Monthly Archives: June 2018

PCOS (Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome) and What You Should Know.

PCOS (Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome) and What You Should Know.

2018-06-26

Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder which affects every one in ten women. PCOS is one of the causes of female infertility. Many women trying to get pregnant face barriers because they miss their period and therefore miss ovulation. PCOS is therefore linked with reproductive health. What contraception to use for women with PCOS depends greatly. Hormonal contraception like birth control can work for some women but not for others. It is always beneficial to speak to a doctor or specialists as everyone’s hormonal levels vary.

 

It is not always necessary that women with PCOS can not have children. There are various treatments that can help women with PCOS conceive. One example for conceiving is to engage in copulation during ovulation. Another method can be IVF.

 

PCOS can be diagnosed when there are irregular ovulation periods in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Women have irregular period with the time duration in between one to six months.

 

A woman with PCOS will have high levels of androgen in their body. Even though androgen is found in both men and women, men possess high levels of the hormone and it helps with the development of male genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics.

 

High blood sugar levels cause hormonal imbalance and can order the ovaries to make more testosterone. Androgen helps make that happen. High blood sugar leads to high androgen which leads to high testosterone which leads to PCOS. High blood sugar is the result of insulin resistance. When our cells get used to a certain amount of insulin they demand more which causes high blood sugar levels.

 

 

 

PCOS is diagnosed when ovarian cysts are discovered on a woman’s ovaries via ultrasound.

 

PCOS has undiscovered roots. The main cause of PCOS is unknown but much research has been conducted to conclude that it may be genetic as well as environmental.

 

Common symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Weight gain
  • Facial hair
  • Dark hair growth on the belly and breasts
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Infertility
  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Irregular periods
  • Acne

 

PCOS does not have a cure, however, it is manageable. Exercise, a good diet as well as alternative lifestyle choices can decrease PCOS symptoms.

 

The best way to decrease high blood sugar levels is through a good diet. Foods such as…:

 

  • Vegetables
  • Lemon or cucumber diffused water
  • Lentils
  • Corn
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Salmon
  • Lean meat
  • Peanut butter

 

…helps manage PCOS.

 

For more detailed information, click on the link below!

https://food.ndtv.com/health/the-right-diet-can-go-a-long-way-in-helping-you-with-pcod-772795

https://www.bustle.com/articles/184282-can-you-have-kids-if-you-have-pcos-yes-and-these-women-did

https://www.pcosdietsupport.com/fertility/4-things-to-do-before-trying-to-conceive-with-pcos/

 

 

What Reasons Establish our Contraceptive Choices?

What Reasons Establish our Contraceptive Choices?

Every one is unique in their own way. Our bodies may function in a similar fashion but everyone is different. When it comes to our physical health people have physical differences amongst each other such as allergies, immunity, weight, temperament and environmental sensitivity.

 

When we think about contraception we need to take into consideration a person’s individuality and choice. For some people a condom suffices, however, some women are more comfortable with taking pills while others just prefer to take injections.

 

Contraceptive choice matters when it comes to age, relationship of the couple, mental health, comfort level with the contraceptive in use (allergies, sensitivity and irritation), hormonal levels, availability and price.

 

A woman’s age is a huge and important factor when it comes what kind of contraception she uses. Usually woman aged of 40 and above (apart from women who have reached menopause) desire to use more long term contraceptive methods. Women over 40 usually use IUD and depot Provera acetate injections. Some women who are and above 40 also choose sterilization because they already have children and do not want more. Women below 40 usually use short term methods such as condoms, pills, IUD, insertion and withdrawal. The reason for this is that they want to get pregnant in the immediate future.

 

A woman’s relationship with her partner may show what kind of method is being practiced. A person’s relationship status depicts what kind (if any) of family planning method is put into action. Research suggests that couples who are in a short term relationship such as “causal dating” are prone to use contraceptives like condoms and pills. It has been proven by many researchers that the longer the relationship duration is, the decision amongst couples to use a condom decreases. Long term couples usually go for hormonal therapy such as injections as a form of family planning.

 

According to many studies there is a correlation between a person’s mental health and a person’s reproductive health. In accordance to this a person’s mental health does affect their choice of contraceptives or weather or not they use contraception at all. A woman menstrual cycle affects her mental health as well and child birth and menopause. Mental health issues such as post partum depression cause women to take contraceptive measures, however, the use of condoms prevail in this scenario because for women who are lactating hormonal contraception could cause harm to the breast feeding child.

 

There is a high possibility that a couple’s choice to not choose a particular contraceptive is the physical side effects, allergies and reactions they have to it. For example, women who take hormonal contraception might get prone to:

 

  • vomiting
  • bloating
  • vaginal discomfort
  • nipple discharge

 

Due to these discomforts women may abandon this contraceptive method. Also a lot of men and women are allergic to latex (the material of which condoms are manufactured) which causes couples to use other means to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

 

Hormonal contraception has the ability to create mood disorders such as PPD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). Therefore, couples reside to condom use. Also Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal issue known to cause issues like mood swings, anxiety and depression. Many women struggle with fertility when diagnosed with PCOS hence they avoid hormonal contraceptive methods and opt for condoms as well.

 

In many rural areas in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Africa contraceptives are difficult to attain or unaffordable. Social and religious taboos prevent couples from obtaining contraception as well. This causes couples to indulge in the withdrawal method. This method is not the best way to prevent pregnancies but unfortunately for some it is the only way.

 

There are many reasons which dictate contraceptive choice. It is always better for couples be open and comfortable to discuss their choices. Gaining advise and information from a doctor is also a good way for couples to identify their options.

 

For more detailed information, click on the link below!

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/

 

 

 

Culture is not an excuse for oppressing women

Culture is not an excuse for oppressing women

There are principled and practical reasons for improving women’s rights, says Margot Wallström, Sweden’s foreign minister.

THE light in her eyes had gone out. She sat on her hands, her head bowed, apathetic. We were in a salle d’écoute—a listening room—in a dimly lit hut in a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. I was there as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, to prevent conflict-related sexual violence and end impunity for such crimes.

The girl’s father told us she had been walking back from school with a friend. Both were schoolgirls in their early teens, wearing uniforms and carrying books and pencils. A military vehicle stopped alongside them as one of the militiamen called for the girls’ attention. Could they get them a pack of cigarettes? Not daring to refuse, the girls did as they were told. When they returned, the man pointed at one of the girls and said: “You, come with us.”

The militia held her for two days. When she was released, the light in her eyes had gone out. She was bright, the first of her siblings to go to school. The hope of the family, her father said, the hope of the village, perhaps even more than that.

exual violence in conflict is one of the cruellest, most inhumane and vicious acts. It is a war crime. Yet, during my time as UN Special Representative, I often heard people say that sexual violence was inevitable. That it was sad and unspeakable, but an unavoidable consequence of conflict. That it was a lesser crime. That it was part of the culture of war.

Sexual violence in conflict is one of the cruellest, most inhumane and vicious acts.

If sexual violence can be rationalised as inevitable, just imagine the other forms of domination over women that are accepted or seen as unavoidable consequences of culture. Let me be clear: sexual violence is not cultural, it is criminal.

A culture of oppression
But I want to reflect on the word “culture”, and the way that it is used to justify the oppression of women. I believe firmly that culture should never be accepted as an excuse for the oppression of women.

“Culture” is typically defined by sociologists as a set of values, norms and beliefs among a group.  It may refer to the traditional culture in Afghanistan, of football fans in Argentina, or of university students in Sweden. Let me clarify what I mean by the “oppression” of women. I use the term to mean all instances when a woman is restricted because of her gender—whether she is explicitly discriminated against under the law or unfairly treated and looked down upon.

Not all oppression of women around the world can be explained by culture and, of course, not all cultures include the oppression of women. But the instances of it are many and varied: from the woman who is forced to marry against her will in the name of religion to the woman who is expected to put up with sexual harassment at work, because “that is just the way it is.”

The problem exists in all societies. Those who claim it does not exist in the West have been silenced by the MeToo movement, which called out injustices previously excused by a different kind of (workplace) “culture”.

Saying that the oppression of women exists in all societies does not mean it is the same everywhere. The situation is worse in some cultures, and it does no good to pretend otherwise.

Let me be clear: sexual violence is not cultural, it is criminal.

To what extent is this a problem? Should we not respect the fact that some cultures mean a lot to some people, and that cultural differences regarding the roles of men and women should be accepted?

I do not believe we should: particularly when it comes to women’s rights.

First, there is the legal argument. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is almost universally ratified. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is agreed upon by all countries. Women’s rights are human rights and there is no room for culture in that discussion.

Second, a more principled argument, illustrated by the philosopher John Rawls’s veil of ignorance: what kind of world would you like to be born into if you did not know your position in it beforehand? Or to put it another way, how many men would like to have been born as a woman in this world?

And third, there is the practical argument. Gender equality increases wealth. A recent report by the OECD showed that the rise in female participation in the labour market in the Nordic countries over the past 50 years accounted for a 10–20% increase in GDP. Peace agreements that include women among the signatories are more likely to last.

Women’s rights are human rights and there is no room for culture in that discussion

And finally, a word about democracy. Women are half the world’s population. Is it too much to ask for half the influence?

The actions needed
There is no silver bullet that can instantly eliminate all oppression of women. Nevertheless, I would like to offer a few thoughts, based on conclusions that I have drawn from four decades in politics and foreign affairs.

It is important not to come across as if we are fighting culture (be it religious, secular, ethnic or intellectual). That risks alienating the people we are trying to protect. We should have the deepest respect for the meaning that culture has in people’s lives—including in women’s lives.

We should be careful not to come across as condescending. This does not mean we should be silent in the face of blatant abuse, or not voice support for victims. Although bold statements might be visible and memorable, most of our results come from quiet, determined work.

Four years ago, Sweden was the first country in the world to launch a feminist foreign policy. The notion of feminism is provocative to some people, but to us, feminism means that women and men should have the same rights, duties and opportunities. Or as the aphorism goes, feminism is “the radical notion that women are human beings.”

Our simple model is based on three Rs: rights, representation and resources.

Using these categories in any country where we have an embassy, we assess the practical realities of daily life. Do women and girls have the same rights—the right to education, to work, to marry whom they want, to divorce, to run businesses, to open bank accounts, etc? Are women represented where decisions are made that affect them—in government, parliament, local assemblies, businesses and organisations? Do women’s and girls’ interests receive the same resources—in budgets, in development cooperation?

Although bold statements might be visible and memorable, most of our results come from quiet, determined work.

Wherever we identify inequality, we think of what we can do to remove it. In practice, this means that we have been pushing for the Women, Peace and Security agenda in the UN Security Council, where Sweden is a non-permanent member. We have initiated a network of women peace negotiators who are active all over the world.

We have given a lot of support to women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and provided funding for midwives in Eastern Africa. And our 108 embassies around the world are relentlessly organising events, creating attention and support for women’s issues.

A case for hope
I do not know what the girl in Congo is doing today, what her life is like and whether the light has returned to her eyes. But for her sake, and for the sake of all other girls and women in the world, I want to call on everyone reading this to join us on this endeavour.

Let us remove the obstacles to gender equality, one at a time. Let us dismantle the structures that subordinate women. Let us do what we can to make the world a little bit fairer, a little bit more gender-equal. Let us show that equal rights for women can be part of any culture in this diverse world.

___________

Margot Wallström is Sweden’s foreign minister. She was the first United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict from 2010 to 2012. Ms Wallström initiated the country’s “feminist foreign policy,” which makes the promotion of gender equality a top priority for Sweden’s Foreign Ministry and embassies.

https://www.economist.com/open-future/2018/06/25/culture-is-not-an-excuse-for-oppressing-women?fsrc=gp_en

How Yoga Enhances Sex And Sexual Health For Men And Women!

How Yoga Enhances Sex And Sexual Health For Men And Women!

2018-06-22

With the growing popularity of complementary therapy and alternative medicine, more and more people are practicing yoga. Although many engage in yoga as a form of exercise, its origins teaches how to attain balance in all aspects of life, most especially concerning diet, exercise, breathing, relaxation, and positive thinking and meditation. Two of the most common questions asked of yoga are: “Does yoga enhance sex?” and “How yoga enhances sex”.

CAN YOGA IMPROVE YOUR SEX LIFE?

Healthier men and women can engage in more fulfilling sex if they are well. Multiple studies have demonstrated that individuals who are more physically active experience a more satisfying sex life. Do sexy yoga poses count as exercise? Here are three of the available evidence to prove that you can use yoga to increase sexuality whether you are a woman or a man:

 

•A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2010 demonstrated how 40 sexually active females experienced improved sexual satisfaction by practicing yoga for better sex. The study subjects were taught 22 yoga poses that are believed to positively influence sexuality by stimulating the abdominal and pelvic muscles, as well as by enhancing good mood, and improving joint health and digestion. 75 per cent of the study subjects claimed that they experienced more satisfying sex after training for yoga. This study establishes how to improve female sexual health by practicing yoga.

•Another study also published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2010 showed that male sexual functioning responded well to the practice of yoga. The study involved 65 sexually active males who reported marked improvements in all parameters used by the researchers to gauge enhanced sexual function. Some of the parameters are desire, satisfaction, erection, orgasm, and ejaculatory control.

•A study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy in 2009 reviewed available empirical as well as anecdotal data available at the time to determine how yoga is related to erectile dysfunction (ED). According to researchers, evidence was available linking yoga with the relief of stress and high blood pressure. The study also pointed out how yoga helped improve weight management. All of these factors have been found to be three of the determinants of ED. Improving these conditions, therefore, also improved ED, and yoga enhances sex.

WHAT YOGA POSES TO PRACTICE TO ENHANCE YOUR SEX LIFE

Yoga poses for men and women are available. Don’t worry if you can’t perform these poses absolutely 100 per cent, most especially if you’ve never practiced yoga before because all of these can be modified to suit a beginner. Learn yoga for improving sex by starting with these 5 poses:

1. Downward Facing Dog. Go down on the floor. Place both palms against the floor. Do the same for both feet. Make sure your palms and feet are laid out flat against the floor as you bring your back up. To ensure you are performing the pose with the proper posture, your upper body and lower body should form a “V”. If you are a beginner, you can make the slope less steep.

2. Forward Plank Pose. This will have to be one of the easiest yoga sex positions to imitate, although it will have to count as one of the most difficult ones to hold. Start by going face down on the floor. You can either stretch out your arms so that your elbows are straightened or, place your elbows and lower arms to be perpendicular against the floor. Support the lower part of your body with only your toes, each pressed against the floor.

3. Cat-Cow Pose. You will find that once you get well accustomed to the cat-cow pose you can easily adapt it for a yoga sex position level up your next ‘sexercise’ session with your partner. Start by kneeling on the floor. Place your legs slightly apart with the back of both feet laid flat against the floor. Lean forward so that you are down on all fours. Place your palms against the floor, arms and elbows straight. Bring your head up so that you are facing the ceiling. As you look up, bend your hips so that your lower back forms a deep “U” shape. Hold the pose for at lease a minute.

Then, without moving your legs and arms, bring down your head to face so that you are staring directly at your thighs. As you bring your head inward, bend your hips up so that you form a hunchback. Hold the pose for a minute. Keep alternating between the poses.

4. Bridge Pose. This is the yoga version of kegel exercises. It tightens the muscles of your vagina and pelvis. This can be considered as one of the sexual yoga poses that you can try as a sex position. To do this pose, start by lying on the floor with your knees bent, legs slightly apart. Place your arms and palms flat against the floor. Relax your head, nape and shoulders against the floor. Hold your legs and arms this way even as you raise your back and thighs in such a way that a straight incline forms from your shoulders to your knees. Hold the pose for several minutes before bringing down. Repeat for several minutes.

5. Shoulder Stand. This pose firms up muscles on your shoulders, neck and nape, and also stretches and strengthens your hips and lower back. For beginners, do this pose next to a wall. Raise your legs, thighs all the way to your shoulder blades, up. Lay your arms across. For advanced yoga practitioners. Do the same without the wall to support your body. Bring both palms and arms to rest on your lower back to support it as you raise your body.

CONCLUSION: While a Virectin review can help you decide on whether or not a male enhancement supplement may bring positive improvements to your and to your partner’s sex life, yoga teaches you how to be more sexual. By striking a balance in your life, the sexual benefits that you can derive from yoga will no longer be confined to instant, one-off sexual satisfaction. Yoga enhances sex but, with continued practice, your sexual health, not only your performance during a sexual act, is improved now and in the years to come.

https://theinscribermag.com/how-yoga-enhances-sex-and-sexual-health-for-men-and-women/

Sex and gender both shape your health, in different ways

Sex and gender both shape your health, in different ways

When you think about gender, what comes to mind? Is it anatomy or the way someone dresses or acts? Do you think of gender as binary — male or female? Do you think it predicts sexual orientation?

Gender is often equated with sex — by researchers as well as those they research, especially in the health arena. Recently I searched a database for health-related research articles with “gender” in the title. Of the 10 articles that came up first in the list, every single one used “gender” as a synonym for sex.

Although gender can be related to sex, it is a very different concept. Gender is generally understood to be socially constructed, and can differ depending on society and culture. Sex, on the other hand, is defined by chromosomes and anatomy — labelled male or female. It also includes intersex people whose bodies are not typically male or female, often with characteristics of both sexes.

Researchers often assume that all biologically female people will be more similar to each other than to those who are biologically male, and group them together in their studies. They do not consider the various sex- and gender-linked social roles and constraints that can also affect their health. This results in policies and treatment plans that are homogenous.

‘Masculine?’ ‘Cisgender?’ ‘Gender fluid?’

The term “gender” was originally developed to describe people who did not identify with their biological sex. John Money, a pioneering gender researcher, explained: “Gender identity is your own sense or conviction of maleness or femaleness; and gender role is the cultural stereotype of what is masculine and feminine.”

There are now many terms used to describe gender — some of the earliest ones in use are “feminine,” “masculine” and “androgynous” (a combination of masculine and feminine characteristics).

More recent gender definitions include: “Bigender” (expressing two distinct gender identities), “gender fluid” (moving between gendered behaviour that is feminine and masculine depending on the situation) and “agender” or “undifferentiated” (someone who does not identify with a particular gender or is genderless).

If a person’s gender is consistent with their sex (e.g. a biologically female person is feminine) they are referred to as “cisgender.”

Gender does not tell us about sexual orientation. For example, a feminine (her gender) woman (her sex) may define herself as straight or anywhere in the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex and asexual or allied) spectrum. The same goes for a feminine man.

Femininity can affect your heart

When gender has actually been measured in health-related research, the labels “masculine,” “feminine” and “androgynous” have traditionally been used.

Research shows that health outcomes are not homogeneous for the sexes, meaning all biological females do not have the same vulnerabilities to illnesses and diseases and nor do all biological males.

Gender is one of the things that can influence these differences. For example, when the gender of participants is considered, “higher femininity scores among men, for example, are associated with lower incidence of coronary artery disease…(and) female well-being may suffer when women adopt workplace behaviours traditionally seen as masculine.”

In another study, quality of life was better for androgynous men and women with Parkinson’s disease. In cardiovascular research, more masculine people have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease than those who are more feminine. And research with cancer patients found that both patients and their caregivers who were feminine or androgynous were at lower risk of depression-related symptoms as compared to those who were masculine and undifferentiated.

However, as mentioned earlier, many health researchers do not measure gender, despite the existence of tools and strategies for doing so. They may try to guess gender based on sex and/or what someone looks like. But it is rare that they ask people.

A tool for researchers

The self-report gender measure (SR-Gender) I developed, and first used in a study of aging, is one simple tool that was developed specifically for health research.

The SR-Gender asks a simple question: “Most of the time would you say you are…?” and offers the following answer choices: “Very feminine,” “mostly feminine,” “a mix of masculine and feminine,” “neither masculine or feminine,” “mostly masculine,” “very masculine” or “other.”

Self-report gender tool. (Lisa Carver)Author provided

The option to answer “other” is important and reflects the constant evolution of gender. As “other” genders are shared, the self-report gender measure can be adapted to reflect these different categorizations.

It’s also important to note that the SR-Gender is not meant for in-depth gender research, but for health and/or medical studies, where it can be used in addition to, or instead of, sex.

Using gender when describing sex just muddies the waters. Including the actual gender of research participants, as well as their sex, in health-related studies will enrich our understanding of illness.

By asking people to tell us their sex and gender, health researchers may be able to understand why people experience illness and disease differently.

http://theconversation.com/sex-and-gender-both-shape-your-health-in-different-ways-98293

Don’t Put This Up There

Don’t Put This Up There

2018-06-12

From yogurt to oregano oil to lemon juice (OUCH!), the internet is chock-full of suggestions and remedies for women’s sexual health.

By Jen Gunter

People always want to know the most unusual object I’ve retrieved from a vagina.

I’ll never tell.

One, because the woman involved could recognize herself and feel betrayed. Yes, some items are that unusual.

The other reason is that the unfortunate sequence of events that ends with a visit to my OB-GYN practice or the emergency room is almost always the unanticipated consequence of sexual experimentation. Lots of objects seem sexually adventurous until the moment one realizes they are not. And realizes that they are stuck.

Sexual experimentation with household items is nothing new, though the nature of the object has changed slightly to match the times — think along the lines of a progression from a soda bottle to a diet soda bottle to an energy water bottle to a Kombucha bottle — over my 25 years of practice.

Another change I’ve noticed in that time is the increased touting of various “natural” and “ancient” vaginal remedies with household items. The reasons could range from “vaginal maintenance” (a term that, as an expert, I struggle to further qualify) to the treatment of yeast infections to contraception to improving sex lives.

There are two themes at play that seem simultaneously opposing yet complementary: that natural is best and that the vagina is so dirty, fragile or in need of nourishment (or all three) that it is one wrong pair of underwear or wet bathing suit away from complete catastrophe.

And this is how lemon juice (ouch), yogurt, garlic (double ouch), cucumber and oregano oil (super, mega ouch) are finding their way into vaginas worldwide. No, you are not reading a recipe for tzatziki sauce.

Many of these supposed natural therapies claim to have supporting science, although what is offered as proof is easily dismissed with a cursory knowledge of reproductive physiology. Lemon juice is recommended to acidify the vagina (it cannot). Yogurt is suggested because its bacteria could help repopulate the healthy, vaginal bacteria (commercial yogurts don’t have the right strains). Sea sponges are recommended for menstrual hygiene (testing has revealed they have bacteria and debris and they could introduce far more oxygen — a bad thing — into the vagina than a tampon or menstrual cup).

What is simultaneously fascinating and depressing is that these “newly discovered ancient therapies” are neither ancient nor effective. Instead they are the result of celebrity wellness sites, social media and even some doctors recycling material from health almanacs and digests that used to be found at the grocery store and repackaging their content under the guise of female empowerment.

What is science with its stodgy physiology and evidence-based medicine against the allure of the patient anecdote and the promise of a cure? Stories and confidence are what sells.

It’s possible that remedies like yogurt, garlic and so on were tried centuries ago as medicine, spermicide or sexual custom. But who cares if something was used historically if it has since been deemed ineffective or harmful? Blood letting for fever, mercury for vitality or syphilis, and animal dung as spermicide are all ancient medicinal practices, but that doesn’t mean we’re revisiting those therapies today.

In other words, all these so-called “ancient” sexual remedies were retired for a reason.

I get the allure. So many women are still uncomfortable speaking openly about genital health, and the internet offers privacy — not to mention community and validation. When all these needs are met, accuracy can seem secondary.

It is always best to see a health care professional for a diagnosis. We women do know our bodies, but there is so much crossover with symptoms that when women attempt self- diagnosis they are likely to misdiagnose more than 50 percent of the time. That’s worse than flipping a coin.

Researching symptoms and treatment options is always good, but to keep your internet hygiene in check (which requires far more effort than vaginal hygiene) these are the things that should send you screaming:

  • Run if the therapy is said to be “proven.” The degree to which something is supposedly “proven” to treat a medical condition is inversely proportional to the number of studies supporting that claim.

  • Run if something is being sold. Anyone selling a product is by definition biased, whether it is “Big Pharma” or “Big Natural.”

  • Run if the recommendation is homeopathic products. A recent studytells us that doctors who recommend homeopathy are more likely to deviate from standard medical guidelines. In other words they are more likely to practice bad medicine.

  • Run if the advice relies on testimonials. I would never tell my patient “Well Sarah S. said it worked for her!” Sarah S. is not the same thing as science.

  • Run if it involves inserting food vaginally for health reasons. This is nonsense.

  • Run if they recommend vaginal cleaning of any kind. For instance, I’ve been hearing about “vaginal steaming.” It’s well meaning, but woefully misinformed. If your bottom is sore, use a sitz bath.

It’s stunning that in this great age of information that can we have so much misinformation about our bodies and our sexuality. The internet has changed the speed at which we can acquire medical information, but certainly not the accuracy.

Dr. Jen Gunter is an obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in California. The Cycle, a column on women’s reproductive health, appears regularly in Styles.

 

 

 

 

Breaking sex talk taboo in Indian culture

Breaking sex talk taboo in Indian culture

n a nation where sex temples in Khajuraho or Shivling are worshipped, talking about sex in open is still considered a taboo in Indian society. With India having the largest adolescent population in the world, along with a thriving market for contraceptives, the country cannot afford to stay silent about its sexual health anymore, writes: SUBHANGI SINGH

When it comes to sex talk or sex education in India, the government brazenly ignores it, schools disregard it and the adults firmly push it under the carpet. The demographic diversity, in terms of age, sex, marital status, class, religion and cultural context, add the final nail in the coffin. What is absurd that in India where Khajuraho, known as the land of sex temples, is open for the world to worship, visit or make movies inspired from its sex sculptures,discussion on the subject sex, on the other hand, is sidelined considering morally disgraceful in the same society.

Jyoti (name changed) is an 18-year-old newly married girl from Agra. Jyoti shares the same predicament as most young married Indian girls in semi-urban areas. She narrated, “I don’t want to have kids right away. I have heard about contraceptives like Nirodh and Mala-D. But, I dare not bring it up with my husband. He might think I am too forward or that I have a promiscuous past. My mother will also be very pissed if she gets a whiff. Also, I must get pregnant within a year or people might think I am baanjh (infertile).” Such stories echo throughout north India. It is a built-up on multiple social phenomena, almost unique to South Asia and entrenched through its social institutions.

In a country where half the pregnancies are unplanned, a third of which are terminated by choice, the need for unmet contraception is huge. Government-run programs are often cosmetic in nature, only concerned with achieving their targets. In 2012, after a botched up female sterilisation camp in Bihar, resulting in complications experienced by several patients, activist Devika Biswas filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India. The Court finally ruled that such incidents violated components of Article 21 of the Constitution, i.e. the right to health and reproductive rights. The Court also ordered the discontinuation of such sterilisation camps, ensuring that no such fixed targets exist. Adult Indian women, let alone adolescents are mostly unaware about their sexual and reproductive rights.

Dr. Shefali Wadhwani Sharma, a gynaecologist at GMCH, Chandigarh reveals, “We often get girls in critical condition, who come in with a perforated uterus due to mishandled D&C abortions, done by unqualified caregivers like midwives, etc. Such is the social stigma that adolescent girls admitted with ruptured ectopic pregnancies refuse to admit that they have been sexually active. Young girls seldom get intimate checkups done until faced with acute medical emergencies. To avoid such cases, it is imperative that education about menstrual hygiene and sexual health becomes a part of school curriculum. Sexual health is a vital part of holistic healthcare and healthy women a keystone of women empowerment.”

The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 2015-16, bears some good news. Use of contraception in single women has gone up from 2 per cent to 12 per cent in the last decade. Female sterilisation (36 per cent) is still the most popular form of modern contraception used, permanent or otherwise. However, women, especially adolescents, still lack sufficient knowledge about the dangers of unsafe sex and intimate infections. Religious and cultural obligations often dissuade them from practicing proper sexual/menstrual hygiene and/or using contraception. Most women still use ‘traditional’ contraceptive methods like monitoring menstrual cycles and ‘pulling out’, unaware that these methods are not only unreliable tools of family planning but also leave them vulnerable to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Reproductive Tract Infections (RTIs).

Even in urban setups, girls admitting to sexual needs are slut-shamed. Trisha (name changed) is a 26-year-old single, financially independent woman who resides in New Delhi. “Once I dropped my bag at my workplace, spilling out a condom amongst other things. After that, the double entendres and indecent proposals continued for a month. I finally changed the job after a few months due to various reasons, this incident being one of them.” said Trisha. She continued, “When I visited a gynaec at a private clinic to get checked for late periods, I was welcomed with questions about my sex life, marital status and warnings about my biological clock ticking away. She also wanted to know if my parents knew! She ignored me when I tried giving background of my general health.” Such moral policing from healthcare providers, misconceptions and lack of trust about regular contraception methods, have led to rampant impetuous use of over the counter emergency contraceptives.

Government and private NGOs are now resorting to innovation to get the message across. Comedian Abish Mathew recently released a funny animated short film about the importance of maintaining good sexual health. Agents of Ishq, a multimedia project about ‘sex, love and desire’, is sprinkled liberally with humour to make it appealing for this generation. Population Foundation of India (PFI) is an NGO which has partnered with Doordarshan to spread awareness about sexual health, contraception and other taboo subjects, through a soap opera titled Mai Kuchh Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon..

Inclusion of Men

Although government programs and even NGOs that focus on youth reproductive and sexual health often limit their focus to females alone, men/boys play key roles as fathers, brothers, and partners. Often the male members of the family are key decision makers of the household in the largely patriarchal Indian society, necessitating participation of the male population in these programs. The patriarchal narrative also restricts men/boys from addressing their own reproductive and sexual health issues, the admission of which can render them weak in a society that teaches them to be macho. Information, education and communication about male sterilisation are inadequate, not only in society but the public health system as well. In the absence of a credible source of information and lack of inclusion in public awareness initiatives, men often ignore their sexual health issues which in turn can lead to mental trauma, male fertility issues and infections.

During the decade (2006-2016) between successive NFHS surveys, condom use declined by 52 per cent while the number of vasectomies conducted fell by 73 per cent, indicating a greater reluctance amongst men to use birth control. Only 5 per cent Indian males use condoms and male sterilisation forms a dismal 0.3 per cent of modern contraception used. Most Indian men consider vasectomy as an equivalent to castration. Majority of them are unaware about the ease of the procedure and the reversible nature of it. India is one of the few countries in the world where female tubal ligation is more popular form of permanent contraception than vasectomies, despite the fact that the ligation procedure is more complicated and requires greater post-operative care. The pitiful picture is worsened by the fact that men are taught from an early age that reproduction and subsequently, fertility, contraception and maternal healthcare are a ‘woman’s affair’.

As Dr. Sumeet Devgan, a consultant urologist at the Grecian Hospital, Mohali points out, “Young Indian men lack the open peer discussions prevalent in women and are reluctant to seek professional medical help for their sexual health needs. We often get cases with mismanaged self-medication for STIs, etc. We need to stop referring to sexual and reproductive health and rights as women’s issues; they are men’s issues as much. Given that use of contraceptives in India is riddled with social barriers, a systematic institutional approach with inclusion of men is required to result in better uptake of contraceptives and safe sex. On-ground work to engage men in taking shared responsibility, while still promoting women’s rights, is vital for sustained behavioural change.”

Half-hearted solutions

To spread sexual health awareness and establish dialogue between sexes, we need comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) at school level. CSE teaches the young about affirmative sexuality, informed consent, safe sex, etc. A similar program called Adolescent Education Program (AEP) was introduced by the government in India in 2007. But after several protests and moral policing, citing ‘inappropriate content’, the program was banned in several states. It was rolled out in select government/private schools with limited implementation. Though it covers issues like body image, gender and sexuality, violence and abuse, STIs, etc, it leaves out issues of negotiation and consent in intimate relationships. Even urban educational institutions are reluctant to include these programs to avoid ‘unnecessary sexualization’ of kids, according to an owner of a reputed private school.

The government also has a National Adolescent Reproduction and Sexual Health (ARSH) strategy, released in 2006 and various states have implemented their own versions of it; e.g. Himachal Pradesh has set up Yuva Paramarsh Kendras (YPKs) which work with health institutions, schools/colleges, youth festivals, etc. In 2008, the National Population Stabilization Fund (Jansankhya Sthirta Kosh) started a helpline (Ph: 1800-11-6555) to provide confidential counselling services regarding sexual and reproductive health problems. Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram launched in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is a health program for adolescents in the age group of 10-19 years, to provide preventive, curative and counselling services with routine check-ups at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Last year, the government also started an online distribution service of condoms which met with a good response. Several NGOs like PFI, Mamta and Haiyya are working extensively to raise awareness and remove the stigma attached to discussing sexual health and needs. But a large chunk of our population is unaware of the existence of such programs.

Technology has also helped bring these issues out of the closet by providing anonymity and peer participation. Online portals like Menstrupedia and ‘She and You’ provide a safe and anonymous environment to discuss taboo subjects like menstrual hygiene, STIs, contraception methods, etc. ‘She and You’ has started an initiative #JustSayIt, through which they want to break the awkwardness by hosting a series of events and making women open up about the very things they shy away from like sex, menstruation and their intimate health.  The start of such programs is a welcome change. Sadly, it is restricted to small pockets in India with limited public awareness. The recent government restrictions on advertising for condoms and emergency contraceptive pills don’t help. The lack of proper implementation, poor quality of resources and inadequate training and sensitisation by the government has led to policy failure. According to a 2013 UNPF review, delaying childbearing could reduce India’s projected 2050 population of 1.7 billion by 25.1 per cent. With an ever burgeoning young population, India cannot afford to stay silent about its sexual health anymore.

 

 

http://www.tehelka.com/breaking-sex-talk-taboo-in-indian-culture/

There’s No Such Thing As A ‘Normal’ Penis, Says Health Specialist

There’s No Such Thing As A ‘Normal’ Penis, Says Health Specialist

2018-06-11

But there is such a thing as an average one.

 

The stereotype holds that men who have penises spend a significant amount of time thinking about them, or thinking with them.

Man holds tape measure by his pelvis, with exaggerated perspective. Does he measure up?

Of course, you can’t think with a penis — it’s got a head, but no brain. And men are capable of thinking beyond the whims of an organ that is pretty important, but not all-controlling.

That doesn’t mean that penises aren’t important, for sexual health and even, if something goes awry, for health in general. But does having a penis mean you know what is or is not “normal”? And what even counts as “normal” for something that can vary so significantly from person to person? On the other hand, when is something definitely abnormal and worth checking out?

Read on for some information — and probably a good amount of reassurance.

What is the average size?

As many as 45 per cent of men are unsatisfied with their penis size, according to one 2006 survey, and most of those men wanted theirs to be larger. But the average range penis sizes is actually pretty, ahem, big.

“There may be no such thing as a ‘normal’ penis, but there is such a thing as an ‘average’ one,” Dr. Oliver Gralla, a men’s health specialist and author of Happy Down Below, told HuffPost Canada via email.

A study from the British Journal of Urology International that looked at 15,000 men from around the world found that the average flaccid penis length was 9.16 centimetres (3.6 inches), and the average erect length was 13.12 centimetres (5.2 inches). For girth, the flaccid average was 9.31 centimetres (3.7 inches) and the erect average was 11.66 centimetres (4.6 inches). Length is measured along the top of the penis, from where the base connects to the torso to the tip.

What’s more, the study found that outliers are pretty rare. Only five out of 100 men would have a penis longer than 16 centimetres (6.3 inches) erect, and only five out of 100 men would have one shorter than 10 centimetres (4 inches) erect. And research has shown that despite some stereotypes, age, race, and height are not accurate predictors of penis size.

So the myth of the superior penis is just that: a myth. Embrace humanity’s natural variations!

Grower or shower?

It is normal to be a grower (what Dr. Gralla refers to as a blood penis) and not a shower (what he calls a flesh penis). But it’s also normal to just be a shower.

The Journal of Urology study of 80 men found no correlation between size when flaccid versus erect, or between size and the age of the men. A Turkish study came to a similar conclusion.

What is a micropenis?

A micropenis is a penis that is well under the average size, about 2.5 standard deviations smaller than mean penis size — one standard is that the erect penis length is less than seven centimetres (2.7 inches).

The condition is rare, occurring in only about an estimated 0.6 per cent of those born with a penis, and there are several possible causes.

In some cases, micropenis can be treated in infancy with hormone injections, though this has no effect if the treatment begins in adults because penis growth stops after puberty. Surgery can also be an option in adults.

Partners are mostly fine with it

It turns out that the way men get to view their own penises — looking down from above — makes it look smaller, versus seeing it straight on or from the side. This may be why men seem more unsure about penis size than their partners do.

One study found that 85 per cent of women were satisfied with the size of their partner’s penis, but 45 per cent of men believed their penis was small. Another study asked women to indicate their preferred penis with a 3D model, and the majority chose a size only slightly above average, just above six inches erect.

There doesn’t seem to be much research on attitudes among same-sex partners about penis size, but one study did find that men who sleep with men were more likely to say they preferred to bottom during anal sex if they also rated their penis size as below average.

Men who rated their penis size as above average were more likely to say they preferred to top, while those who rated their size as average were more likely to say they were versatile on position.

But some things are abnormal

There are some things that are abnormal when it comes to penises, and if they show up they warrant medical attention because they can indicate a health issue.

Erectile dysfunction is an issue for many elderly men, but it doesn’t affect them exclusively. “Although more common in older men, even teenagers can struggle with erection issues,” Dr. Gralla said. In younger people, erectile dysfunction can be the result of a psychological issue, but it can also be the result of medical conditions like clinical depression or medication side effects.

There are other penile abnormalities or changes that can indicate a health issue. “Painful erections, palpable plaques, or slight deviations during erection can be the first signs of Peyronie’s disease, or IPP (induratio penis plastica),” Dr. Gralla said.

The disorder should be treated as early as possible, so see a doctor if you develop those symptoms.

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/06/08/normal-penis_a_23454201/

 

No evidence that sexbots reduce harms to women and children

No evidence that sexbots reduce harms to women and children

2018-06-05

“Sexbots” – sexualised robots that have realistic human characteristics – are no longer a thing of science fiction. They can be purchased in various appearances, and are typically female adults with customisable oral, vaginal, and anal openings. Childlike robotic models – sometimes referred to as “paedobots” – are produced by at least one company.

Proponents suggest that one of the main benefits of sexbots, either adult or paedobots, is “harm limitation” – referring to potential harms caused to women or children targeted in sexual violence.

An editorial published today in British Medical Journal Sexual and Reproductive Health addresses such claims directly.

Authors Chantal Cox-George and Susan Bewley argue the “precautionary principle” should reject the clinical use of sexbots until their postulated benefits, namely “harm limitation” and “therapy”, have been tested empirically. In other words, we need more evidence.

Further, from my perspective as a criminologist and forensic practitioner, I would argue that sexbots could be tools to empower some who sexually offend against women and children.

 

What does the science say?

To reach this conclusion, authors Cox-George and Bewley reviewed the available literature looking to determine if the arguments made by supporters of the use of sexbots to reduce violence and sex crimes can be substantiated.

Their article approaches this topic from a health care perspective, looking at four themes relevant to health care providers:

  • safer sex
  • therapeutic potential
  • potential to treat paedophiles and sex offenders
  • changing societal norms.

Cox-George and Bewley conclude that the claims of “harm limitation” are overstated: they found no reports of primary data relating to health aspects of the use of sexbots to support the proponents’ positive claims.

The authors also state that the market for sexbots will not be largely health care related – people will not be using these for therapeutic purposes, to diminish unwanted sexual urges, including an attraction to children.

https://theconversation.com/no-evidence-that-sexbots-reduce-harms-to-women-and-children-97694

World bicycle day 2018: How bicycling boosts health

World bicycle day 2018: How bicycling boosts health

2018-06-04

Sunday, June 3 is World Bicycle Day 2018, organised by the UN to celebrate the bicycle as a “simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit” method of transport, which of course also brings many health benefits. Here we round up some recent research which shows how swapping the car for the humble bike could give our health a big boost.

Improved mood and reduced stress

A small Canadian study published last year found that cycling to work can help get your day off to a better start, with those who commuted to work on their bike arriving in a better mood and with a lower level of stress than those who took the car. This positive effect also helped cyclists have a better day in general, reducing stress and even boosting work performance.

A lower risk of heart disease

UK research published earlier this year found that cycling or walking to work could help cut the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD) or stroke. The large-scale study looked at over 350,000 participants to find that regular commuters who used a more active means of travel for commuting, such as cycling, had an 11% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 30% lower risk of fatal CVD. Regular commuters who cycled in their spare time had a 43% lower risk of fatal CVD. Even those who were not regular commuters but took the bike occasionally saw benefits, showing an 8% lower risk of all-cause mortality.

Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes

A large-scale study carried out by the University of Southern Denmark found that cycling can help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. After looking at 24,623 men and 27,890 women, researchers found that those who cycled regularly were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and the more they cycled each week, the lower the risk was. The results also indicated that even those who took up regular cycling at a later age still benefited from a 20% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-cyclists.

It can help keep off extra weight

UK researchers who compared the daily modes of transport of nearly 150,000 participants found that cycling was one of the most effective forms of exercise for keeping trim and losing weight and was even more effective than walking. Those who cycled to work had lower BMIs than those who walked, drove, or took public transport and lower levels of body fat than those who took public transport or the car.

It’s safe for sexual health

Two separate studies published earlier this year found that cycling does not affect a man’s sexual or urinary health or a woman’s gynecological health. The first, carried out by the University of California, found that male cyclists’ sexual and urinary health was no worse than swimmers’ or runners’, although adjusting the handlebar height to be higher or even with the saddle reduced the chance of genital numbness and saddle sores. Researchers from UC San Francisco also found that although female cyclists had a higher risk of genital numbness and saddle sores than non-cyclists, as well as a higher risk of urinary tract infections, they showed no worse sexual or urinary function, and in fact high-intensity cyclists may benefit from improved sexual function.

https://www.thedailystar.net/health/world-bicycle-day-2018-how-bicycling-boosts-health-1585234