Saturday, July 28, 2007

Urinary problems and sex in women

There are several problems that are common to both urinary tract and sex. Here are what experts have to say on the urinary problems and sex in women, at a recent conference on lifespan and sexuality held in Hyderabad.

Women commonly suffer from all sorts of bladder problems. One condition that frequently affects women is a urinary tract infection (UTI), which can occur when bacteria enter the bladder and cause symptoms of frequent and often painful urination, difficulty urinating, and bladder discomfort.

A UTI may or may not be triggered by sexual activity, but certainly having sex when an infection is present can be very uncomfortable. Fortunately, UTIs are fairly quickly and easily treated with antibiotics, natural remedies such as cranberry juice or tablets and by increasing fluid intake, such that an occasional UTI does not generally affect one's sex life or partner relationship.

However, some women suffer from chronic bladder symptoms even when no bacterial infection has been determined. In many cases, these symptoms, which can include painful and frequent urination and bladder pain, are constant and intractable. This condition is referred to as interstitial cystitis (IC).

IC is a chronic condition which frequently goes undiagnosed. Women are more prone than men to this syndrome, and one of its main features is a sensitive and sometimes painful bladder. Because the bladder may be displaced slightly by sexual intercourse, having penetrative sex can be very uncomfortable. IC is similar to vulvar pain syndromes in that the vaginal muscles are often in a state of hypertonus (tightness).

Women with IC may not necessarily have pain upon initial penetration but may suffer from pain with deep penetration or upon orgasm. As with chronic vulvar pain conditions, women with IC need not give up on having a sex life. However, when these conditions exist, it is very important to communicate openly with one's partner. Sometimes simple modifications such as modifying positions may be helpful, and often, openness to non-penetrative sexual activity and emphasis on sensual pleasures that don't hurt can facilitate a healthy sexual life.

Even more common than chronic painful conditions of the bladder are those bothersome urogenital problems such as urinary frequency, urgency and incontinence. In fact, it is estimated that one out of four women will suffer from incontinence at some point in her life.

Leaking urine with activities such as coughing, laughing or sneezing is known as stress incontinence. This occurs when the pressure on the bladder that occurs during activities such as these, exceeds the pressure provided by the urethral sphincter, which keeps the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body, closed.

This occurs due to insufficient strength of the pelvic floor, which may be weakened by pregnancies, births, and hormonal changes, particularly menopause.

Urge incontinence describes a situation where one has a strong urgent desire to urinate, to the extent that urine is lost involuntarily before making it in time to the toilet. This occurs because of unwanted contractions of the bladder.

This can be stimulated by drinking coffee, cold weather, running water, or upon arriving close to the bathroom destination (also know as "key in the door" incontinence).

While these are distressing conditions in themselves, patients rarely volunteer (and all too often doctors don't ask) information about how their sex lives are negatively affected by it.

Women with incontinence are often afraid of leakage during sex, and as a result, they avoid intimate situations. Women with stress incontinence are more likely to leak with penetration due to pressure on the bladder and women with urge incontinence may leak during orgasm, which may or may not occur with intercourse.

Both urge and stress incontinence can be treated. Pelvic floor strengthening exercises have demonstrated success in curing incontinence in several controlled studies.

Urgency can be managed as well, with behavioural techniques such as bladder training, timed voiding, and dietary restrictions. In severe conditions, medications that control bladder contractions, known as anti-cholinergic medications, may be helpful as well. In more severe cases, when pelvic floor rehabilitation is not effective enough, surgical repair may be the appropriate intervention.

If urinary problems are affecting your sex life, you should consider the following suggestions:
1. Speak to your doctor about your symptoms. Something as simple as an anti-cholinergic medication to prevent bladder contractions a half hour before sex may prevent orgasm related leakage.
2. Speak openly with your partner about your fears and discomforts. If intimacy has been greatly affected by urinary or vulvar discomforts, consider consultation with a couples counsellor or sex therapist.
3. Request a referral by your physician to a pelvic floor physical therapist in your area who can address your symptoms and help improve the quality of your life, particularly your sex life.

Simple tips to over come light glare

A five-year-old girl has a pathetic tale to tell. Like her two elder sisters, she can't tolerate light.

Bright light makes her virtually blind. The three girls were diagnosed by doctors at LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad as suffering from a strange eye problem called cone dystrophy.

Their father, a daily labourer, deserted the girls after he noticed that the eye defect could not be rectified. The girls' mother took care of them and admitted in a local government school. But soon the problems began for the girls as they could not see the black board or move freely in the open.

The mother then took the girls to LV Prasad Eye Institute where doctors prescribed some simple techniques to reduce the problem. The girls now have an improved vision and play with other children. The doctors helped the girls overcome the defect by advising sunglasses. The girls were given absorptive or tinted lenses that reduce glare.

They were also advised to wear hat for shade from sunlight.

"There is no permanent treatment or cure to photophobia but better eye management and eye care techniques will reduce the trouble. Lubricant eye drops will also help. Patients find it difficult to drive during night because of headlights glare. Even during the day time they feel uncomfortable in the sunlight," says senior ophthalmologist Dr Sreekumar Reddy.

The problem with these three girls was that they are extremely sensitive to light and lower their gaze while walking.

They squint and blink at the slightest glare. Cone dystrophy in their eyes has led to this rare condition called photophobia or hyper sensitivity to light.

Andhra Pradesh has thousands of children and adults with photophobia and the number is increasing with the each passing year. Neglect of ophthalmic care by parents in case of young children is said to be one of the causes for low vision coupled with sensitivity of light. As many as five crore people suffer from the low vision problem in the country and quite a considerable number of them complains of photophobia.

Though there are no official statistics on the number of photophobia patients in the country, the problem is quite common in albinos or "moon-children" and those with low vision. People who suffer from various eye diseases like ocular albinism, cataract, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic retinopathy also complain of sensitivity to light like these girls. "For a clear image to appear on the retina a clear medium is needed. In case of opacity in the eye the intraocular light gets scattered bringing down the vision levels. Such eyes become extremely sensitive to light and glare. People with photophobia see glare in light that appears normal for healthy people," says ophthalmologist Dr Altaf Akbar.

Eyecare specialists suggest that coloured lenses with specific tints to restrict different wavelengths of light will do wonders. The patient may choose from a wide range of colours that suit his or her eyes.

Filters, that come in different tints at various levels of absorption and different cut-off points, provide contrast enhancement and help in light adaptation. Corning photochromic filters are also useful since short wavelength light has been shown to cause hazy vision, reduced contrast and discomfort. The photochromic filters filtering out blue light in the visible portion of the spectrum, at the wavelengths that create problems for the photophobic patients.

They are specially designed to filter short wavelength light.

Some ophthalmologists are of the view that ultra violet shields (of blue spectrum) provide protection for 100 per cent UV and visible light. The filter in the shields eliminates near infrared 100 per cent UV and provides visible light protection.

For those who find it a problem while reading because of reflection from white pages may go in for typoscope (a black, non-reflective plastic card with a rectangle cut out of it).

A hat with a wide brim or a sun visor can help cut down glare and facilitate mobility outdoors.

When photophobic patients move between places of different lighting levels (say from sunlight to a closed room or vice versa), doctors suggest that they pause a while, take off or put on the sunglasses depending whether they are moving in or out of sunlight. This allows their eyes to adjust without causing any visual discomfort.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Omega 3 acids could protect from blindness

Increasing the dietary intake of Omega 3 fatty acids, found in certain kinds of fish, nuts and vegetable oils, may protect one from blindness, suggests a study conducted on mice.

Scientists in Boston found that they have a protective effect against blindness resulting from abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye, according to the study published in the online journal Nature Medicine.

Human clinical trials will soon begin at a children's hospital in Boston to test the effects of Omega 3 supplementation in premature babies who are at risk for vision loss, the researchers were quoted as saying by science portal EurekAlert.

Omega 3 fatty acids are already known to be beneficial for heart and brain functions. Short-term studies have indicated that taking dietary supplements of Omega 3 could also lower blood pressure in people with hypertension.

Abnormal vessel growth is the cause of retinopathy - an eye disease that leads to the eventual loss of vision. It begins with a loss of blood vessels in the retina, which becomes oxygen starved, sends out alarm signals and spurs new vessel growth. But the new vessels grow abnormally and are malformed, leaky and over-abundant.

The abnormal vessels finally pull the retina away from its supporting layer, and this retinal detachment ultimately causes blindness.

The researchers, led by Lois Smith and Kip Connor of Children's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School, and John Paul SanGiovanni of the National Eye Institute (NEI) studied retinopathy in mice, feeding them a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

Mice on the Omega 3 diet had less initial vessel loss in the retina than those fed with Omega 6 fatty acids. The area with vessel loss was 40-50 percent smaller.

'Our studies suggest that after initial loss, vessels re-grew quickly and efficiently in the Omega 3-fed mice,' Connor said.

'This increased the oxygen supply to retinal tissue, resulting in a dampening of the inflammatory 'alarm' signals that lead to pathologic vessel growth.'

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Apple might keep cancer at bay

Apple peel may either inhibit or kill cancer cells, a Cornell University research has found.

Cornell researchers analyzed the peel from 230 pounds of red delicious apples and isolated their individual compounds.

After identifying the structures of the promising compounds in the peel, the researchers tested the pure compounds against cancer cell growth in the laboratory.

They identified a dozen compounds -- triterpenoids -- in apple peel that either inhibit or kill cancer cells in laboratory cultures, according to the research published this month in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Three of the compounds have not previously been described in the literature.

Lead researcher Rui Hai Liu, Cornell associate professor of food science, said three of the compounds have not previously been described in the literature.

'We found that several compounds have potent anti-proliferative activities against human liver, colon and breast cancer cells and may be partially responsible for the anti-cancer activities of whole apples,' said Liu.

In previous Cornell studies, apples had been found not only to fight cancer cells in the laboratory but also to reduce the number and size of mammary tumors in rats. The Cornell researchers now think that the triterpenoids may be doing much of the anti-cancer work.

'We believe that a recommendation that consumers to eat five to 12 servings of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily is appropriate to reduce the risks of chronic diseases, including cancer, and to meet nutrient requirements for optimum health,' said Liu.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Women cause of infertility in men!

Mothers too are responsible for certain types of infertility in men. Thus far, onlyfathers have been held responsible for infertility in the male offspring. This is so because it is the father who transmits the Y or male sex-determining chromosome tothe son and the mother does not transmit any male sex chromosome to the male child.But a study, by the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, on Indian men from different linguistic and geographical backgrounds shows that motherstoo play a key role in transferring the infertility genes to sons. Mothers, however,do not themselves get affected by these infertility genes.

The CCMB study revealed that mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited by sons frommothers, is contributing to increasing male infertility around the world,particularly in men from the Indian sub-continent. The mitochondrial or mDNA is found to be undergoing mutations affecting the motility of sperm as well as itscount."Sperm quality is also greatly influenced by mutations in the components of therespiratory chain of the mitochondrial DNA. Although mDNA has been studied extensively for the past two decades, very few studies have investigated theinvolvement of mDNA mutations in male infertility. There are 37 genes in mDNA,encoding 13 proteins, which are essential components of respiratory-chain complexes involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate," says Dr Kumarasamy Thangarajof Evolutionary and Medical Genetics Laboratory of the Centre for Cellular andMolecular Biology.As part of the study, the CCMB team analysed the mitochondrial DNA of 34 men suffering from oligoasthenozoospermia (low sperm count with poor motility) alongwith 150 normozoospermic (fertile) men. The team noticed a novel missense mutationin ND4 gene. A missense is a mutation that converts a codon coding for one amino acid to a codon coding for another amino acid. In the case of oligoasthenozoospermicmen, the mutation in the ND4 gene replaced threonine with isoleucine. But this wasnot observed in normozoospermic or fertile men who served as a control group for purpose of the study.Dr Thangaraj points out that abnormal semen is one of the major factors that isassociated with male infertility. The quality and quantity of sperm production maybe affected greatly by both environmental and genetic factors.

Karyotypic (chromosomal) abnormalities and Y-chromosomal microdeletions are the most frequentgenetic abnormalities associated with abnormal semen profile, particularlyoligozoospemia (less than 20 million sperm per ml but still a measurable level) nonobstructive azoospermia (a condition with complete lack of measurable sperm).Explaining how the mitochondrial DNA from mothers is responsible for infertility insons, he says spermatozoa are heavily dependent on mitochondria for respiratory energy for motility. The mature mammalian spermatozoon contains about 72 to 80mitochondria in the mitochondrial sheath of the midpiece (area below the sperm headwhich serves as a motor of the sperm).Analysis of blood samples from both oligoasthenozoospermic (infertile) and normozoospermic (fertile) control men revealed the presence of several sequence variants but one variant at nucleotide position was found to be present in all 10samples. Interestingly the T allele (C11994T) never before has been reported, either as a polymorphism or in association with a disease, anywhere in the world."We screened for the presence of this mutation in the remaining 24 samples.Amazingly, we also found this mutation in all the remaining 24 samples, although none of the 150 proven-fertile (normozoospermic) men carried it. The C11994Tmutation is located in the second base of a codon, resulting in an amino-acid changefrom threonine to isoleucine at amino-acid position 412 of the ND4 gene. The ND4 gene is an essential subunit of complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain,and ND4 mutations have been implicated in mitochondrial diseases such as Leigh'ssyndrome and Leber hereditary optic neuropathy," he observed.

Because none of the fertile men analysed in this study or in other studies aroundthe world has been found to contain this C11994T mutation, the possibility of itbeing a neutral polymorphism was ruled out by the CCMB team.

"There is interesting evidence that mDNA variation is an important contributor tothe motility variation of sperm. Mutations of mDNA have been well documented inseveral disorders, either independently or in association with nuclear mutations," Dr Thangaraj says.

Source : greatandhra

Friday, May 25, 2007

More ejaculation less risk of cancer

Want to get rid of prostate cancer, which is fast becoming a common health hazard in men? Just increase your sexual activity and you will be saved from prostrate cancer to a great extent. Each increase of three ejaculations per month across the man's lifetime is associated with a 15 per cent decrease in the risk of prostate cancer.

According to Dr June Machover Reinisch of The Kinsey Institute and former professor in the departments of psychology and psychiatry at Indiana University, USA, it is a myth that excessive sexual activity will increase the risk of prostate cancer. The truth is that it will decrease the risk and keeps the prostate gland in good function.

Dr June Machover was in Hyderabad to present her research studies on sex and sexual practices. According to her, many physicians have believed that men who participate in high levels of sexual activity are at increased risk for prostate cancer. One suggested basis for this hypothesis is the possibility that increased sexual activity may be an indication of higher levels of androgen (male hormones) and therefore a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, which has been related to male hormone levels.

However, a study conducted by a group of researchers from the National Cancer Institute and John Hopkins and Harvard University revealed that increased sexual activity will in fact reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

The researchers selected as many as 29,342 men, between 46 and 81 years, and conducted a study on their sexual pattern for over eight long years. Only men who did not have a diagnosis of prostate cancer at the beginning of the eight years were included. So everybody was prostate cancer-free.

At the beginning of the study the men were questioned about the average number of ejaculations per month they had, between the ages of 20 and 29, then between 40 and 49, and then during the past year.

The study focused on the frequency of ejaculation, including sexual intercourse, nocturnal emissions, and masturbation. Every two years after the beginning of the study the men were asked, again, whether they had received a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

"Of the 29,342 men who began the study without a diagnosis of prostate cancer, by the end of eight years 1,449 cases had been diagnosed. That's approximately 5 per cent of the men. Remember, they are older in age, so we expect them to start to get prostate cancer. With every decade that same percentage get prostate cancer, so we believe that 80 per cent of 80 year olds have prostate cancer, and 90 per cent of 90 year olds have prostate cancer, and 70 per cent of 70 year olds have prostate cancer," Dr June pointed out.

She said between ages 20 and 29 the men reported an average of 15 ejaculations a month. Between 40 and 49, 11 ejaculations a month was average, and between 50 and 59 9.5 per month. Men 60 and older reported an average of 5 ejaculations per month.

"Most categories of ejaculatory frequency were not related to the risk of prostate cancer. However, a lower risk was found in the group of men with the highest frequency of ejaculation. Each increase of three ejaculations per month across the man's lifetime was associated with a 15 per cent decrease in the risk of prostate cancer. So the more ejaculations you had, the less likely you were to have prostate cancer, and every time you had three more as an average per month, you were 15 per cent less likely to have prostate cancer," she said.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Are you a Fruit Freak?

Fruits are indeed a boon to mankind. Mother Nature has filled them with so many positive qualities, that these fruits often save you from swallowing antibiotics and pills. They have natural powers of curing numerous diseases, aches and pains.


It is very rich in potassium, natural sugars, vitamins and mineral elements. It has high water content that ranges from 80-90 per cent, which helps in cleansing the entire system.

It has many medicinal properties and is especially beneficial for the intestinal tract, liver, kidneys and the heart. It is supposed to cure rheumatic disorders. It must be eaten in large quantities during the winter in order to prevent tuberculosis and anaemia.
It also works as a good beauty aid for the complexion, skin disorders, acne and even sunburns. It is also a valuable dentifrice as it prevents tartar and strengthens gums and teeth. Externally, you could use this fruit to heal old wounds, sore eyes and ulcers.


Peach is rich in potassium, calcium and sodium. It has 88 per cent water content and is a good thirst-quencher. It is also an excellent digestive because of its strong alkaline reaction on the body. In fact if you eat the fruit along with its skin, every night before bedtime, it can cure chronic constipation.

The peach has good laxative properties and is a good natural cleanser for the kidney and bladder. This fruit carries natural iron to the blood, which is then organized in vegetable cells and quickly assimilated. If you eat plenty of peaches, you are bound to feel energetic, light and fresh throughout the year.


The pomegranate is a wonderful fruit with some amazing medicinal and curative properties. It is very light on the stomach and easy to digest. But most importantly it is an excellent heart tonic.

It has 77 per cent water content and is extremely rich in sodium, vitamin A, B and C. It contains glucose, fructose, tannins and oxalic acid. It provides sufficient amount of minerals to the liver and assimilates vitamin A from our food intake. It increases resistance towards tuberculosis and tones up the heart, liver and kidneys. It is also known to relieve hypertension, mental tension and hysteria.


An apple a day keeps the doctor away. It certainly does. Its high vitamin and mineral content boosts the immune system. It also enriches body skin and hair. The mineral called Pectin, is found in large amounts in an apple. It is the same element that is found in antidiarrheal drugs.
The peel of the apple is extremely rich in vitamin A, whereas the actual fruit contains vitamin C, B-1, B-2, B-6, folic and pantothenic acid. You will also find minerals such as potassium and small amounts of copper, magnesium and phosphorus. You can bid good-bye to your coughs, colds and flu, by having an apple a day. Unless, of course, you are in love with a doctor!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Clinical depression

It is quite normal for humans to become depressed when something bad or unpleasant happens, such as the death of a beloved one or an end to a relationship. In addition to feelings, depression can change a person's behavior, physical health and appearance, academic performance, social activity and the ability to handle everyday decisions. Clinical depression refers to any form of depression that requires some form of treatment in order to alleviate it.

This type of depression normally goes away after some time, but in some cases it persists for much longer. Depression can last for periods of six months or more, and then it falls under the classification of clinical depression.

One/fourth of all women and one/eighth of all men will suffer at least one episode or occurrence of depression during their lifetimes. Depression affects people of all ages but is less common for teenagers than for adults.

Sometimes depressed people cannot perform even the simplest daily activities like getting out of bed or getting dressed.

Depression is classified under three main categories: unipolar disorder (major depression), bipolar disorder (manic depression) and dysthymia (prolonged sadness).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The symptoms of a Heat Stroke are hot and dry skin, very high fever, diarrhea, agitation or lethargy, confusion, convulsions and loss of consciousness. If you think that your child has heatstroke, call the doctor. Wrap your baby in a large towel that has been soaked in ice water. As soon as the towel becomes warm, change it for a fresh chilled one.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Garlic, The Wonder Food

A clove of garlic a day keeps cancer away. But it does more than that. It also keeps the possibility of a love life away! Take heart however. There's always Close Up to remedy the situation!

Garlic contains a chemical called Allicin, which has already proved to have numerous health benefits. A team of Israeli scientists recently used this chemical to successfully kill cancer cells as well as malignant tumors in mice. Allicin is not present in an unbroken clove of garlic. It only gets released when the clove is crushed, so when using garlic in cooking, make sure you crush it and use it. Don't add the entire unbroken clove in your food, as though this will give you the flavour of garlic, it will not provide you with the benefits of its anti-carcinogenic properties. The clove needs to be damaged, so it is more effective crushed than cut. When crushed garlic is added to a dish, any parasites, bacteria or other microbes get killed even before the temperature kills them, so if you are worried about eating outside food - the safest option would be to order food with a strong garlic flavour. Chances of food poisoning would be slim! Garlic, as we all know or should be knowing, is a natural antiseptic, and eating a clove of garlic a day also helps ward off most infections.

Italians and Chinese eat plenty of garlic in their food, and have very low incidences of cancer. Pizzas and pastas, Italian dishes rich in maida and cheese, have liberal dozes of garlic, with the result that Italians seem relatively immune to other problems associated with such a diet such as high cholesterol and heart ailments. Similarly, Chinese food is rich in garlic, and the Chinese too are statistically less prone to cancer and heart ailments.

How should you eat the clove?

Needless to say, crushing a clove of garlic and eating it raw would not be the most pleasant of experiences. Garlic has a very strong flavour, and it needs to be mixed with other foods in order to be enjoyed. The best way to eat garlic would be to add it in food while cooking it. Allicin gets distributed throughout the meal, providing you with the benefits of its anti-carcinogenic and antiseptic properties.

Make sure you peel the garlic before cooking it. Cooking garlic in its peel destroys its curative properties. Similarly, peeling the garlic days before and crushing and storing all the crushed garlic together to be used a little at a time may be very convenient as a time saver, but you lose many of garlic's potent health properties. The natural compound of Allicin as found in garlic loses its beneficial properties within hours because it begins to react with garlic's other components as soon as the clove is crushed.

Peel the garlic and let it sit for fifteen minutes before cooking. Just before cooking, crush it. Consume soon after.

While you can get garlic supplements if you are looking for the easier way out, it is highly recommended that you get your daily doze of garlic the natural way - through the clove itself. As already mentioned, garlic has numerous other health benefits, and eating the garlic fresh would give you all these benefits. If you can consume the garlic raw, there's nothing like it! Peel it, crush it fifteen minutes later and down it, followed by a little milk. Do this every night - so you will not smell of garlic the entire day. Before long, you will see your health and immunity improve, and you needn't fear cancer again.

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