Archive for the ‘medication’ Category

Urinary Incontinence: Gotta Go, Gotta Go Right Now!

November 28, 2015

Urinary incontinence affects millions of Americans and causes havoc with their lives.  It I a source of embarrassment, shame and often depression.  Other medical consequences of incontinence include skin irritation, urinary tract infections, and pelvic pain.  This blog will discuss treatment options including medications and non-medical solutions.

Urinary incontinence means that the person suffering from it starts losing his/her control over the bladder. This leads to several kinds of problems of the urinary system including sudden urination, slow but steady leakage of urine, or dripping of urine when one undertakes a physically stressful exercise like lifting weight.  Those who have incontinence often lose urine with coughing, laughing, or sneezing.

Although this is a common medical problem, many suffers continue to suffer in silence, living a secluded and reclusive life.

While these causes cannot be controlled, it is important to take note of and control factors that can worsen the condition:

Medication

If you have a problem of urinary incontinence and the symptoms have gone from bad to worse, you need to check with your doctor about the medication or drugs you have been taking. For, chances are that some of these may be exacerbating the problem. Certain drugs to treat high blood pressure are linked to an increase in incontinence.

Alpha blockers dilate blood vessels to reduce blood pressure and they also often relax the muscles of the bladder, furthering urine flow. Some drugs to treat depression can contribute to worsening incontinence symptoms.

Anti-depressants work by relaxing the nerves of the mind and may also affect the ability of the bladder muscles to contract (side effects).

Diuretics are another set of drugs that are associated with increased

urination. In fact, these drugs are also called ‘water pills’, and are designed to flush out excess salt from your body to treat conditions like high blood pressure.

Caffeine

Caffeine is an important component of our daily lives as most of us consume it through coffee, tea and chocolates. Excessive consumption of caffeine is associated with the problem of increased urination. While mild consumption doesn’t have a negative effect, excess consumption can affect the renal system, as caffeine is a stimulant. It stimulates the cardiovascular system, increasing the heart rate as well as blood pressure. This increases the rate of blood to be filtered. It also relaxes the bladder’s detrusor muscles, causing them to feel fuller more frequently. So, limiting caffeine intake is healthy.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a major health concern of today as it affects the functioning of the entire body. It also increases the risk of urinary incontinence, as well as its severity. Efforts should be made to prevent and control diabetes by keeping your weight under control, exercising regularly and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Excessive weight also puts extra pressure on the pelvic muscles and weakens them. Therefore, it is also important to control body weight.

Solutions

Besides controlling the aforementioned factors, it is important to take medical help to treat and manage urinary incontinence.

In some patients, adopting behavioral changes may help. For example, decreasing fluid intake to average levels, urinating more frequently to decrease the amount of urine that is held in the bladder and keeping regular bowel habits (as constipation can worsen the problem) may have a positive effect.

Pelvic muscle training exercises, aka Kegel exercises, can specifically help those who suffer from incontinence. The exercises help patients exercise better control of their detrusor muscles.

Weight loss has also been shown to help decrease symptoms in overweight people.

Bottom Line:  Urinary incontinence is a common condition affecting millions of American men and women.  Help is available and no one needs to “depend on Depends”!

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Prescribed Pills – Don’t Take Two and Then Call in the Morning!

January 4, 2015

Millions of Americans take prescribed medications. Yet few patients ask about the medications, the purpose, if there are drug interactions with their existing medications, the cost, and most important of all, the side effects of the medications. This blog will discuss the questions you should ask your doctor when you are given a new prescription.

One study reported that doctors spent an average of 12 seconds talking about a new medication’s side effects, and in another report, fewer than 50% of physicians covered the topic of side effects at all.

Luckily, doctors love to answer questions. If you can guide the conversation with relevant questions, you’ll (1) get better information, (2) participate in the decision, and (3) leave with confidence instead of confusion about your new prescription.
Before you walk out the door with that new prescription I suggest that you do the following:
• Ask for the generic name as well as the trade name of the medication?
• What does it do? (conditions it treats, how it works)
• What are the benefits? For example:
Does it just lower your blood sugar or cholesterol, or has it actually been shown to prevent strokes, heart attacks, or other health events? There are some drugs that just change your lab results without altering your health risks and you may not want to treat your numbers on a lab report.
How many people taking the drug does it actually help? (Drugs have varying rates of response — for example, 50% for many anti depressant meds.)
What are the risks?
How many people taking the drug have side effects?
What side effects are common? Are they temporary?
Any severe side effects?
What side effects should you call your doctor about if you have them?
Are there alternatives?
◦ Other types of medications
◦ Drug-free alternatives. (Exercise is more effective than drugs at reducing your risk of death from certain causes.)
How do you take it?
Does it interact with any of your current health conditions, other medications, supplements, foods, or alcohol?
Timing: How long does it take to start working? Can you stop taking it if you feel better?
What if you miss a dose?
Is any monitoring required? (Some medications can affect kidney function, for example, so it’s checked periodically with a blood test.)
How much does it cost? Is there a generic version available?

Bottom Line: If you are armed with these questions and ask your doctor and get answers to these important questions, then you will be a better informed and a healthier patient.

Can’t Get It Up? May Be It’s Your Prescription Drugs Keeping Your Erection Down

September 22, 2014

Impotence or erectile dysfunction impacts nearly 30 million American men. Often times the problem is related to prescription medication. This blog will discuss five categories of medications that can cause you not to have an ejection or can make the erection less rigid and not adequate for sexual intimacy. This blog will discuss five medications that can impact your sex life and what you can do about it.

Most men who take prescription medications know that they’re going to come with a list of side effects, which usually include drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth, or upset stomach. Sometimes, they’re a bit more serious, encompassing everything from skin irritation to allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock. But most of these guys forget one of the more unwanted side effects: erectile dysfunction.

Around the country, erectile dysfunction, or simply ED, affects as many as 30 million men, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Though this figure probably doesn’t include all those men taking prescription meds, they certainly experience the same effects, such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and a decreased quality of life. Nevertheless, it’s important to know which medications may cause these side effects, and speak to a doctor about possible alternatives — or just prepare to have trouble keeping it up.

Benzodiazepines

It’s interesting that benzodiazepines, (Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Librium,) which are commonly used for anxiety can cause ED, and thus further anxiety. In fact, you’ll find that it’s a running theme. Anxiety is well known to cause ED, as increased levels of stress harm the body and take away from a man’s libido or sex drive.

Antidepressants

Another condition that causes ED in itself, major depression affected an estimated 16 million adults. Antidepressants are also used to treat anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and even long-term pain. One of the major forms of antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are comprised of the drugs Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro.

Up to 60 percent of people taking SSRIs may experience ED.

Beta Blockers

High blood pressure damages blood vessels, including those in a man’s penis; causing ED. But beta blockers, one of the drugs most commonly prescribed to people who have blood pressure, may also cause them to experience ED. Drugs that fall into this category include Sectral, Lopressor, Cogard, and Tenormin.

Antihistamines

Millions of men suffer from allergies, but some of the most common drugs, such as Benadryl and Dramamine, may be causing them to have ED, too. The ED also seems to be temporary, with sensation coming back gradually after ending use.

H2 Blockers

Also called H2-receptor antagonists, this category of drugs include the popular heartburn drugs Zantac and Pepcid. They’re used to treat gastrointestinal disorders like gastric ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

For the most part, they cause ED when taken in high doses, and the drug Tagamet (cimetidine) is most likely to give men problems. Along with ED and a decreased libido, they can also lower a man’s sperm count.

Though life on these drugs may seem grim within the sexual arena, taking them is important for treating whatever disease a doctor has prescribed them for. Also, by talking with a doctor about alternative treatments, lowering doses, or taking supplements, anyone who takes these drugs may be able to get some of their sexual health back.

Bottom Line: There are dozens of medications that can affect a man’s sexual performance. Check with your doctor as he\she can usually alter the dosage or change to another medication that doesn’t have the side effect of ED.