Archive for the ‘Men's health’ Category

50 Shades of Sex In the Golden Years

February 24, 2015

So many seniors think that after sixty sexual intimacy goes into the tank. This is hardly the case as an interest in intimacy and sexual activity continues throughout life even in the golden years. Our society tends to have ageist concept of intimacy, portraying sex among seniors as inappropriate or unnatural. The truth is that many seniors, both men and women, continue to be sexually active and are interested in meeting others with whom they can become intimate. There is documentation that 70% of men and 35% of women continue to be sexually active over the age of 70. This blog will discuss sex and the senior and what you can do if you are having problems with sexual intimacy in your senior years.

While most long-married individuals reported steady declines in sexual activity, those who passed the 50-year marriage mark began to report a slight increase in their sex lives.

And notably, frequency in the sex lives of long-married couples continued to improve. The study, published last month in The Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers noted that an individual married for 50 years will have somewhat less sex than an individual married for 65 years.

The analysis of this study showed that the warm glow after the 50-year marriage mark, although flickering, was steadier than that of those in marriages of shorter duration. The researchers are sociologists at Louisiana State University, Florida State University and Baylor University.

Sexual frequency doesn’t return to two to three times a month, but it moves in that direction, which was reported by the investigator from LSU.

But the finding that some long-married couples continue to have sex decade after decade was not news to Jennie B., an 82-year-old widow who lives in a village in upstate New York. She married her first and only husband, Peter, in 1956, when they were in their mid-twenties. The couple, married 47 years, remained sexually active until he had quintuple heart bypass surgery two years before his death in 2003.

In this snapshot study of older adults, some were not having sex at all. And a few were even having sex daily. But in the main, the study looked at trends. The average older adult who had been married for a year had a 65 percent chance of having sex two to three times a month or more. At 25 years of marriage, the likelihood of that frequency dropped to 40 percent. If the marriage lasted 50 years, the likelihood was 35 percent. But if the marriage — and the lifespan — of the older adults continued, at 65 years of being together, the chance of having sex with that frequency was 42 percent.

And so, as adults age, their social circles shrink, they know time is limited, they look around and what do they see? Each other. Seniors will often place intimacy as a high priority.

I might add that seniors often engage in intimacy without having intercourse but that intimacy can occur with touching, holding hands and kissing is often just as satisfying and gratifying as sexual intercourse which occurs at an earlier age.

Bottom Line: Sex after sixty is an activity that is normal and should be encouraged. It may take a little creativity and it may take a little more planning and effort but it can happen and both partners feel a sense of enjoyment and pleasure.

Recommended Reading 30 Lessons for Loving, by Karl Pillemer, PhD.

Perhaps even 50 Shades of Grey!

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Movember-A reminder To Have a Prostate Check With Your Doctor

November 4, 2014

November is a month dedicated to men’s health and male health awareness.  Thousands of men will change their appearance this month by growing a moustache for the 30 days of Movember.

Not only are the ‘Mo bros’ bring back the moustache, they are raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.

By taking a few simple steps such as maintaining a good diet and taking action early when experiencing a health issue, every man can improve their chances of living a happy and healthy life.

If prostate cancer is spotted early, prostate cancer can be very effectively treated. And many men will be able to lead a normal life for years to come. Prostate cancer has one of the best survival rates of all cancers.

The most important thing to remember about prostate cancer is that even if the doctors confirm you have it, it doesn’t mean you will die of it,

Many of the men immediately start thinking about their own mortality and worrying about their families and loved ones after they are gone.

This is why ‘Movember’ is so important – to encourage men to be more proactive about looking after their own health.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with 250,000 new cases each year and nearly 30,000 deaths in the U.S. It is often slow-growing, but there are more aggressive forms which need active treatment.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis which secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm.

Conditions that can affect the prostate include infections, enlarged prostate – the gland grows in nearly all men over 50, prostate infections, and prostate cancer.

The first step is to make an appointment with your primary care physician and request a PSA test. If you have an elevated PSA level, your doctor will often refer you to a urologist.  The urologist may recommend a prostate biopsy and will treat you as an individual and work out what the best treatment is depending on your age, health and other conditions you may have.

Surgery or radiotherapy is not right for everyone and sometimes a ‘watch and wait’ or surveillance plan of action is recommended if the prostate cancer is not aggressive.

A lot of men find it embarrassing to turn to a doctor about men’s issues about urinary symptoms as they fear they have prostate cancer.

A much more common condition is the enlarged prostate gland.  This is a benign condition that impacts nearly all men over the age of 60 and causes difficulty with urination such as a decrease in the force and caliber of the urinary stream, urinary frequency, urgency of urination, and getting up at night to urinate.

The condition makes life uncomfortable as it can place pressure on the bladder and urethra, the tube through which urine passes, and can make it difficult to urinate or cause a frequent need to.

Most men can be helped with oral medication such as alpha blockers and medications to actually reduce the size of the prostate gland such as Proscar or Avodart.  If medications are in effective, there are minimally invasive procedures such as microwaves, lasers and now the new Urolift procedure.  This procedure has FDA approval and consists of using an implant that pulls the prostate gland open the us making urination much easier and more comfortable.

Prostate cancer – what you need to know if you are a man:

  • Ask your primary care Dr. for a special test (called PSA) – spotting prostate cancer early is really important , this is especially important if you are in your 50s or have any risk factors
  • Many diagnoses of prostate cancer will not cause problems and can be effectively treated and cured
  • There are no symptoms of prostate cancer unless it is very advanced
  • Contrary to popular belief difficulty in passing water is not a necessarily a sign of prostate cancer
  • You are three or four times more likely to develop the disease if your brother, father or close male relative has been diagnosed with it
  • If you are African American, then there is an increased risk you will develop prostate cancer.
  • It is a known fact that all men will develop prostate cancer if they live long enough.

Prostate and prostate cancer facts:

  • The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. It secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm
  • Conditions that can affect the prostate include infections, enlarged prostate (the gland grows in nearly all men over 50) and prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with 250,000 new cases each year and 30,000 deaths in the U.S.
  • Prostate cancer is often slow-growing, but there are more aggressive forms need active treatment
  • Most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer survive 10 years or more
  • Familial inheritance represents 1-5% of all prostate cancers diagnosed
  • It is predicted that there will be 60% more diagnoses over the next 20 years
  • The number of advanced cancers is falling as awareness spreads

Prostate cancer – what happens:

The doctor will take some blood and test it to measure the amount of protein called prostate specific antigen – PSA.

It is normal to have a small amount of PSA in your blood. An elevated PSA level may be a sign of prostate cancer but equally the elevated PSA could be something like a urine\prostate infection or an enlarged prostate which is a benign condition.

An elevated PSA level may require an ultrasound prostate biopsy, which is where a small part of the prostate removed for further testing, or recommend an MRI scan, or both

If the scans and the biopsy confirm prostate cancer, your urologist will examine the information to determine exactly what risk type of cancer it is

You may need to have further scans such as bone scan or a CT scan

Types of treatment include active surveillance, radiotherapy or surgery depending on the type and severity of the cancer.

The important thing to remember is that prostate cancer can be effectively treated and you can live a perfectly normal life

More information on treatment options are available on my website: http://neilbaum.com/services/prostate-cancer

Bottom Line: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the second most common cause of death in American men. Most men with prostate cancer can be successfully treated. It starts with a digital rectal exam and a blood test, PSA.

Medical Testing At Age 50-This Is Test You Can’t Afford to Fail

January 20, 2013

Most men and women do not need the services of the medical profession between the time they leave their pediatricians around age 18-20 until age 50. The exception is women who see their obstetrician for perinatal care and deliverying their children. Around age 50 you should start making regular visists to your doctor. This article will discuss the routine tests that you should consider when you reach middle age.

When you go for your annual physical, make sure your doctor performs or recommends these simple tests that may save your health — and your life — later. (Note that your doctor may recommend additional tests based on your personal health profile.)

Thyroid hormone test. Your thyroid, that innocuous looking gland in your neck, is the body’s powerhouse, producing hormones needed for metabolism. Aging (and an erratic immune system) can wreak havoc causing a variety of problems, especially in women. That’s why women should get a thyroid test at age 50 and then every 5 years.
The rectal exam. Dread it; hate it; joke with your friends about it: Just make sure you get one — every year. Along with other tests your doctor may recommend, it may give clues to treatable problems in your colon (think colon cancer) or prostate for men. Screening colonoscopy is recommended for everyone at 50 years old.
Stepping on the scales. This is the age when most people start gaining weight. Watch this weight gain carefully, and fight back with healthier eating and exercise. Being overweight puts you at high risk for developing a number of diseases — and studies show that weight loss can improve your odds.
Blood pressure. Untreated high blood pressure is an equal opportunity killer: It kills your heart, your brain, your eyes, and your kidneys. Don’t let hypertension sneak up on you. Get the test. It’s simple; it’s cheap; and it’s quick.
Cholesterol profile. Do you have high cholesterol? Find out — at least once every 5 years (more if you’re at risk for a heart attack). Controlling your cholesterol can add years to your life.
Blood sugar. Untreated diabetes can destroy your health, causing heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness. Don’t let it. Get a fasting blood sugar test at least once every 3 years and take control of diabetes early.
For women only: Pelvic exam and Pap smear. You may think you have suffered enough — at least 20 years of pelvic exams and Paps! But you still need these — especially if you’re sexually active. Ten minutes of mild discomfort once every 1 to 3 years pays big dividends in protecting you from cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.
For women only: Breast exam and mammogram. At this age, don’t ever let a year go by without getting a mammogram and having your doctor examine your breasts for any changes. Early detection of breast cancer can save your breast and your life.
Looking for moles: Love your skin. Check your skin monthly for any unusual spots or moles. Be sure to ask your doctor to check your skin once a year, as well.
Protecting your eyes. Vision-robbing diseases become more common as you age. Be sure to get your eyes examined regularly — every 2 years until age 60 and then yearly after that. Go more often if you have vision problems or risk factors for eye problems.
Checking your immunizations. People over age 50 should get a flu shot every year. And don’t forget, even healthy people need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years, and one of those should contain the pertussis vaccine for whooping cough. Be sure to ask your doctor to update any immunizations that you might need. Consider Hepatitis A and B vaccines if you haven’t already had them.

Use your birthday as a gentle reminder to schedule a visit to your dentist, and call your doctor to see if there are important tests you should take. By investing an hour or two now, you may be able to add years to your life.

Bottom Line: When you go for your annual physical, make sure your doctor performs or recommends these simple tests that may save your health — and your life — later. Remember of you don’t take time for your health, you won’t have time to enjoy life in your senior years.

For more information on women’s health, I suggest my new book, What’s Going On Down There-Everything You Need To KnowAbout Your Pelvic Health. the book is available from Amazon.com

New book on women's health

New book on women’s health

Time For A Tune Up-Men’s Health Routine Check Ups

January 8, 2013

Men need to treat their bodies like their cars and visit to the doctor to check what’s under
the hood Men do not usually talk about going to the doctor. Most of the time, it takes serious pain or a major concern to get them to schedule a visit. You may be surprised to know that the urinary tract is most commonly responsible for men’s complaints, as it can bring on problems with obstructive or irritative symptoms. “ ‘Obstructive’ means things like slow urinary stream, difficulty getting the stream to start, difficulty emptying the bladder completely and ‘irritative’ means things like urgency or feeling a strong desire to urinate that you may have trouble inhibiting, having leakage of urine with urge incontinence or nocturia or going to the bathroom at nighttime,” says Dr. Sean Collins, an urologist at East Jefferson General Hospital.

Kidneys can bring on troubles of their own. “Kidney stones can develop with back pain or cause blood in the urine, and the biggest risk factor is not drinking enough fluids when it gets hot outside,” says Dr. Benjamin Lee, a urologist at Tulane Medical Center. The majority of stones are made of calcium but can also be due to recurrent urinary tract infections. “We know that lemonade has a chemical called citrate, which helps dissolve calcium to help prevent stones from forming,” says Lee. It is important to be proactive because if you develop a kidney stone, there is a 50 percent chance you will have a second one in the next five years.

Prostate screenings are vital but keep some men far from the doctor’s office. “Men are intimidated by the rectal examination, but it is not a big deal and takes 30 seconds while the doctor puts a gloved finger in the rectum and feels the prostate,” says Collins. The doctor checks the size of the prostate and whether there is a mass, nodule or hard area that would be concerning and warrant a biopsy. The exam is not anything to be scared of. “Most men leave and say it was not that bad and was worth it if we could find something that could save their life,” says Collins.

Lifestyle choices affect the prostate. “The diet that is best for the health of the prostate is the diet we should be on for cardiovascular health: a low-fat diet, rich in fruits and vegetables,” says Collins. There is evidence that lycopene, a substance found in tomatoes, is good for the prostate. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are also helpful.

Sexual issues are not often talked about by men but are more common than you may think. “We find that erectile dysfunction is a barometer for a man’s overall health,” says Collins. The risk factors for erectile dysfunction are the same for cardiovascular disease. “The reason is the blood supply to the penis is a very tiny artery about two millimeters in diameter, whereas the blood supply to the heart is four to five millimeters in diameter, so it does not take much blockage of the blood supply to the penis to result in impotence,” says Dr. Neil Baum, a urologist at Touro Infirmary.
Thankfully, a lot of progress has been made in this area. “Viagra, Levitra and Cialis are the big advances that totally changed the way the field is approached and who you can help with it,” says Dr. Robert McLaren, a urologist at Ochsner Health System.

Infertility is a common issue with men being responsible half of the time. “If you have borderline problems with your semen, you can avoid hot baths and jockey underwear and should wear boxer shorts because of the excessive heat of bringing the testicles close to the body,” says Baum. A semen analysis can be done at a urologist or reproductive endocrinologist’s office.
Young men may think they are invincible when it comes to health issues but they aren’t. “In young men, the most common thing we see is prostititis, which is an infection or inflammation of the prostate, and some men who are active or do bicycle riding can have numbness of the bicycle area, which can resolve if they cut back on riding or use specialized seats,” says Collins.

Every man responds differently. “Prostate enlargement is a normal part of aging but not everybody develops problems from it,” says McLaren. Know what to expect. “The prostate is a gland that sits outside the bladder and is normally about the size of a walnut,” says Lee.
Robotic surgery has revolutionized the way prostate cancer is treated and gives men hope as recovery is quicker and less painful. “The da Vinci robot has made the greatest impact and there are medications that can shrink your prostate that were not around 20 years ago,” says McLaren.

It is a good idea to get a blood test to check your testosterone level as well. “It indicates a decrease in production of testosterone by the testicles, which can be treated with hormone replacement therapy,” says Baum. You can do a self-exam of the testicles to screen for testicular cancer, which is common in men between 20 and 45. “They look for a little bump or lump on the scrotum on the testicle. I tell men that if they make a fist and feel the knuckle, that is what the testicle tumor feels like and they can get an ultrasound exam and blood test to help diagnose testicular cancer,” says Baum.

Making wise choices is helpful for all ages. “If you want to make yourself healthier, exercise, eat right and do not smoke,” says McLaren. To prevent heart disease, you should stay away from red meat, salt and other high cholesterol-containing foods. Your health may be partly determined by what you eat. “Men who have diets that are low in fiber and do not have regular bowel movements or have firm, hard bowel movements are at risk for colon disease such as diverticulitis and diverticulosis, which is inflammation around the colon that results in cramping, abdominal pain and difficulty with the stool,” says Baum. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids like cold water oily fish, salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines are helpful.

Self-care is important for men of all ages. “It is interesting that in the top seven cancers in the United States, number one is prostate, number four is bladder and number seven is kidney,” says Lee. Thanks to screenings, lives are being saved. “The message we are trying to get out is that many of these issues are very treatable at an early stage,” says Lee. The health-care community has adapted guidelines with this in mind. “The American Urological Association and the American Cancer Society are really trying to get the word out,” says Lee.

This month is the time to take charge of your health. “The most common problems men run into are cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer and colon and rectal cancer, all of which can be prevented by visiting the doctor on a regular basis,” says Baum. A few tests can also be useful. “A stress test checks the heart and blood supply to the heart, a prostate-specific antigen and digital rectal exam rule out prostate cancer and a colonoscopy every five years checks for colon and rectal cancer,” says Baum.

Even if you feel fine, it is important to see your doctor. “Early hypertension has no symptoms whatsoever unless you go to the doctor and have your blood pressure taken,” says Baum. It can lead to a stroke, kidney disease or heart disease if it is not adequately treated. If you do experience any new or unusual symptoms, it is important to report them. “Heart disease can manifest itself as chest pain, indigestion, lightheadedness or headaches, which are signs of high blood pressure and decrease of blood supply to the coronary arteries and to the heart,” says Baum.

Self-awareness is an asset when it comes to protecting your health. Men are often consumed with taking care of their loved ones, however, and end up neglecting themselves. “The main point is that men need to take an active role in their medical care and need to treat their bodies as something very special that needs fine tuning just like their car,” says Baum.

Raise Your Testosterone Level-Au Natural

December 27, 2012

Effects of Testosterone

Effects of Testosterone


Testosterone is the male hormone responsible for sex drive or libido, muscle mass, energy level, and strength of your bones. Many men have a low testosterone level that can easily be checked with a simple blood test. If it is low, there are means to increase the level without taking testosterone supplements.

Begin by looking at your lifestyle. Some changes that are good for the rest of you could also benefit your testosterone level, if it’s low.

1. Get Enough Sleep.

Poor sleep can have consequences for your testosterone level.

Poor sleep is the most important factor that contributes to low testosterone in many men. A lack of sleep affects a variety of hormones and chemicals in your bloodstream. This, in turn, can have a harmful impact on your testosterone. If you’re having problems getting good sleep on a regular basis, talk to your doctor as you may have obstructive sleep apnea or prostate problems that require you to get up multiple times a night and disturb your sleep.

2. Keep a Healthy Weight.

Men who are overweight or obese often have low testosterone levels. For those men, losing the extra weight can help bring testosterone back up.

3. Stay Active.

Testosterone adapts to your body’s needs, Yu says. If you spend most of your time lying on the couch, your brain gets the message that you don’t need as much to bolster your muscles and bones.

But when you are physically active, your brain sends out the signal for more of the hormone. Walking briskly at least 10 to 20 minutes a day is a great way to get started. You can take it to the next level by building strength with several sessions of weights or elastic bands each week.

4. Take Control of Your Stress.

If you’re under constant stress, your body will be churning out a steady stream of the stress hormone cortisol. It will be less able to create testosterone. As a result, controlling your stress is important for keeping up your testosterone. If you are experience increased stress at work, cut back on long work hours. If you’re logging lots of overtime, try to whittle your workday down to 10 hours or less. Spend two hours a day on activities that you enjoy that aren’t work- or exercise-related, such as reading or playing music.

5. Review Your Medications.

Some medicines can cause a drop in your testosterone level. These include: opioids ( fentanyl, MS Contin, and OxyContin), glucocorticoid drugs such as prednisone, and anabolic steroids used for building muscles and improving athletic performance.

6. Forget the Supplements.

Finally, although you’re likely to encounter online ads for testosterone-boosting supplements, you aren’t likely to find any that will do much good. Your body naturally makes a hormone called DHEA that it can convert to testosterone. DHEA is also available in supplement form.

Bottom Line: Testosterone deficiency is a common problem affecting millions of American men. The problem is easily diagnosed with a blood test. Moderate to minimal decreases in the testosterone level can be treated with life style changes. Significant decreases may require testosterone replacement therapy. If you have any questions, see your doctor.

Don’t Mix Viagra and Grapefruit

December 22, 2012

wwltv.com
Posted on December 19, 2012 at 9:31 PM
Updated Wednesday, Dec 19 at 9:46 PM
Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl
NEW ORLEANS — You may remember a few weeks ago, doctors expanded the list of the number of medications that can have serious interactions with grapefruit or its juice.
It went from 17 medications to 43.
And few people know the most popular pill for men should also be on that list.
It’s been called the most popular drug in the world, the little blue pill Viagra. And while most men know they should not take Viagra if they are also using a nitrate drug for chest pain or heart problems, you may not know about this.
“Viagra, which is used for treating erectile dysfunction, when combined with grapefruit juice can reach toxic levels that result in men having hot flushes. It can also significantly lower their blood pressure and it can produce unwanted side effects,” explained Dr. Neil Baum, a urologist and men’s hormone expert at Touro.
Dr. Baum said a little as one grapefruit or an eight ounce glass of juice can cause a change in absorption for 24 hours.
“The grapefruit juice in the small intestine where pills are absorbed, prevents the breakdown of the medication. So when it’s absorbed, it’s absorbed in larger quantities and can reach toxic levels,” said Dr. Baum.
The reason Viagra should not be taken with a nitrate medicine is because it can cause a serious drop in blood pressure. For that reason, doctors say men who become dizzy, nauseated, or have pain, numbness or tingling in the chest, arm, neck, or jaw, should get medical attention right away. And taking Viagra in the same day as grapefruit can have a similar effect.
“It can drop a man’s blood pressure. It can cause a man to feel hot and warmed and flushed and so taking away the enjoyment that sexual intimacy is supposed to create. It can subtract from that and can make the man quite uncomfortable,” Dr. Baum added.
Some other fruits can also have the same effect. They are Seville oranges, limes, and pomelos, but sweet oranges do not cause this interaction.

Men, Start Your Engines…Take The Road To Good Health

July 8, 2012

Unfortunately, men, including myself, often have the attitude that if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  As a result men don’t take as good care of their health as they should.  There are some men who will spend more time, energy, and money taking care of their cars than they do of the wonderful machine called their body.  Men seldom see a doctor after they leave their pediatrician’s office at age 20 and never get medical, and especially preventive health care until they over 50 years.  That’s 30 years or a third of your life without any fine-tuning or maintenance.  Is it any wonder that our bodies breakdown in middle age?  It doesn’t have to be that way.  In this blog I will summarize an article, 6 Questions to Ask Your Doctor, by Dr. Matt McMillin that appeared in WebMD the Magazine on July 8, 2012

Your Diet

But eating right most of the time is an essential part of taking care of yourself. No matter how much you work out you can’t maintain a healthy weight unless you stick to a healthy diet. So be sure to satisfy your appetite with good-for-you foods, and make an effort to keep an eye on calories.

Men are often surprised that even though they are exercising four days a week, they are not losing weight. It’s all about portion control.  For example many men drink beer. To burn off the 150 calories in one can of beer, the typical man needs to jog a mile in less than 10 minutes or do 15 minutes of stair climbing.

Exercise

It’s simple: To get or stay fit, you have to get and stay active. According to the latest federal guidelines, that means a cardio workout of at least 30 sweat-inducing minutes five days a week, plus two days of dumbbell workouts or other weight-training activity to build and maintain muscles. Crunched for time? Kick up the intensity to vigorous exercise, such as jogging, riding a bike fast, or playing singles tennis, and you can get your cardio workout in just 25 minutes three days a week.

Exercise protects against so many conditions — from heart disease to colon cancer to depression — that the best choice is to start exercising now, no matter how healthy you are or think you are. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, see your doctor first and get medical clearance before engaging in a good exercise program.  I also suggest that you read the book, Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Ledge, M.D.  This book will give you the motivation and the schedule for a real get-in-shape program consisting of diet and exercise. 

 

Stress Reduction

Stress is harmful. It can wreak havoc on your sex drive, increase your blood pressure, and overwork your heart. Here’s the facts: middle-aged and older men who reported years of moderate to high levels of stress were more than 40% more likely to die than men with low stress.

One of the best stress busters is exercise.  You might also try yoga or meditation in addition to exercise.

The D word-Depression

At least 6 million men in the United States suffer from depression each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. However, many guys don’t like to talk about their feelings or ask for help. Identifying those problems is a crucial part of any man’s checkup. Depression is more than simply feeling sad, unmotivated, and without energy. Depression is a real illness, and it can be life-threatening. That’s especially true for men, because it increases the risk of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Depression is also the leading cause of suicide — and men are four times more likely than women to take their own lives.

A lot of men are reluctant to discuss their feelings with friends, spouses, their clergyman\woman, or their doctor. Identifying those problems is a crucial part of any man’s checkup. Depression is more than simply feeling sad, unmotivated, and without energy. Depression is a real illness, and it can be life-threatening. That’s especially true for men, because it increases the risk of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Depression is also the leading cause of suicide — and men are four times more likely than women to take their own lives. “I discuss how common it is so they see they are not isolated,” says White, who screens men for depression during their annual checkups. “Too often, it takes until they reach the end of their rope before they come to see you about it.” Depression is also the leading cause of suicide — and men are four times more likely than women to take their own lives. Medication, exercise, and therapy are all treatment options.

Get your zzzz’s-sleep

It’s hard to overestimate sleep’s importance. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are all linked to insufficient sleep, as are excess weight and mood disorders. A recent study showed that young men who skimp on shut-eye have lower levels of testosterone than men who are well-rested. Lower testosterone translates to a decrease in sex drive and sexual performance including impotence or erectile dysfunction.  Meanwhile, older men risk high blood pressure if they don’t get enough deep sleep.

Sleep disorders can also have physical causes. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), for example, disrupts breathing and forces you to wake up to draw a deep breath. It affects an estimated 4% to 9% of middle-aged men (twice the rate in women), yet as many as 90% of cases go undiagnosed. OSA raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure as well as car crashes, which are more common among the sleep-deprived.

You can vastly improve your sleep by practicing good sleep hygeine: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, exercise regularly and early in the day, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, don’t eat large meals at night, skip the alcohol right before bedtime, and use the bedroom for sleep and sex only. If these measures don’t help, see your doctor.

Good Health Equals Good Sex

 Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a concern that goes beyond the bedroom.  Years ago, ED was thought to be just a psychological problem or do to testosterone deficiency.  Now we know that ED is most a problem of disease in the blood supply to the penis and now we have learned that ED is a risk factor for heart disease.  Men with ED are twice as likely to have a heart attack and nearly twice as likely to die of heart disease than other men. Men who have trouble with erections tend to be overweight or obese, and to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The younger you are, the more likely your erectile dysfunction is a sign that you are at risk of heart disease.

Many of the men White sees for ED ask for quick fixes such as erection-enhancing drugs like Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis. For a long-term solution, you need to make some lifestyle changes. Sexual health depends on getting and staying fit, physically and mentally.  Yes, Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis will help but the real solution is to get fit and open up those blood vessels to the heart and also to penis.  Your heart and your sexual partner will thank you.

Bottom Line:  Men, you can’t buy good health.  It doesn’t come in a bottle or with one visit to the doctor’s office.  It comes with discipline, hard work, and the commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle.  Good health is within reach of every man.  Get off of the couch and into the pool, on to the jogging track, or into the gym.  You can thank me latter!

Dr. Neil Baum is a physician in New Orleans and the co-author of ECNETOPMI-Impotence It’s Reversible.

Breast Cancer-Not Just A Problem for Women

May 8, 2012

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. However, men are not immune to this problem although it is far more common in women. Many people do not realize that men have breast tissue and that they can develop breast cancer. Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women.
The prognosis (outlook) for men with breast cancer was once thought to be worse than that for women, but recent studies have not found this to be true. In fact, men and women with the same stage of breast cancer have a fairly similar outlook for survival.

The most obvious difference between the male and female breast is size. Because men have very little breast tissue, it is easier for men and their health care professionals to feel small masses (tumors). On the other hand, because men have so little breast tissue, cancers do not need to grow very far to reach the nipple, the skin covering the breast, or the muscles underneath the breast. So even though breast cancers in men tend to be slightly smaller than in women when they are first found, they have more often already spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes. The extent of spread is one of the most important factors in the prognosis (outlook) of a breast cancer.

Another difference is that breast cancer is common among women and rare among men. Women tend to be aware of this disease and its possible warning signs. Women perform self exams on a regular basis and also obtain mammograms every year. However, most men do not realize they have even a small risk of being affected. Some men ignore breast lumps or think they are caused by an infection or some other reason, and they do not get medical treatment until the mass has had a chance to grow. Because breast cancer is so uncommon in men, there is unlikely to be any benefit in screening men in the general population for breast cancer.

Men need to know that breast cancer is not limited to only women. Possible signs of breast cancer to watch for include: A lump or swelling, which is usually (but not always) painless, skin dimpling or puckering, nipple retraction (turning inward), redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin, or discharge from the nipple
These changes aren’t always caused by cancer. For example, most breast lumps in men are due to gynecomastia (a harmless enlargement of breast tissue). Still, if you notice any breast changes, you should see your health care professional as soon as possible.
Treatment

Most of the information about treating male breast cancer comes from doctors’ experience with treating female breast cancer. Because so few men have breast cancer, it is hard for doctors to study the treatment of male breast cancer patients separately in clinical trials.
Local therapy is intended to treat a tumor at the site without affecting the rest of the body. Surgery and radiation therapy are examples of local therapies. Systemic therapy refers to drugs, which can be given by mouth or directly into the bloodstream to reach cancer cells anywhere in the body. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy are systemic therapies.

The prognosis (outlook) for men with breast cancer was once thought to be worse than that for women, but recent studies have not found this to be true. In fact, men and women with the same stage of breast cancer have a fairly similar outlook for survival.

Bottom Line: Breast cancer can occur in men as well as women. While not as common in men as in women, men need to know that any lumps, swelling or discharge from the nipple should be examined by a physician.

The Life and Death of the Penis-What’s Happening Down There As Men Grow Older

February 18, 2012

It is a fact that as a man ages, the penis also changes in size, shape, and function. This blog discusses some of those changes to help men better understand what’s happening “down there”.
It’s no secret that a man’s sexual function declines with age. As his testosterone level falls, it takes more to arouse him. Once aroused, he takes longer to get an erection and to achieve orgasm and, following orgasm, to become aroused again. Age brings marked declines in semen volume and sperm quality. Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is clearly linked to advancing years; between the ages of 40 and 70, the percentage of potent men falls from 60% to roughly 30%, studies show.
Men also experience a gradual decline in urinary function. Studies show that a man’s urine stream weakens over time, the consequence of weakened bladder muscles and, in many cases, prostate enlargement.
And that’s not all. Recent research confirms what men have long suspected and, in some cases, feared: that the penis itself undergoes significant changes as a man moves from his sexual prime — around age 30 for most guys — into middle age and on to his dotage. These changes include:
Appearance. There are two major changes. The head of the penis (the glans) gradually loses its purplish color, the result of reduced blood flow. And there is a slow loss of pubic hair. As testosterone wanes, the penis gradually reverts to its prepubertal, mostly hairless, state.
Penis Size. Weight gain is common as men grow older. As fat accumulates on the lower abdomen, the apparent size of the penis changes. A large prepubic fat pad makes the penile shaft appear shorter. Advice to obese men who are concerned about their shrinking size of their penis, if they would lose some weight especially in their abdominal area, the penis would appear to grow longer.
In addition to this apparent shrinkage (which is reversible) the penis tends to undergo an actual (and irreversible) reduction in size. The reduction — in both length and thickness — typically isn’t dramatic but may be noticeable. If a man’s erect penis is 6 inches long when he is in his 30s, it might be 5 or 5-and-a-half inches when he reaches his 60s or 70s.
What causes the penis to shrink? At least two mechanisms are involved, experts say. One is the slow deposition of fatty substances (plaques) inside tiny arteries in the penis, which impairs blood flow to the organ. This process, known as atherosclerosis, is the same one that contributes to blockages inside the coronary arteries — a leading cause of heart attack. It is common for men with coronary artery disease to have erectile dysfunction several years before they have chest pain or signs of a heart attack. It is this reason that men who have erectile dysfunction seek out medical care and be checked for heart disease.

Another mechanism involves the gradual buildup of relatively inelastic collagen (scar tissue) within the stretchy fibrous sheath that surrounds the erection chambers. Erections occur when these chambers fill with blood. Blockages within the penile arteries — and increasingly inelastic chambers — mean smaller erections.
As penis size changes, so do the testicles. Starting around age 40, the testicles definitely begin to shrink. The testicles of a 30-year-old man might measure 3 centimeters in diameter; those of a 60-year-old, perhaps only 2 centimeters.
Curvature. If penile scar tissue accumulates unevenly, the penis can become curved. This condition, known as Peyronie’s disease, occurs most commonly in middle age. It can cause painful erections and make intercourse difficult. The condition may require surgery.
Sensitivity. Numerous studies have shown that the penis becomes less sensitive over time. This can make it hard to achieve an erection and to have an orgasm. Whether it renders orgasm less pleasurable remains an open question.
Bottom line: The normal changes that occur in nearly all men need not ruin your erotic life. According to a good friend, Dr. Irwin Goldstein, “The most important ingredient for a satisfying sex life is the ability to satisfy your partner, and that doesn’t require peak sexual performance or a big penis.” Remember it isn’t the size of the penis, but how you use it that counts.
This has been modified from an article in WebMD by David Freeman, http://men.webmd.com/features/life-cycle-of-a-penis

Seniors Don’t Have To Be Sexy To Have Sex

February 13, 2012

Studies have shown that 70 percent of men and 35 percent of women continue to be sexually active over the age of 70. Sexual interest continues throughout life and seniors today need to know that they can still be intimate during their golden years.

Here are the truths behind the myths regarding seniority and sex.

Misconception: Lack of interest in being intimate.

Reality: Sexual interest continues throughout life. Society tends to have an ageist concept of intimacy, feeling sex among seniors is inappropriate or unnatural. There are enough men for women who are interested and many social outlets for seniors to meet others with whom they can become intimate. These include various organizations or clubs, church groups, dance functions, etc.

Misconception: Inability to perform.

Reality: Complications from aging, such as having to take more medications with side effects and chronic illness, may interfere with sexual function, but they do not eliminate it.

Misconception: Sexual dysfunction cannot be treated.

Reality: Erectile dysfunction is not always an inevitable consequence of aging, but it can often be a result of medications or anxiety. A person’s overall health may also be a concern, so be sure to discuss any issues you are having with your doctor. Medication to alleviate this condition is an option but only with doctor approval.

Misconception: Common illness or disabilities warrants stopping any sexual activity.

Reality: Intimacy is possible for those who may have some medical issues. Those with bone and joint limitations; limited cardiac and pulmonary reserve; and cognitive disorders can have sex, it just may take some patience and creativity. Common concerns include:

Heart disease: risk is low for another heart attack to occur while being intimate; in fact, an active sex life may decrease the risk of a future heart attack.

Diabetes: one of the few diseases that can cause impotence. Once diabetes is diagnosed and controlled, however, potency in most cases may be restored.

Stroke: rarely damages physical aspects of sexual function, and it is unlikely that sexual exertion will cause another stroke. Using different positions or medical devices that assist body functions can help make up for any weakness or paralysis that may have occurred.

Arthritis: can produce pain that limits sexual activity. Surgery and drugs can relieve these problems, but in some cases the medicines used can decrease sexual desire. Exercise, rest, warm baths, and changes in position and timing of sexual activity (such as avoiding evening and early-morning hours of pain) can be helpful.

Prostatectomy: rarely affects potency. Except for a lack of seminal fluid, sexual capacity and enjoyment after a prostatectomy should return to the pre-surgery level.

Misconception: Seniors cannot contract STDs.

Reality: Anyone who is not practicing safe sex is exposed to the risk of contracting a STD. According to Today’s Research on Aging, adults age 50 and older accounted for 10 percent of new HIV infections in the United States in 2006. In 2007, 34 percent of adults age 50 and older were living with AIDS. Find the safest method that works best for you.

** Remember, sexual activity is normal, healthy behavior. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions regarding sexual activity. There are many ways to be intimate without engaging in sexual intercourse. Intimacy can also be achieved through touching, holding hands, long walks, dancing and other forms of shared experiences. Communication between partners is most important.