Blog Archive

Can't Find What You're Looking For?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Men's Health

There are many health issues particular to men. Read on to improve your insight and to gain tips on how to cope with the ailments and emerge a winner.

Boost Your Libido
Is your libido ebbing?

Isn't it surprising how, just when we think our libido should be at its peak, it lets us down? (Pun intended!) Why do we experience lulls in our libido? Like women, do men also have some sort of rhythmic highs and lows? And what does one do to counter lack of interest?

Libido is defined as the 'psychic drive of energy, especially that associated with the sexual instinct'. A male's libido emerges as part of the growth spurt at adolescence, and is an essential component of the emotional maturity one develops at this stage. Sexual longings, self-consciousness and an acute awareness of the opposite sex, replace the docile nature of childhood. With the onset of adolescence, the teenager is flooded with sexual feelings that are difficult to channel. There emerges a curiosity about the sex organs, which is completely natural. Both boys and girls are eager to gain access to sexual literature and any information they can get their hands on.

The first sexual intercourse experience usually occurs in early adulthood. It is this first experience, that determines to a large extent, the framework for future sexual behaviour.

In the first few years of marriage, sexual activity is often high, and pleasure, intense. Slowly as years go by, often couples stop looking at sex as a pleasure-giving activity, and begin to see it more as a chore. One slowly reaches the stage where it becomes a challenge to have an exciting sex life after a certain number of years. Extraneous and intrinsic factors, such as birth of children, work commitments, non-sexual aspects of marriage, decreased attractiveness due to age or lack of interest in one's own body etc, start exerting influences. How well one vibes with one's partner is another major player. Right from any form of dislike for the partner (body odour, behavioural aspects…) to any major interpersonal conflict, all tell on the libido.

Matters of chance such as injuries and fractures, minor illnesses like the common cold or serious illnesses like jaundice and typhoid, not only during the acute phase but also during convalescence, render sexual desire dormant. If either partner suffers from a chronic disorder like diabetes or hypertension (especially if combined with obesity), the couple might as well give 'mind-blowing sex' a goodnight kiss.

Then there's the 'chronic fatigue syndrome', which is commonplace amongst those leading jetsetting lifestyles.

Stress, of late, is also a major libido-killing factor. Unknown to the individual, stress it gnaws away at a person's health, immunity, sleep and diet.

Addictive interests such as watching too much television, sitting at the computer for hours and hours at a time, also contribute to a decreased libido. Medical causes having a direct bearing on the desire front are depression and schizophrenia as these disorders target the centers in the brain where sexual urges actually take birth.

Similarly, many of the pills that one pops at the doc's orders could have the lullaby effect. Antihypertensives (atenolol and lisinopril have a proven bad record), antacids and some of the ayurvedic preparations are common culprits. Excessive intake of alcohol over a period of time, and smoking, can also kill the libido.

Some surefire ways to increase the libido include:

  • Reduce intake of alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Exercise. With increased fitness, one's libido gets a boost.
Although the sex drive declines with age, the rate and extent of this decline is often exaggerated. In fact, desire and capacity for intercourse are often retained well into old age. When lack of desire itself is a player, one may require professional counseling. However, a detailed self-analysis and introspection is often more than enough to pinpoint the problem and sort it out. Have a frank and a heart to heart with your partner, discuss possible reasons for your decreased desire, and work together at increasing your sexual desire.

What's Male Menopause Anyway?

So what's male menopause anyway? And does it really exist? All of us have heard of female menopause, but MALE menopause? Naah…

Well, surprisingly for many, there is now evidence that male menopause does officially exist. While there was cause for debate earlier, we now have scientific proof. In fact, it even has a scientific term, making it all horribly real.

Male menopause, viropause or andropause if you prefer the scientific terminology, is a condition that occurs in men between the ages of 40 and 55. It essentially comprises of chemical and hormonal changes in men, and yes, it does affect their sexuality. There are always exceptions and some men may not experience male menopause until they're in their late sixties, while other may experience it in their thirties! Scary, isn't it?

Now it's time for some good news. While men feel that this signifies the beginning of the end, nothing could be further from the truth. Male menopause in fact could very well be the beginning of the beginning!

Think about it. The initial years of a man's life are filled with struggle as he strives to achieve his goals and career aspirations. As he grows older and has realized some of his dreams, he feels more or less settled in life. He's been there, seen it all, and done it all. So now what? Now men are faced with what is called a mid-life crisis.

Some of the symptoms include:

Their wives either don't want to have sex as often as they did, or they stop finding their wives as attractive as they used to.

  • They lose some of their hair, and start perceiving themselves as less attractive.
  • While they still carry on with a particular sport, they notice a deterioration in their game.
  • Their sex drives fall, and their erections are not as frequent, nor do they last as long.
  • Where's all that energy gone? Suddenly they start dropping off to sleep immediately after dinner.
  • They've got that tyre of spare flesh around their belly.
  • Realization dawns. They are now, finally and irreversibly, grown-up and 'mature'. Ugh!
So what does the 'mature' man do? He starts looking outside for attention. He may even have the occasional extra-marital affair. A new haircut, a sudden renewed interest in the gym, a new wardrobe, and perhaps, a new sports car. Red, of course.

Is there any treatment for this?

Fear not guys, help is at hand. While there are no treatments since male menopause is not an illness - it's just a state of mind, there are, however, certain tips to help you cope. So take a print out and save this page - you never know when you'll need it. And if you start following the advice right now, who knows, you just might skip male menopause totally!

  1. Sex is not a personal challenge. Don't get pressurized into performing. Just enjoy it for what it is, and for however far you can go. It's okay if you don't hit the spot every time.
  2. Do you have a hobby? Cultivate one. It will help bring inner peace when you most need it.
  3. Ease out of the rat race. Sit back and enjoy the spoils of your toil.
  4. Take up meditation. It's time to do some serious soul searching.
  5. Don't think that every man out there is your competitor. Think of them as friends.
  6. Do your neighbours know you? Get to know them, and with it, gain their respect. Do something good for community welfare.
  7. Go for an early morning brisk walk everyday, and keep up this practice for the rest of your life.
  8. Money no object? Go on a cruise with your wife and kids or other couples.
  9. Don't just sit around waiting for your kids to settle down, your house to get sold, grandchildren to get born - Enjoy the present. The best time is NOW!
  10. Adopt a healthy attitude towards old age and look forward to living life well into your 80s, 90s and beyond!
While the above are lifestyle changes and may take some time, here's what you can do immediately to help you cope.
  • Turn vegetarian. Meat, especially red meat, is no longer good for you once you've reached a certain age.
  • Drink at least 10 glasses of water every day.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Drink less caffeine.
  • Get at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Find a chess partner to play chess with regularly. It keeps the mind sharp.
The Bald and the Beautiful

Baldness affects millions of men throughout the world. For a long time there was no cure, but thanks to the advances made by science, men do have a few options now. However, before you decide which option is for you, get some dope on the subject.

Blame it on Dad!

That's right, baldness is mostly hereditary, so if papa had a bald head, chances are, he's passed on the baldness gene to you. These genes will cause you to have hair follicles that will eventually get defunct. They will slowly start producing weaker and weaker hair that will fall off and break easily, and eventually the follicles will completely stop producing hair.

Hair Transplant

Many men have opted to go in for hair transplant, in which strong hair follicles are implanted in the scalp. Those who have had this procedure are reportedly happy with the results. So if you are unhappy with your bald look and would want a head full of hair, there is no reason really not to go in for a transplant. It's not a major surgery, and does not involve any complications if you go to a reputed person. And with further advances, this technique is fast gaining in popularity. recovery is faster now, there is not as much bleeding or scarring, and, of course, you get your own, natural hair back.

Going the Rogain Way

If you have just started balding, there is a drug by the name of Rogain, which has shown excellent results. It works best for men between the ages of 25 and 35. Rogain needs to be rubbed into to the bald spots on the scalp to stop further hair loss. However, once you start Rogain you should keep it up and apply it everyday or your hair will start falling. In addition, you may experience side effects, the most common of which is a light rash. There may even be long-term effects which are not fully known as Rogain is a relatively new drug. Thus, it's best taken under supervision of a doctor.

If you decide that neither of these options are for you, don't worry, there's still scope for you to look like the handsome stud you are! Here are a few tips.

  1. Wear a hat. However, you shouldn't wear one all the time, as you need to let your scalp breathe. So take it off when at home and, of course, when asleep! Depending on the hat you choose, it could add a lot of personality to your character. And if you wear it well, it can be a great, stylish accessory.
  2. Don't develop the stereotype bald head and paunch look, for heaven's sake! Exercise, do sit ups and get rid of that tyre around your belly. If you are in ship shape without a spare inch of flesh, if you work out regularly and have a pleasant disposition, you can still look sexy. Believe me, baldness is not a turn off for most women!
  3. Don't let people who joke about your bald head get to you. If your friends realize you get hassled, they will pull your leg even more. Don't get touchy about it. It's not worth it!
  4. 60% of men go bald prematurely. It's perfectly natural, and it's not a health concern - it's just a cosmetic concern. While you can't prevent it, thankfully you can now cure it.
The Buzz on Booze

Along with an increase in the number of pubs sprouting up in every corner of India and the increasing number of people going clubbing, comes an increase in the amount of alcohol consumed irresponsibly. There's a reason why they call it intoxication. Alcohol, if consumed in excess, can kill. If those nights spent puking in the toilet or waking up with a massive hangover or holding your head in dizzying agony haven't tipped you off, it's time you got the hint.

Why do we drink? Because alcohol relaxes us. It also eases our inhibitions, and if taken moderately, it aids circulation and is good for the heart. But if taken excessively, it can be the cause of our ruin. Irresponsible consumption of alcohol causes accidents, crime, violence, ill health and death.

Some of the other health problems caused by alcohol include:

  • High blood pressure, which consequently leads to heart attacks
  • Obesity - need we remind you of the beer gut?
  • Memory loss
  • Stomach problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Depression

Fast Facts

The more you drink, the drunker you'll become. Well, duh…

If you drink less, but in a short time span, you'll get drunker than if you consumed the same amount in a longer time span.

The thinner you are, the lower your tolerance to alcohol.

Females have a lower tolerance to alcohol than males. This is because men have more water in their bodies than women, which tends to dilute the alcohol level.

As you age, your alcohol tolerance level diminishes.

Your body's immunity level and inbuilt ability to deal with the alcohol also determines how drunk you become.

So how much is too much? For men, anything exceeding 1½ - 2 pints of ordinary strength beer, or 3-4 glasses of wine in a day is too much. Women should have half that amount.

Tips on drinking responsibly

  1. If you're having a cocktail, take it with a juice instead of with a fizzy soft drink. e.g. go for the Screwdriver (vodka-orange juice) instead of the vodka-Citra.
  2. As a rule of thumb, drink a glass of water after every alcoholic drink. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which means it flushes out all the water from your system and dehydrates you. You need to replenish all that liquid or you'll have a nasty hangover the next morning, so down all the H2o you can.
  3. Be good to your tummy. "Don't drink and drink - eat and drink!" Don't drink on an empty stomach. Food softens the blow of the alcohol on the intestines. True, when you're getting ready for a night out, dal and chapatti is the last thing on your mind, but don't skip dinner. Grab a sandwich or some fries, and when you're at the party or nightclub, make sure you keep a bowl of munchies right next to you so you can keep popping them in.
  4. Don't listen to anyone who tells you not to mix sweet and alcohol. When you consume alcohol, your blood sugar levels drop. You need to compensate, so gobble up that chocolate pastry without thinking twice. Yes, drinking is a high-caloric activity. Not a very bright choice if you want to lose weight, huh?
  5. Keep in mind that the cheaper the drink, the more lethal it is, and the more the likelihood of a lethal hangover. The worst hangover is from cheap red wine, so choose your drinks with care and drink accordingly. If you're drinking cheap stuff, go easy on the quantity, while if you're drinking the premium brands, you can afford to have a glass or two more.
  6. Spread out your drinking over a longer time period. You'll still get drunk, but your system won't be as shocked as it would be if you gulp your drinks.
  7. Take a multi-vitamin when you get home, to replenish the minerals you've flushed out during your many trips to the loo.
  8. Electrolytes help replenish your body's fluid loss, so drink a glass when you get home. Keep the packet on your bedside table along with a bottle of water. You'll thank yourself the next morning if you wake up feeling sick.
  9. The morning after, and your head feels like it's going to explode? Do NOT reach for the coffee. It will NOT make you feel better. Coffee will further dehydrate you, and it's a bad choice. Put the bottle of water to your mouth and pour it in, along with electrolyte.
  10. Rest, rest, rest. Don't go to work. Call in sick, because you are sick. Give your body time to recover.
GeT Fit

We all want to get fit, but we want it to happen without having to work at it. Joining a gym is too expensive and altogether too time consuming. Jogging is tiring, and if you don't have company to jog with, there's no motivation. What we really want is to burn calories without really doing anything, but unfortunately most of us are not that lucky. If you don't move, you get fat. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. So while we're not averse to moving about, what we'd really like to have is to be able to work out in the comfort of our homes, without spending much money and while doing something we like, like watching television. Well, you asked, we answered. Here's what you can do to keep your weight in check and to tone those muscles, from the comfort of your home, while watching television.

Stand around four feet behind a table, self or a waist-height sofa. Rest your hands on it (hands should be shoulder-width apart) and lean forward keeping your legs straight. Don't bend your knees. Slowly bend your elbows and lean forward till your chest is almost touching the table (or shelf or sofa, if we're splitting hair). Slowly, lift yourself up. These incline push-ups help develop your triceps and forearms.

Remember, whatever workout you are doing, do it slowly. The slower your movement, the more muscle power you build.

Keep one of those gadgets used to strengthen your wrists handy. They can either be hand exerciser grips that look vaguely like a pair of pliers, or they could be in the form of rubber grips and balls. Keep it on the center or peg table in front of your television, on your desk in the office or in your car, if you are not doing most of the driving. All you need to do is squeeze. This will help hone your wrist muscles.

Place the balls of your feet on your phonebook and heels on the floor. Stand up and keep lifting your heels to the level of the phonebook, and down again. Feel the burn in your calf muscles.

Jump rope. It's easy to do, cheap, and fun. All you need to invest in is a skipping rope. It tones your leg muscles and is also a great cardiovascular workout. Hop on one foot for thirty counts, and then on the other for thirty counts. Repeat, and then use both feet. All you need is ten minutes in a day. Unlike jogging, there is no pressure to keep on skipping more and more every time! Work your way up to skipping for ten minutes, and you're set. However, if your goal is to build muscle, you need do a cardio workout just once a week, or around twenty minutes a week. Perform your cardio preferably before your muscle-building workout, on an empty stomach. You could work out later on in the day if you so desire.

If you do go to a gym or if you do weights at home, then initially work out no more than two to four days a week, and for around an hour to an hour and a half at a time. Over-training can injure the muscles, causing less growth. You have to be patient. Most beginners make the mistake of getting over-enthusiastic as soon as they spot an improvement in their muscle tone. They immediately think that the more they work out, the quicker their muscles will grow. Not true. Your muscles could actually weaken if they are over-stressed.

It is important that you train both your upper body and your lower body. If you aim for big arms but ignore your legs, they will soon start looking skinny in comparison, and your weak legs and strong arms will cause an imbalance in your system.

Erection Dysfunction

Almost everyone has had experiences where they wanted and were ready to have sex, but then, to their dismay, they could not get an erection. If this happens at random intervals and not very often, there is no reason to worry. However, if you or your partner is repeatedly having problems getting an erection, you should consider seeing a doctor.

Many men are too embarrassed to visit a doctor with this problem. First of all, it is important to rid yourself of this embarrassment because problems with erections are actually almost always curable. Just because you are unable to get it up does not make you any less of a man or does not question your manhood. Be willing and able to discuss your problem openly with your medical advisor. Don't worry about whether embarrassing questions will be brought to the forefront. The first thing you may need to undergo is a physical examination, which just involves a blood test, blood pressure and perhaps a urine test. It is only after health problems are ruled out, that you may need to go in for psychological counseling. Once again, most cases of erectile dysfunction are easily treated, and so it is advisable to seek medical help at the outset.


Health Issues

High blood pressure, diabetes and high levels of cholesterol are associated with erection dysfunction. Similarly, heart diseases, surgery, pelvic trauma and hormonal or neurological conditions can lead to an inability to get or sustain an erection.


There is a strong, established link between smoking and impotence. Heavy smokers are likely to suffer from erection problems in time. Excessive consumption of alcohol is also a cause.


Certain forms of medication such as heart medication, anti-depressants, sedatives, and regular, long-term use of some over-the-counter drugs can also lead to erection problems.


Although it is believed that the older a man gets, the harder it is for him to sustain an erection, this is not true. Men may start losing their ability to sustain orgasms at the age of around 60, but this is not always the case. Many men go on to have active sex lives well past the age of 60, if they take good care of their health and have a healthy lifestyle. Erectile dysfunction is not a natural part of the ageing process.

Psychological Issues

Naturally if your inability to have an erection is related to your health, the relevant issue needs to be tackled before you can expect regular erections. But if the problem is psychological, you may need to go in for counseling.

Many men often experience what is called 'performance anxiety.' If a man experiences a problem with getting it up, the next time he is with his partner he may be anxious with regard to whether he can get it up this time. This worry causes an inability to get it up yet again, leading to further stress and anxiety. A vicious circle is formed, and this may even result in impotence. Other psychological factors include work-related stress, previous bad sexual incidences and so on.


Viagra has been found to severely improve penile performance, and has negligible side effects. You should check with your doctor before taking Viagra, especially if you are on some other medication. Viagra should be take an hour before intercourse. The penis does not get hard by itself, and sexual stimulation is still required - which is why Viagra is a more natural therapy.


Is your spouse an alcoholic? Are you trying to assist him to overcome this problem? Here's help.

Many problem drinkers are unable to admit to this problem. The cry for help may therefore come from someone close who suffers as a result. The drinker may self-righteously feel that he does not have a problem as he has been drinking like this for years. He may resist treatment and often blame others for his problems. Many marriages fail at this point. One spouse can no longer tolerate the alcohol and the alcoholic refuses to take responsibility. This makes treatment of alcoholics extremely difficult.

It is important for people to understand the stages of recovery and that each stage carries challenges that some alcoholics will not overcome. Five stages of recovery are discussed: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.

In the precontemplation stage, the alcohol problem has not yet been identified, let alone accepted by the alcoholic! During this stage, the alcoholic's defences, most notably denial, are strong. He actively rejects any notion of alcohol problems and shows anger towards anyone suggesting a problem. He rejects treatment and may rely on the support of his drinking buddies to affirm that he does not have a problem.

In the contemplation stage, the alcoholic toys with and finally accepts they have a problem with alcoholism. This acceptance can be overwhelming, at times leading to depression and/or anxiety. These intense feelings must be expected and planned for as part of a treatment process.

In the preparation stage, the alcoholic learns what treatment is necessary in order to recover. Depending on the severity, this can include detoxification, inpatient or outpatient counselling and marital and/or family therapy and even prescribed medications.

The next stage, action, is when the treatment plan is implemented and activities are undertaken to address the alcoholism. The support of family and sober friends is crucial here as alcoholics learn to defend themselves, not from admitting alcoholism, but from being pulled back towards drinking by former drinking buddies. Also crucial at this stage is developing an understanding of one's own family history that may have been contributory to drinking.

The final stage involves relapse prevention and is referred to as maintenance. This stage can be life-long. One of the best-known maintenance programs is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This program is based upon a self-help, group model. Members meet regularly to manage the challenges of sobriety.

Recovery from alcohol starts with clear, blunt information from friends and family and by trained professionals such as physicians, social workers or psychologists. Some family and even some professionals beat around the bush when confronting an alcoholic. This is music to the alcoholic's ears. Fuzzy messages allow them to maintain their denial. Thus, one must clearly and fully confront the alcoholic. Clear messages leave no wiggle room.

If you think your spouse has a problem with alcohol:

1. Confront him or her forthrightly. If you are concerned for your safety, then do so in the company of a friend or professional.
2. Get help for yourself too. Learn about alcoholism, your role in the recovery process and of the impact on your family's well-being.
3. Recognise that it may take some time if your spouse is in the first stage of recovery. He or she has yet to even acknowledge a problem. This can be an insurmountable challenge for some people.
4. Recognise that alcoholism can pose a risk not only to the alcoholic but also to those around him or her. At all times, make sure children are appropriately supervised and cared for. Alcohol related problems are a major cause for referrals to child protective services.

Lastly, can a therapist help? Yes, but not in all cases. Much will depend on the stage of recovery, the willingness of the alcoholic to change, the social supports available and a good treatment plan.

To add your views on this article Click Here

No comments: