Men: What Your Sex Life Says About Your Health

July 22nd, 2011

Sex is great until, well, it’s not so great. When something goes awry, it’s easy to blame being in a bad patch or a bad relationship. Or . . . could your body be trying to tell you something?

“There’s an increasing awareness that sex isn’t just about quality of life — sex can be a harbinger of underlying medical conditions,” says urologist John Mulhall, director of the Sexual Medicine Program and the Sexual Medicine Research Laboratory at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City.

The following ten sex scenes are no fun, but they’re worth mentioning to your favorite primary doctor or urologist (the specialist who handles many men’s plumbing issues).

Sex scene #1: You’re just not interested any more.

It might be: Low testosterone

Lots of things can cause your sex drive to shift into neutral: work stress, falling out of love, lack of sleep. But what if those things don’t apply and you’d still rather count sheep than make love? Or if the sights and touches that once turned you on leave you literally unmoved? You might have a hormone out of whack.

“Testosterone is the most important metabolic hormone for men,” Mulhall says. “If it’s low, you’re at increased risk for osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, metabolic syndrome, and premature death — and your only symptom may be low libido.”

What to do: Get your testosterone level checked with a simple blood test. Make the appointment for before 10 a.m., Mulhall says, when levels are highest. If yours is low, you’ll be referred to a urologist or endocrinologist who can help you evaluate treatment options, which include testosterone supplements.

Sex scene #2: You’re just not interested — and you’re feeling down, too.

It might be: Depression — or depression meds

Loss of interest in sex is a classic sign of clinical depression. Yet the treatment for depression can have the same side effect. Talk about a catch-22. Drugs in the SSRI family of antidepressants (including Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft) have been found in many studies to zap desire in both men and women. (They can also cause anorgasmia — the inability to climax.)

What to do: If you haven’t been diagnosed with depression and you’re feeling low (along with experiencing low libido and other common symptoms of depression), mention all this to a doctor. Clinical depression is highly treatable with talk therapy and medication. If you’re currently being treated with an antidepressant, ask your prescribing doctor about switching to a class of drugs less associated with sexual side effects, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin). Ask, too, about taking a “drug holiday” from an SSRI if you’re on one; some doctors endorse quitting these meds for a day or two at a time in order to allow libido to bloom.

Sex scene #3: More and more often, you can’t hold an erection.

It might be: A heart problem (the cardiovascular kind, not the romantic kind)

Say you’re a relatively healthy midlife guy, a little overweight, and you start having erectile trouble. Count yourself lucky. It might be your tip-off that you’re three to five years away from coronary artery disease, says Mulhall. “Two-thirds of men who have had heart attacks had erectile dysfunction (ED) that predated angina by at least three years,” he says. “Men are increasingly being diagnosed with ED due to low blood flow, which increases their chance of heart disease.”

What to do: Get your cholesterol checked. It’s abnormal in 75 percent of men with ED, Mulhall says. “ED isn’t just about having bad sex; it’s a window to your vascular health,” he says. And before things worsen, start exercising and lose weight.

Sex scene #4: You suddenly can’t get it up — but you were fine last month.

It might be: A blocked artery, especially if your leg mysteriously hurts too

The occasional limp penis is a casualty of naturally decreasing hormone levels as men age and experience changes in relationships, says Adam Tierney, a urologist with Dean Health Systems in Madison, Wisconsin. But what happens when ED comes on suddenly? An unusual but worrisome cause is aortoiliac occlusive disease, or Leriche’s syndrome, a narrowing of a heart artery due to blockage.

Hallmarks of Leriche’s syndrome: erectile problems that come on suddenly (one week you’re fine, and the next you have persistent issues) and are accompanied by pain in the leg (especially the calf) or the buttock, especially when you walk or exercise. People with problems of the nervous system (Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes) are at higher risk, as are smokers and those with high blood pressure.

What to do: Report this unusual combination of symptoms to your doctor. “It’s another kind of blood flow issue,” Tierney says.

Sex scene #5: Your penis aches while you’re having intercourse.

It might be: Peyronie’s disease

Peyronie’s disease, an uncommon condition that can develop at any age, is the formation of abnormal scar tissue under the penile skin, which can cause a hardened spot in the middle or make the penis bend slightly when erect. It’s often simply noticed as a constant discomfort during intercourse. “Some guys come in and say, ‘My penis just aches when I have sex,’” Mulhall says.

What to do: Always take pain as a sign something’s amiss — and tell your doctor. Peyronie’s cause is unknown, but it’s not an STD or a cancer. (It sometimes runs in families.) There’s no surefire treatment, although surgery is often successful.

Sex scene #6: Your partner, touching you, asks, “Hey, what’s that?”

It might be: Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is asymptomatic — it doesn’t hurt. But it often presents as a painless bump or swelling on the testicle, which can be detected through self-exam (a good monthly habit) or by a partner’s roaming hands during sex.

What to do: Testicular cancer has a near-100-percent cure rate in early stages, so don’t ignore a lump; get yourself to a doctor. The best time for self-exams: standing up in a hot shower, when your muscles are relaxed.

Sex scene #7: You ejaculate way too quickly.

It might be: Hyperthyroidism

Premature ejaculation (PE) — climaxing either before intercourse or very soon after it begins — is the bane of younger men but can strike at any age. How soon is too soon is a relative issue, but a general rule of thumb is that PE is a problem when it routinely strikes without any control within a couple of minutes of insertion and sooner than either partner would like. As many as one in three men experience it at some point in their lives. Psychological issues (too excited, too immature, guilt) were once blamed for all cases, but doctors now know there can be physical causes, especially a malfunctioning thyroid (the gland responsible for making and storing key regulatory hormones).

“For some men, the only symptom of hyperthyroidism is premature ejaculation,” Mulhall says. One 2005 study found that fully half of men with a malfunctioning (hyper) thyroid complained of PE.

What to do: Though premature ejaculation is hard for many men to talk about, it’s highly treatable. If blood tests and an exam point to hyperthyroidism, medication can return your sex life to normal. And if your thyroid checks out OK? Therapies that thwart PE include breathing exercises, distraction, using a condom to diminish sensation, and behavioral therapies. SSRI-class antidepressants are also prescribed because, Tierney says, in healthy people without PE, they cause delayed orgasm.

Sex scene #8: When you ejaculate, it hurts.

It might be: A muscle spasm disorder, or prostatitis

In women, there’s a condition known as vulvodynia, mysteriously chronic pain of the vulva (around the vaginal opening). Penile pain at orgasm is thought to be the male counterpart, Mulhall says. The latest thinking on both conditions is that they’re some kind of nerve disorder, although it’s not clear whether this is in response to an infection or some kind of trauma, or what. It’s more often seen in young men in high-stress phases of life.

Another possible cause for painful ejaculation is prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate, which is a gland located up under the rectum. “It’s a benign condition but an annoying one,” Tierney says. And the cause is a mystery in this case, too.

What to do: Dysorgasmia (orgasmic pain) is tough to treat. Some men choose to endure discomfort, while others work with a qualified doctor (usually a urologist) to try various treatments.

Sex scene #9: When you ejaculate, nothing comes out!

It might be: Your prostate meds

Retrograde ejaculation is a condition where you experience orgasm — but little to no semen comes out. (It exits through the bladder.) Alpha-blockers such as tamsulosin (Flomax), used to improve urination in men with enlarged prostate, are a common culprit. Sometimes diabetics also experience this due to nerve damage.

What to do: Nothing, unless it bothers you. “Most men don’t care, but some do,” Tierney says. A couple struggling with infertility would want to explore drug treatments or assistive reproduction techniques to remedy the condition.

Sex scene #10: It takes forever to ejaculate — if it happens at all.

It might be: Diabetes, or prediabetes in the form of a weight problem

In 9 out of 10 men with anorgasmia — the inability to reach orgasm — the root cause is psychological (anything from performance anxiety to work stress to a history of childhood sexual abuse). But in the remaining 10 percent of cases, there’s a penile sensory problem, most often caused by nerve damage due to diabetes, Tierney says.

Diabetics typically have other clues to the disease, including numbness in the feet, thirst, itchy skin, excessive urination, and fatigue — but they don’t always link the condition to sexual performance problems, which can include the inability to climax.

Overweight but not diabetic? “There’s increasing evidence that obesity itself is a medical cause of erectile dysfunctions and loss of libido,” Tierney says. “And obviously it can be a psychological barrier in the form of self-esteem issues.”

What to do: Ask your doctor about medications to treat ED, such as Viagra or Cialis, but be aware that because diabetics often have heart problems, these drugs aren’t always recommended. Instead: Don’t discount the healing power of lifestyle changes.

“People want to take a pill to make sexual problems better, but a pill won’t fix problems that are further back,” Tierney says. “Sometimes the best fix is to do the hard work of taking better care of yourself: stress management, losing weight, working on the underlying medical conditions.”

Source for article:

Sexless After 40? Don’t Be!

July 21st, 2011

Couples whose sexual relationship has vanished into thin air like so much birthday-candle smoke tend to blame the ravages of time: boredom, menopause, just getting older. But those aren’t the real problems.

A 2008 study of more than 40,000 women found that 45 percent experienced sexual dysfunction, compared with 31 percent of men. The peak age for complaints: 45 to 64.

“Impaired sexuality and sexual function aren’t normal consequences of aging,” says geriatric psychiatrist Ken Robbins, a senior medical editor. Adds Elizabeth G. Stewart, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and the author of The V Book, “Sex can be more satisfying than ever during perimenopause and after menopause — if you avoid certain traps.”

Here are seven of the most common sex-stoppers of the 40s and beyond:

Pain and discomfort

Discomfort during intercourse — usually vaginal dryness — is the number-one sexual complaint of women over 40, the years of perimenopause and postmenopause. That’s because falling estrogen levels cause the vaginal walls to thin and the usual pH and bacterial balance of the vagina to change (a cascade of changes known, alas, as “atrophy”).

Fortunately, it’s a problem for which there are many effective, safe treatments today, especially those that replenish estrogen, according to Stewart. “The real problem is the perception out there that estrogen is awful and will give you cancer immediately,” she says, referring to popular concerns about the health risks of hormone replacement therapy. “The local options are so safe and release such tiny amounts of estrogen that oncologists even recommend them for women who have breast cancer, because they don’t bump systemic estrogen levels.”

Solutions: You don’t have to take estrogen by mouth. Estrogen-based treatments available by prescription come in the form of creams (such as Premarin cream), a ring inserted for three-month intervals (Estring), and a dissolvable tablet that’s inserted in the vagina (Vagifem). You can also try over-the-counter, water-based lubricants (such as KY Jelly, Astroglide) and longer-lasting vaginal moisturizers (such as Replens and Lubrin).

Not thinking of your partner’s problem as a joint problem

Men’s number-one sexual killjoy is erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse. More than half of men over age 40 experience this with regularity (defined by doctors as more than 25 percent of the time). ED is almost always rooted in physical problems, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, and the medications used to treat these conditions.

Fortunately, it’s a problem for which modern medicine has found many good solutions. But for every guy who’s sold on those Viagra commercials is another who doesn’t think anything can be done about his problem, or who’s too embarrassed to bring it up with his doctor. “That can leave her high and dry,” says Stewart. “Even if he considers it his private problem, his partner needs to speak up. Pester him to see a urologist or his regular doctor.”

Solutions: Many men don’t realize that Viagra is only one cure. The most common, effective treatments for ED include a vacuum pump (a hollow tube placed over the penis to create a vacuum that sends blood into the penis), penile ring (devices used during sex to maintain blood flow), penile implant (a surgical procedure to insert an inflatable device), and drugs — chiefly sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis).

Using antidepressants

Studies have variously reported that 30 percent, 50 percent, or even 70 percent of those who take an antidepressant in the drug family known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) experience a dip in desire or trouble achieving climax. Considering that more than 10 percent of all adults take an antidepressant, that’s a big problem.

SSRI drugs (such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil) raise levels of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter, but they also cause a corresponding drop in dopamine, the feel-good hormone crucial to sexual pleasure. Women tend to be slightly more affected than men.

Solutions: Taking a “drug holiday” — skipping a dose or two of the drug — can temporarily restore sexual function without causing a depressive crash, Stewart says. (It’s smart to check with your prescribing doctor first; this approach is more effective with short-acting SSRIs than with longer-acting ones, such as Prozac.) You may also want to talk to your doctor about switching to a shorter-acting drug in order to do this, or switching to a non-SSRI antidepressant. For example, bupropion (Wellbutrin) belongs to a different class of medication not linked to sexual side effects.

Not liking to talk about sex

“I was raised not to talk about sex, and so my husband and I never did. We just did it,” says Maria, a fiftysomething clerk who also takes care of her live-in mother (who has diabetes). “I never felt any need to dissect sex, because Joe never complained and I had no complaints.” But lately sex has become painful. She finds it easier to blame stress than to give in to Joe’s advances. He’s unhappy, she’s unhappy — and their sex life is going nowhere.

“If a couple has never been good at communicating about their sexual needs, then any sexual changes in the menopausal years or after become even harder,” Stewart says. “She needs to be able to tell him if she needs more foreplay or more stimulation, or what feels good. Otherwise an ongoing problem gets magnified.”

Solutions: It’s never too late to get comfortable with your body, and sharing what it likes with your partner. Many men are turned on just thinking or talking about sexual activity. Meanwhile, when it comes to the discussion, some women feel more at ease starting the conversation in bed, others while still fully clothed. Explain exactly what’s not working for you in a way that focuses on your needs: Use “I” sentences (“I need more touching here“) rather than “you” sentences that point to what your partner is doing wrong (“You’re too fast”).

Stewart often points patients who need their confidence raised to the Sinclair Institute, a consumer-product group that creates explicit educational materials, such as the Better Sex video series.

Misunderstanding how lust works

When Susan, 52, no longer felt “tingly down there” when she looked at her longtime partner Sal, even though he was still in great shape, she worried something was wrong with her. Sal, after all, could still take one look at Susan’s naked body (or, uh, any woman’s naked body) and feel like a 16-year-old. Where did her lust go?

Nowhere — it’s still lying there in wait. Sex researchers used to count the stages of sexual activity as arousal, plateau, and orgasm. In recent decades, it’s become clear that there’s another stage: desire. So now there’s loads of talk about the importance of desire — and corresponding loads of women worry they have a problem because they don’t feel it. Except for one thing: For the typical woman, desire actually follows arousal, according to pioneering work by psychiatrist Rosemary Basson. That is, active petting and pillow talk are what stimulate her desire as well as arouse her.

Solutions: Don’t label yourself with a problem that doesn’t exist. If you don’t feel “in the mood” before sex begins, try it anyway. Give it time, and let your partner know that you like and need warm-up time. Leisurely lovemaking that’s not necessarily genitally focused foreplay makes a woman feel closer to her mate and turns her on. The old saw is true, Basson says: Men become intimate to have sex; women have sex to become intimate.

Lack of sleep

It’s ironic that you can’t have one without the other, since both sex and sleep are activities that take place in bed but not at the same time. But when a stressed-out life interferes with either partner’s ability to get a good night’s sleep, sex seems to leave the room.

“Lack of sleep or a disrupted sleep-wake cycle causes mood problems, makes you irritable, makes you less patient — and it’s bound to cause friction in a relationship,” says Ken Robbins, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin.

Common situations leading to a sex-sleep imbalance: a workaholic partner; someone with chronic insomnia; or a partner who spends nights as well as days caring for a baby, a sick child, or an elderly relative.

Solutions: Temporary sleep disturbances affect every household. But when the situation goes on and on, it’s important to find creative ways to protect solid zzz’s. (Aim for seven to nine hours a night, says the National Sleep Foundation.) For example, in the case of a live-in relative with a sleep-disruptive ailment (such as Alzheimer’s disease), look into respite care such as adult daycare services, which can help make the person more tired by nighttime. There are even night respite programs, or — if you can afford it — you may need to hire a night-shift nursing aide.

Don’t just write off crummy sleep to lifestyle issues. A sleep disorder specialist or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) can evaluate you for physical problems, such as sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS).

Funky menopausal glitches

“Looks like you have lichen sclerosus,” Annie’s doctor informed her. Annie panicked. She was expecting him to write off her painful intercourse and swan diving sex life to “the change,” not to multiple sclerosis?! In fact, the two diseases have absolutely no connection, although their similar names cause people to mix them up. Lichen sclerosus is a fairly common inflammatory skin disorder of the vulva. For unknown reasons, it often strikes around age 50. And that means it also gets mixed up with menopause.

“Menopause itself is not a bad thing that messes up women’s sex lives,” says Stewart, who also directs the Harvard-Vanguard Vulvovaginal Specialty Service in greater Boston. “But there are some vulvar problems that peak at this time and that, left untreated, can cause sexual problems.”

Lichen sclerosus, for example, often causes itching and, if there are tiny cracks in the skin at the vaginal opening, burning during intercourse. Plain old urinary tract infections can also rise around menopause, thanks to prolapse (a sagging bladder or uterus) or falling estrogen that changes the vagina’s acid balance.

Solutions: Don’t write off bothersome symptoms as natural consequences of the calendar. If something feels wrong, it probably is wrong — and it can probably get fixed. (Lichen sclerosus, for example, can be treated with a topical steroid cream.)

Sexologists say there’s sexual truth to the adage that you’re not just getting older, you’re getting better — at least if you avoid the sand traps.

Source of article:

How to get rid of acne scars ?

July 20th, 2011

This process of the face is suffered by every teenager as the hormonal changes and other contingencies are the real causes of having acne over the face of any individual. The skin surface breaks abnormally due to the presence of hormonal imbalance called upon as ‘Testosterone’.

Cause of Acne – The skin abnormality that reacts with such hormone is the real cause of having acne. The testosterone glands of our body’s metabolic system informs the sebaceous gland to produce excessive amount of oil inside the body and therefore the oily stuff called sebum blocks the soft and delicate pores of the surface of the skin and causes acne formation. The soft tubes of the hairy region starts to form blackheads & whiteheads with acne on the skin.

The acne of the skin must never be touched or squeezed to peel out pus or other bacterial infectious agents from the surface as it in turn provide much bigger acne formation which pains overtime if ill-treated by the patient.

The red marks are formed automatically and a ring type circle forms over the surface. It is rather recommended by dermatologists to zap a pimple with the help of a zap gel available at over-the-counter drugs of a chemist shop and can easily get rid of the diseases in the first instance.

If a yellow custard colored top is formed over the surface simply wash your hand before touching the surface with bare hands or tips of the finger so that the infection is not transmitted to any other part of the skin’s surface.

It’s the sheer bleeding of that yellow grotty stuff that is the real cause of spreading the infection from one region to another. When the squeezing part is finished try to dab a damp cloth with an antiseptic and apply the same over the surface for relief to the skin.

Use a mild soap when cleaning or cleansing with the help of soft tissue or cloth as extreme dryness could cause the formation of acne over the surface and that’s why the individual with an oily skin are highly protective due to a presence of oil over the surface.

Try to understand your skin type and then apply cosmetic products from the market as in certain skin type cases a person can be susceptible to applying a cold cream or other normal creams as they might be helpful to make your skin oily but the creams content doesn’t enter the soft and delicate pores deep inside and forms a raised acne whereas a moisturizer is specifically recommended for the person with an oily skin to clean and deeply moisturize the face.

How to get Rid of Acne

A modern acne treatment requires a latest oil-tree moisturizing cream for that extra protection. Please! Do not get tempted out of the ingredients mixed with a specific type of cream or moisturizer as most of the cajoling feeling for buying that special cream comes along under a price and your skin has to pay which according to a medical study is called upon as ‘Benzoyl Peroxide’ which claims it has the capability to cure the disease of the facial skin in minutes or might reduce the formation of acne from the surface of the skin but in reality it isn’t so.

If women are accustomed to using bleach for the face do not use it instantly or, if very important, then try to use a mild bleach for the skin as it makes the surface dry and itchy.

Acne can also be overcome with the help of prescribed medications which have anti-biotic tendencies to fight the cancerous cells and other infectious agents when mixed with the bloodstream proficiently.

Source of article:

Hair Loss

July 20th, 2011


Hair loss can start with a few extra hairs in the sink or in your comb. Later, it can progress to a bare scalp.

Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp and can be the result of heredity, certain medications or an underlying medical condition. Anyone — men, women and children — can experience hair loss.

Some people prefer to let their baldness run its course untreated and unhidden. Others may cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats or scarves. And still others choose one of the medications and surgical procedures that are available to treat hair loss. Before pursuing any treatment option, talk with your doctor about the cause of and best possible treatments for your hair loss.


Due to hormonal changes, irritation or damage, some hair follicles have a shorter growth phase and produce thinner, shorter hair shafts. Your hair goes through a cycle of growth and rest. The course of each cycle varies by individual. But in general, the growth phase of scalp hair, known as anagen, typically lasts two to three years. During this time, your hair grows just less than 1/2 inch (1 centimeter) a month. The resting phase is called telogen. This phase typically lasts three to four months. At the end of the resting phase, the hair strand falls out and a new one begins to grow in its place. Once a hair is shed, the growth stage begins again.

Most people normally shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. But with about 100,000 hairs in the scalp, this amount of hair loss shouldn’t cause noticeable thinning of the scalp hair.

Gradual thinning is a normal part of aging. However, hair loss may lead to baldness when the rate of shedding exceeds the rate of regrowth, when new hair is thinner than the hair shed or when hair comes out in patches.

Causes of specific types of hair loss

  • Pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). In male- and female-pattern baldness, the time of growth shortens, and the hairs are not as thick or sturdy. With each growth cycle, the hairs become rooted more superficially and more easily fall out. Heredity likely plays a key role. A history of androgenetic alopecia on either side of your family increases your risk of balding. Heredity also affects the age at which you begin to lose hair and the developmental speed, pattern and extent of your baldness.
  • Cicatricial (scarring) alopecia. This type of permanent hair loss occurs when inflammation damages and scars the hair follicle. This prevents new hair from growing. This condition can be seen in several skin conditions, including lupus erythematosus or lichen planus. It’s not known what triggers or causes this inflammation.
  • Alopecia areata. This is classified as an autoimmune disease, but the cause is unknown. People who develop alopecia areata are generally in good health. A few people may have other autoimmune disorders, including thyroid disease. Some scientists believe that some people are genetically predisposed to develop alopecia areata and that a trigger, such as a virus or something else in the environment, sets off the condition. A family history of alopecia areata makes you more likely to develop it. With alopecia areata, your hair generally grows back, but you may lose and regrow your hair a number of times.
  • Telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss is usually due to a change in your normal hair cycle. It may occur when some type of shock to your system — emotional or physical — causes hair roots to be pushed prematurely into the resting state. The affected growing hairs from these hair roots fall out. In a month or two, the hair follicles become active again and new hair starts to grow. Telogen effluvium may follow emotional distress, such as a death in the family or a physiological stress, such as a high fever, sudden or excessive weight loss, extreme diets, nutritional deficiencies, surgery, or metabolic disturbances. Hair typically grows back once the condition that caused it corrects itself, but it usually take months.
  • Traction alopecia. Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair too tightly cause traction alopecia. If the pulling is stopped before there’s scarring of your scalp and permanent damage to the root, hair usually grows back normally.

Other causes of hair loss

  • Poor nutrition. Having inadequate protein or iron in your diet or poor nourishment in other ways can cause you to experience hair loss. Fad diets, crash diets and certain illnesses, such as eating disorders, can cause poor nutrition.
  • Medications. Certain drugs used to treat gout, arthritis, depression, heart problems and high blood pressure may cause hair loss in some people. Taking birth control pills also may result in hair loss for some women.
  • Disease. Diabetes and lupus can cause hair loss.
  • Medical treatments. Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy may cause you to develop alopecia. Under these conditions, healthy, growing (anagen) hairs can be affected. After your treatment ends, your hair typically begins to regrow.
  • Hormonal changes. Hormonal changes and imbalances can cause temporary hair loss. This could be due to pregnancy, childbirth, discontinuation of birth control pills, the onset of menopause, or an overactive or underactive thyroid gland. The hair loss may be delayed by three months following a hormonal change, and it’ll take another three months for new hair to grow back. During pregnancy, it’s normal to have thicker, more luxuriant hair. It’s also common to lose more hair than normal about three months after delivery. If a hormonal imbalance is associated with an overproduction of testosterone, there may be a thinning of hair over the crown of the scalp. Correcting hormonal imbalances may stop hair loss.
  • Hair treatments. Chemicals used for dying, tinting, bleaching, straightening or permanent waves can cause hair to become damaged and break off if they are overused or used incorrectly. Overstyling and excessive brushing also can cause hair to fall out if the hair shaft becomes damaged.
  • Scalp infection. Infections, such as ringworm, can invade the hair and skin of your scalp, leading to hair loss. Once infections are treated, hair generally grows back. Ringworm, a fungal infection, can usually be treated with a topical or oral antifungal medication.
  • Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder). Trichotillomania is a type of mental illness in which people have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair, whether it’s from the scalp, their eyebrows or other areas of the body. Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves them with patchy bald spots on the head, which they may go to great lengths to disguise. Causes of trichotillomania are still being researched, and no specific cause has yet been found.

Source for article:

How to Read Your Body’s Symptoms

July 19th, 2011

Before you race off to the doctor for every lump or discoloration, remember that anomalies you’ve had for years are more likely to be a harmless part of your genetic makeup. Signs and symptoms that are unusual for you, or painful or debilitating, are more likely to be significant. (Signs are external indicators that can be seen or felt; symptoms are internal sensations, such as pain, that only the patient can perceive.)

Signs of diabetes show up all over the body, from bleeding gums to tingling feet to darkened skin patches on the neck and underarms.

Some of the most worrisome body signs are already well known, thanks to extensive education campaigns. Most women know to check their breasts regularly for lumps, dimples, swelling and discharge that can signify cancer, and to have regular mammograms.

Men can develop breast cancer too, with many of the same symptoms. Enlarged breasts in men, known as gynecomastia, generally indicates an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone, which can occur from puberty or aging — or it could be a sign of kidney disease, or a pituitary tumor.

Skin cancers have also gotten significant publicity. When evaluating a spot, remember “ABCDE”: It may be malignant if it has A, for an asymmetrical shape; B for a jagged or irregular border; C for a suspicious color; D for a diameter larger than a pencil eraser; and E for being elevated and uneven. Basal-cell carcinomas and squamous-cell carcinomas tend to be red to pink and crusty, and bleed easily.

Excess belly fat is becoming notorious as a sign of a heightened risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, gall-bladder disease and numerous cancers. Waist-to-hip ratios are especially telling: If a man’s waist is larger than his hips, or a woman’s waist is more than four-fifths her hip circumference, that’s a sign that dangerous visceral fat is surrounding an abdominal organ.

Sudden, unexplained weight loss can also be a sign of problems.

Thyroid disease can manifest itself in dry, brittle hair, brittle nails, and weight gain or loss. Losing hair on the rest of your body could be aging or menopause, or a metabolic disorder or circulatory problems.

Horizontal lines through the fingernails, called Beau’s Lines, sometimes appear when the body is particularly stressed. Nails tell other tales as well. White nail beds — the skin underneath the nail — can signify anemia. Nails that are white near the cuticle and red or brown near the tip can be a sign of kidney disease. Irregularly shaped brown or blue spots in the nail bed can be melanomas. Fingertips that are blue or clubbed can be a sign of lung disease — although generally, there would be more significant signs as well.

Many of the same signs occur in toenails. But the feet are critical for other reasons. Circulatory problems can manifest themselves as numbness and tingling in the feet; so can peripheral neuropathy, or damage to the nerves that often begins at the extremities. Both are signs of uncontrolled diabetes. With circulation compromised, even a minor scratch or sore on the feet can become infected easily; lack of sensation can make it easy to ignore, and gangrene can set in, requiring amputation. That’s why people with diabetes are urged to check their feet every day for any kind of scratch or lesion.

The mouth provides another window into overall health. Bulimia can leave telltale acid marks on the backs of teeth — and missing teeth can be a sign of poor nutrition, advanced gum disease or long-term drug use.

Some body signs are more statistical correlations than causal relationships. Short leg length has been linked to a higher risk for diabetes, atherosclerosis and heart disease, which could all be due to poor nutrition in utero or early childhood. Several studies have found that the shorter a man’s index finger in relation to his ring finger, the more aggressive he’s likely to be. One possible explanation is exposure to testosterone in the womb, but so far, that remains more a curiosity than a clue.

Source For article: