Boosting T Levels Without Medication

February 3, 2017

Testosterone is the male hormone produced in the testicles that is responsible for sex drive, energy, muscle and bone mass.  Testosterone decreases slowly in the late 20s and becomes symptomatic in men around middle age.  This blog will discuss natural ways of preserving and increasing your testosterone levels.

Get Moving: Drop 10, 15, or more pounds

Overweight men are likely to have less testosterone, which means less energy and increased susceptibility to depression.  If you shed pounds, you can cause your T levels to surge.

No Zinc In the Sink

Research has shown that supplementing your diet with zinc can improve testosterone levels. According to the National Institutes of Health, 45 per cent of us aren’t getting enough of the stuff.  Protein-rich foods like meat and fish are packed full of zinc, along with raw cheese, beans and natural yoghurt.

Sweet Nothings

In addition to causing you to pile on the pounds, sugar can also wreak havoc on testosterone production. Regular intake of the sweet stuff can cause insulin to spike, which is a factor leading to low levels of testosterone.

To counteract the effect, simply limit your sugar intake – the overall health benefits far outweigh a quick dopamine hit from a soft drink.

Take D and See

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone, which means it boosts your sperm count, , libido and  testosterone.  You can increase your vitamin D by being exposed to sunshine.  Since I don’t condone exposure to sun as it causes skin cancers, then vitamin D supplementation is in order, 1000 IU\day.  This is available in most nutrition and drug stores.

Stress Less

Kicking back is easier said than done, but a reduction in stress will work wonders for your testosterone production. Cortisol (the stuff your body makes when you get hot under the collar) actually blocks testosterone. Chronic stress has actually been shown to stop testosterone production, which translates to bad moods, fatigue and decreased libido.

Exercise and weight loss are beneficial in reducing stress levels so this is another reason to getting moving!

Fat and Fit

Eat ‘good’ fats of the monounsaturated variety. You can find a high dose of these fats in foods like olive oil, almonds, avocados and grass-fed meats.

Going From ZZZZZ to T

Men who got a full eight hours sleep had 60 per cent more testosterone than their sleep-deprived counterparts.  I recommend stop looking at screens, i.e., computer and TV screens at least an hour before bedtime as screen watching affects melatonin which if decreased can make it difficult to have a good nights sleep.

It’s Quicker Without Liquor

We all know that alcohol consumption is bad for us – but it’s bad for your Johnson. Not only does too much booze lower growth hormone levels and increase cortisol, it will reduce your testosterone levels for up to 24-hours.  I recommend 1-2 glasses of alcohol a day and definitely avoid binging.

Bottom Line:  Testosterone is a necessary ingredient for your sex drive, your energy level, and overall body metabolism.  The hormone also affects our moods and psychological well-being.  I have provided you some suggestions for boosting this very important hormone.

Depression, Anti-Depressants, and Low Testosterone Levels

February 2, 2017

Hormone deficiency is common in many middle age and older men.  It is of interest that many men using anti-depressants also are found to have low testosterone levels.

Many people that take antidepressants, specifically SSRI’s (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors), find out that they have low testosterone.  We are not certain about the mechanism of action of SSRI’s and low T levels but the effect is certainly prevalent.

Many men 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. Men may be so depressed and have a decreased libido, that they don’t feel like having sex.

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.

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.

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 men that have taken SSRI’s believe that the drugs they took lowered their testosterone.

On average, men tend to naturally experience lower levels of testosterone by the time they reach age 50. By age 60 it is estimated that 1 in 5 men have problems with their testosterone. In cases where men experienced a reduction in their level of testosterone and simultaneously became depressed, increasing testosterone levels can be therapeutic.

In older men, testosterone therapy may prove to yield antidepressant effects. Most medical research demonstrates that testosterone can have positive effects on mood. It seems as though testosterone treatment tends to be most beneficial for men who are experiencing depression as a result of testosterone decline.

Bottom Line:  Many middle age men have been placed on SSRI’s for depression.  This can result in a decrease in the testosterone level.  If you are experiencing a decrease in your libido, have decreased energy, and loss of muscle mass, you may have low T levels.  The diagnosis is easily made with a blood test and treatment consists of testosterone replacement therapy.

Treatment Options for Men With Prostate Cancer-Side Effects You Need to Know

January 22, 2017

Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in middle aged and older men.  It is the second most common cause following lung cancer of death from cancer in men.

This article will discuss the most common treatment options for prostate cancer and what are the side effects of these treatments.

For younger men with localized disease, surgical removal of the prostate gland either with an open 6-8-inch incision or through a robotic prostatectomy-5 small pencil-sized holes in the lower abdomen that removes the entire prostate gland.

Temporary or even permanent erectile dysfunction (impotence) occurs in many of the men who undergo surgery.  Urinary incontinence, inability to control the flow of urine, occurs in 3-30% of men who have their prostate gland surgically removed.

For older men or for men who have prostate cancer beyond the prostate gland, radiation therapy is treatment option.   The side effects include temporary fatigue, diarrhea or other bowel problems, urgency of urination, and impotence (ED).

For men with spread of prostate cancer beyond the prostate into the bones or lymph nodes, then hormonal therapy is often recommended.  Hormone therapy is used in men with advanced, high-grade prostate cancer. Hormone therapy is also used in men who cancer has recurred after being treated with radiation therapy or surgery.  This is usually determined with an elevation of the PSA level.  Prostate cancer is very sensitive to testosterone, the male hormone produced in the testicles, and removal of testosterone reduces the cancer and helps control the disease but does not cure the problem.

The side effects of hormonal therapy include reduced libido, hot flashes, softening of bones or osteoporosis which leads to bone fractures, impotence, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, weight gain, and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Chemotherapy is indicated for men who do not respond to removing the testosterone produced by the testicles.  Chemotherapy leads to hair loss, nausea\vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, muscle pain, and weight loss.

Proton therapy is a similar to external radiation that targets difficult to reach tumors and is designed to allow higher doses of radiation to be delivered to the prostate with fewer side effects.

Bottom Line:  Over the past few years there have been numerous options available for the management of localized prostate cancer and even prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland.  New Orleans has several doctors who are national and even global experts in managing prostate cancer.  For more information, contact your doctor.

January 21, 2017

Non-Medical Solutions to Raising Your T Level

I am often asked what can a man do to raise his testosterone level without taking testosterone replacement therapy.  Here are a few suggestions that may be helpful.

  1. Exercise and lift weights

If you want to increase your testosterone levels, you will need to increase your exercise frequency. Regular exercise will not only help you by preventing different lifestyle related health problems, but it will also help you by boosting your testosterone levels. Men who regularly exercise have a higher testosterone levels. Even elderly men will also have higher testosterone levels if they regularly exercise.

  1. Reduce stress and cortisol levels

If you are suffering from long-term stress, it can increase the levels of cortisol hormone. If your cortisol levels are high, testosterone levels will decrease.

That’s why, you need to reduce stress as much as possible and which will also decrease the cortisol levels in your body. Regular exercise, whole foods, good sleep, balanced lifestyle and laughter can help you to reduce stress and also improve your overall health.

  1. Get more Vitamin D

Vitamin D offers several health benefits and it boosts testosterone naturally. If you consume just 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day, it can increase testosterone levels in the body by 25%.

You can get more vitamin D by increasing your exposure to sunlight regularly. You can also take a daily supplement of 3,000 IU of a vitamin D3 supplement.

4. Get Enough Sleep.

A lack of sleep affects a variety of hormones and chemicals in your body. This, in turn, can have a harmful impact on your testosterone.

The time honored goal is try for 7 to 8 hours per night.

5. Keep a Healthy Weight.

Obesity can have a deleterious effect on your testosterone levels.  Exercise and diet can improve your testosterone and also is good for your heart to avoid obesity. 

6. Review Your Medications.

Some medicines can cause a drop in your testosterone level. These include: pain medications, steroids (prednisone), anabolic steroids such as those used by athletes and body builders, and anti-depressants. 

7. Deep 6 the Supplements.

You may be bombarded with unsolicited snail mail and E –mail offering testosterone boosting supplements such as DHEA.  Let the truth be told, you are wasting your money as these supplements will not boost your testosterone.   

Bottom Line: Although these suggestions may be helpful, they are just a step in the right direction.  For more information about testosterone replacement therapy, speak to your physician.

 

 

Diet and Exercise May Reduce Risk of Cancer

January 21, 2017

There isn’t a day that goes by that the Internet or the print media isn’t bombarding readers with a new diet that prevents cancer.

Every day, there are headlines that bombard readers with various diets that purportedly prevent cancer: “The Diet That Stops Cancer” and “Eating Your Way Out of Cancer.” But what do the hard data really say about lifestyle choices preventing cancer?  Studies have shown that the combination of healthy eating, not smoking, and regular exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease by 80 percent and of stroke and some cancers by 70 percent.

Although no diet has received conclusive evidence of presenting cancer, there are lifestyle choices such as exercise that support conclusions that they can serve as deterrent of cancer.  Even the American Cancer society recommends avoid being overweight and includes being physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.  They also suggest eating a mostly plant-based diet; limiting red meats and avoiding processed meats; limiting alcoholic drinks (two glasses of wine a day for men and one glass for women); and to protect against cancer (Table 1). Other recommendations include avoid sugary drinks, limit consumption of processed foods and eat more vegetables, whole grains, and legumes such as beans.  Limit salt intake to 1.5 grams per day and limit consumption of salty foods, chips, pretzles, smoked or cured meats like salami, baloney, and beef jerky.

Other Cancer Prevention Recommendations

To prevent breast cancer, the ACS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, alcohol intake of one or fewer drinks per day, and maintaining a body mass index (BMI) less than 25 kg/m2. In a study of 2905 women at high-risk for breast cancer, adherence to these three recommendations reduced the risk for breast cancer by 44%.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that BMI itself is a risk factor for cancer. Too much body fat triggers insulin resistance, raising levels of insulin and growth factors that promote cancer. Fat also increases estrogen production, which can fuel some cancers, and fat secretes enzymes that promote inflammation.

Numerous medical studies have concluded that avoiding adult weight gain confers protection against certain types of cancer, particularly among nonusers of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The study found that for each 5-kg increase in adult weight gain, the relative risk was increased 11% for postmenopausal breast cancer among no or low HRT users; 39% and 9% for postmenopausal endometrial cancer among HRT nonusers and users, respectively; and 13% for postmenopausal ovarian cancer among no or low HRT users. For each 5-kg increase in men, the risk for colon cancer increased by 9%. The relative risk for kidney cancer comparing highest and lowest level of adult weight gain was 1.42.

In addition to lowering the risk of cancer, eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk for all-causes of death and lower risk of dying of cardiovascular causes such as heart disease or stroke.

Bottom line on diet and exercise and cancer prevention:  Weight gain, lack of exercise, and high alcohol intake are the key factors for leading a healthy lifestyle and decreasing the risk of cancer.

The Skinny On Screening for Prostate Cancer

December 29, 2016

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men (after skin cancer), according to the American Cancer Society. It is the second most common cause of death in following lung cancer and causes nearly 30,000 deaths annually in the United States.  The good news is that often prostate cancer can be treated successfully, especially when caught in its early stages.   More than 2 million men in America count themselves as prostate cancer survivors, according to the American Cancer Society.

At the present time screening for prostate cancer is controversial in the medical profession.  There are physicians who believe that testing all men for prostate cancer outweighs the benefit because it may find some very slow growing cancers in some men that could be left alone without any negative consequences. My personal opinion is that prostate cancer screening should be done but requires education and a decision made between doctor and patient.

My belief is that if prostate cancer is detected early, it has a favorable  prognosis. If men ask me what are the early signs of prostate cancer, the answer is that there are NO early signs of prostate cancer when it is confined to the prostate gland.  That is why men need to have an examination or the digital rectal examination and a PSA test.

Risk factors help determine who should be screened when

The protocol starts by evaluating men for their risk factors for developing prostate cancer. Risk factors include: age (after age 50 risk of prostate cancer rises rapidly); race (men of African-American and Caribbean descent are at higher risk); and family history (men who have a father, brother, or uncle with prostate cancer are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer and should be screened on a regular basis) Men should be screened every year until they reach age 70 or 75. For most men who reach age 70 and all their screening tests are normal, the chances of their developing a cancer that would impact their well-being or their longevity is really low.

Managing the elevated PSA test

If your screening detects a possible cancer, your doctor will order a biopsy. This is done in the office under a local anesthesia and takes 10-15 minutes.  If the biopsy detects prostate cancer, then the next step is to determine the aggressiveness of the cancer or how likely it is to spread or grow.  For men with low-risk tumors that are not going to put their health or longevity at risk, I will often recommend surveillance, which means regular testing of the PSA and a follow up biopsy in 12-18 months.  As long as the PSA remains stable and there is no evidence of escalation of the cancer, then these men can be safely followed and only treated if the cancer appears to be growing or the PSA is steadily increasing.  Men with more aggressive tumors may need surgery and\or radiation. You and your doctor will make the best treatment decisions for you together.

Bottom Line:  Prostate cancer is a common cancer and can easily be diagnosed with prostate cancer screening.  Not all men need to be screened, but if you are between 50 and 70 years of age, speak to your doctor about the benefits of screening and make an informed decision if screening is right for you.

“Oh, my aching balls!” -Blue Balls

November 26, 2016

“Oh, my aching balls!” A comment that every young man makes or thinks when he is engaged in heavy sexual activity and his testicles are causing aggravating pain and discomfort. This blog will describe the condition and what can be done to relieve the discomfort.

‘Blue balls’ is the popular slang term for vasocongestion in the testicles. The testicles do not actually turn blue. Instead, a bluish tint appears on the skin of the scrotum because of the increase in blood supply to the area that is trapped there by constriction of the venous blood vessels giving the bluish discoloration. However, this may not happen in all young men.

Cause and Symptoms
When a sexually-matured male is aroused, the following happens:
• His parasympathetic nervous system increases its inputs, causing an increased flow of blood and lymphatic fluids to the genital area.
• Concurrently, muscles that control fluid outflow constrict, resulting in a net increase of fluid concentration.
• These actions combine to ensure that regional blood pressure is high enough to sustain an erection for penetration during sexual intercourse.
• During this process, the testicles also increase in size by about 25 – 50 percent.
When the male reaches orgasm and ejaculates, the constricted muscles relax and the additional fluids flow out from the genital area. The penis and testicles then return to their normal size.
However, when there is prolonged sexual arousal without eventual ejaculation, the bodily fluids will pool, causing congestion in the testicles and the prostate region. The blood becomes oxygen-deprived and turns bluish, giving the condition its slang term, blue balls.
The technical term for this condition is vasocongestion, which is often accompanied by a cramp-like ache at the lower abdomen, pain and tenderness of the testes, and a lingering sensation of heaviness and discomfort in the lower body.
The female homologue is usually referred to by the more general term ‘pelvic congestion’ or ‘pink ovaries’.

Treatments
Vasocongestion does not cause any short- or long-term physical harm to the person, and neither is it contagious or infectious. Although it can be very uncomfortable, it is definitely not life-threatening or an emergency. Even if nothing is done, the symptoms usually subside within an hour of onset.
If one is eager for a quick relief, the easiest way is through ejaculation, i.e., masturbation or enough genital stimulation that results in an orgasm and ejaculation. That will jump-start the parasympathetic nervous system, decreasing the blood flow through the genital area and dissipating the build-up of fluids.

Bottom Line: Blue balls is not a serious condition. However, if the symptoms last for several hours or days after sexual arousal has ceased, then do consult a health care professional to be certain that there is not an underlying cause(s) of the pain and discomfort.

Nuts For Your Prostate Gland

November 26, 2016

Nearly 250,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and nearly 30,000 men will die of prostate cancer.  Several million men will have benign enlargement of the prostate gland which can wreck havoc on a man’s quality of life.  This article will discuss the use of nuts for preventing prostate disease.

At this time, there is no specific way to prevent prostate cancer.  but you may reduce your risk by following a few of these suggestions.

  • Consume ample servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Choose foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Avoid high-fat foods and excessive red meat
  • Exercise regularly, 4-5 times a week for 20 minutes at a time
  • Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any signs and symptoms that may worry you or increase your risk.

Men suffering from prostate diseases may significantly reduce their symptoms by consuming nuts like almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts.  The findings showed that people who consume nuts five or more times in a week had a 34 per cent decreased risk of mortality due to prostate cancer in comparison to those who consumed nuts less than once per month.

Just 1.5 ounces of nuts per day (about 1/3 cup) can have a positive impact on health including heart health.

A recent study published in the British Journal of Cancer, the team evaluated 47,299 men, for an overall period of 26 years.

The participants were diagnosed with prostate cancer and only 10 per cent of them died from prostate cancer. These findings add to the growing body of evidence showing that nuts should be part of a healthy diet.

Bottom Line: Although no one knows what are the root causes for prostate disease, having a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and eating nuts may just improve the symptoms of prostate problems.  If you have any questions, speak to your doctor.

 

Smoking Is Also Hazardous to Your Urologic Health.

November 26, 2016

It is given that smoking is deleterious to your lungs and heart causing lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease, just to name a few of the common medical conditions causes by smoking.  There are also urologic conditions that are affected by smoking.

Bladder cancer is 4th most common cancer in men with nearly 80,000 new cases each year in the united States.  Smoking causes harmful chemicals and drugs to collect in the urine.  These toxic chemical affect the lining of the bladder and increase your risk of bladder cancer.

Nearly 30 million American men have erectile dysfunction or impotence  This is usually due to a reduction of poor blood flow to the penis.  Smoking can harm blood vessels, when decrease the blood flow to the penis.  As a result, men will have difficulty obtaining and keeping an erection adequate for sexual intimacy.

Kidney cancer is in the top ten most common cancers in both men and women with nearly 60,000 new cases every year.  Smoking puts noxious chemicals from the lungs into the blood stream where it is filtered into the kidneys and can cause kidney cancer.

Kidney stones affect 1 million Americans and smoking is a known cause of having kidney stones and also for having recurrent kidney stones.

Painful bladder syndrome affects 12% of women.  The condition is irritated by smoking and produces more symptoms of pain and discomfort in the pelvis.

Overactive bladder (OAB) affects more than 30 million American men and women.  Smoking irritates the bladder and increase the frequency of urination.  Smoking also is associated with coughing that can increase urinary leakage.

Infertility caused by male factors affects 50% of all problems related to difficulty with achieving a pregnancy.  Smoking can harm the genetic make-up in eggs and sperm.  The infertility rate for smokers in nearly twice that for those men who do not smoke cigarettes.

Bottom Line:  Most people are looking for reasons to stop smoking.  There are so many medical conditions that are caused by or are made worse by smoking.  Talk to your doctor about some of the effective ways to achieve smoking cessation.

It’s Time To Talk About Testosterone

November 25, 2016

Testosterone (T) is a hormone produced in the testicles of men (and in the ovaries of women to a much smaller amount than in men.  Testosterone is often referred to as the male sex hormone.  It is normal for the testosterone level to decrease in men after age 30 at a rate of 1-3% a year but men don’t develop symptoms until late 40 or early 50.  During puberty, testosterone helps young boys develop male physical features like body and facial hair, i.e., a beard, and muscle strength.  Testosterone is also needed to help with the development of sperm.

Low T is defined as a decrease in the blood level of the hormone, usually less than 300ng\dl plus symptoms including decrease in libido or sex drive, lethargy, changes in mood, loss of muscle mass and decreased energy levels.

The diagnosis of low T requires a medical history of symptoms, a physical exam and a blood test that confirms a decrease in the hormone level.

Testosterone replacement is possible using injections of testosterone, topical gels, a nasal spray of testosterone, and insertion of testosterone pellets (Testopel).  The side effects of testosterone replacement include an increase in red blood cells, acne, reduction in size of the testicles, and infertility.  It is therefore important to discuss with your doctor if you are still planning to have a family as you should not use testosterone replacement therapy.

Caution:Don’t take testosterone if you don’t have medical reasons for doing so

Don’t’ take testosterone if your trying to achieve a pregnancy

If you use testosterone replacement, then get a routine check-up and blood tests at least every six months

Bottom Line: Millions of American men suffer from low T.  If you have symptoms and a blood test that confirms low testosterone, then you may be a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy.