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.

How your Underwear can lift your Sperm Count

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August 29th, 2014

50% of couples with fertility problems find the cause is a low sperm count. But simple changes, even what type of underwear you wear can lift or decrease your sperm count. The reason the testicles hang away from the body is that sperm production occurs at a few degrees lower than body temperature. In fact the scrotum does temperature control to make sure sperm production can be at its maximum, lifting the testes when it’s cold and lowering them when it’s hot.When a man wears briefs it brings the testicles far too close to the body, making them warmer. Though providing a secure feeling this is not the optimal temperature for sperm production.  Director of clinical maternal-fetal medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Weill Medical College Amos Grunebaum, MD reminds us that it takes 10 to 11 weeks for a full cycle of sperm production to occur. Grunebaum told WebMD, “You can’t just wear boxer shorts the night before romantic date, and expect it to work. Anything you do that damages sperm will affect them for the next 10 to 11 weeks.” Women for a long time have been cognizant of their lifestyle and how it affects their reproductive system. But when it’s time to conceive, a man has to step up and do what he can to contribute to the process. Changing the type of underwear you wear may be one simple step in the right direction.

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So get rid of the jockeys, the boxer briefs and the regular briefs. It’s boxers for you from now on. What’s more avoid skinny jeans or really any type of tight pants. Wear looser pants. The scrotum is its own temperature control mechanism and it’s pretty good at it. Just give it the room it needs to do its thing. If you are committed to boxers, you can’t wear tight pants anyway. It’s especially important not to wear tight pants while you exercise, as when the body gets overheated your sperm production is down to a sloth’s pace. If you like the sauna or the hot tub, that’s all well and good. But stay away from them if you and your lady are trying to conceive. Grunebaum said that when you are home, you should take your pants off. “It will not only help reduce testes temperature, but it might also turn her on.” If you are worried about your sperm count, get it tested. It may feel like a slight if it comes back negative, but it isn’t. It’s just like any other medical situation. There are lots of reasons and options. A change in lifestyle can help tremendously as well. Grunebaum said, “The first test I suggest is a sperm count. It’s a simple test, cheap, it doesn’t involve anything invasive, plus, it’s the only test I know that guarantees an orgasm.”

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

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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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