Archive for December, 2015

December 25, 2015

ED SOLUTION AU NATRIEL

Erectile dysfunction affects over 30 million American men.  Most of the men are looking for a solution, perhaps a pill to solve their problem.  Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis do work.  However, they are very expensive and not available in the generic format at this time.  So let’s look at other options, even natural supplements that may be effective.

 Ginseng

While a study published in the Journal of Urology found that men taking Korean red ginseng saw significantly improved erections compared to their placebo-popping counterparts, the American Urological Association Clinical Guidelines Panel feels this trial group of 45 men is too small to validate its clinical efficacy. In addition, Korean red ginseng can cause added health issues for men who have heart disease, mood disorders, or immune system disorders.

L-arginine

Taking a supplement of this amino acid can help increase blood flow both to the penis and the heart, While there’s no medical guarantee it will work like Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis, L-arginine is known to increase levels of nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes muscles and increases blood flow, and is involved in maintaining an erection.

Zinc Supplements

Zinc supplements are not shown to help, but a healthy lifestyle with an excellent diet — anything good for the heart — will be good for the penis. Perhaps the best advice is to lose weight, to exercise, and to stop smoking.

Acupuncture, Hypnosis, and Yoga

Anything that helps reduce stress and improves awareness of your body or calms you down is worth trying.  For some people, acupuncture can help in situations where stress, anxiety, or injury is the cause of ED.

Horny Goat Weed

Pills, powders, and teas are made from an extract of this plant, also called Epimedium, which has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Some animal-based studies show that it may increase nitric oxide, which is involved in maintaining an erection, but there is no conclusive scientific evidence that it has benefits in humans.

Pomegranate juice

Antioxidants in berries help nitric oxide last longer in the bloodstream, which is where the pomegranate myth began. However, there is no scientific proof that drinking this antioxidant-rich juice can actually help with erections.

Bottom Line:  I wish I could report that these supplements are the Holy Grail and can help men restore their erections so that they will be able to successfully engage in in sexual intimacy with their partners.  However, the jury is out; and although these options are not likely to be harmful they probably won’t solve most men’s erectile dysfunction.

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About the New Year’s Eve Ball on Times Square

December 25, 2015

Each year, millions of eyes from all over the world are focused on the sparkling Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball. At 11:59 p.m., the Ball begins its descent as millions of voices unite to count down the final seconds of the year, and celebrate the beginning of a new year full of hopes, challenges, changes and dreams.

· The Ball is a geodesic sphere, 12 feet in diameter, and weighs 11,875 pounds.
· The Ball is covered with a total of 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles that vary in size, and range in length from 4 ¾ inches to 5 ¾ inches per side.
· For Times Square 2016, 288 of the Waterford triangles introduce the new Gift of Wonder design composed by a faceted starburst inspiring our sense of wonder that nourishes the seeds of knowledge and achievement. Last year’s Gift of Fortitude design utilized diamond cuts on either side of a crystal pillar to represent the inner attributes of resolve, courage and spirit necessary to triumph over adversity. The remaining 2,112 crystal triangles feature the Gift of Imagination design with a series of intricate wedge cuts that are mirrored reflections of each other inspiring our imagination.
· The 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles are bolted to 672 LED modules which are attached to the aluminum frame of the Ball.
· The Ball is illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs (light emitting diodes). Each LED module contains 48 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs – 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green, and 12 white for a total of 8,064 of each color.
· The Ball is capable of of displaying a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns that create a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square.

Testosterone, Depression, and SSRI’s or Anti-Depressants-What’s the Connection?

December 21, 2015

Many people that take antidepressants, specifically SSRI’s (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors), find out that they have abnormally low testosterone. So what does this all mean? Did the initial low testosterone lead the individual to become depressed and go on an antidepressant? Or did the treatment with an antidepressant actually slowly reduce the individual’s natural ability to produce testosterone?

It really is a “chicken vs. egg” type argument in regards to whether low T caused depression or an antidepressant caused low T. Unfortunately there is no clear-cut scientific answer as to whether the antidepressant you took caused your testosterone to be lowered.

With that said, new research comes out all the time finding new things about antidepressants (SSRI’s) – they really aren’t well understood. Many antidepressants medications are now linked to development of diabetes, birth defects, etc. Although there are no formal studies to link antidepressants with low testosterone, many people taking these drugs are convinced that they are the root cause.

It could have been that the lower testosterone was what caused the person to feel depressed in the first place. The low T could have also merely been a coincidence among those who are depressed – after all, having low T is a pretty common issue.

Antidepressants and Testosterone: Many people taking antidepressants experience low testosterone. Similarly, many people with low testosterone are taking antidepressants. These two factors could also occur independently. In other words a person may develop low testosterone while on an antidepressant without the antidepressant being the cause. 



Depression and Testosterone: Many people may be experiencing depression as a result of low testosterone. Similarly many people may be experiencing low testosterone as a result of depression. Additionally, these two factors could be totally unrelated and independent of each other. In other words the depression could have nothing to do with low T and vice versa.
Depression and sex drive – Many people with depression tend to have lower than average sex drives. It is the depression that is thought to lead to disinterest in pleasurable activities like sex. People may be in such a depressed, low level of arousal, that they don’t feel like having sex. Therefore in this case, it could be that the depression and not testosterone is causing reduced sexual interest.
Testosterone and sex drive – It is well known that healthy testosterone levels are linked with a healthy sex drive. Men that have low T tend to have less fuel for sex, erectile dysfunction, and other performance issues. If your testosterone level were to be lowered, the natural result would be a reduced sex drive. This reduced sex drive could be linked to depression – therefore testosterone could play a role.
Low testosterone causing depression? – Individuals with lower than average levels of testosterone could be experiencing depressive symptoms as a result of their low T. Studies have found that among men with abnormally low levels of T, testosterone therapy helped reduce symptoms of depression. For this reason it is important to rule out all causes of depression (including low T) before you get on an antidepressant.
Antidepressants and low testosterone – It is well documented that antidepressants can affect hormones. Therefore some hypothesize that hormonal changes can influence our sex drive. It is not known whether antidepressants are the culprit behind lowering levels of testosterone. Many people that have taken SSRI’s believe that the drugs they took lowered their testosterone.
Bottom Line: There is no question that there is a relationship between testosterone and depression. I cannot say for certain that low testosterone is a result of the use of SSRIs. However, if you are taking SSRIs and you are experience a low sex drive or libido, it is very easy to ask your doctor to obtain a blood testosterone test. If it is low, treatment is easily accomplished with either testosterone injections, topical gels or pellets.

Testosterone and the Prostate Gland

December 14, 2015

Many men suffer from hormone deficiency with symptoms of loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, loss of energy, loss of muscle and bone mass, and even depression.  These men with low levels of testosterone are helped with hormone replacement therapy using either injecitons of testosterone, topical tesotserone gels, or pellets of testosterone inserted under the skin.  Some men are concerend that the use of testosterone will icrease the risk of prostate cancer or cause them to have more urinary symptoms.

A recent review found little evidence to support that urinary symptoms would worsen as a result of using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

Furthermore, although the Endocrine Society and other associations have suggested severe LUTS as a contraindication to TRT treatment, investigators found little evidence to support it after reviewing the limited research.

The study showed that men with mild urinary symptoms such as getting up at night or having dribbling after urination experienced either no change or an improvement in their symptoms following TRT.

It is of interest that patients with metabolic syndrome (diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and increase in abdominal fat) experienced symptomatic improvement after TRT.  The study even pointed out that men with the metabolic syndrome who received testosterone replacement therapy also had improvement in the underlying metabolic syndrome, i.e., lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and improvement in their control of their diabetes.

Bottom Line:  Testosterone is safe for men with mild urinary symptoms and may even help with reduction in urinary symptoms in some men.

Source:

Kathrins M, Doersch K, Nimeh T, Canto A, Niederberger C, and Seftel A. The Relationship Between Testosterone Replacement Therapy and Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms: A Systematic Review. Urology S0090-4295(15)01053-3. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2015.11.006.

FAQs on Erectile Dysfunction

December 5, 2015

It often is a mystery about men are able to achieve and hold an erection.  Even more mysterious is what are the causes of failure of erections and to fix the problem.  It is not uncommon for me to feel uncomfortable broaching the topic with their physician.  Fortunately, after the introduction of oral medication to treat impotence or erectile dysfunction in 1999, men are talking about their problems in the bedroom with their physicians.

In this blog I will discuss some of the most frequently asked questions about ED and the treatment for this common condition that impacts over 14 million American men.

  1. Why does Viagra fix the problem?

An erection requires an increase in the blood supply to the penis and more blood has to rush into the chambers of the penis than comes out of the penis.  When this happens, an erection will occur. Viagra helps blood vessels relax and increases the blood supply to the penis.

  1. Does the male hormone, testosterone, have a role in the erection process?

Testosterone acts on a series of different areas of the body to enhance bone development, muscle growth, sexual interest and function. Testosterone is primarily responsible for the libido or sex drive.  The testosterone level slowly decreases at a rate of about 1% a year starting around 25.  By middle age, most men start experiencing signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency and men often need hormone replacement therapy.  This can be accomplished with injections, topical gels, or pellets of testosterone inserted under the skin.

  1. Why does sex feel good?

There is a high concentration of nerve endings in the penis and vagina, which triggers stimulation and orgasm. Dopamine is triggered and there is a pleasant feeling in the brain during ejaculation. It could also be an evolutionary thing. When we were cavemen with only animal instincts, the fact that sex feels good encouraged us to reproduce to keep the species going.

  1. Do sexually transmitted disease cause erectile dysfunction?

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are both sexually transmitted diseases that are caused by direct and unprotected sexual contact. Both STDs live in reproductive genital tracts of men and women and can be cured with antibiotics. If both STDs go untreated, it can lead to infection that will lead to infertility in men but usually does not cause erectile dysfunction.

5 Why does sex hurt?

The obvious reason is if the man’s penis is much larger than a woman’s vagina opening. The other possibility is that women have a decrease in lubrication of the vagina and the friction is a source of pain and discomfort usually for the men but also for the male partner as well.

Bottom Line:  Impotence is a common condition especially in middle age or older men.  Treatment is available and most men can be helped.  Talk to your doctor.

What’s Causing Your Erectile Dysfunction? (ED)

December 2, 2015

Erectile dysfunction or impotence affects nearly 14 million American men.  The condition is often associated with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and literally hundreds of medications that side effects of ED.  There are a number of conditions that can be treated that can significantly improve your erection that doesn’t require medication or surgery.

  1. Vitamin D deficiency: vitamin D is a necessary vitamin and when the vitamin D level is decreased, which can be identified by a simple blood test, a man’s erection can be affected. A study has shown that men with severe erectile dysfunction had lower Vitamin D. The solution is as simple as getting outside in the fresh air and getting some sunshine as the sun helps convert inactive vitamin do to the active vitamin that is vital to good health. Many factors affect the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D, including season, time of day, latitude or how far you live from the equator, air pollution, cloud cover, sunscreen, body parts exposed, color, and age. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen and getting vitamin D from food and supplements rather than risk the harmful rays of the sun.
  2. Diabetes: Erectile dysfunction could be caused by undiagnosed or diagnosed diabetes. If your ED is sudden, consider getting screened and if you know you already have diabetes, expect this to be a risk factor. By getting the glucose level under control and lowering the HbgA1C to normal levels, you can improve your erections.
  3. Your drinking: Alcohol has a reputation of increasing the desire for sexual intimacy but decreasing the performance or make getting and holding an erection difficult. If you have issues getting it up and you have also started increasing the amount of drinks you have, including the frequency, then consider cutting back. Heavy drinking increases your risk of ED.  One to two drinks per day is acceptable will not impact your erections.  More alcohol will certainly impact your performance in the bedroom.
  4. Stress: If you are stressed at work, home or in your relationship, it will affect your sex life. You need to be a relaxed to get in the mood for sex. This problem can also be a catch-22, because if you cannot get it up, you start to stress about that too, making it even more unlikely you will have an erection. So, basically, just relax and take a deep breath and practice mindfulness.
  5. Coffee to the rescue: Studied have found that 42 percent of men who drink between two to three cups of coffee a day are less likely to have erectile dysfunction. Caffeine helps relax the arteries and the smooth muscle within the penis which, in turn, helps increase blood flow.
  6. Not enough sex: The more sex you have, the less likely you are to suffer from ED. What is considered regular? Experts say you can shoot for two – three sexual engagements including orgasms per week.
  7. Smoking: The more you smoke, the more you risk have a flat, flaccid penis. 23 percent of erectile dysfunction occur among men who smoked.
  8. Lack of exercise: Exercises, especially weight resistance ones, do a lot to increase a man’s testosterone which helps reduce the likely of ED. Your levels or testosterone normally drop about 1%a year after age 25.
  9. Bicycle riding: Studies have shown that the longer you ride your bicycle, the higher your chance of developing ED. You do not have to stop riding though, just make some modifications. You can ride shorter distances, get off of the seat every 10-15 minutes for 30 seconds, find comfortable seat and get a bike that is sized appropriately.
  10. Your medications: Some medications like antihypertensive drugs and antidepressants (SSRIs) can cause erectile dysfunction.

 

Bottom Line:  ED is a common problem affecting millions of American men.  Often times the problem can be related to diet, lack of exercise, and poor lifestyle choices. Take a look at these 10 factors that can significantly affect a man’ erection.  Make some adjustments and you will soon be “back in the saddle”!