Deciphering Common Penis Pains

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August 25th, 2014

The male reproductive organs are amazingly complex. That complexity of course means that a lot of things can happen. There are lots of different kinds of pains that can occur down below. There are guys that freak out about every little thing and keep going to the doctor’s office. Most though avoid going in and ignore the problem. But how do you know when a pain is serious and when it isn’t? Here are some ways you can decipher common penis pains and other problems.  Do you have a sharp pain or a burning sensation at the tip of your penis? If it happened while showering, a little soap or shampoo getting into the tip might be the issue. Usually you feel it the moment it occurs. But sometimes you only notice it when you begin to urinate. However, if this pain fails to subside in a couple of days, make an appointment with your doctor. You could have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). A white or greenish discharge means it’s even more likely you have an infection. If you have a pain in the lower stomach or back in the days just before this penis pain, you may have kidney stones. This is another serious condition. Make sure to see your physician. Give it a couple of days. If the pain in the tip doesn’t subside see your doctor.

ABDOMINAL-PAIN

Do you experience scrotal pain under certain conditions? Some guys experience a dull ache in the scrotum after moving heavy items or lifting weights. It can happen if you’ve had to stand for quite a while as well. Usually it goes away on its own after a while. Enlarged veins within the scrotum causes blood to collect in that one area, warming up the testicles and causing pain. Urology chair at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois Tobias Köhler, M.D. says “A lot of guys describe this as having blue worms in their sack.” Though this is not a medical emergency, you should see your doctor as this condition could affect testosterone and sperm production. Have you ever had an erection that is terribly painful and won’t go away? An erection lasting more than four hours is called priapism. This is where blood cannot escape the penis. When the blood becomes deoxygenated pain comes in. This condition can occur when erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs such as Viagra are mixed with recreational narcotics such as cocaine or ecstasy. It also occurs when ED drugs are injected directly into the penis. Go see a doctor or go to the hospital. A prolonged erection can cause damage to the penis. Have you ever felt an intense, shooting pain in your testicles, followed by vomiting or nausea? You have a twisted testicle inside your scrotum. It isn’t getting oxygen. Go to the E.R. If it isn’t handled right away, you could lose it. Lastly, a dull pain at the base of the penis where the penis meets the testicles is likely epididymitis. That’s an infection of the epididymis. See your doctor if you have this. Usually it’s a pain that keeps getting worse.

A Vasectomy May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

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July 18th, 2014

By 

Men with vasectomies may be at an increased risk for the most lethal form of prostate cancer, researchers have found. But aggressive cancer nonetheless remains rare in these patients.

Earlier studies had hinted at a connection between vasectomies and prostate cancer. Many experts have dismissed the idea of a link: Men who have vasectomies may receive more medical attention, they said, and therefore may be more likely to receive a diagnosis. The new study, published this month in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, sought to account for that possibility and for other variables.

Researchers at Harvard reviewed data on 49,405 men ages 40 to 75, of whom 12,321 had had vasectomies. They found 6,023 cases of prostate cancer among those men from 1986 to 2010.

The researchers found no association between a vasectomy and low-grade cancers. But men who had had a vasectomy were about 20 percent more likely to develop lethal prostate cancer, compared with those who had not. The incidence was 19 in 1,000 cases, compared with 16 in 1,000, over the 24-year period.

The reason for the increase is unclear, but some experts have speculated that immunological changes, abnormal cell growth or hormonal imbalances following a vasectomy may also affect prostate cancer risk.

Dr. James M. McKiernan, interim chairman of the department of urology at Columbia, said the lack of a clear causal mechanism was a drawback of the new research.

“If someone asked for a vasectomy, I would have to tell them that there is this new data in this regard, but it’s not enough for me to change the standard of care,” he said. “I would not say that you should avoid vasectomy.”

The lead author, Lorelei A. Mucci, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, emphasized that a vasectomy does not increase the risk for prostate cancer over all. “We’re really seeing the association only for advanced state and lethal cancers,” she said.

She agreed with Dr. McKiernan that the new data are not a reason to avoid a vasectomy. “Having a vasectomy is a highly personal decision that men should make with their families and discuss with their physicians,” she said. “This is one piece of evidence that should be considered.”

Overweight and Pregnant

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July 8th, 2014

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Pregnancy, or the desire to become pregnant, often inspires women to take better care of themselves — quitting smoking, for example, or eating more nutritiously.

But now many women face an increasingly common problem: obesity, which affects 36 percent of women of childbearing age. In addition to hindering conception, obesity — defined as a body mass index above 30 — is linked to a host of difficulties during pregnancy, labor and delivery.

These range from gestational diabetes, hypertension and pre-eclampsia to miscarriage, premature birth, emergency cesarean delivery and stillbirth.

The infants of obese women are more likely to have congenital defects, and they are at greater risk of dying at or soon after birth. Babies who survive are more likely to develop hypertension and obesity as adults.

To be sure, most babies born to overweight and obese women are healthy. Yet a recently published analysis of 38 studies found that even modest increases in a woman’s pre-pregnancy weight raised the risks of fetal death, stillbirth and infant death.

Personal biases and concerns about professional liability lead some obstetricians to avoid obese patients. But Dr. Sigal Klipstein, chairwoman of the committee on ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, says it is time for doctors to push aside prejudice and fear. They must take more positive steps to treat obese women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant.

Dr. Klipstein and her colleagues recently issued a report on ethical issues in caring for obese women. Obesity is commonly viewed as a personal failing that can be prevented or reversed through motivation and willpower. But the facts suggest otherwise.

Although some people manage to shed as much as 100 pounds and keep them off without surgery, many obese patients say they’ve tried everything, and nothing has worked. “Most obese women are not intentionally overeating or eating the wrong foods,” Dr. Klipstein said. “Obstetricians should address the problem, not abandon patients because they think they’re doing something wrong.”

Dr. Klipstein is a reproductive endocrinologist at InVia Fertility Specialists in Northbrook, Ill. In her experience, the women who manage to lose weight are usually highly motivated and use a commercial diet plan.

“But many fail even though they are very anxious to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy,” she said. “This is the new reality, and obstetricians have to be aware of that and know how to treat patients with weight issues.”

The committee report emphasizes that “obese patients should not be viewed differently from other patient populations that require additional care or who have increased risks of adverse medical outcomes.” Obese patients should be cared for “in a nonjudgmental manner,” it says, adding that it is unethical for doctors to refuse care within the scope of their expertise “solely because the patient is obese.”

Obstetricians should discuss the medical risks associated with obesity with their patients and “avoid blaming the patient for her increased weight,” the committee says. Any doctor who feels unable to provide effective care for an obese patient should seek a consultation or refer the woman to another doctor.

Obesity rates are highest among women “of lower socioeconomic status,” the report notes, and many obese women lack “access to healthy food choices and opportunities for regular exercise that would help them maintain a normal weight.”

Nonetheless, obese women who want to have a baby should not abandon all efforts to lose weight. Obstetricians who lack expertise in weight management can refer patients to dietitians who specialize in treating weight problems without relying on gimmicks or crash diets, which have their own health risks.

Weight loss is best attempted before a pregnancy. Last year, the college’s committee on obstetric practice advised obstetricians to “provide education about possible complications and encourage obese patients to undertake a weight-reduction program, including diet, exercise, and behavior modification, before attempting pregnancy.”

An obese woman who becomes pregnant should aim to gain less weight than would a normal-weight woman. The Institute of Medicine suggests a pregnancy weight gain of 15 to 25 pounds for overweight women and 11 to 20 pounds for obese women.

Although women should not try to lose weight during pregnancy, “a woman who weighs 300 pounds shouldn’t gain at all,” Dr. Klipstein said. “This is not harmful to the fetus.”

Dr. Klipstein also noted that obesity produces physiological changes that can affect pregnancy, starting with irregular ovulation that can result in infertility.

Obese women are more likely to have problems processing blood sugar, which raises the risk of birth defects and miscarriage. There is also a greater likelihood that their baby will be too large for a vaginal delivery, requiring a cesarean delivery that has its own risks involving anesthesia and surgery.

The babies of obese women are more likely to develop neural tube defects — spina bifida and anencephaly — and to suffer birth injuries like shoulder dystocia, which may occur when the infant is very large.

High blood pressure, more common in obesity, can result in pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, which can damage the mother’s kidneys and cause fetal complications like low birth weight, prematurity and stillbirth.

It is also harder to obtain reliable images on a sonogram when the woman is obese. This can delay detection of fetal or pregnancy abnormalities that require careful monitoring or medical intervention.

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Marijuana may affect fertility in young men

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June 6th, 2014

> on March 25, 2010 in Berkeley, California.“If you’re a cannabis user and you’re trying for a baby … stop.”

This advice comes from Dr. Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom and lead author of a new study that suggests using marijuana could increase a man’s risk of fertility problems.

The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, looked at how a man’s lifestyle affects his sperm morphology: the size and shape of sperm. Researchers collected data from 1,970 men who provided semen as part of a fertility assessment.

All of the lifestyle information was self-reported, and researchers made no attempt to confirm accuracy. Of those men, 318 produced abnormal sperm, where less than 4% of it was the correct size and shape (as defined by the World Health Organization). The remaining men’s sperm had a higher percentage at a “normal” size and shape.

“Cannabis smoking was more common in those men who had sperm morphology less than 4%,” Pacey said. “Cannabis affects one of the processes involved in determining size and shape. And we also know that the way cannabis is metabolized is different in fertile and infertile men.”

The study found that men who had less than 4% normal sperm were typically under 30 years old, had used marijuana within three months of giving their sample and were twice as likely to have provided their sample during the summer.

Any of those factors could have influenced sperm morphology, but Pacey said “the only thing we found that was a risk that a man can do something about was cannabis.”

The researchers did not set out to study cannabis; they were simply collecting data about men’s lifestyles to identify risks to fertility. They looked at a number of possibilities, including cigarettes, alcohol, recreational drug use, employment history, BMI, medical history and the type of underwear the men wore. The researchers concluded that none of these were factors.

A third of all infertility cases are linked to the male partner, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (PDF). The society says marijuana is associated with impaired sperm function and should not be used by men trying to conceive.

Society President Rebecca Sokol says the study confirms previous studies that found a possible but not proven link between abnormal semen and sperm function and the use of cannabis. But she warns that the study does not have enough cases to draw definite conclusions.

“The take-home lesson of the article is that clinicians should counsel their patients on the possible relationships between lifestyle factors, abnormal semen parameters and fertility outcomes,” Sokol said. “This should include a discussion that the data are often inconclusive, but the motto ‘everything in moderation’ is a wise approach for the couple who is planning a pregnancy.”

Another paper on the health consequences of cannabis was published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and a team of the institute’s researchers prepared a paper detailing the risks based on the strongest scientific evidence currently available. According to the paper, they wanted to dispel “the popular notion that marijuana is a harmless pleasure” and does not need to be regulated.

The paper details what the research shows are the adverse effects of recreational use, including the risks of addiction. Approximately 9% of those who try marijuana will become addicted; one in six of those who start as teenagers and 25% to 50% of those who smoke daily become addicted.

The researchers also wrote about the harmful effects of cannabis use on brain development, especially in kids and teenagers. Preliminary research shows that adolescents who are early-onset smokers are slower at tasks, have lower IQs later in life and have an increased incidence of psychotic disorders.

Other problems associated with marijuana use, according to the paper, include impaired short-term memory and motor coordination, altered judgment, effects on school performance, a higher risk of motor-vehicle accidents and higher risk of cancer and other health issues like heart disease and stroke.

“There is a widespread and growing perception among not only youth, but the public in general, that marijuana is a relatively harmless drug, and it has been difficult marshaling science to correct this perception,” Volkov said. “The science of marijuana is far from settled, and this has allowed advocates of various positions to cherry-pick evidence to support their particular stance.”

The review also lists some of the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Conditions and symptoms that may be helped by marijuana treatment include glaucoma, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, nausea, inflammation and AIDS-related anorexia and wasting syndrome, according to the report.

Volkow and her fellow researchers fear that as governments begin to modify marijuana policy toward legalization, recreational use will increase, as will a host of negative health problems.

However, Mason Tvert, communications director at the Marijuana Policy Project, says the report by the National Institute on Drug abuse researchers is not an objective review of current scientific evidence.

The Marijuana Policy Project has worked to reform marijuana policies and laws since 1995 at both the federal and state level. It lobbies for legislation that would replace marijuana prohibition in favor of legal regulation. It provided much of the staff and funding in the push to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older in Colorado in 2012, and its goal is to pass, by 2017, at least 10 more laws that would regulate cannabis like alcohol.

“NIDA has long been criticized for prioritizing politics over science,” Tvert said. “They fail to acknowledge any of the well-known research that refutes, and in some cases completely debunks, their conclusions. This more closely resembles a poorly written college essay … than it does an objective, evidence-based journal article. Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it poses far less harm than alcohol to the consumer and to society.”

Post by: Saundra Young – CNN Medical Senior Producer
Filed under: Fertility • Marijuana • Men’s Health

Simple Ways to Become more Fertile

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June 2nd, 2014

Are you and your partner trying to conceive (menshealth.co)? Sometimes it seems like those who don’t want kids are the most fertile, while those who are trying have to jump through all kinds of hoops. Even if you haven’t had any trouble, are just starting out or are just concerned about fertility in the future or your sexual health in general, there are simple ways to become more fertile. First, try to eat a diet containing foods rich in antioxidants. Free radicals in the body not only prematurely age cells they also impair sperm function. Green tea, whole grains, broccoli, garlic and berries are loaded with these free radical destroying compounds. If you want even more protection why not take a supplement? In a study found in a recent issue of Fertility and Sterility men who popped one capsule per day of the supplement called CoQ10 had better sperm motility or the sperm’s ability to swim vigorously, and increased spontaneous fertilization by 13.6%. Do you like tomato soup? In addition to being delicious it could also help ramp up your fertility. According to a recent study out of the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. a bowl of tomato soup a day can increase your fertility. Researchers had first noticed that men who were infertile had decreased amounts of lycopene in their sperm. The processing of tomato soup actually makes it easier for the system to absorb the nutrients it contains. In their study men of an average age of 42 saw the lycopene levels of their semen increase 12% after eating tomato soup every day for two weeks while lowering their risk of prostate cancer.
Drinking plenty of water is great for your overall health and essential to your sexual health. But toxins in the water table and pollution can make its way to your tap. Do you filter your tap water at home? Three university’s in the U.K. did studies and found that substances called anti-androgens are found in drinking water. These are hormone blockers that halt the production of sperm. Male fish have actually turned female, a processes called “feminization.” Over 1,000 fish were used in these studies. Ejaculating daily can improve the quality of your sperm by 12%. So let your lady know that’s why you need some alone time. For some men the chemicals from the air, water and the food we eat leads to a buildup of estrogen in the body. Start your day with half a lemon squeezed into a cup of warm or even hot water. It will clean out those toxins, setting your body’s biochemistry straight and getting rid of those chemicals that often turn into female hormones. Eat lots of foods containing amino acids such as eggs. These increase sperm production. Eat more pomegranate, it’s great for sperm production, lifts your libido and aids in blood flow. Try drinking some ginseng tea in the morning. Research has shown it improves sperm motility. It is also a sleep aid. Exercise, eating a healthy diet and managing depression, anxiety and stress are also important for maintaining sexual health and making/ keeping yourself fertile.

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