Posts tagged ‘alcohol’

Five signs you may have low testosterone — guest post by Dr. Larry Lipschultz

happy faceLow testosterone, also referred to as hypogonadism, may result in significant side effects, such as male infertility. Because low testosterone symptoms may mimic the effects of other disorders, and because patients may feel embarrassed to discuss their experiences with a medical practitioner, individuals may fail to recognize symptoms of low testosterone. However, men should pay attention to their bodies if common signs of low testosterone occur. By contacting a trusted men’s health practice, you may be able to improve testosterone levels and prevent potential risks.

Decreased Sex Drive

Noticing a dip or significant drop in your sex drive does not necessarily point to an emotional issue or something you can take care of on your own. This may point to a low testosterone level. While your sex drive may decrease naturally as you age, an apparent testosterone issue may contribute to a lack of desire to have sex, as well as a decreased ability to reach orgasm.

Infertility

If you find you have been having conception problems with your significant other, your infertility may be the result of low testosterone. This hormone plays an important role in sperm production. As testosterone drops, so does sperm count and your ability to conceive. Your men’s health doctor will test your blood to determine whether your infertility rests solely on low testosterone levels, which may affect a more comprehensive hormonal imbalance.

Erectile Dysfunction

Low testosterone may result in erectile dysfunction. The relationship here is twofold. First, low levels of testosterone often result in a loss of genital sensation. When your sensation drops, your ability to receive stimulation and achieve an erection decreases. In addition, testosterone supports a subsequent process involving the release of nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator, or widening of blood cells. When this reaction fails to occur, achieving or sustaining an erection becomes difficult or impossible.

Fatigue

When you experience feelings of decreased energy and fatigue, consider whether you have done anything to alter your usual routine. If you have not overexerted yourself, changed your diet significantly, or experienced sleeping problems, you may look to low testosterone as the underlying cause. Particularly when experienced in combination with mood swings, weight gain, and loss of muscle mass, fatigue may be your red flag that your hormones need a rebalance.

Changes in Mood

If you notice that you have been feeling depressed lately, but no major changes have occurred in your life, low testosterone is a possible culprit. Hormones play a key role in your mental and emotional balance. If it isn’t depression, in which you experience feelings of guilt and extreme sadness , you may notice you become irritable. Or, you may find you feel fine but the people surrounding you in your life begin to complain that you have become quite moody.

About Dr. Larry Lipschultz

Larry Lipschultz, M.D. is one of the leading experts on male reproductive medicine and microsurgery, and contributes to education as a professor at Baylor College of Medicine. He has trained an extensive number of urologists and heads a urology practice that offers comprehensive services for men’s health. His practice is located in Houston, and offers services that focus on infertility, erectile dysfunction, nutrition, and other men’s health issues.

Website: http://www.larrylipshultz.com/

Effects of alcohol on erectile dysfunction — guest post by Jaime A. Heidel

English: Breckenridge, Colorado liquor store.

English: Breckenridge, Colorado liquor store. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a variety of physical and psychological problems. Does drinking alcohol cause erectile dysfunction? This article gives you an overview of the connection between alcohol consumption and the development of sexual health problems.

How Does Alcohol Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Excessive alcohol consumption causes erectile dysfunction in two ways:

Affects Mood – A glass or two of your favorite adult beverage may put you in the mood, but more than that can lead to sexual dysfunction. This is because alcohol depresses the nervous system and may cause feelings of anxiety. When a man feels anxious or depressed, he is less likely to be able to perform sexually.

Circulation Problems – Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to circulation problems in a man’s sexual organs. If you achieve sexual arousal when you’ve been drinking, the alcohol dilates the vessels in your penis but they will not close once you’ve achieved erection. When your blood vessels stay open, your penis quickly returns to its relaxed state, making sexual intercourse difficult if not impossible.

How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

This is a common question among men suffering from erectile dysfunction. More than a couple of drinks per night can lead to lasting sexual problems for men. This is especially true if you plan to “get romantic” on a night when you’re drinking.

It’s also important to remember that alcohol is a long-term toxin and if consumed in excess, can lead to problems with erectile dysfunction even when you’re not consuming alcohol.

How Can I Cut Down on My Alcohol Use?

If you want to reduce the effects of alcohol on your system but don’t want to quit cold turkey, there are a few ways you can cut down on your alcohol use:

Set a Goal – When you set a goal for yourself, you have a better chance of achieving it. Write down how many drinks you plan to drink each day and stick with it.

Measure Your Drinks – When it comes to beer, one standard drink is 12 ounces. A glass of wine shouldn’t exceed 5 ounces. When it comes to hard liquor, stick to 1.5 ounce servings.

Count Your Drinks – Don’t just knock ‘em back. Make a mental note of how many drinks you’re having so you can stick to your goal.

Space Your Drinks – Everything in moderation. If you’re experiencing sexual health problems, remember to space your drinks and drink non-alcoholic beverages in between.

Don’t Forget to Eat – The effects of alcohol are always more noticeable on an empty stomach so don’t forget to snack during and in between drinks.

Do I Need Professional Help?

Not everybody who drinks is an alcoholic. However, some men develop a problem with their drinking without meaning to. You might need professional help if:

You often drink to get drunk.

You’ve had blackouts.

You have physical or mental withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink.

You drink alone or purposefully hide you drinking from others.

Your drinking has caused problems in your personal or professional relationships.

A couple of beers or cocktails with friends once in the while shouldn’t cause sexual side effects but if you drink in excess, try cutting back. It may be all you need to do to improve your love life! If ED problems persist, book an appointment with your doctor to address other possible underlying causes.
About the Author:

Jaime A. Heidel is a professional freelance writer with a passion for health and wellness. She writes for several natural health websites including www.menshealthnet.org.

Living life to the longest: Routines for a longer life — guest post by Barbara Jolie

Throughout human existence, individuals have been on a quest to extend life as much as possible. Men have waged wars and epic quests to track down myths like the Fountain of Youth and the Tree of Life in the hopes of discovering immortality. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that no water or sap exists that will grant us eternal life. In fact, if there is one thing all of us have in common it’s the fact that we will all leave this world eventually.

There is no reason, however, that people shouldn’t make an effort to live life to the longest. Sure, we may not be able to cheat death, but by embracing certain routines and habits we may be able to extend life. Here are three items you can integrate into your routine to extend your years little by little.

Good Works

According to the Buck Institute for Age Research, individuals who actively volunteer have a 44 percent lower death rate than those who don’t. The work of helping others is known to boost people’s happiness levels, which is directly related to increasing antibodies and strengthening the brain and immune system. So try and find two organizations you’re interested in and exercise your charity bone.

Sleep

This may come as no surprise, but it’s still important to note. Sleep is essential to living a full, long life. So if you aren’t catching enough sleep, maybe it’s time you start hitting the pillow a little earlier. In fact, according to research from Penn State University, one reason women usually live longer than men is because they have more frequent, stable sleep patterns. Many people believe their busy schedules won’t allow them to head to bed early, but if going to bed earlier means living a few more years, I’d say it’s worth trying to catch at least an hour more of sleep each night.

Sex

Not only is sex essential to maintaining emotional health and loving relationships, it is quintessential to living a longer life. In fact, according to Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz, “men who have sex three times a week can decrease their risk of heart attack and stroke by 50 percent.” Maintaining good sexual health comes with a bit of work, however. In order to maintain sexual stamina, men must keep things like high cholesterol, hypertension, alcohol, and obesity in check. So if you want to keep things like impotence at bay, make sure to exercise and watch your alcohol intake. Furthermore, according to Dr. Oz, “sex can make your body feel two to eight years younger for…men who have 150 to 350 orgasms a year.”

Although we’ve been unable to find the secret to eternal life on earth, there are some remedies to extending life as much as possible. For those men who are looking to add some longevity to their life, try embracing more sex, more sleep, and more charitable volunteering. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a longer life.

This guest post is contributed by Barbara Jolie, who writes for the online classes blog. Barbara Jolie is an avid writer and blogger, interested in all things education. For questions or comments email her at barbara.jolie876@gmail.com.

The battle of the sexes continues into the bedroom? Do women sleep better than men? — guest post by Leyla Al-Sharif

There is much debate around the matter of whether men or women sleep better at night and various studies have been conducted to this end. Some have used sleep-laboratory results and devices attached to subjects.

Fact: Women DO Sleep Longer

The journal Chronobiology International published the results of a poll by the American National Sleep Foundation after interviewing more than 1500 people. Nearly a third of the women interviewed said that they sleep about eight hours during week nights. The number of men saying the same was only just over twenty per cent. If taking all the information given in the survey into account, in general women sleep about an average of eleven minutes longer per night than men do.

The Issue of Uninterrupted Sleep

It is not only the length of sleep that matters, but also the kind of sleep. Uninterrupted sleep is very important in assuring enough rest for the following day’s activities. Mothers of young children often have interrupted sleep and this might account for why women with children say that they don’t get enough sleep.

Fact: Women Cope Better on Less Sleep

This could be because women usually have more slow-wave sleep: this is a level of deep sleep that plays a critically important role in the proper functioning of the memory. This kind of sleep occurs within a short time of falling asleep. This might also account for the fact that women perform better at conceptual learning tasks without needing a nap before the time – in contrast to men, who need to sleep first. It is, however, true that women do more often tend to suffer from insomnia. Yet they are still able to perform better than men and women generally cope better with being deprived of sleep. Women tend to go to bed earlier than men and usually wake up earlier or have problems staying asleep very early in the morning. This is as a result of a woman’s circadian cycle being slightly shorter than a man’s. This is the body’s inbuilt clock that is not usually affected by light or darkness and determines our natural rhythms concerning when we need to rest.

Everyone should try to find the type of bed that will give them the best possible sleep, such as wooden bed frames with a comfortable, good-quality mattress and a good pillow. Drinking alcohol also has a detrimental effect on a good night’s sleep. More men tend to drink than women, so this might account for a large percentage of sleep problems in men. Men are also more prone to sleep apnoea, a condition in which the air to the lungs is temporarily cut off and the person stops breathing for a few seconds.

This post was contributed by Leyla Al-Sharif, an experienced guest blogger with expertise writing on health issues. She is currently working with Archers Sleep Centre to help them publicise the important health issue of sleep. You can reach Leyla on Twitter @DigitalLeyla

Easy on your digestion during Super Bowl Sunday — article by Scott Keith

Super Bowl Sunday is only hours away. It’s time to remember that your digestive tract is quite a sensitive mechanism and a little too many nachos, hot dogs and glasses of beer can send your stomach into a tailspin; you may even wake up in the middle of the night (after game day) and wish you had just stayed home.

In an e-mail interview for Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, Dr. Cynthia Yoshida offers some tips on how you can enjoy the game and sleep well that night.

Yoshida, a gastroenterologist and author of No More Digestive Problems, says, “The classic Super Bowl party is stocked with two things: beer and greasy food. The most common mistake we make is overindulging. Before, during and after the game, our plates are piled with salty, high-fat, mega-calorie foods that can wreak havoc on our digestive health.”

Yoshida points out that it’s not just spicy foods that can cause you pain and discomfort. Food low in fiber and high in fat can be culprits. It takes longer to digest pizza, nachos, chips and dip. The result: heartburn and a bloated, cramping sensation.

No Super Bowl party is complete without a refrigerator stocked with bottles of adult beverage.
But remember that while you may think beer is quenching your thirst and filling your body with much-needed liquid, in reality, the opposite is happening. “Alcohol is incredibly dehydrating. This may not be intuitively obvious because alcoholic beverages are liquids,” says Yoshida. “But alcohol inhibits the release of antidiuretic hormone; the kidneys don’t conserve water as well, and you urinate more.” Yoshida suggests you drink alcohol in moderation and make sure you’re drinking enough water. Try to drink a bottle of water after each beer. Another problem with alcohol is stomach irritation, or gastritis. Alcohol also intensifies heartburn and acid reflux.

If you want to supply foods that are easier on the digestive system, Yoshida suggests hummus instead of sour cream or cream cheese-based dips. Try guacamole and low-fat chips or pita triangles. Avocado contains “good fat.” If you want pizza, try a pie with broccoli and other vegetables on top. Tuscan bean soup can be substituted for chili. “And definitely have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on hand,” adds Yoshida.

According to Yoshida, too much nachos and beer can cause bloating and constipation. Cheese, meat and processed foods often have little or no fiber and can slow digestion.

It’s tough to stay away from that Super Bowl snack bowl. That’s where discipline is key. Yoshida says, “During that three hour period, the snack bowl seems endless and many listen to their mouth instead of their stomach. Try to stay away from frequently grabbing handfuls of snacks and, instead, make a single plate of the snacks you want. You’ll be more conscious of serving sizes.”

If you’re the active type, “It’s best to ease into exercise after an eventful night with a brisk walk to get your body feeling super again. And if you’re feeling irregular and bloated, try a gentle product like MiraLAX. It’s safe to use and doesn’t cause the harsh side effects that may come to mind when people think of the word ‘laxative,’” says Yoshida.
Her advice for those rooting for the Steelers or the Packers: “Drink responsibly, eat in moderation and most of all…have fun!”

Flu season: consider some natural ways to boost immunity — article by Scott Keith

It’s that time of year. Coughing, runny nose, sneezing, and fever can indicate an old-fashioned flu. A practitioner from ChicagoHealers.com says there are natural ways we can boost our immunity.

After spending some 30 years in the tertiary healthcare system, Dr. Sharon M. Weinstein became interested in more holistic, alternative and natural remedies. Weinstein says ChicagoHealers.com “is a wonderful alliance, if you will, of holistic practitioners who work collaboratively within the ChicagoHealers community to bring the best information related to health and wellness modalities to clients. It’s an amazing consortium.”

A big concern this time of year is influenza. “We are smack in the middle of the flu season,” says Weinstein, in an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing. “About 10 to 20 percent of Americans get the flu each year. Some people get very, very sick; many people are hospitalized and/or die as a result of complications.” Weinstein says she has spoken to several people who tell her they never got the flu until they received an influenza shot.

Who should be concerned? Weinstein says all youngsters, from six months to age 19; all adults 50 and older; all women who are or will be pregnant during the flu season; people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities or work with those who are ill; individuals with long-term health problems or chronic diseases and those who work with and around kids who are compromised.

Faced with another flu season, Weinstein says there are natural ways you can boost your immunity. “Your immune system is the only thing that prevents you from being riddled with infection and a host of other chronic diseases.”

Weinstein mentions a product that you might spread on your morning English muffin: Honey. “Honey is a natural germ-killing agent, readily available…you want to get something that is, in fact, raw, unprocessed honey.” It’s great as a sweetener.

Aloe Vera is also readily available and, according to Weinstein, kicks in the immune modulators and fights off disease. “I drink Aloe Vera every single day.”

A popular pizza topping may give you ammunition in your fight against the flu.  “Mushrooms are amazing. Many mushroom extracts from shiitake and all kinds, have excellent immune-boosting properties…these are really good in terms of boosting the body,” adds Weinstein.

Don’t forget products rich with Vitamin C. Says Weinstein, “Vitamin C is fabulous. There are great sources of vitamin C in nature: guava, papaya, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, oranges and grapefruit.” Vitamin E is a good immune booster, available in seeds, vegetables and whole grains. Carotenoids, including carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach, are also good for boosting the immune system.

Weinstein says other influences keep the immune system from doing a good job. Too much sugar, says Weinstein, reduces the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent. “Obesity can lead to a depressed immune system. It affects the ability of white blood cells to multiply, to produce antibodies and to rush to the site of an infection,” says Weinstein, adding that it’s also important to avoid generic table salts because they’ve been processed and stripped of vital minerals. Sea salt, on the other hand, has natural germ-fighting capabilities; natural sea salt (processed properly) contains 70 living minerals required for healthy cell function.

One thing we overlook is water. Weinstein says the body doesn’t work unless it’s well hydrated. Weinstein says you should be consuming at least half of your body weight a day in ounces of water to flush out the toxins. Coffee and alcohol dehydrate your body. If you consume coffee and alcohol, you should drink double the amount of water that’s recommended.

Don’t forget the obvious. Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and use those little plastic bottles of hand sanitizer. They’re there for a reason. Weinstein recalls an interesting situation after taking a colleague to the emergency department. “I have to tell you that they had a hand sanitizing system in the reception area, that they expected all of the patients to use. But in the emergency department itself, not a single care giver washed their hands. Not one.”

www.chicagohealers.com

 

A battle plan for workplace stress — article by Scott Keith

April is National Stress Awareness Month. What better time to remind ourselves that stress can affect your performance at work. Sure, it would be nice if you could break away from your cubicle at a moment’s notice, pump a little iron to relieve anxiety, then return to your office computer feeling as fresh as a coastal breeze. But that’s not feasible for most of us. According to a stress and exercise physiologist, there are stress-busting techniques that are much simpler to apply to your work environment.

Jenny Evans blends her knowledge of psychology, nutrition and mind/body wellness to help the multi-tasking office worker build energy and productivity. In an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, Evans points that out that for our ancestors, stress had a lot more to do with survival. These days, we experience frequent, acute bouts of stress that tend to accumulate throughout the day or week. It has to do with “the speed of life,” says Evans, noting that we’re juggling numerous forms of high-tech communications and doing the jobs of two or three persons. When you add economic worries and parental responsibilities to the mix, stress is on the increase, according to Evans.

Stress can have a negative impact on the body, and it’s not simply a matter of emotions. Evans says stress is a physiological response. “Chemicals and hormones are released that alter your physiology.” According to Evans, exposure to stress stimulates the “fight or flight” response. Adrenalin and cortisol (stress hormones) are released to get your body to release fats, proteins, and sugars so that you’ll have the energy to “fight or flight.” This intense activity, says Evans, burns off those stress hormones and releases endorphins (feel-good hormones) that restore balance to the system. The problem in today’s high-stress environment, says Evans, is “you’re getting that ‘fight or flight’ response, cortisol is being released into the body, but a lot of us are very sedentary, so we don’t burn off that cortisol.” She says cortisol is directly linked to fat that’s deposited around the mid-section. This fat can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain forms of cancer, stroke and decreasing immunity.

So how do we pick up the pep at the office? Evans, founder and CEO of PowerHouse Performance Coaching and PowerHouse Hit the Deck, suggests some simple steps to reduce stress, even if it’s hard to sneak away from the watchful eyes of your boss. Evans says it only takes 30 to 60 seconds of high-intensity physical activity, such as sprinting up a flight of stairs, to release endorphins. These short, intense bursts of activity, points out Evans, can physiologically re-set your system and get the body back to a state of balance. The result is you’ll do a better job of responding to your stress.

If you simply can’t remove yourself from the computer or office cubby hole, Evans suggests standing up when you’re on the phone or doing several quick walks around the office. “When you sit for extended periods of time, your energy, focus and productivity actually decrease.”

Another way to boost your energy is to take frequent, light-snack breaks. Says Evans, “We actually add more stress to our bodies with some of our eating habits. When you go too long without eating, and glucose levels drop, that is a physiological stress on the body – often when we go too long without eating, we’re so hungry we pig out.” This gets excess glucose in the system, which is also a stress to the body. A light snack, adds Evans, might be a piece of fruit, half of an energy bar, a small handful of nuts or a container of yogurt.

Evans points out the need to cut down on caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. “Ironically, those three things actually stimulate the stress response in the body. Caffeine releases adrenalin, so when you’re feeling stressed out and start drinking caffeine, it’s actually getting the body to release more adrenalin and your sense of stress and anxiety is actually going to increase.” Evans suggests caffeine-free products or tea.

Getting back to multi-tasking, consider these stats from Evans: “When you’re multi-tasking, research (University of London Institute of Psychiatry) shows us that your IQ drops as much as ten points, the same drop you would get from missing an entire night’s sleep or if you smoked marijuana. Other research shows that when you’re multi-tasking, it takes you 50 percent longer to complete a task and that you’ll make 50 percent more errors.”

www.powerhouseperformancecoaching.com