein and route blood flow into normal veins.

Another cause of male infertility is vasectomy.  Men are having a vasectomy, which is a reasonably permanent form of sterilization at an earlier age, and then have a change of heart when they get divorced and then marry a younger partner and want to have children and start a second family.  A vasectomy reversal is now quite successful and can be done as an outpatient in an ambulatory treatment center.

More recently, the public has been bombarded with advertisements for medications aimed at correcting low testosterone or low T. These popular medications for hormone replacement for low testosterone may affect a man’s future fertility.  Men should talk with their doctors about medications if they are trying or may be planning to achieve a pregnancy in the future.

Bottom line: Infertility is just as much a man’s problem as it is for the woman.  Help is available and the place to start is a semen examination to be sure that the man has all the ammunition he needs to father a child. 

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March Madness, Manhood, and Vasectomy

March 29, 2013

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What does March Madness and vasectomy have in common?  You probably answered very little.  However, many men who opt for a vasectomy as a permanent form of contraception are making the decision to have their “prime cut” this week or next week so they can watch the Sweet Sixteen and Final Four while recovering from the 15 minute procedure that can be easily done in the doctor’s office without a scalpel or without a needle.

 

Many male basketball fans may be looking for the perfect excuse to lounge in front of the television all week.  Many urologists, including myself, have the perfect solution: Get a vasectomy.

 

There are practices that offer a “3-Point Shot” plan – one vasectomy, one free pizza, and one weekend excuse to watch college basketball.

 

It is common for many men schedule the procedure on a Thursday or Friday so they can have the weekend to relax.  While the NCAA tournament lasts longer than the recovery period for a vasectomy, which is usually 2-3 days, this is a good excuse for basketball aficionados to catch a few games while enjoying uninterrupted viewing of basketball games.

 

So if you want to have a few days to watch the games without interruption, give your urologist a call and arrange an appointment.  For more information, go to my website, www.neilbaum, and watch a video about the procedure and how it can be done without pain or discomfort.

Don’t let Your Zipper Ripper Your “Nipper”-Zipper Injuries and Your Manhood

March 24, 2013

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According to a study published this month in the British Journal of Urology an estimated 17,616 people wound up in U.S. emergency rooms between 2002 and 2012 because they caught their penises in zippers.

Let the truth be told, zipper injuries are the single most common cause of penile injury in adult men reporting to emergency rooms. While permanent damage is rare, zipper entrapment has led to surgical intervention such as undesired circumcision. (Just one more reason to have a circumcision even if you are not Jewish!)

Bottom Line: In case of an unfortunate zip, it’s best to try to free one’s penis gently by backing the zipper down. If that doesn’t work, don’t struggle but head for the nearest ER. And don’t be too embarrassed. You’re not alone you’ve got over 1000 buddies who have been there before you!

Breast Cancer In Men-Not Just a Woman’s Problem

March 16, 2013

Breast cancer is not as common in men as in women and there are 2400 cases diagnosed each year compared to 232,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women each year. Unfortunately, most men with a breast lump, bump, or discharge from the nipple will ignore the problem. As a result many men do not seek medical care and are diagnosed when the cancer is at a more advanced stage and is more difficult to treat.
The cause of breast cancer in men is not known. However, there appears to be a relationship between male breast cancer and an increase in estrogen in men. Estorgen is the hormone that is responsible for a woman’s breast development. Since men produce very little estrogen, men rarely get breast cancer. It is thought that the extra estrogen in men may be responsible for breast cancer. Also, breast cancer occurs in older men usually at the time that testosterone, the male hormone produced in the testicle, production is in decline.
It is rare for a man under age 35 to get breast cancer. The likelihood of a man developing breast cancer increases with age. But breast cancer is less common in men because their breast duct cells are less developed than those of women and because they normally have lower levels of female hormones that affect the growth of breast cells.
Most male breast cancers are detected between the ages of 60 to 70 years. Other risk factors of male breast cancer include: a family history of breast cancer in a close female relative, a history of radiation exposure of the chest, enlargement of the breasts following hormone treatment, a rare genetic condition called Klinefelter’s syndrome. severe liver disease. diseases of the testicles such as mumps orchitis, a testicular injury, or an undescended testicle. Another newly identified risk factor is an inherited mutated gene or the BRCA2 gene.
Most breast cancer starts in the lining of the milk ducts in the breast and then if undetected or not treated will spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.
The diagnosis is made by the physical examination of the lump or mass noted in the breast tissue. The diagnosis is made by a mammogram which is the same test used for women with a breast mass and is confirmed with a breast biopsy where a small piece of tissue is removed and examined under a microscope.
The treatment of breast cancer in men is based on the tumor stage which is determined by the size and a determination of how far the cancer has spread. A grade 1 tumor is not very fast growing whereas a grade 3 tumor is more like to grow and spread to the lymph nodes and other organs.

The breast cancer found in men is very receptive to an oral drug tamoxifen, which inhibits the action estrogen on the breast tissue. Tamoxifen works like key blocking a keyhole and stops breast cancer cells from multiplying or growing. The side effects of tamoxifen include hot flashes, decreased sex drive, weight gain, and changes in moods. These are the same symptoms that women experience during menopause.

Bottom Line: Breast cancer in men is not very common. However, if detected early it is curable. If you are a man or a woman and experience a new lump or bump in your breast, make an appointment and see your physician.

Dr. Neil Baum is a physician in New Orleans and the author of What’s Going On Down There-the Complete Guide To Women’s Pelvic Health. The book is available on Amazon.com.

New book on women's health

New book on women’s health

Foods That Function As Aphrodisiacs

March 3, 2013

There are certain foods that are available to all men that may increase their mood for sexual intimacy. Do they work? I don’t know for sure but as my wise Jewish mother would say, “Neil, they may not help, but they voidn’t hoit!” This blog will cover xxxx foods that might serve as sexual stimulants and enhance sexual desire.

Oysters AM
Oysters
Oysters are rich in amino acids that stimulate the release of sex hormones such as testosterone in men and estrogen in women. For best effect, the oysters should be eater raw. It is a historical fact that Casanova, the great lover in the 1880s (?) consumed oysters for breakfast every day.
Asparagus AM
Asparagus is high in folic acid, which enhances histamine production. This chemical is necessary for orgasm.

Vanilla is a documented herb that significantly reduces anxiety. This particularly important for the interaction between couples who are just getting acquainted and anxiety is certainly at a higher level than in couples already in a relationship.
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Avocado is a fruit that is high in vitamin E, which is considered a sex vitamin. The fruit, when bivalved, or cut in two and the seed in the center even looks like a testicle!

Honey is a natural source of boron, which helps metabolize estrogen, and may increase the testosterone level. An elevated testosterone level is known to enhance the sex drive in both men and women.

Chocolate contains phenylethyl amine, which is considered a love chemical that releases dopamine at the time of orgasm. Dopamine increases the attraction, euphoria as well as excitement.

Bottom Line: Sex and intimacy is the most powerful of attractions between two people. Enhancing that behavior with a culinary aphrodisiac is just one way to make the sexual magnet stronger.