Monthly Archives: July 2017

7 Beets Benefits For Your Health, From Losing Weight To Better Sex

7 Beets Benefits For Your Health, From Losing Weight To Better Sex


Beets are one of those foods you love, hate, or forget they even existed. The nutrient-dense superfood is getting a second look as more research reveals the beet’s health-boosting effects on the mind and body. Adding more beets to your diet can help boost longevity, from aiding weight loss to preventing chronic diseases, like cancer.

Beets have a rich nutritional profile that provides a plethora of health benefits. Also known as blood turnips, beets are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, and folate. The underrated vegetable is an acquired taste, but the nutritional powerhouse can add years to your lifespan if consumed on a regular basis.

Below are 7 benefits of beets that boost your physical and mental health.

Boosts Weight Loss

Beets help you detox and lose weight because they contain no fat and are a good source of dietary fiber — half soluble and half insoluble. These two types help fight fat by maintaining proper bowel function and lowering cholesterol levels for weight loss. Similarly, beets are rich in magnesium, a mineral that supports optimal nerve and muscle functioning, which could be beneficial for losing weight.

A 2011 study found high levels of magnesium led to higher levels of testosterone — a hormone that promotes fat tissue loss and increases in muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, maintaining or building muscle can help with shedding the pounds. Moreover, beets contain phytonutrients known as betalains — betanin and vulgaxanthin — which are effective in reducing inflammation and supplying the body with antioxidants. Betalains also support detoxification, which may contribute to weight loss.

Boosts Strength

Beet juice can be valuable if you’re looking to boost endurance during your workout. Previous research has found those who drank beet juice before working out were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer. Researchers believe the nitrate content in beets, which turns into nitric oxide, reduces the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise while enhancing the stamina for high-intensity exercise.

In other words, nitrate-rich food can increase exercise endurance.

Improves Digestion

Beetroots have been linked to improving poor digestion by exciting the nerves in the intestines and enhancing the body’s ability to digest food. A cup of beetroot contains 3.4 grams of fiber, which makes beets a good source of fiber. Fiber makes you regular because it bypasses digestion and travels down to the colon, where it feeds friendly gut bacteria or it adds bulk to stool.

Improves Sexual Health

The superfood has been labeled as “nature’s Viagra” due to its nitrate content. Similar to Viagra, beet intake increases nitric oxide formation, which dilates blood vessels and boosts circulation to the penis. This leads to better erections for men during sexual intercourse, and helps them last longer in bed.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Beetroot juice can effectively lower blood pressure in men. In a study published in Nutrition, men and women who drank 17.6 ounces of beet juice, which consisted of about three-fourths beet juice and one-fourth apple juice, had a lower systolic blood pressure six hours later. However, when researchers limited their analysis to men, they found a significant reduction of about 4.7 points among those who drank beetroot juice versus the placebo.

Researchers believe it’s beets’ high nitrate content that produces these heart-healthy effects. The body converts nitrates from sources like beets into nitric oxide in the body. The nitric oxide then relaxes blood vessels and increases oxygen and blood flow, therefore, lowering blood pressure.

Prevents Cancer

The phytonutrients in beets, like betalains, have been found to be cancer-preventive. Animal studies have shown beets inhibit carcinogen formation and increase the production of immune cells and body enzymes that help stop cancer from developing. Specifically, a 2013 study found beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formation in several animal models when added in drinking water.

The science is still murky with humans; a study published in the Australian International Clinical Nutrition Review claimed a 50-year-old man recovered from lung tumor, which clinically corresponded to lung cancer, after consuming beetroot. After six weeks, the tumor disappeared, and four months later, the man gained back over 20 pounds of weight. Researchers are still hesitant on making bold claims about the vegetable.

Boosts Brain Health

Beets are considered brain food that can slow the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Drinking beet juice increases blood flow to the brain of the elderly, which may fight the progression of dementia, according to a 2010 study. A high-nitrate diet led to an increase in blood flow to the white matter of the frontal lobes — the areas of the brain linked to degeneration from dementia and other cognitive disorders.

Folic acid in beetroot can help protect against Alzheimer’s by preventing damage to the hippocampus, which the brain devoted to memory and learning. In an animal study, mice with Alzheimer’s-like plaques in their brains were fed a diet that included a normal amount of folic acid. Those fed the folic acid diet had more brain cells in the hippocampus compared to their folic acid-deficient counterparts.

Researchers suspect that high levels of homocysteine in the brain may damage the DNA of nerve cells in the brain. Folic acid is believed to work by helping protect the brain by allowing nerve cells to repair this DNA damage.

It’s important to talk with your doctor before substituting drugs with beets to treat these various health conditions.

The link between STIs and infertility

The link between STIs and infertility


MOST sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be treated with medication. But sometimes when left untreated, they can have serious reproductive health consequences, among them being infertility.

“Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive after a year and a half of trying to get pregnant, and can be a source of major distress. It is one of the most common reasons for women to visit their gynaecologists,” says Dr Keisha Buchanan, obstetrician-gynaecologist at ICON Medical Centre.

She says the condition which affects both sexes can be caused by any number of things, but an increasing number of cases have been linked to STIs. These can spread to the womb and to the Fallopian tubes in women, and in men, up along the urethra (through which urine emerges) and the epididymis (the passage where spermatozoa travel from the testicles to the penis).

“The infections cause inflammation and scarring in the pelvic organs in women, such as in the Fallopian tubes and the lining of the womb — a condition called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. This blocks the passage of the egg so that it cannot meet and be fertilised by the sperm. In men, inflammation of the epididymis and urethra causes scarring and blocks the passage of sperm. This causes the sperm count to fall off,” Dr Buchanan explained.

She said among the list of STIs that may cause infertility are chlamydia, which is the most common, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, mycoplasma and ureaplasma. Others such as HIV, hepatitis B and C and herpes, however, carry their own set of risks but do not cause infertility.

She said that people should always investigate their sexual health, especially if they suspect that they could be carrying an infection. She acknowledges, however, that this can sometimes be hard to detect since most of these STIs are subtle and tend to be asymptomatic. This means that whichever party has the infection may not notice any problems, and so may be unaware that they need to get treatment.

“Symptoms in women may present with a watery, milky or yellow vaginal discharge, a blood-stained vaginal discharge, pain in the lower abdomen, pain during sex, fever, symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection — such as burning while urinating and passing the urine too often; while in men you may also see a watery, milky or yellow blood-stained discharge from the penis, pain in the testicles, groin pain, passing the urine too often, or burning during the passage of urine,” Dr Buchanan shared.

In cases where oral sex is practised, soreness in the throat or a discharge in the throat may be present.

Fortunately, however, Dr Buchanan said that these potentially dangerous infections may be easily treated once they are discovered early.

“These infections can be treated with antibiotics; however, the longer the infection is present and is untreated, the greater the chances of damage to the reproductive organs, and thus the likelihood of infertility problems. When some patients do get tested and discover that they have chlamydia, the infection could have already been present for several months,” she said.

Dr Buchanan advised that it is always best to use a condom, to have one sexual partner, or to abstain in an effort to protect yourself against these infections. In the event that you have unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners, Dr Buchanan recommends that you get tested for STIs. She warns against relying on the onset of symptoms alone, because this may be misleading.

“It is important to note that most people who get these infections and are treated will fully recover and will not become infertile. Along with STIs, there are other causes of infertility, such as hormonal imbalances in men and women — fibroids and womb polyps in women, and in men, factors that decrease sperm production such as an excessive exposure of the testicles to heat, cigarette and marijuana smoking.”

OPINION: Have a healthy conversation about sex in college

OPINION: Have a healthy conversation about sex in college

According to The Journal of Sexual Medicine, college students are the consistently the most sexually active people, but talking about sexuality is still taboo. Conversations about safety, testing and other minutia about the subject are few and far between. Students need to normalize conversations about sexual safety to promote a healthier environment.

The most important reason to discuss sexual safety regularly is to help victims of sexual assault come forward and discuss their experiences. According tothe National Sexual Violence Resource Center, twenty percent of college women and six percent of college men are victims of sexual assault. Despite these high figures, ninety percent of sexual assault victims do not report the incidents.

The victims who experience sexual assault are not to blame for the low rates of reporting,  rather an environment where students feel unsafe telling others about their experience is at fault and stigmas surrounding both male and female sexuality.

According to theAmerican Public Health Association, “factors that perpetuate misperceptions about men’s sexual victimization [include] reliance on traditional gender stereotypes, outdated and inconsistent definitions and methodological sampling biases.” The solution to this is changes that move beyond regressive gender assumptions, which can harm both men and women.

An effective way to fix this problem is to discuss the less exciting facets of sexual activity. Creating an atmosphere where consent, protection, and boundaries is more common than other discussions of sexuality will encourage people to discuss their own experiences regarding sexuality.

The UGA Health Center has many resources for this such as Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) which can be a first point of contact for students needing assistance with immediate assault, and the Sexual Health Department which provides invaluable information about birth control and safe sex.

Having conversations about productive conversation about sex is only possible if people are willing to discuss the safety, consent and boundaries that go along with it. This discussion will not only create an environment where those who have faced sexual assault can safely discuss it, but also create an environment where less sexual assault is perpetrated. This will help victims of all genders and create a safer campus environment for all.

Screening for Erectile Dysfunction Should Be Routine in Diabetes

Screening for Erectile Dysfunction Should Be Routine in Diabetes


Erectile dysfunction affects more than 50% of men with diabetes worldwide and more than 65% of men with type 2 disease, new data from a large meta-analysis reveal.

Clinicians should therefore screen men with diabetes for erectile dysfunction as part of a routine cardiovascular health assessment, say Youssef Kouidrat, MD, of the Maritime Hospital in Berck, France, and colleagues in a report published online July 18, 2017 in Diabetic Medicine.

“Erectile dysfunction is common in diabetes, affecting more than half of men with the condition and with a prevalence odds of approximately 3.5-times more than controls,” say the authors.

“Our findings suggest that screening and appropriate intervention for men with erectile dysfunction is warranted.”

Erectile Dysfunction Is Likely an Early Marker of Undiagnosed Diabetes

A variety of studies have shown that advancing age, duration of diabetes, poor glycemic control, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and the presence of other diabetic complications are associated with diabetes-related erectile dysfunction.

In this latest meta-analysis, compared with healthy controls, the worldwide prevalence of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes was 52.5%. The prevalence was 66.3% in type 2 diabetes, 37.5% in type 1 diabetes, and 57.7% in both types of diabetes (all P < .0001).

However, the analysis also uncovered significant differences in the reported prevalence of erectile dysfunction in diabetes, ranging from 35% to 80%, the study authors note.

Noting that different validated questionnaires such as the International Index of Erectile Function 5 (IIEF-5) and Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM) are useful in the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction, second author Damiano Pizzol, MD, of Doctors With Africa Cuamm, in Beira, Mozambique told Medscape Medical News that international consensus on a single standardized diagnostic questionnaire would be ideal.

For the meta-analysis, the researchers conducted a literature search of major databases up to November 2016, producing 145 relevant studies representing 88,577 men with a mean age of 56 years.

The prevalence of erectile dysfunction was highest (82.2%) in 17 studies that used the SHIM questionnaire, although the authors note that studies with a higher percentage of people with hypertension moderated the results.

The analysis also shows that the risk of erectile dysfunction increases in men with diabetes after the age of 60. This is consistent with the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, which showed an age-adjusted risk of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes that was twice that of men without diabetes.

And the finding that the prevalence of erectile dysfunction was higher in men with type 2 diabetes than in those with type 1 diabetes suggests that many men with type 2 diabetes may already have erectile dysfunction at diagnosis, say the researchers, pointing to studies showing that erectile dysfunction is an early marker of undiagnosed diabetes.

As previously reported by Medscape Medical News, screening for diabetes may be particularly important in middle-aged men with erectile dysfunction. That research suggested identification of undiagnosed cardiometabolic risk factors may improve early diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

Dr Kouidrat and colleagues also point to increasing evidence of a direct link between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease, with the former being a red flag for early atherosclerosis, they say, noting that patients with diabetes are at increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

“The relationship of erectile dysfunction with certain risk factors, such as age or cardiovascular risk factors (arterial hypertension), are well known and our study corroborates these associations,” they write.

Don’t Neglect Young Men With Type 1 Diabetes

Looking ahead, Dr Kouidrat and colleagues suggest that prospective and longitudinal studies of populations with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are needed to characterize other risk factors involved in the development of erectile dysfunction, such as duration of disease and smoking.

Erectile dysfunction also contributes to poor quality of life and, in some cases, the onset of depression. Again, early detection is essential and improved psychological well-being requires a multidisciplinary approach that includes psychosexual counselling and advice from a urologist specializing in erectile dysfunction, they say.

prior study of young men 18 to 35 years of age with type 1 diabetes shows that more than a third experience erectile dysfunction.

Those researchers urge clinicians to be aware of this, noting that screening shouldn’t be neglected even in young patients with type 1 diabetes. They also stress that erectile dysfunction occurs at least a decade earlier in those with diabetes, and is more severe and less responsive to oral medication than in patients without diabetes.

“The real challenge is to make young males aware of health, particularly sexual and reproductive health,” noted Dr Pizzol.

The study authors have reported no relevant financial relationships.

Diabet Med. Published online July 18, 2017. Abstract

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The benefit of intimacy you didn’t know about

The benefit of intimacy you didn’t know about

By: Bel Marra Health 

Sex makes you feel good, relaxed, improve sleep, and strengthens the connection between you and your partner. But we bet you didn’t know that regular sex can slash your risk of heart disease.

Heart disease continues to be the number one killer of men and women, and lifestyle factors like obesity, lack of physical exercise, smoking, stress, and an unhealthy diet can all increase your risk. Therefore, it’s almost a sigh of relief that something so easy—and enjoyable—like sex can go a long way to reduce your risk.

Sex cuts your risk of heart disease

The good news is that regular sex cuts your risk of heart disease, the unfortunate news is that the benefit was only seen among men. The researchers found that regular sex reduces levels of homocysteine, which is a harmful chemical found in the blood that can contribute to heart problems.

Men who have regular sex are thought to have greater blood circulation and healthier blood vessels, which means that homocysteine doesn’t build up in the arteries.

But why do men improve their heart health during sex and women get the shaft? This is because women’s arousal is not dependent on blood flow and blood flow is a key contributing factor to levels of homocysteine.

Previous studies also explored the benefits of sex and heart health and found that sex at least twice a week for men reduced the risk of clogged arteries by half, compared to men who only had sex once a month or less.

Although there have been prior studies that have explored the association between sex and heart health among men, this is the first study to link the association with levels of homocysteine.

Previous studies on homocysteine found that as levels increased in the blood, so did the risk of heart disease—by as much as 66 percent. Other studies found that high levels of homocysteine increased the risk of stroke by one-third. Lastly, homocysteine has been linked with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

or the recent study, over 2,000 Taiwanese men and were tracked and blood levels of homocysteine were examined. Those blood samples were then matched up to a person’s sexual activity levels.

The lowest levels of homocysteine were seen among men who had the most sex; there was no significant difference in homocysteine levels seen among women regardless of their sexual activity.

The researchers explained, “This is the first study of its kind to evaluate the correlation between sexual frequency and homocysteine levels. A good quality sex life, frequent sex and libido are all related to health in the middle-aged and elderly. Increased sexual frequency could have a protective effect on general health and quality of life—especially in men—so doctors should support patients’ sexual activity.”

Sex should be added to the lifestyle changes you make to increase your heart health.

This is what to do if you miss a contraceptive pill, based on which one you take

This is what to do if you miss a contraceptive pill, based on which one you take


And how to prevent it spelling p-r-e-g-n-a-n-c-y

Most of us are busy women with busy lives, which means sometimes we can forget to take our contraceptive pill at the same time each day. But if you’re not planning on procreating just yet, a missed pill could be a big deal.

So what happens if you do forget? Does it mean automatic pregnancy and a foreseeable future filled with nappies and breast milk? Don’t panic just yet; we spoke to those in the contraception-know at Clue, the period tracker app, who explained exactly what steps to take dependent on your kind of pill.

They told us there are two main types of pill: the ‘combined pill’ and the ‘mini-pill’, and for those of us who aren’t doctors by profession and therefore need those terms clarifying, here’s the difference between them both:

The combined pill:

Combined oral contraceptives (COCs) include both hormones oestrogen and progestin. The most common types of combined pill in the UK include Microgynon, Cilest, Rigevidon and Yasmin.

The mini-pill:

Progestin-only pills (POCs) include only progestin. Some of the most common mini-pills given out by the NHS include Femulen, Micronor, Norgeston and Noriday.

What to do if you forget to take a combined pill

If it’s been less than 3 hours:

A pill taken within three hours of scheduled time is considered on-time. The pill is fully effective.

If it’s been 3-24 hours:

A pill taken 3-24 hours past scheduled time is considered late. Take your pill as soon as you remember, even if it means taking two pills in one day. Taking your pill late on a regular basis is not recommended. Emergency contraception is not usually needed, but may be considered if pills were missed earlier in the cycle or in pills 15-21 of the previous cycle. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned.

If it’s been 24-48 hours:

A pill taken 24-48 hours after scheduled time is considered missed. Take the missed pill as soon as possible, even if it means taking two pills in one day. As before, emergency contraception is not usually needed, but may be considered if pills were missed earlier in the cycle or in pills 15-21 of the previous cycle. Again, if you’re concerned, it’s worth talking to a nurse or a doctor.

It’s been more than 48 hours:

If you’ve missed two or more pills, take the most recent missed pill as soon as possible. Take your pill as soon as you remember, even if it means taking two pills in one day. Do not take more than two pills in one day – you can throw away extra missed pills.

If you miss a pill, it’s recommended that you should use a backup method of contraception such as condoms for the next seven days, while proceeding to take the remaining pills in your pack on time.

What to do if you forget to take the mini-pill

A mini-pill taken within three hours outside of the scheduled time is considered late (or 12 hours for desogestrel pills, such as Cerazette). If you are late taking a pill, you should take it as soon as you remember.

A mini-pill taken more than three hours after scheduled time is considered missed (or 12 hours for desogestrel pills). If you’ve missed a pill, you should take it as soon as you remember, even if that means taking two pills in one day. Do not take more than two pills in one day.

You will also need to use a backup method of contraception (eg. condoms) for the next 48 hours. You are not considered protected from pregnancy until you have taken your pills correctly for at least two days.

Emergency contraception is usually recommended if you had unprotected sex after missing your pill, and before you’ve taken your pill correctly for at least two days.

Hopefully that’s provided some useful information for you, but it’s worth remembering these guidelines from Clue do not replace the advice of a doctor – this information is based on the contraceptive recommendations of the World Health Organisation and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.


How long can you safely take the contraceptive pill for?

How long can you safely take the contraceptive pill for?

Is there such a thing as being on the pill for too long? Can it really impact your fertility or your general health? Here’s everything you need to know…

For lots of women, the pill is the easiest method of contraception. It doesn’t require unwrapping a condom every time you have sex, it doesn’t need a doctor to insert it, and you can very easily stop taking it at any time.

But along with many other myths surrounding the pill is one floating around about how long you can ‘safely’ take it for. Should you stop after five years? Ten? Twenty? Will it really impact your fertility or your general health?

To get to the bottom of these v important questions, we spoke to Sarah Hardman, researcher and Deputy Director of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare’sClinical Effectiveness Unit. And here’s the long and the short of it: there’s no such thing as being on the pill for ‘too long’. It’s a safe form of long-term contraception, and you can now breathe a big sigh of relief.

When asked where she thinks the myth came from, Hardman put it down to natural changes in the menstrual cycle over time that are masked by the pill. “People go onto the pill when they’re young and they’re often on it for years and years. Meanwhile, in the background their fertility is changing, so when they come back off the pill they’re having irregular periods.”

But as we all know; a ‘period’ on the pill isn’t a real period at all. It’s a withdrawal bleed.

“It does give people a real fright when they come off it and things are not happening in a nice, regular, once a month way,” says Hardman. “But there’s absolutely no evidence that it’s the pill that’s causing that.”

Being on the pill is a balance of benefit over risk, and while the combined pill does come with some risk thanks to the oestrogen it contains – which can slightly increase a person’s chances of getting a blood clot or developing breast cancer – for most people that risk is so minimal that it doesn’t outweigh the contraceptive benefit.

That’s exactly why Hardman reminds us that doctors wouldn’t want “people to go on the pill and just stay on it indefinitely without being regularly checked up from a medical point of view,” because other factors or medical diagnoses can increase that risk.

The other cultural shift that affects people’s perception of the pill and whether it can be detrimental long-term is that lots of women are leaving it until later to start a family. Nowadays, many of us want to establish a career and a lifestyle before having children, meaning it can often be left later.

“Fertility reduces with age and from your mid-thirties your fertility really does reduce significantly,” points out the doctor. “So there will be women who have been on the pill (or any other kind of contraception) for a long time who leave it until their mid or late thirties before they come off the pill, and then they struggle to get pregnant. But that’s just because their fertility is lower at that stage than it was when they were 21, not because of the pill,” Hardman adds.

The doctor goes on to point out that “all types of hormonal contraception will change your bleeding pattern so you never really quite know what’s going on with your cycle.” For those who want a long-term contraception option but would still like an insight into what’s going on with their own natural cycle, however, she suggests you might want to try the copper IUD.

“You’ve got good contraception, you don’t have to do anything, and you would have a real period once a month if you were going to have a period once a month, so it’s your own natural cycle that you’re seeing,” she says.

Looks like it’s safe to carry on popping the contraceptive pills for a good while longer, then – unless you’re keen on reacquainting yourself with your IRL period, that is.

5 Health Risks Men Should Avoid After 40

5 Health Risks Men Should Avoid After 40


Knowing about several health conditions afflicting middle aged men and taking corrective measures now can help you avoid health issues.

If you take better care of your car or favorite gadget than your body, you aren’t alone. According to health experts and psychologists , when you are young, and age is on your side, you usually tend to take your health for granted. But as you age, you might have to pay more attention to your bodily functions and vital organs. A lack of awareness, weak health education, and unhealthy work and personal lifestyle have caused a steady deterioration of physical and mental well-being of men around the globe.

It’s important to be aware about the common conditions facing men, such as cancer, depression, heart disease, and respiratory diseases as some lifestyle ailments strike the majority of men by middle age and can put you off track if you don’t pay heed to the warning signs. While you cannot reverse all the symptoms, you can still lessen its impact on your body.

Here are some health problems every man should be aware off as they age, to control the impact:

1. Male pattern baldness

Nearly all men have some hair loss by the time they are in their 60s. However, the age the hair loss starts is variable. About three in ten men aged 30 years and half of men aged 50 years have significant balding. The causes of baldness may be many, but mostly its related to active work of hormones and heredity. Male hormones affect the hair follicle so that it gradually loses its ability to produce new hair and eventually dies. And if a man has a genetic predisposition to hair loss, baldness is almost inevitable. And it is interesting that in 75% of cases, hair loss is inherited through the maternal line, and only 20% – on his father.

middle aged men suffer from baldness when hair follicle loses its ability to produce more hair

2. Arthritis

While a few cases of arthritis may be seen in the below thirty age group, research has shown that arthritis predominantly affects the middle aged. Doctors, however say that the disease starts affecting your joints from as early as the late twenties, early thirties. Arthritis has been found to have a direct relationship with how active a person is and consequently the wear and tear of the joints. Hence, in modern times, it is increasingly affecting a very young population. Osteoarthritis involves the wear and tear of the cartilage and is found in the joints for a large percentage of those suffering from this condition. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is the swelling and inflammation of the joints that might lead to some amount of cartilage degeneration, as well. Daily necessary movement, ignoring active participation in sports, exercise, old injuries and a poor diet contributes to arthritis in the early 40’s bracket. It is the combination of a genetic predisposition and the interactive environmental factors. As you cross the age of 35, its advisable to start preparing for potential aches and pains that might just seem to develop overnight.

3. Heart Disease

According to the CDC, heart disease remains the leading killer of adults. As a chronic condition, heart disease affects 37 percent of men , according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. As people age, they’re increasingly living with risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that increase the chances of having a stroke or developing heart disease. Its significant to Exercise, eat well, get a good night’s rest. Eating well means eating in a fashion that will allow you to keep a healthy weight with a well-balanced and healthy diet.”

4. Prostate Cancer

The clinical term for a cancerous growth on the prostate gland is, ‘Adenocarcinoma.’ A growing prostate cancer may spread to the interior of the prostate gland and tissues near to the gland, as well as to other, more distant parts of the person’s body. The hormones affect various types of tissues, including both glandular and muscular tissues, and affect men differently.Untreated prostate cancer can affect the man’s lungs, liver, bones and additional parts of their body. When prostate cancer is confined to the prostate gland, it can often be treated successfully, making prostate examinations very worthwhile. Growth of the prostate involves hormones, not just prostate cells.
5. Erectile dysfunction

A man is considered to have erectile dysfunction when he has regular difficulty in getting or maintaining a firm enough erection to be able to achieve sexual penetration, or which interferes with non-penetrative sexual activity. Most men have occasionally experienced some difficulty with their penis becoming hard or staying firm, but this is not normally cause for a diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. This condition is only considered a concern if satisfactory sexual performance has been impossible on a persistent number of occasions for some time.

Living in the cloud: Social media and the Aids epidemic

Living in the cloud: Social media and the Aids epidemic

With smartphones and broadband becoming increasingly available and affordable across class and geographical divides, we now see the rural and urban poor occupying the same virtual space as the middle class and the rich. This social cloud, as I call it in the research report from which this article is derived, lowers barriers to communication, instant messaging, sharing of photos, videos and other forms of iconography but can also increase the risk of HIV infection.

Social media and reality TV aid the development of common trends and sub-cultures across class and space. As a result, what might previously have been regarded as middle class or urban trends are universalised across class and geography.

It is the largely Euro-American cultures and rituals of conspicuous consumption and narcissism that are universalised.

Through social media and reality television, young people follow the same trends and idolise the same celebrities, irrespective of where followers find themselves. Often, these trends are materialistic and staged.

The notion is that if one can virtually associate with trending personalities, you can also become talk-worthy – trending being a proxy for popularity in the social networks as measured by the number of likes, shares and followers.

In the digital realm, these subcultures of narcissism and conspicuous consumption replicate themselves a million times over because of the virtual dissolution of socio-cultural and spatial barriers.

Knowledge of and aspirations for global trends now transcend socio-historical barriers. For example, when celebrities post sexually suggestive or nude photos on social media, these quickly spread and are ‘liked’ and sometimes mimicked. The recent trending of #AmberRoseChallenge comes to mind. Young women and adolescent girls from villages in South Africa are sharing nudes this youth month inspired by American singer Amber Rose who posed naked to highlight her anti-women abuse cause. This matter in SA became of the excesses of patriarchy.

The following conclusions on the changing political economy of the Aids epidemic in the context of the spread and influence of social media and reality TV are based on the research I conducted since 2016 by scouring Facebook, Badoo, Twitter, Instagram, Tinder, WhatsApp, WeChart, YouTube, Snap Chart and Viber, and from attending blessers’ and mavuso parties in Gauteng.

  • Lowering the costs of dating:It has become cheaper to initiate and maintain multiple sexual relationships. As smartphone coverage continues to surge and data costs decline, boundaries are reduced and people can initiate sexual relations quicker and easier without much care for the status and health profiles of those they meet in the virtual space.
  • Increasing the casualisation of sex and speed dating: Sex can quickly be fixed anywhere, any time and in some instances without protection, negating any consciousness about or messaging on responsible sexual health. Studies have shown that casual sexual relations tend to spread the risk of HIV infections as protection tends to be a secondary consideration in these typically quick and random encounters.
  • Making it more convenient to maintain multiple concurrent sexual partners: With social media, people can have sexual partners anywhere, any time as instant messages reduce the distance. Again, research is clear on the risk of infections posed by multiple concurrent partnering. In fact, this accounts for the majority of causes of the spread of HIV. In the social media experiment I conducted, sexual offers were routinely made irrespective of whether I projected myself as in a committed relationship or as single. As most men say, “social media makes it convenient to juggle women”.
  • Reducing barriers to the sharing of pornography: It is a matter of public record that in South Africa, school authorities and security agencies have had to deal with complex cases of young people recording sexual activity – consensual or abusive – and sharing these on social media platforms. This is partly because pornography is normalised by its availability through social networks. Although one cannot give an accurate scientific number (I was unable to collate all the entries), in the half-dozen social media groups I actively used for the experiment, one in four posts were porn-related or suggestive of explicit unprotected sex. Sharing nudes increases vulnerability of abuse by older and richer men as well as syndicates.
  • Social media facilitates inter-generational mating: Social media is used by older men (and paedophiles) to lure vulnerable younger girls into sexual relations. The phenomenon of sugar daddies is well known in South Africa and its contribution to the Aids epidemic cannot be underestimated since most adolescent girls and young women are infected by older men.The popular meeting point for these relationships is now social media, not some village river in Nongoma or public square as was the case in decades past. Another extreme of this phenomenon is the emergence of mavuso stokvels (casual sex parties where strangers have casual sex in exchange for money) and blessers (casual sexual relationships with rich men in exchange for money, expensive gifts and holidays).At the receiving end of these viral subcultures are adolescent girls and young women who are often powerless and cannot negotiate safe sex. They risk being physically abused or bullied into unprotected sex.
  • Social media is used to promote trends like sex orgies and groupies:This is linked to the point made above re normalisation of pornography and mavuso stokvels. It is not unusual to hear and read newspaper stories about women having orgies and groupies with men who have the “resources” (money and power). For my part, I experimented a few times by organising threesomes with younger women I knew as well as with strangers met on social media.Although these never materialised, I never doubted the willingness of my liaisons to make it all right on the night. Again, in the social media groups I used to observe social trends, most young women and men expressed liberal views towards orgies, groupies and unprotected sex. Some unconsciously regarded these things as rites of passage to adulthood.

The main conclusion from my study is that social media unintentionally furthers the casualisation of sex, mating across disparate age groups, multiple concurrent sexual relationships and commodisation of women who can be “bought” by money and gifts.

In the final analysis, the agency of women notwithstanding, the reality is that this is a manifestation of patriarchy and persisting inequality in South Africa. Conspicuous consumption does not empower women. It opens them up for manipulation and abuse in an HIV hyper-endemic country.

The crass materialism that is flaunted in the social networks and reality TV shows like the local Footballers’ Wives and America’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians cultivates the notion that “beauty pays” more than hard work. Real beneficiaries of this political economy are macho mobile men with money with the propensity to objectify and abuse young women.

This is a public policy conundrum, the unintended consequences of opening wide the doors of culture and communication where Bongi from Nongoma arguable co-exists with Beyoncé from New York albeit in a precarious social media bubble which eventually bursts as Bongi is more likely to have a near encounter with HIV owing to her socio-economic status and prevalence of gender-based violence in her society. DM

Ngcaweni is editor of Sizonqoba: Outliving AIDS in Southern Africaavailable at the HSRC book store. He works in The Presidency and writes in his personal capacity.

I can’t rape my wife

I can’t rape my wife

GOVERNMENT officials, the church and lobby groups are at loggerheads over the ongoing Parliamentary committee review of the country’s Sexual Offences Act, particularly as it relates to the issue of marital rape. Human rights advocates have urged the committee to apply the established law governing rape to marital cases, while six major church groups have insisted that the current law is adequate, as in marriage there is presumed consent to sex by both parties.

The current marital rape provision stipulates specific circumstances under which rape can occur in marriage, such as if the couple is separated. The church groups have held that any adjustment to the law would interfere with the sanctity of marriage, sparking much debate on social media about whether the church was sanctioning abuse, and even more when married men took to the internet to support the church’s views.

“Yes, she can say no [to sex] and I can either accede to her request or not,” one Twitter user wrote, much to the chagrin of others. But interestingly, many women shared similar views, saying if a husband has sex with his wife even when she isn’t in the mood, it’s not rape, as he has the legal right to demand sex.

One woman said a wife shouldn’t even allow her husband to ask twice for sex, and if there is no logical reason for not wanting sex, the man has every right to divorce the woman and fight her in court for division of assets.

She further argued that she could never walk into a police station and report that her beloved husband had raped her, adding that some women are spiteful, wicked and wear a ring but are not “wives”.

But Reverend Karl Johnson, general secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union, has a different view. He believes that rape can occur in a marriage.

“Rape is a forceful sex act. Marriage is not a transaction between superior and inferior owner and tenant, neither is it bakra master ruling over slave, and any time you ready you get a piece,” Johnson said. “Now if you’re following Christian guidelines and principles of self-giving, putting others before yourself, then there’s no scope for rape or abuse. But understand that marriage is a human relationship, and sadly, human relationships may break down. As a result marital relationships may bear the trappings of abuse. In that case, yes, a man can rape his wife.”

He added that even if the relationship has not broken down, it is hypocritical to endorse any relationship where force and violence become a feature.

“Everyone has a right to say no, and if you say no, it’s no,” he said.

We asked a few married men and women to share their views on whether a wife is obligated to provide sex to her husband on demand, and whether it is rape if he has sex with her when she doesn’t want to.


Jermelia, 41, female taxi driver:

Yes, it’s rape without consent, marriage or not. The same goes for the wives who want it without consent.


Kirk, 44, health coach:

Sex is an understood part of being married. This rape argument is foolishness. It is wrong to mortgage one’s marriage on sex. When the woman wants sex she always gets it, so what happens if he wants it?


Julian, 43, trainer:

I can’t rape my wife. The Bible tells me she must run @#$!% on me and vice versa. Even if she’s resisting I would still take it. She must do her duty and I must do mine too when she wants it.


Alfred, 36, doctor:

Whose body is it? It’s her body. I didn’t sign a lease agreement.


Jordan, 39, doctor:

Wives are not obligated to provide sex to their husbands, and any man who has sex with a woman against her consent is a rapist.


Donovan, 50, accountant:

No, because they are joined as one. If she is resisting and I still take it I wouldn’t call it rape, though I can admit that we men can give our wives a break at times. That’s why sweethearts are important. To avoid rape with wifey, have a sweetheart who’s often more willing. Also, what if I’m tired and she forces me, is that rape? There are blurred lines.


Hugh, 45, policeman:

Wifey fi send on and she should not resist either. Send on!


Suzanne, 24, clerk:

Based on the definition of rape, any unwanted penetration should be classified as that. Personally, if I am not in the mood, I prefer my husband to respect that. If a man forces himself on his wife I believe it is rape.


Andre, 40, technician:

My wife is not obligated to provide sex on demand, and that’s the operative term — on demand. It should be agreed upon for want of a better term. Sometimes I guess if she’s tired she can just say, “You can go ahead.” She probably won’t be involved in it, but there’s some form of agreement there.