Monthly Archives: November 2017

Learn SMART Rules to Protect Yourself from Sexual Abuse

Learn SMART Rules to Protect Yourself from Sexual Abuse

2017-11-28

 

As we grow older, our parents and caregivers cannot be with us all the time. They may drop us at school but they cannot be with us while we are studying in school. Similarly, when we are studying with a tutor, our parents may be nearby but they can’t stay there with us to ensure that we are safe. In situations like these, one might be interacting with somebody who may be a potential abuser. It is very important for all of us to empower and protect ourselves from abuse. Let’s look at five SMART ways that can help us stay safe.

1 . Secrets – can be fun but if they make you feel sad, confused or uncomfortable then it is best to check them out with your parents or caregivers whom you trust the most. Our parents and caregivers such as teachers can help us to distinguish what’s safe and unsafe for us.

Mates – are there to help. So wherever you go, always take your mates with you. It is perfectly alright to request your friend to come along with you if you are going somewhere alone. And if you notice your friend is feeling uncomfortable going alone with someone then join them, maybe that’s what they need.

Always – tell your friends and parents where you are going and with whom. This is imperative. Its your parents and friends who can support you and save you. They can then keep an eye out for you.
Respect – your body. Always remember that your body is yours and no one has the right to see or touch your private parts. If anyone does that, say “No” firmly or seek help from elders.

Tell – your best friend and parents if any person makes you feel uncomfortable. Trust your instinct because if you feel uneasy in any person’s presence then they’re most probably not good for you.

Indian start-up ‘Buttalks’ is helping men buy better underwear

Indian start-up ‘Buttalks’ is helping men buy better underwear

2017-11-14

At a time when internet-based companies are changing the way Indians pay bills, buy groceries, and commute, three Chennai-based entrepreneurs (Brijesh Devareddy, Surej Salim, and Manish Kishore) are using an e-commerce platform to help Indian men buy better underwear.

The start-up, called Buttalks, went live in August 2017, and already boasts of 1,400 customers, of whom 30% are annual subscribers.

What are their unique offerings?

India has had other innerwear start-ups like Zivame and Pretty Secrets, both of which preceded Buttalks. However, Buttalks is the first subscription-based, personalized innerwear start-up focusing solely on men’s innerwear.

Habits of Indian men with regard to underwear shopping

Despite the proliferation of e-commerce platforms, underwear shopping habits of Indian men remain backward, for the most part.

Buttalks’s initial research found that most men buy underwear in a somewhat mechanical manner without paying attention to what they exactly require.

Indian men also often do not know when it’s time to replace their underwear.

The size of the Indian innerwear market

The Indian innerwear market is expected to reach a valuation of Rs. 68,270 crore by 2024. According to consultancy firm Technopak, the men’s innerwear segment is currently worth Rs. 7,450 crore.

Health implicationsHealth implications of underwear habits

Apart from causing discomfort, ill-fitting and old, worn-out underwear has several health implications for men, implications which are often ignored and played down in Indian society.

According to Rajan Bhonsle, a professor and consultant in sexual medicine, wearing right-sized underwear has direct benefits for a man’s sexual health, while a proper fit helps reduce issues related to infertility.

Men’s health issues need to be highlighted too

“I see that there is so much ignorance about something as basic as this [choosing the right underwear]. This is something that’s never spoken about…women’s health issues have their space, but men’s issues lag behind. All these have to be highlighted,” added Bhonsle.

PackagesThe packages offered by Buttalks

Buttalks works through a subscription model wherein subscribers get periodic doorstep deliveries of underwear from the start-up.

The start-up offers three differently priced sampler or annual subscription plans starting at Rs. 999, the prices of which differ based on the brands that are included in a package.

Customers using the annual plan get three pairs of briefs four times a year.

What about Buttalks’s funding?

However, owing to the as yet unsuccessful subscription model, Buttalks faces many challenges in terms of funding. Although the start-up is set to close its first funding round soon, it remains boot-strapped so far. The co-founders also declined to share details of investors and revenues.

PersonalizationHow Buttalks personalizes underwear for a user

Regardless of one’s subscription plan, the briefs which go into boxes are personalized as per a user’s preferences.

Users have to fill out an exhaustive questionnaire while signing up so that Buttalks knows every customer’s preferences.

The questions range from a user’s preferred choice of fabric, colors, styles, and brands, to even users’ lifestyles.

Sexual partners shun CPR: Fewer than one in five men survive sex heart-attacks sex because their partners are reluctant to give the life-saving technique

Sexual partners shun CPR: Fewer than one in five men survive sex heart-attacks sex because their partners are reluctant to give the life-saving technique

 

  • Only a third of cases that occurred during intercourse received ‘bystander CPR’
  • This accounted for 20% of patients who survived to hospital discharge
  • Statistics come from 13-year study of 4,500 sudden cardiac arrests in Oregon
  • The technique has been found to double the chance of survival
  • Findings highlight importance of educating public on CPR method
  • Read on for a step-by-step guide to carrying it out by British Heart Foundation

 

Fewer than one in five men who suffer a cardiac arrest during sex survive, according to new research.

This is because their partner does not know how to perform a simple, life saving technique, say scientists.

It underlines the importance of teaching CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to the general population, they warned.

Sex is known to trigger a sudden cardiac arrest and this causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. It usually occurs without warning.

The 13-year study of more than 4,500 sudden cardiac arrests (SCAs) in Portland, Oregon, found only a third of cases that occurred during intercourse received ‘bystander CPR’.

It was determined this accounted for the less than 20 per cent of patients who survived to hospital discharge.

Experts say giving CPR can double the chances of survival of a cardiac arrest (stock image)

Experts say giving CPR can double the chances of survival of a cardiac arrest (stock image)

Doubles chance of survival

The British Heart Foundation says about 10,000 people die in the UK each year because bystanders do not know how to do CPR if they see someone having a cardiac arrest.

CPR involves giving regular chest compressions to make the heart pump blood around the body. It has been found to double the chance of survival.

Dr Chugh and colleagues showed although the overall risk of having a cardiac arrest during sex is low, death rates are high.

Only a small percentage of cases are related to sexual activity, but survival remains low.

The study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology said this was despite a partner being present.

Sex triggers heart attacks 

It results in around 350,000 deaths annually in the US, and about 100,000 in the UK. It is known sex may trigger cardiac arrests.

So the researchers looked at the community-based Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study (Oregon SUDS) database from 2002 to 2015 to discover their frequency during or within an hour after sex among over 18s.

All reported cases were based on emergency medical service reports containing detailed information regarding their cause.

In total, the researchers identified 4,557 during the study period, of which 34 (0.7%) were linked to sexual activity.

On average these patients were more likely to be male, middle aged, African-American and have a history of cardiovascular disease, with a majority taking medication for it.

Overall, the researchers said they found a relatively low burden of cardiac arrest in relation to sex.

Most cases were men with a previous history of cardiovascular disease. The researchers also noted some cases after sex may also involve medications, stimulants and alcohol use.

The latest study is the largest of its kind.

Earlier this year a much smaller French survey of just under 250 men found they were four times more likely to die when having a cardiac arrest during sex.

Just one in eight survived, compared to 50 percent for those who fell victim when doing other physical activities, such as sport or exercise.

That team suspected the reason was men are far less likely to call for help when they are naked.

Less than half of them were given CPR, compared to 80 percent of other cardiac arrest victims. They also had longer delays in getting treatment.

Scientists say the key to surviving is calling the emergency services immediately and starting treatment.

For every minute that the heart attacks passes untreated the chances of survival reduce by ten per cent. 

Source: British Heart Foundation 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5076923/Low-survival-cardiac-arrests-men-having-sex.html#ixzz4yNnvpAHs
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

 

The Truth About Child Sexual Abuse

The Truth About Child Sexual Abuse

2017-11-13

If you often find yourself calling an abuser ‘he’ or thinking of them as strangers with a creepy black hood on, then think again. A child sexual abuser can be a female, and they can be someone whom we know very well. They might be a close relative or a complete stranger, but you must identify them and warn your parents and peers immediately.

Abusers need to be exposed and the only way you can do that is by knowing the truth behind child sexual abuse.

So, today we are going to bust some of the most common myths related to sexual abuse:

Myth 1: Children are most often abused by males:

Fact: That is not true. In actuality, abuser can be a male or a female. According to a recent US study, one out of every five children is abuse by a female offender.

Myth 2: Child Sexual Abuse most often occurs in lower class families:

Fact: Child sexual abuse knows no boundaries. It occurs in all social and economic classes of society.  According to a report by Sahil – an NGO for child protection, 74% cases from the rural areas while 26% cases from the urban areas of Pakistan were reported during January to July 2017.

Myth 3: Boys are safe from sexual abuse

Fact: They’re at as much at risk as girls. In 2016, 850 cases were reported by male children in Pakistan which is still underestimated (Sahil, 2017). This is because in our cultures boys are expected to be tough and strong and its hardly believed that boys can also be the victims of sexual abuse.  .

Myth 4: Children often lie and make up stories about sexual abuse:

Fact: It’s very rare for children to lie about sexual abuse. In fact they try to give many hints to their caregivers that indicate an abuse is taking place with them

Myth 5: Sexual abuse is a onetime incident. It cannot happen again

Fact: It is very likely that abuser will abuse his/her victim again. Hence, it is very important to report the incident to someone you trust the most!

How To Tell If Your Friend is Going Through Abuse

How To Tell If Your Friend is Going Through Abuse

Do you find your best friend feeling low and depressed? Has he or she become fearful of certain places or an adult who they were not afraid of before? Have they suddenly started to avoid coming home or going to school? Do you often spot them spacing out in the middle of a conversation? Have they started feeling insecure? Have they ever referred to having secrets with an adult that they cannot share?

If the answer to any of these questions is YES, then you need to help your friend.

Often signs of sexual abuse are not obvious because there are usually fewer physical symptoms than the emotional ones. However, children/teens who are being abused/ or are survivors of abuse often exhibit certain characteristic symptoms that we all should keep in mind.

So today, we are going to tell you when to suspect abuse in children or your peers so that you can help them fight the battle.

  1. Are they having trouble falling asleep?

If nightmares have become too common and they cannot go to sleep as easily as they used to in the past, then this hints towards emotional turmoil. The reason may not always be sexual abuse, but it is essential that you speak to them about it and rule out sexual abuse.

  1. Have they become sad, aloof, or clingy?

If you notice your friend, who earlier used to make group conversations so lively with jokes and laughter has suddenly become passive or quiet then you must speak to him/her.  Explore if anything is bothering them or if they are scared of someone they know.

  1. Are they suddenly too secretive?

If any of your friend or class fellow refers to ‘secrets’ that he/she has with an adult and cannot share it with you then try to find out that the secret does not relate to any kind of abuse.

  1. Do they lose their temper on petty things?

If you notice your friend has suddenly become excessively aggressive or display intense anger and rage in little things or towards someone specifically then you need to help your friend.

  1. Do they have inappropriate knowledge of sexual content and behaviour?

If you notice that your friend has suddenly started discussing inappropriate sexual content with you or tries to show you such content then you must stop your friend and explore where did he/she got access to such information? If they hesitate to share with you then you must inform an adult to help her/him out!

Is there an injury or a mark which wasn’t there before?

If so, then speak to your friend about it, check if everything is okay and if they want to talk about anything that is pressing-

Some of the behaviours and psychological reactions listed above can be a result of emotional upheavals that your friends may experience inevitably. The death of a loved one, problems at school or with personal relationships can make your friend exhibit symptoms which do not necessarily mean that they are being sexually abused. However, if you notice all of the symptoms from the list above then it is essential to explore further if abuse has taken place.

Remember, sexual abuse can dent anyone’s confidence and self esteem. Your friends may be reluctant in sharing the incident with you but you need to assure them that you are there to help them out. So HELP your friends!!

REAL TALK: YOUR LUBE COULD BE HARMING YOUR BODY—HOW TO FIND ONE THAT’S SAFE

REAL TALK: YOUR LUBE COULD BE HARMING YOUR BODY—HOW TO FIND ONE THAT’S SAFE

2017-11-08

Samantha Jones would be so proud of the progress women’s sexual and reproductive health has made in recent years: Non-toxic tampons have gone mainstream, sex toys are getting a fem-positive makeover, and women aren’t just talking about their orgasms, they’re figuring out how to biohack them. But there’s one goodie drawer item that’s still kept pretty hush-hush: lube.

According to Aimee Eyvazzadeh, MD, a board-certified OB-GYN and reproductive endocrinologist, it’s time to pay more attention to the ingredients in your lube, which can impact your endocrine system, your fertility, and even your susceptibility to STDs. Don’t recall learning that in sex ed? Yeah, same.

Packaging matters more than you might think

You may already know to look for BPA-free water bottles and food containers, but have you ever considered how plastic packaging can affect your lube? “When it comes to plastics, there is so much data out there about BPA and those types of toxins, so you should absolutely care about the plastic containers that water- or silicone-based lubes are sitting in,” says Dr. Eyvazzadeh.

The first reason for concern: BPA is one of many potential hormone-disrupting chemicals that can migrate from packaging into the product it carries. And “the vagina is like a sponge,” says Dr. Eyvazzadeh. “Whatever you put in, it can get absorbed.” So do the math: If it’s in the packaging, it’s likely also in the product—and yes, it’s likely in your body, too.

Considering that the way BPA accumulates in the body can impact your reproductive health and your fertility, maybe save toxic plastics for your next screening of Mean Girls—and definitely leave them off your bedside table. Instead, look for products that come in BPA-free plastic (like those by Good Clean Love, which uses plastic made from recycled sugar cane), or opt for lubricants you find in your pantry (more on that later).

Dr. Eyvazzadeh points to parabens and pthalates as preservatives to avoid when scanning your lube’s ingredients label. “They’re cheap and effective preservatives and allow for a longer product shelf life,” she says. “But with paraben exposure, the issue is that these ingredients are hormone disruptors and can mimic natural estrogen, which could potentially promote cancer, and phthalates are similar to parabens in their effects.”

That being said, preservatives are necessary in products like lube because they inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi. Luckily, better-for-you options do exist! Potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate are two non-sensitizing preservatives that have been deemed food-grade by the FDA and they make the cut on Whole Foods’ strict quality standards. Wendy Strgar, the founder and CEO of non-toxic lubricant company Good Clean Love, relies on both to keep her products, you know, clean.

Certain chemicals can make sex less safe

Two things that Strgar doesn’t allow into her products: fillers like glycols and petrochemicals like petrolatum. In developing her water-based lubes, Strgar discovered that petrochemicals and glycols strip the vagina of good bacteria it needs to fight off infections.

“When you use a lube that combines those ingredients, it’s likely it will slough off the protective top layer of cells in the vaginal cavity because it’s basically drowning the lactobacilli, which is there to defend against bad bacteria,” says Strgar. “What happens next is your vagina’s pH goes up, creating an ideal situation for bad bacteria to grow.”

Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition resulting from an upset in the balance of good and bad bacteria down there. According to Strgar, when your bacterial balance is out of whack, you’re 60 percent more susceptible to STDs because your immune system may already be strained by fighting off BV. (And be aware that oil-based lubricants can degrade condoms.)

Head to your kitchen for DIY alternatives

Raiding the kitchen isn’t just reserved for your post-romp munchies. According to Dr. Eyvazzadeh, you probably have a full stock of the best natural lubes right in your cabinets.

“Natural products really are the best,” she says. “For my fertility patients, I recommend using either egg whites, olive oil, or coconut oil,” she says. “You likely have many of these at home and know they’re not toxic.” And if your cupboards are bare? Opt for your—or your partner’s—saliva, she adds.

 

Uganda promoting vasectomies in bid to tackle poverty

Uganda promoting vasectomies in bid to tackle poverty

The Ugandan government has started recruiting “champion men” to promote vasectomies as a method of family planning as high fertility rates continue to plague the African nation.

“Many people think that when a man goes for a vasectomy he is not going to continue being a normal man,” said Martin Owor, a father of six. “But there is no problem. My wife is very happy.”

Owor said his wife initially objected to him having the procedure, but after a long conversation, he decided to go ahead, hoping it will help his children avoid living in poverty.

“My father had 12 children, so we never had a chance of having a quality education,” he said. “I needed a number that I would try to manage.”

The so-called “champion men” speak out publicly as the government tries to increase men’s participation in family planning to decrease birth rates.

“We can’t coerce them, because family planning is voluntary and is supposed to be based on human rights, and we want to keep on engaging them,” said Placid Mihayo, an assistant government commissioner in charge of sexual and reproductive health.

Uganda has long tried to tackle its booming population, with development experts suggesting the high fertility rate is an obstacle in combating poverty.

The population reportedly skyrocketed from 17 million in 1990 to more than 41 million in 2016. The United Nations figures put Uganda as the world’s top 10 fastest-growing population. The country remains one of the poorest in the world, with only $615 per capita income per year, with even lower incomes recorded in rural areas.

“If you produce 100 children and create only two jobs in that period, so where are the other 98 going to get jobs?” said Sam Mwandara, project coordinator for Reproductive Health Uganda, a U.N.-associated group. “The population is expanding so fast in relation to land, jobs, education and health. So it’s alarming.”

The increasing demographics are facilitated by the fact that only 35 percent of married women use modern methods of contraception. Abortion remains illegal in Uganda, with the only exception being to save the woman’s life.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Don’t Go Shhh! Learn the Formula of Protecting Yourself!

Don’t Go Shhh! Learn the Formula of Protecting Yourself!

2017-11-06

It is a natural human instinct to be cautious in situations that may cause us harm. Don’t we look both ways before we cross the street? However, there are several situations that can be more difficult to navigate, such as when our physical boundaries are violated. We get confused and don’t know how to respond. In such circumstances, we are not comfortable and become unsure of whether such behaviour is okay. As a result, we are unable to stop the action or say “No”.

But don’t worry! Today we will guide you on how to set healthy physical boundaries and protect yourself in such situations.

First things first! Everyone needs to remember the golden rule:

“My Body is mine and I have the right to protect my body”.

It is very important for us to learn that we all have our own physical space and comfort zone which is supposed to be respected and taken care of.

But now the question arises: How do we identify if our physical space has been broken?

One of the main ways to determine this, is by learning the difference between a good touch and bad touch. Any touch that makes you feel comfortable is a good touch, such as a hug from your mum or friend. However, a touch that makes you feel uncomfortable or causes you any sort of discomfort is considered a bad touch, such as a tight and lingering hug from an aunt/uncle or touch on the private parts. So if you sense an uncomfortable feeling rising within your body while someone is hugging you or touching you, then you need to stop that person right away!

Another important aspect is to develop ownership over our bodies. This can be achieved by developing a conceptual understanding of public and private body parts. Public body parts are the parts that can be seen by anyone such as face, hands and feet. Private body parts are those that cannot be seen or touched by anyone unless it is for health and hygiene purpose.

However, in situations where doctor wants to examine your private body parts then you need to question and understand the purpose of the examination. For instance, if your complaint is cough and sore throat, the doctor shouldn’t request to examine your genitals. If he says that he needs to do overall body examination and you start feeling uncomfortable, then you have to say NO explicitly.

Do not wait for someone to come and stop the doctor from examining you. You can always call for help but also remember that it is you who can stop the doctor because your body is yours!

Lastly, whenever you experience situations where your physical space has not been respected, don’t feel ashamed or guilty – remember, it is NOT your fault! Instead be brave and strong, and stand up for yourself against the abuser by saying NO – as this is your right! Don’t hesitate to share this situation with someone you trust the most. Always remember that keeping such body secrets are not healthy.

6 Signs To Spot A Sexual Abuser

6 Signs To Spot A Sexual Abuser

“Don’t talk to strangers,” our mothers often warn us with an expression that swears us off unknown people for life. However, what we are not told is that we need to be equally wary of people we do know. And that’s because it is a very common myth that only strangers are the perpetrators of sexual abuse.   BUT the truth is that in most cases the victim/child knows the abuser. The very fact that most abusers are trusted individuals often results in their actions going undetected.

So how do we spot an abuser?

The bad news is that abusers are not easy to spot. There is no typical abuser. They interact in a very friendly manner in front of others and abuse their victims behind the closed doors only.

BUT the good news is that they do have certain attributes which may indicate us about his/her evil intentions.

So today we are going to tell you about the most common attributes of an abuser:

Abusers prey on the naivety of their victims

Abusers often prey on children because they are naive and trusting.  Similarly teens are also particularly at risk because they are likely to engage in communications revolving around intimate relationships. It is important to note that abusers always take advantage of their victim’s innocent.  Instead of using physical force, they use the basis of their relationships to keep their actions a secret.

Giving gifts for NO reason

Gifts are great but getting gifts for little things or no reason can be manipulative! Abusers often strategize ways to become closer to children or teens. In order to develop their trust, they may bring gifts and presents and make them feel appreciated. This lays the ground for the abuser to begin a manipulative relationship of give and take with the victim.

Becoming closer to the family of the child

Some abusers try to become closer to the family of the child so that they may eventually be left alone with the child.  They may visit their place with no obvious reason and spend long hours unnecessarily in order to gain their trust.

Abusers slowly cross their boundaries

Once the abuser establishes the access to his/her victim, they slowly cross their boundaries, sometimes with accidental touch, sexual jokes or by kissing and hugging the child repeatedly. In some cases, children become more comfortable with the abuser and desensitized to his/her touches and comments. The abuser can then increase the intimacy of his/her acts if there is continued interaction with the child in private spaces.

Threaten their victims to hurt them or their family

Some abusers take different strategies to make sure that children do not tell someone what is happening to them. They use outright aggression and threaten to hurt the child or their family. This frightens children into keeping the abuse a secret.

Abusers make their victims feel guilty

Often abusers manipulate children by making them feel ashamed and guilty. They usually blame their victims and make them feel that it’s their fault and that they are responsible for such situations.

After reading this blog, if you feel that you or your friend is experiencing one of the situations mentioned above, then you need to inform your parents or any trusted caregiver right away. Tell them what exactly is happening with you or your friend so that they can support you in getting out of this situation.

10 Questions Men Should Definitely Ask Their Doctors About Testosterone

10 Questions Men Should Definitely Ask Their Doctors About Testosterone

2017-11-03

Before you buy into the myth that “real men” have high testosterone levels, make sure you know the facts. 

Perhaps you’ve tried natural ways to boost your libido and they haven’t worked. Or maybe you’re concerned about aging and are tempted by the “miracle cure” testosterone booster that will keep you young forever (we’ve all seen the ads). But it’s important to look beyond clever marketing campaigns if you’re considering testosterone medication. Before you self-diagnose with low testosterone, here are the questions you need to ask yourself.

What is testosterone?

Derived from cholesterol, testosterone is a steroid hormone, called an androgen, mainly secreted by the testicles in men but also (in much smaller amounts) by the adrenal cortex and ovaries in women. A male fetus begins to produce testosterone as early as seven weeks after conception. Testosterone levels rise during puberty, peak during the late teens to early 20s, and then level off. After age 30 or so, it’s normal for a man’s testosterone levels to decline slowly, but steadily, each year. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), testosterone is an important male hormone, regulating sexual development, muscle mass, and red blood cell production. Synthetic testosterone was first used as a clinical drug as early as 1937, and is now widely prescribed to men whose bodies naturally produce low levels.

The levels at which testosterone deficiency becomes medically relevant still aren’t well understood, according to the NIH, though it’s not just an issue for older men: Testosterone is one of the eight sexual health conditions millennial men need to be talking about. Normal testosterone production varies widely in men, and levels of the hormone fluctuate throughout the day—they’re usually highest in the morning. Although there is no standard definition of “low” testosterone—commonly referred to as “low-T”—the Mayo Clinic says a healthy range for an average adult male (30-plus) is between 270 and 1,070 nanograms per deciliter of blood. Possible symptoms of low-T, according to the NIH, include reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction or impotence, increased breast size, lowered sperm count, hot flashes, depression, irritability and inability to concentrate, shrunken and softened testes, loss of muscle mass or hair, and bones becoming prone to fracture.

How is low-T diagnosed?

Most men have more than enough testosterone, but in some men, the body doesn’t produce enough of the hormone, which leads to a condition called hypogonadism. A blood test can tell your doctor how much free testosterone is circulating in your blood, and also show the total amount of the hormone in your body. However, according to the Endocrine Society in clinical practice guidelines published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, low-T should be diagnosed “only in men with consistent symptoms and signs and unequivocally low serum testosterone levels.” The guidelines advise against screening men in the general population to avoid labeling—and medicating—otherwise healthy men “for whom testing, treatment, and monitoring would represent a burden with unclear benefit.”

Is low-T an inevitable part of aging?

When women go through menopause their estrogen levels plummet and stop almost completely. However, the decline in testosterone levels in men works differently. Typically, levels fall by only 1 to 2 percent per year after the age of 40, and low-T is certainly not inevitable. According to the June 2010 issue of the British Medical Journal’s Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, about 80 percent of 60-year-old men, and half of those in their 80s, have testosterone levels within the normal range for younger men.

How do you treat low-T?

There are real health risks for men with low-T. The condition can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which requires a doctor’s prescription and careful monitoring. Medications come in the form of gels, topical solutions, transdermal patches placed on the skin, buccal patches applied to the upper gums, injections, and pellets implanted under the skin. The products are available under numerous brand names, including Androderm (marketed by Actavis Pharma), Androgel (AbbVie Inc.), Axiron (Eli Lilly USA), Fortesta (Endo Pharmaceuticals), Striant (Actient Pharmaceuticals), Testim (Auxilium Pharmaceuticals), and Testopel (Auxilium). If you’re thinking of taking testosterone to improve strength, atheltic performance, or physical appearance, or to prevent aging, note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the drug’s use on those grounds. A 2004 report from the Institute of Medicine, Testosterone and Aging: Clinical Research Directions, called TRT for age-related testosterone decline a “scientifically unproven method.”

What are the side effects of taking testosterone?

There are some scary ones, including an increased risk of heart disease. (Here are signs you might be headed for a heart attack.) If you’re considering TRT, make sure you understand all the possible risks. According to the Mayo Clinic, these include the development of acne or oily skin, fluid retention, possibility of increased urinary symptoms (e.g., urinary urgency or frequency), aggressiveness and mood swings, worsening of sleep apnea, reduction in testicular size, breast enlargement, and increased risk of blood clots. In 2014, the FDA revised testosterone product labels to warn about a possible increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients. The FDA recommends that patients using testosterone should seek medical attention right away if they experience chest pain, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, weakness in one part or on one side of the body, or slurred speech.

Can I boost testosterone naturally?

Obese men have lower testosterone, as do men who smoke, are physically inactive, or consume more than 28 drinks per week. So losing weight, being more active and drinking less booze may boost your levels without prescription meds. (Here are 17 simple tips to cut back on alcohol.) According to findings presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in 2012, obese men who lost an average of 17 pounds saw their testosterone levels increase by 15 percent. A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that high intensity interval training (HIIT) can boost testosterone levels.

Are there bad candidates for testosterone?

Men with normal testosterone levels should not consider testosterone therapy, and no one—men or women—should use any testosterone product if they have breast cancer. The belief that testosterone may increase the risk of prostate cancer or worsen the symptoms of enlarged prostate has been debated in the medical community for many years. A 2016 study by NYU Langone Medical Center and New York University School of Medicine, reported on ScienceDaily, found that testosterone therapy does not raise risk of aggressive prostate cancer, however it is advisable to tell your doctor if you have a history of prostate cancer before starting therapy.

Are there dangers to taking testosterone?

There’s a black-box warning on testosterone medication packages for a reason. Children who are accidentally exposed to the hormone are at risk of penis or clitoris enlargement, pubic hair growth, increased erections and libido, aggression, and aging bones, warns the FDA. So it’s really important not to apply the product to areas of the body that may come in contact with kids or pregnant women. Once the product is applied, the area should be covered with clothing, and hands should be washed with soap and water. (Check out the five ways you’re washing your hands wrong.) The area should be washed before any skin-to-skin contact with another person. Your bed sheets, pillows, and clothing may have testosterone on them, so warn anyone who comes into contact with them of the risk of exposure.