Performance Anxiety when Trying to Conceive

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November 12th, 2014

When you first start trying to have a baby, it can seem too good to be true. There are no more condoms to fool around with. Your partner may be extra motivated, which is always fun. Certain days you know, no matter what happened that day, you are getting lucky that night. But after some time, say months or even a year, what was once an added bonus can turn into a liability. Los Angeles marriage and family therapist Aaron Buckwalter says, “…after 6 months of no pregnancy, people start to get a little worried. Part of this worry derives from hearing so much about infertility that people start to get anxious and move rapidly into concern about infertility.” This is where sex turns a corner. Instead of fun, it becomes a chore. Buckwalter says, “Some books and doctors recommend having sex twice a day during the ovulation period. Having sex 6 times in three days sounds like it could be fun, but can lead to performance anxiety and often anger and resentment.” This negativity is carried into the bedroom. But how men and women deal with such emotions is different.anxiety (1)

“Men do typically bear the brunt of performance anxiety as couples try to conceive,” Buckwalter says. “When the pressure is on to have sex numerous times in a short time period, many men have erection difficulties and also difficulty achieving orgasm each time. If there is a ‘failure’ in one of those attempts, it can compound the pressure later in the day or the following day to perform their duty successfully.” The woman’s own anxieties can compound the issue. With so much pressure and negative emotions building up on both sides, and the spontaneity and playfulness gone out of it, it’s no wonder so many guys have performance anxiety at this crucial time. So how can you overcome it? According to Buckwalter, “Rather than giving into the timetable and feeling rushed, the couple should relax and try to re-introduce playfulness into the situation. It can be a good time to check in with each other about fantasies or role playing ideas and other ways to distract them from the timetable.” Make it more like in the old days. Don’t feel pressured. Instead, find ways to deal with your anxiety. Talk about it and see how she feels, too. Once you clear the air and deal with those negative emotions, lovemaking can become organic and exciting, and less of a chore. If performance anxiety still exists, seek out a counselor or sex therapist. If you cannot conceive after one year of trying, see a fertility specialist.

Things You Need To Know About A Vasectomy

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September 22nd, 2014

A vasectomy is by far the most reliable type of birth control. But there are a few things you should consider before getting one. If you are of a certain age and do not want to have children, or are done reproducing a vasectomy can make a whole lot of sense. It only takes 20 to 30 minutes. The vas deferens are each cut, there are two, disallowing sperm from exiting the body. Sexual functioning however will remain the same. Urologist and head of Southern Illinois University’s fertility division Dr. Tobias Köhler said, “There is no safer or more reliable form of birth control apart from abstinence.”

Still there are things you need to know about having a vasectomy. Though a slight chance, there is still a risk that you could still impregnate your partner. Köhler says that after a vasectomy the chances of pregnancy are 1 in 2,000. Though they are very small, the surgery is not infallible.

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A vasectomy doesn’t make you sterile immediately. Köhler says that you still have, “bullets in the chamber.” He adds, “You need to ejaculate 20 or 30 times after the procedure to clear out your existing sperm reserves.” At least now you have a good excuse. Lots of men fail to remember that they aren’t automatically infertile. Each year, a flurry of lawsuits occur over so-called failed vasectomies when in reality the patient should have used the couple’s normal form of birth control until the time when his chamber was clear. There are a few minor risks. Köhler says, “Don’t Google ‘vasectomy risks’ because you’ll see all kinds of crazy stuff.”

There is a small chance of infection and of developing hematoma, a condition where blood collects in the scrotum. If this occurs, a second minor procedure may be necessary. There are zero long-term negative effects to your equipment and performance from a vasectomy. You won’t find any drop in testosterone either. Insurance companies love to cover this procedure since children are expensive to them. Make sure your decision is final. A reversal surgery can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. There is no rush to decide. Köhler says, “If it’s been a while since you had your vasectomy—like, more than eight years—you only have about a 50-50 shot of regaining your ability to reproduce.”

An Overactive Bladder (OAB)

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September 15th, 2014

Don’t feel embarrassed. Almost 33 million in the U.S. have an overactive bladder (OAB). But medical experts believe that this number is conservative. A lot of men don’t like to talk about OAB. Yet 30% of them have it. Don’t put off speaking to your doctor about this problem. There are many treatment options available and they are effective. Symptoms include frequent urination, feeling like you need to go often, urinating several times during the night, even leakage.Not every man has every symptom. You may have just one or two. Sometimes the urge is so strong you can’t control it. Some men urinate up to eight times a day. Having to go at least two times at night is also a strong sign, an experience dubbed nocturia. Urge incontinence is another common symptom. This is when some leakage occurs when you feel like you have to go. Physical exertion, laughing or sneezing can also make leakage occur. An enlarged prostate makes for two thirds of OAB cases in men. The urethra passes through the prostate gland. When the prostate swells it puts pressure on the urethra. An enlarged prostate can also cause a blockage, resulting in OAB symptoms.

Though most men experience OAB due to an enlarged prostate, also called benign prostate hypoplasia (BPH), it isn’t the only cause. Other causes includebladder cancer, bladder stones, an infection, stroke and even Parkinson’s disease. Stroke and Parkinson’s can cause nerve damage which may lead to OAB.  If you tell your doctor you think you might have OAB he will want to perform an exam. You will be tested for infection and bladder stones. There are also lots of tests to check you bladder’s functioning. One of these may be performed. One test includes seeing how much urine remains within your bladder after urination. Another will measure the urine stream. The doctor could also see how much pressure there is in and around the bladder. The results of these efforts should give the physician enough information in order to make a diagnosis. There are some lifestyle changes that can improve the symptoms of OAB. Eating healthy, exercising regularly and drinking the right fluids will all be recommended. You may need to keep a record of urination. A bathroom schedule could be imposed. If you are overweight or obese, it can affect the condition and the doctor may recommend a program to help you lose weight. A bladder training routine may be initiated. There are medications for OAB. There is a device for those who are getting mixed up signals in the brain going to the bladder. If none of these options work, there is surgery.

Circumcision Reduces HIV Transmission for Both Partners

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September 4th, 2014

Researchers found out not too long ago that circumcision helps prevent men from contracting HIV. But the recently held AIDS conference found that it helps prevent transmission to women as well. The findings were presented at the conference in Melbourne. The study that uncovered this was conducted on an orange farm in South Africa. Circumcision wasn’t an indigenous part of the culture there. Women who had intercourse with men who were circumcised contracted HIV at half the rate, 18% compared to those who were uncircumcised. This new information, that circumcision reduces the transmission of HIV for both partners, is generating a program in the country to circumcise men and hopefully stem the epidemic which has ravaged the entire continent. The idea is that the foreskin contains a whole host of microbes which is a friendly environment to the AIDS virus. The foreskin itself can become a satchel then to deliver the virus to the woman and hide it so that it can creep inside the man. What’s more, the mucus layer protecting the glands from infection is thinner in those who are circumcised versus those who aren’t.  Though it is a tradition in some cultures, it isn’t in others, though with this news that might be changing.

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The scientists who are helping to roll out a circumcision program in South Africa were at first worried that the local population would not respond to it. They showed them that men who were circumcised had a lower infection rate than their uncircumcised counterparts. They also showed that in countries where circumcision was the norm, a lower prevalence of the disease existed. Three trials to date have been conducted all with the same conclusion; circumcision cuts the rate of HIV infection. The program included men and women in the community. With lots of communication, soon many circumcisions were being performed. The best way to prevent HIV/AIDS is limiting one’s number of partners and using condoms. Make sure to use them correctly or else protection can be decreased. For those in at-risk populations there is also a medication available called Truvada. It is also known as PrEP. When taken correctly it is highly effective against the contraction of HIV. The CDC recommends every adult get an HIV test at least once in their life. Those who are at-risk should have a test conducted at least once every six months. Most people who contract HIV have flu-like symptoms a week or two after transmission. Many however have no symptoms at all.

Fertility Boosting Foods

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August 29th, 2014

Some couples get pregnant easy, but for others it’s much harder. For men oftentimes the problem is a low sperm count. For women, it can be a blocked fallopian tube. This can be countered by insemination or in vitro fertilization.  For some couples struggling with fertility problems, the issue may not be so cut and dry.  Reproductive endocrinologist at the Montefiore Medical Center’s Institute of Reproductive Medicine and Health Staci Pollack, MD says, “Often, problems are subclinical — meaning we know something is wrong, it’s just not showing up on the radar.” Standard treatments often do help these couples. But there are a number of low cost things one can do to boost their fertility, eating certain foods for example. Be sure to see your doctor however and get a full fertility workup. There may be causes that your doctor should know about. Also, your physician is a good source of lifestyle changes such as getting enough sleep, exercise, losing weight and many other things that can boost your fertility. Your primary care physician may need to refer you to a urologist or fertility expert. Take note that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says if you try for 12 months with no results seek out a fertility specialist.

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For men it’s all about boosting your sperm count, and you will want to eat foods that do that. Make sure to eat lots of foods that are full of vitamin C, and all the other antioxidants. This will help with sperm motility and help avoid defects. Motility is the sperm’s ability to swim vigorously for long periods, which it will need to do to reach the egg. Oranges and other citrus fruits, orange juice, tomatoes, pineapples and many other foods are full of vitamin C. A lack of zinc can lead to infertility. Oysters, beef, dark meat chicken or baked beans can give you what you need. Folic Acid is another important nutrient for sperm production. Legumes, oranges, fortified breakfast cereals, and leafy green vegetables will give you this essential B vitamin. What’s more, a supplement may be recommended. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Taking a multivitamin everyday may be the trick to getting all the nutrients you need to get things moving. The jury is still out as to whether caffeine affects sperm production or not. Men who are trying to conceive should steer clear of alcohol, having only one to two drinks per day as alcohol can negatively affect your sperm count. As for performance, one study found that watermelon was just as potent as Viagra.