Archive for May, 2015

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)– A Primer

May 25, 2015

Urinary tract infections are one of mankind and womankind’s most common maladies. Most of these infections are a source of irritation and bother but if left untreated can cause significant kidney damage. This blog will discuss this common condition and what can be done to prevent and treat common UTIs

A UTI is when bacteria gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder. UTIs cause more than 8.1 million visits to health care providers each year. About 40% of women and 12% of men will have symptoms of at least one UTI during their lifetime.

The urinary tract makes and stores urine, one of the waste products of your body. Urine is made in the kidneys and travels down the ureters to the bladder. The bladder stores the urine until it is emptied through the urethra, a tube that connects the bladder to the skin, when you urinate. The opening of the urethra is at the end of the penis in a male and in front of the vagina in a female.
The kidneys are a pair of fist-sized organs in the back that filter liquid waste from the blood and remove it from the body in the form of urine. Kidneys balance the levels of many chemicals in the body (sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and others) and check the blood’s acidity. Certain hormones are also made in the kidneys. These hormones help control blood pressure, boost red blood cell production and help make strong bones. The ureters are two tubes that carry the urine down to the bladder.

Normal urine has no bacteria in it, and the one-way flow helps prevent infections. Still, bacteria may get into the urine from the urethra and travel up into the bladder.

Signs of UTI
When you have a UTI, the lining of the bladder and urethra become red and irritated just as your throat does when you have a cold. The irritation can cause pain in your belly and pelvic area and may make you feel like urinating more often. You may even try to urinate but only get a few drops and/or feel some burning as your urine comes out. At times, you may lose control and wet yourself. You may also find that your urine smells bad or is cloudy.
Kidney infections often cause fevers and back pain. These infections need to be treated at once because a kidney infection can quickly spread into the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening health issue.

Causes of UTI
Large numbers of bacteria live in the rectal area and also on your skin. Bacteria may get into the urine from the urethra and travel into the bladder. They may even travel up to the kidney. But no matter how far it goes, bacteria in the urinary tract can cause problems.
Just as some people are more prone to colds, some people are more prone to UTIs. Men are less likely to get a UTI.
Some factors that can add to your chances of getting a UTI are:
Body Factors
Women who have gone through menopause have a change in the lining of the vagina and lose the protection of estrogen that lowers the chance of getting a UTI. Some women are genetically predisposed to UTIs and have urinary tracts that make it easier for bacteria to cling to them. Sexual intercourse can also affect how often you get UTIs.
Birth Control
Women who use diaphragms have also been found to have a higher risk when compared to those who use other forms of birth control. Using condoms with spermicidal foam is also known to be linked to greater risk getting of UTIs in women. Women are more prone to UTIs because they have shorter urethras than men so bacteria have a shorter distance to travel to reach the bladder.
Abnormal Anatomy
You are more likely to get a UTI if your urinary tract has an abnormality or has recently had a device (such as a tube to drain fluid from the body) placed in it. If you are not able to urinate normally because of some type of block, you will also have a higher chance of a UTI.
Anatomical abnormalities in the urinary tract may also lead to UTIs. These abnormalities are often found in children at an early age but can still be found in adults. There may be structural abnormalities, such as outpouchings called diverticula, that harbor bacteria in the bladder or urethra or even blockages, such as an enlarged bladder, that keep the body from draining all the urine from the bladder.
Immune System
Issues such as diabetes (high blood sugar) also put people at higher risk for UTIs because the body is not able to fight off germs as well.
Can UTIs be Prevented?
There are steps women can take to avoid UTIs:
1 Urinating after sex may lower the risk of UTI by flushing out bacteria that may have gotten into the urinary tract during intercourse.
2 Certain forms of birth control, such as spermicidal foam and diaphragms, are known to increase the risk of UTIs in women. Check with your health care provider about other types of birth control.
3 Drink plenty of fluids to keep well hydrated.
4 Don’t put off urinating when you need to and don’t rush to finish. Holding in urine and not draining your bladder fully can increase your risk of UTIs.
Wipe from front to back to keep bacteria around the anus from getting into the vagina or urethra.

Bottom Line: UTIs are a common condition that affects millions of men and women. this blog will hopefully provide you suggestions for preventing UTIs. For more informatiion call your doctor.

Lop It Off- What You Need To Know About Circumcision

May 25, 2015

Circumcision has been performed on men and baby boys from the beginning of recorded history. The procedure is certainly controversial. This blog will discuss the pros and cons of circumcision and a hope that the article will help you make an informed decision for yourself and for your little boys.
Circumcision is the removal of the skin that covers the tip of a baby’s penis. In recent years, newborn circumcision has been a hot topic of debate. Differing opinions and advice may leave many new parents with more questions than answers.
Your choice of whether to circumcise your son may be a question of religion or custom. For instance, circumcision is part of Jewish and Muslim traditions. In other cases, parents may simply want their son to look like his father or other male family members.
But the trend in the United States is clearly changing. The rate of circumcision is falling. In the 1970s and 1980s, about 8 of every 10 boys born in the US were circumcised. Today, 5 or 6 of every 10 boys are circumcised. Circumcision rates in the US vary by region. Fewer boys in Western states are circumcised. The north central region has the highest rates of circumcision.
Only about one in three males are circumcised worldwide. Around the world, the highest rates for circumcision are in the Middle East, South Korea and the US. In Latin America, most of Asia and in Europe, circumcision is rare. It is on the rise in Africa, where studies have shown that circumcision lowers the risk of getting HIV. This is because the foreskin is different from skin on other parts of your body. It’s not like the skin on your arm, for instance. The foreskin has a type of cell called Langerhans cells, which are more likely to attach to HIV cells. Based on these findings, in 2007 the World Health Organization endorsed circumcision as a way to help stop the spread of HIV. Still, this thinking has not
taken hold in parts of the world where HIV is not as wide spread. In fact, the Royal Dutch Medical Association in the Netherlands called for a ban on circumcision in 2010. They stated that the procedure is “medically unnecessary and violates children’s rights.”
In the US, the American Urological Association (AUA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) each have policy statements on circumcision. Both groups recommend the procedure be offered as a choice to parents. The AUA “believes that neonatal circumcision has potential medical benefits and advantages as well as disadvantages and risks.” The AAP states that “health benefits [from circumcision] are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns… [But are enough] to justify access for families choosing it.” Parents should talk with their child’s doctor about the health risks and benefits. With those facts, parents should then think over what will work for their family. They should keep in mind their own religious, ethical, and cultural beliefs and practices.
So what should parents know about the health risks and benefits of circumcision? Of course, circumcision can cause pain and stress for the patient. To lessen pain for newborns, an anesthetic (pain killer) may be used. With newborns, there is some evidence that babies may be less likely to feel discomfort 7 to 10 days after birth. This is because newborns have a high level of endorphins (substances made by the body that reduce pain). Also, as with any surgery—even a minor one—there is also a risk of bad
side effects. When circumcision is not done properly, the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) or penis may be hurt. In rare cases, death has even occurred. Still, circumcisions done by skilled doctors rarely have bad side effects. And the problems that result are often not serious. The most common side effect is bleeding or infection. To help avoid problems, parents choosing to circumcise should make sure that whoever is doing it is skilled and practiced. Parents should also feel free to ask any questions they may have.
After circumcision, caring for the penis is simple but important. Wash the area gently with warm water. Pat dry and put on a new bandage with antibiotic ointment each time you change the diaper. The healing process should take about a week. It is normal for there to be a little swelling, redness and maybe blood at first. Still, it is important to have your baby seen by his doctor if these problems last several days or get worse. Also talk to a doctor if the baby gets a fever or does not have a wet diaper within 12 hours of circumcision. Almost all side effects are easily treated.
On the plus side, circumcised boys are less likely to have a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their first six months. As they grow older, circumcised males are also less likely to get penile cancer. Still, this type of cancer is rare in the US. And uncircumcised males can prevent penile cancer with good hygiene and keeping the area under the foreskin clean.
Parents who opt out of circumcision should wash their baby’s penis with soap and water with each bath. Parents should also be sure to teach their son good hygiene and care for his penis as he grows older. Treat the foreskin gently and make sure not to pull it back forcibly. Once it starts to retract, often around age five, it is important to clean under the foreskin with soap and water often. See a doctor if there is any swelling, pain or if the foreskin is itchy.
Bottom Line: The circumcision decision is not an easy one for parents to make. However, there are advantages for having this procedure on your little boys. Speak to your doctor for more information and more details.

Male Health Month

May 21, 2015

June is Male health. Here are 10 health concerns for men:

1. Prostate cancer. Approximately 30,000 men die of prostate cancer each ear. All meds should undergo a baseline prostate specific antigen blood test at age 40. Men with a family history of prostate cancer, African American men, and veterans exposed to agent orange are at high risk. These men should consider getting screening each year beginning at age 40.

2. Benign enlargement of the prostate is also a concern for men after the age of 50. 50% of them between the ages of 50 and 60 will develop enlargement of the prostate which is a benign disease but affects a man’s quality of life.

3. Erectile dysfunction. Failure to achieve and maintain an erection can be caused by heart disease, diabetes, certain medications, lifestyle, or other problems. Effective drugs are available for treating this common condition that affects over 30 million American men.

4. Cardiovascular disease. Heart disease and stroke are often associated with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Both can usually be controlled with diet and exercise, sometimes combined with medication.

5. Testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 20-35 and in most cases can be cured.

6. Diabetes. Men with diabetes or more likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vision problems and erectile dysfunction.

7. Skin cancer. Anyone who spends a lot of time in the sun is at risk for skin cancer.

8. Low testosterone. As men age, their testosterone decreases. This can called Andropause, a condition similar to menopause in women.

9. Colorectal cancer. Cancer of the colon and rectum can usually be treated if caught early.

10. Depression. Men are less likely than women to seek help for depression and are 4 times more likely to commit suicide. Help can take the form of medication, counseling, or a combination of both.

I know in New Orleans we have the attitude that “if ain’t broke don’t fix it”. That may apply to your car but not to your body. Take good care of yourself and see your doctor once a year for fine-tuning your health and wellness.

The Skinny on Artificial Sweetners

May 10, 2015

There’s probably no area in nutrition that has attracted more attention than the role of artificial sweeteners. This blog will hopefully provide you with information to decide if artifical sweetners are safe for you.

Aspartame
a) The Methanol Controversy
Most people who receive e-mails will have seen the “Aspartame e-mail” which links this non-nutritive sweetener to every ill known to mankind. Most people will have dismissed this as scare mongering, but there have been legitimate concerns that aspartame may have behavioral effects or be linked to nervous system damage. These concerns were based on the fact that aspartame contains 2 amino acids (phenylalanine and aspartyl) and a so-called methyl ester.
When aspartame is metabolised, the compound is broken down into phenylalanine, aspartate and methanol. Phenylalanine and aspartate are found in large quantities in all protein foods, so unless an individual suffers from phenylketonuria (a genetic disorder in which the body cannot process part of a protein called phenylalanine), no harm should be caused by these two common amino acids
It is, however, the methanol which is formed from the methyl ester mentioned above, that has come under suspicion and had been held responsible for damage to the nervous system and aberrant behaviour.

Methanol is also formed in the human body from a variety of standard foods such as fruits and vegetables, something most people probably never take into consideration.

For example 1 medium banana produces 21 mg of methanol in the human body, while a 340 ml glass of orange juice is responsible for 23 mg of methanol, both of which compare well with the 18 mg of methanol which our bodies produce if we drink 340 ml of a cold drink that has been sweetened with aspartame.
The basic chemical evidence, therefore, does not support the theory that the methanol produced from aspartame will cause nervous system damage or change human behaviour.

But what do the studies show?
There are two types of studies that are used to determine if an artificial sweetener causes harm, namely consumption studies and animal and human clinical trials to determine negative side-effects.
1) Consumption studies
• Average users consume less than 1-10% of the ADI (ADI = Acceptable Daily Intake of 40 mg/kg/day as defined by the JECFA)
• The highest users consume 45% of the ADI or 45/100 x 40 = 18 mg aspartame/kg/day
• No report of anyone using or exceeding the aspartame ADI has been found worldwide.
2) Clinical trials
In addition, clinical trials have been carried out with many different animal species (using healthy animals or those that were genetically predisposed to developing a disease and even animals with induced disorders of the nervous system), which did not identify any aspartame-linked damage.
When similar clinical aspartame trials were performed with normal children, hyperactive children, children with phenylketonuria, aggressive schoolboys, sugar-sensitive children, as well as healthy adults, aeroplane pilots, adults with Parkinson’s disease or those suffering from depression, no effect on learning, cognitive performance, behaviour, seizures or any other neurological parameters could be identified.
In similar fashion, the effect of aspartame on cancer has been disproved according to Magnuson (2012) and she concluded the section of her talk on aspartame as follows:
• “there is no credible evidence that aspartame is carcinogenic”
• “there is no need to revise the previously established ADI.”
But the regulatory bodies watching over our food safety never sleep, so they are reviewing all the data about aspartame again and will hopefully publish their findings by September 2012.

For those members of the public who are not convinced about the safety of aspartame, there are of course a variety of other non-nutritive sweeteners which can be used instead.
Stevia
A popular new edition to the sweetener arsenal, is stevia, which we also discussed in Artificial Sweeteners – part 1.
Stevia has been suspected of causing blood sugar variations, increasing blood pressure, and negatively affecting reproduction and kidney function. Based on scientific studies, it has become evident that crude or low-purity extracts of stevia (as are often sold illegally), may well cause some, or all of these negative effects (Magnuson, 20120).
On the other hand, studies conducted with high-purity extracts which contain 95% or more of steviol glycosides, have not shown any negative effects. This is then also the reason why the JECFA have specified that only stevia extracts that contain 97% pure steviol glycosides, can be approved for human consumption (Magnuson, 20120). It is thus important to be careful what type of stevia products and/or food/drinks sweetened with stevia you buy. Purchasing products manufactured by reputable companies, should ensure stevia safety.
Neotame
It is good to hear that there are no legitimate safety controversies about the non-nutritive sweetener Neotame (a derivative of aspartame), which has also been extensively tested in mice, rats, rabbits, dogs and humans. Neotame has such intense sweetening properties (it is up to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar, and up to 60 times sweeter than aspartame), that it has the added advantage of only having to be used in extremely small quantities.

Bottom Line: Artificial sweetners can be a nice alternative to using sugar. Hopefully, this blog will give you the pros and caveats about using these sugar substitutes.

Caffeine And Urinary Incontinence

May 10, 2015

Urinary incontinence affects millions of American men. Caffeine may contribute to the problem. This blog will discuss a new study that implicates our dear cup of joe as a culprit for incontinence.

The amount of caffeine that’s typically found in just two cups of coffee may contribute to urinary incontinence in men, according to a new study.

The amount of caffeine that’s typically found in two cups of coffee may contribute to urinary incontinence in men. Therefore, men who are having problems with urinary incontinence should modify their caffeine intake.

The report doesn’t prove that caffeine causes bladder leakage, but the men in the study who consumed the most caffeine were more likely to have the problem than those who consumed the least.
Plenty of research has linked caffeine to incontinence among women. But little is known about whether there is a similar connection for men.

It’s estimated that 85% of Americans, myself included, consume caffeine regularly, both in beverages like coffee, tea and soft drinks, and in foods like candy, pastries and ice cream containing chocolate.
Estimates of urinary incontinence among US adult men range from 5% to 21%.

The recent study showed that the man who consumed an average of 169 mg of caffeine every day. That’s a little more than the typical 125 mg in a cup of coffee.

About 13% reported leaky bladder, but only 4.5% had a problem considered moderate or severe, i.e., more than a few drops of urine leakage during the course of a month.

After adjusting for the men’s age and other risk factors, the researchers found that those who consumed at least 234 mg of caffeine every day were 72% more likely to have moderate to severe urinary incontinence than those who consumed the least caffeine.

What the study found
Men who consumed more than 392 mg of caffeine daily were more than twice as likely to be incontinent.

Total water intake, in contrast, was not linked to a man’s risk of moderate to severe incontinence.

It’s not just a matter of how much fluid a person takes in. Dr Markland said that some research in women suggests caffeine irritates the bladder, and she believes that may also underlie the association in men.

Bottom Line: I don’t think it’s a call for action to stop drinking coffee but if you are having an incontinence problem, you may want to decrease your caffeine consuption.

Things To Avoid If You Have Urge Incontinence

May 10, 2015

Overactive bladder is common problem affecting millions of American men and women. The condition impacts a person’s quality of life and can make them miserable. This blood will discuss non-medical solutions that won’t cure the problem but will help control OAB.

Urge incontinence is one of the four main types of urinary incontinence.
It involves the loss of urine as a result of strong, uncontrollable urges to urinate. Certain foods, drinks and medications can worsen those urges and therefore increase the severity of your incontinence.
Consider reducing your intake of these 6 things if you suffer from urge incontinence:

1. Caffeine

A number of studies have shown caffeine to worsen urinary incontinence. Caffeine is a diuretic which means it can increase your need to urinate. For those who suffer from urge incontinence, caffeine may make the urges worse, Health24’s resident GP Dr Owen Wiese explains.
Try limiting your intake of caffeine by cutting down on coffee, certain teas, energy drinks and caffeinated fizzy drinks.

2. Spicy foods
Spicy foods are commonly known to irritate the stomach and bowel but they have been found to have a similar effect on the bladder, Dr Wiese explains. Try to avoid cooking with chilli and other spices for a while to test if your symptoms improve.

3. Certain medication

There are a number of different medications that can increase the frequency or urgency to urinate. These include:
Hypertension medication:
– Diuretics such as Hydrochlorothiazide (Ridaq) and Furosemide (Lasix)
– ACE inhibitors such as Enalapril maleate (Pharmapress; Renitec) and Captopril (CaptoHexal; Zapto)
– Alpha-antagonists including Doxazosin maleate (Cardura) Prazosin (Pratsiol)
Muscular pain medication:
– Muscle relaxants including Baclofen (Lioresal) and Orphenadrine (Norflex, Disipal)

4. Sweeteners Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame that are commonly found in diet drinks and sugar-free foods can also cause incontinence. Like spicy foods, sweeteners are known to irritate the bladder. Try adding honey or agave syrup to your tea instead of sweeteners to prevent uncontrollable urges.

5. Alcohol

If you suffer from incontinence, alcohol intake is another lifestyle factor that could be aggravating your symptoms.
Like caffeine, alcohol is a diuretic and therefore increases your need to urinate. Also, being intoxicated can prevent you from realizing that you need to go to the bathroom or from getting to the bathroom in time.
Try to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume to better control your urges.

6. Citrus fruit

Citrus fruits cause the same problem as spicy foods and sweeteners. The acidity caused by the vitamin C in the fruit irritates the lining of the bladder which can increase the urge to urinate.
Try replacing citrus fruits with less acidic alternatives such as apples, watermelon and apricots.
While these different foods, beverages and medications can worsen urge incontinence, they can also have little affect on your incontinence at all. Some people are affected by alcohol and caffeine but not by citrus fruit or spicy foods.

Bottom Line: Urge incontinence is common problem but you can decrease the incontinent episodes by monitoring your foods and fluids. You don’t have to completely eliminate the culprits I’ve listed above you should decrease the consumption of these bladder irritants.

Low T Or Don’t Let Your Balls Get Deflated!

May 10, 2015

I don’t have an opinion on “Deflate Gate” but I do have an opinion on treatment men who have symptoms of low testosterone with testosterone replacement therapy. This blog will discuss the symptoms of testosterone deficiency, how the diagnosis is confirmed, and the treatment options for low T.

The symptoms of low testosterone include more than just the loss of libido or sex drive. They include lethargy, loss of muscle mass, softening of bones that can result in fractures of the spine and hips, and moodiness and even depression. If you’re concerned that you may have low testosterone, your doctor can check your testosterone level with a simple blood test. If you and your doctor decide that you need treatment, there are several options for testosterone replacement.

The overall goal of testosterone replacement therapy is to increase your testosterone level until it is in the middle of the normal range, which for an adult male should be between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). What’s normal for you will depend on your age and your symptoms. Testosterone replacement therapy improves signs of masculinity — deepening the voice, increasing muscle mass, and prompting the growth of pubic and facial hair. It also relieves symptoms of low testosterone such as decreased sex drive, poor erections, low energy, and depression.
You should have testosterone replacement treatment only if you’ve been diagnosed with low testosterone by a doctor and you’re taking it under a doctor’s supervision.
Testosterone replacement therapy can take the form of gels, injections, transdermal patches, and tablets that dissolve under your lip. Each type of testosterone replacement is effective, and each also has advantages, disadvantages, and side effects.
• Testosterone replacement injections. Depo-Testosterone (testosterone cypionate) and Delatestryl (testosterone enanthate) are forms of testosterone replacement therapy given by injection. The advantages of injectable testosterone are that you take it only once every one to two weeks and it’s relatively inexpensive. The disadvantage is that testosterone levels may be difficult to control — too high just after your injection and too low just before the next injection.
• Testosterone replacement gels. Testosterone gel preparations — AndroGel, Axiron, and Testim — are the easiest testosterone therapy to administer and have been shown to be very effective in several studies. Testosterone gels must be applied to the skin on your arms or shoulders about the same time every day. Disadvantages are the higher cost, possible irritation to sensitive skin areas or your eyes, and the possibility that the medication can rub off on someone else.
• Testosterone replacement patch. A testosterone transdermal patch called Androderm is applied to the skin each night and left in place for 24 hours. You’ll need to pick a not-too-hairy spot on an arm, your stomach, or your back, and choose a different spot every night. The main disadvantage to using the patch is skin irritation.
• Testosterone replacement using a tablet under the upper lip. Striant is a testosterone tablet that you place under your upper lip against your gum (a so-called buccal system) and replace every 12 hours. You don’t chew or swallow these tablets, which mold to your upper gum so you can eat and drink normally. Disadvantages of the buccal system include irritation of the gums, toothache, and bitter taste.
• Testosterone pellets. There are pellets that can be inserted under the skin in the doctor’s office. The pellets will last from 4-6 months and then is repeat again.

In addition to the short-term side effects of the different testosterone replacement options, there are longer term side effects common to all testosterone replacement treatments:
• Acne
• Enlargement of the prostate gland
• Breast swelling and tenderness
• Increased urination and fluid retention
• Worsening of breathing problems during sleep, such as sleep apnea
• Weight gain
• Increase in red blood cells

In most cases, testosterone replacement for low testosterone is safe and effective. However, you should not use testosteroone replacement if you have certain medical conditions.
Although there is no evidence that testosterone replacement therapy causes prostate cancer, it can cause an existing cancer to grow more quickly. You shouldn’t take testosterone replacement if you have prostate cancer, male breast cancer, or if your prostate has been diagnosed as being abnormal through a rectal exam or by a blood test. So be sure your doctor rules out these illnesses before starting any treatment.
If you have a medical condition that causes you to produce an excess of red blood cells or if you have untreated obstructed sleep apnea (OSA), you may not be able to take testosterone replacement.

Bottom Line: Low testosterone is a diagnosis that is easily made with a simple blood test. This blood test can be made by your doctor and treated under medical supervision. If you’re being treated for low testosterone, make sure to keep regular doctor appointments and let your doctor know if you have any side effects.

Foods and Fluids That Worsen Overactive Bladder

May 4, 2015

One of the most devastating problems affecting many men and women is the problem of overactive bladder. This is the bladder that has a mind of its own. When the bladder decides to empty its liquid contents and doesn’t wait for the owner’s permission, it is called overactive bladder.
There are some foods and beverages that you should avoid, since they could worsen your condition.

Water (too much or too little)
You might think that drinking less water will make you want to pee less often, but that theory backfires in reality. Drinking too little water causes your urine to become more concentrated, which can irritate your bladder. On the other hand, drinking too much water can be a problem as well. Try to find the right balance to meet your needs and avoid drinking a lot of water after 6 pm, so that you don’t keep waking up to go to the bathroom at night.

Caffeine
Coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks all contain caffeine, which is a diuretic that causes your body to produce more urine. Drinking less caffeine will give you better control over your bladder.

Chocolate
Chocolate is another source of caffeine that can worsen your bladder control. If you don’t want to give up chocolate, try to consume it earlier in the day, or switch over to white chocolate.

Spicy foods
Spicy foods also irritate your bladder, so try to dial down the amount of chilli you add to your meals and avoid spicy snacks and sauces.

Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, grapefruits and limes are all acidic. Acidic foods irritate your bladder and worsen urinary incontinence, so try to limit your intake of these fruits
Pineapples
Most people aren’t aware of this, but pineapples are actually acidic fruits as well. Limit your intake of pineapple and avoid drinking pineapple juice.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes also worsen urinary incontinence, since they are also acidic. They will be pretty hard to cut out of your diet, since tomato-based foods also have the same effect, so you would have to avoid sauces, gravies, ketchup, and other tomato-based items.

Onions
Onions can also irritate your bladder, so try to cut down your onion intake and avoid eating raw onions. You can even switch to a milder vegetable like shallots instead.

Cranberries
Cranberries are an effective remedy for urinary tract infections, however they are pretty acidic so they could reduce your control over your bladder.

Alcohol
All forms of alcohol dehydrate your body, but they do so by increasing the amount of urine, which means you need to visit the bathroom much more frequently. Alcohol also interferes with the signals that the brain sends to the bladder about when to release urine, so if you suffer from urge incontinence, where you sometimes lose control of your bladder, you should avoid alcohol as much as possible.

Sugar
Both sugar and artificial sweeteners affect the bladder. Try to cut sugar out of your diet for a few days and see whether it makes a difference to your bathroom habits.

Carbonated drinks
Avoid carbonated drinks like soft drinks, soda, sparkling water and fizzy juices. The fizz irritates your bladder, and makes you need to pee more often.

Sauces
Certain condiments like mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup and chili sauce can all worsen your condition, so consume them sparingly. Switch over to healthier chutneys and spices instead.

Processed foods
The artificial colors, flavors, additives and preservatives in processed foods could also be adding to the problem. Try to cut them out of your diet and eat more home-cooked meals instead.

Bottom Line: By modifying your diet you cannot cure overactive bladder but you certainly can use these techniques to help control the problem. It may not be necessary to eliminate completely all of these dietary irritants but if you can use them in moderation, your bladder will thank you!

Help For An Overactive Bladder (OAB)

May 4, 2015

Nothing is more distressing than losing urine and unable to reach a toilet in a timely fashion. It is a source of embarrassment, anxiety, and even depression.

Your bladder can start to present problems at menopause as sneezing, laughing, increased urgency and frequent night calls can disturb your sleep and your peace of mind.

This is particularly true at menopause when up to 40% of women are affected by OAB. Unfairly perhaps, but women do suffer urinary incontinence four to five times as often as men.
Some of that has to do with pregnancy and childbirth, which can weaken the vagina, the pelvic floor muscles, and the ligaments that support the bladder. This can cause the bladder to be pushed out of place, making it harder for the muscles to perform. That’s why you may leak a little urine when you sneeze, cough, or laugh.

Symptoms of OAB:
* increased urinary frequency
* a sudden urge to urinate
* the need to urinate during the night
* difficulty getting to the bathroom without leaking

Types of Incontinence
There are two separate types of incontinence:
Type 1: Stress incontinence leads to leakage of urine when the pressure in the abdomen is higher than the sphincter pressure. Normally, contraction of the pelvic floor muscles compresses the urethra [bladder outlet] and prevents loss of urine and stress incontinence. Loss can happen with sneezing, coughing and during exercise such as lifting, jumping and walking.
Type 2: Urge incontinence is when an uncontrollable need to pass urine occurs due to over activity of the bladder wall muscle. Typically this occurs as you put the key in the front door or when water is running. There is generally no weakness in the pelvic floor muscles or muscles controlling the bladder outlet. This is also known as overactive bladder syndrome.

Mixed incontinence occurs when there is muscle weakness and and uncontrollable urge to go to the toilet together.

The hormone factor
For women, the bladder and urethra have hormone receptors and it is estrogen that affects the health of the pelvic muscles and the urinary tract. It is estrogen that helps to preserve the strength and flexibility of supportive pelvic and bladder tissues so low levels may be part of the reason these supportive tissues sometimes weaken as a woman ages and may also contribute to muscular pressure around the urethra.
Estrogen can improve the flow of blood and strengthen the tissue around the urethra so women who are low in body weight at menopause may not be producing sufficient for this purpose. Often prescribed are low-dose topical estrogen creams or patches but according to the Mayo Clinic, scientific evidence to support this treatment is lacking.
Low estrogen generally indicates even lower progesterone levels so a combination cream of both hormones can be effective.

When to get help
Bladder weakness can affect many areas of your life from disturbed sleep, to your sex life and embarrassment in public over urinary accidents. This can make it hard to enjoy everyday activities and so many women don’t seek help but these signs indicate you have a problem:
• urinate more than eight times in a 24-hour period
• get up in the night to urinate
• experience frequent leaking
• have changed your activities to accommodate your symptoms

How to help yourself
There are many types of surgery for stress incontinence and although this can be helpful, as time goes by a number of women will get a return of their urine leakage between 5 to 10 years after surgery. It is better to try and manage the condition by first trying pelvic floor muscle exercises which are an inexpensive and effective method of treating mild stress incontinence.

Often referred to as Kegel exercises you could follow the plan below. First you need to be able to identify your pelvic floor muscles and learn how to contract and relax them. To do this, stop urination in midstream. If you succeed, you’ve got the right muscles. Then practice this as below:
* Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder and lie on your back. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Try it four or five times in a row. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions.
* Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
* Repeat 3 times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day.
More information:
Unfortunately at menopause women tend to put on weight, and being overweight can make bladder problems more common. Sleep at menopause is also often disturbed for this reason and for this progesterone does help aid sleep and rebalance hormones to help with any weight loss.
However for women who do need additional estrogen as well as progesterone and are not overweight a combination cream is usually more effective for the bladder.

Bottom Line: Incontinence and OAB are common maladies affecting millions of American women. You don’t have to depend on Depends! Help is available. Speak to your doctor.

Supplements and Testicular Cancer-Is There a Relationship?

May 4, 2015

Testicle cancer is the most common cancer in men between the age of 20-40. The cause of testicle cancer is not known but a recent report suggests a relationship between the use supplements and testicle cancer.
In the United States, 8,500 men are diagnosed with the disease every year. Exactly what causes testicular cancer remains largely a mystery to the scientific community, but a new study published recently in the British Journal of Cancer has uncovered an unexpectedly high correlation between muscle-building supplements and testicle cancer.

The study was conducted by interviewing 356 men who had been diagnosed with testicular germ cell cancer, and 513 men who had not. Researchers asked not only about their supplement use, but also about other factors such as smoking, drinking, exercise habits, family history of testicular cancer, and prior injury to the groin, in order to rule out confounding variables. Supplement use was defined as consuming one or more supplements—such as pills and powders containing creatine or androstenedione—at least once a week for four consecutive weeks or more.

After accounting for confounding influences, as well as age, race, and other demographics, researchers found that men who used supplements had a 65 percent greater risk of having developed testicular cancer than men who did not use supplements.

They also found evidence that application of supplements beyond the moderate definition of supplement use increased risk even further:
Men who used more than one kind of supplement had a 177 percent greater risk.
Men who used supplements for three years or longer had a 156 percent greater risk.
Men who started using supplements at age 25 or younger had a 121 percent greater risk.

Inspired by mounting evidence that at least some supplement ingredients may damage the testes, the study is the first of its kind to explore the possible link between supplements and testicular cancer. The authors hope that future studies and experiments will substantiate their findings.

Bottom Line: No one can say with any degree of certainty that supplements cause testicle cancer. However, until the study is confirmed, the question men everywhere should be asking themselves is, “are the gains worth it?”