Male menopause

It was discovered that males are suffering from the menopause as well as women do. They even share the same symptoms. Men can experience it even at the age of 30; however, usually it appears when he is between 45 and 60 years. After the years of 40, the male hormone testosterone produces noticeably less than before. Testosterone motivates the sexual drive, and is responsible for bone and muscle development in male and sexual development while he is still a boy. However, even the healthiest man by the age of 80 will have amount of testosterone at the level of pre-puberty.

Male menopause causes

There are some factors, which can have an affect on the man’s heath and can cause male menopause. These include smoking, intensive consumption of alcohol, obesity, hypertension, poor or incorrect diet, lack of exercise, psychological problems and, eventually, a mid-life crisis. But all mentioned causes are treatable.

Male menopause symptoms

As it was mentioned before, the symptoms are very similar to those that women have. However, the difference is that not all the men experience it. Only 40 % out of all men that are between 40 and 60 will suffer for stress, depression, mood swing, irritability, sleep disturbances, reduced libido and potency. Even 51 % of healthy man can experience certain degree of impotence. Age is not the problem – 40 % of man can perform normal erection up to 70 years or more. It can happen by combination of other diseases. Total impotence and sexual frustration can become a problem because of the lack of understanding of the partner.

Male menopause treatment

First of all, it is very important for a man to admit the chance that he might be suffering from male menopause . Moreover, he should realize that it is a simple disease and is treatable. Man should choose the effective way to reduce stress as much as possible. Spend more time for pleasure and get enough hours to sleep. They also should change their diet into healthy one – eat more nutritious, low-fat, high-fiber products. It can also cured by reducing the amount of alcohol and caffeine and start drinking more water, exercising. Finally, this is extremely important, to find people to talk to, have a friendly chat about the concerning problems.

Male menopause risks

The male menopause should be treated very carefully. Otherwise, it can result in diseases that are worse than this one. Increasing level of testosterone might result even in prostate cancer. By increasing androgen level male might also start suffering from heart diseases or liver diseases. Therefore, it is very important to start treating male menopause carefully.

Recommended e-books:

  1. How to conquer menopause
  2. Menopause relief secrets

Pregnancy test

Sometimes it happens that women forget to take a birth control pill or to use another birth control method or just family decided to have a baby. The result is the same in both situations – no menstruations and nausea. Well, it looks you may be pregnant! How to check it without going to gynecologist? Home pregnancy test (HPT) will help to test the presence of a pregnancy after 2-3 weeks after ovulation.

The history of pregnancy test

Women tried to test the presence of pregnancy even in Antiquity – the ancient Egyptians watered bags of wheat and barley with the urine of possibly pregnant woman. In the beginning of XX century, there were used so-called “rabbit tests” – it was discovered that it is possible to test pregnancy if you inject the urine possibly pregnant woman into a rabbit. There would be corpora hemorrhagica in the ovaries of the rabbit. To see bulging masses on the ovaries, it was necessary to kill the rabbit, so even if woman was not pregnant, poor rabbit would die.

Fortunately, today we don’t have to kill any rabbits to find out the pregnancy. Pregnancy tests today look for Human Chorionic Gonadtropin (hCG) – a hormone produced during pregnancy and to tests are easier to perform – all you need is blood or urine.

Home pregnancy test – how to take it?

New home pregnancy tests can find out the presence of pregnancy even after 2-3 weeks after ovulation. These pregnancy tests are sensitive to measure the hCG hormone in woman urine. Testing kit is very easy to use. First what you have to do – check the expiration date and make sure that testing kit is still valid to use. Read the directions carefully, because they can vary from brand to brand, for ex., some brands recommend to value results after 5 min, another after 10 min. In addition, some tests vary in the displaying results – one show pink lines on the test strip, another reveal a red plus or minus sign.  Next step – make a pee and drop as many urine drops to indicator as it’s written in directions and wait 5-10 min (as it is recommended in directions). Usually for better and more accurate results, it’s recommended to use morning urine. Remember, do not read results after 10 minutes!

Now you can value the result – positive pregnancy test result – two coloured lines on the test strip, negative pregnancy test result – one coloured line on the test strip. The result is invalid if no red line appears on control window or if a line appears only in test window.

False positive result

A false positive result – when test shows the presence of pregnancy, but woman is not pregnant. It may happen when woman have so-called “chemical pregnancy”. It means, that a fertilized egg implanted into woman’s uterus and developed enough to start producing hCG, but then stopped developing. If it happens, woman will go on having menstruation. Whereas new generation of pregnancy tests is sensitive to measure pregnancy in an initial stage, it’s recommended to wait for about a week after period is due.

So, if you pregnancy test result is positive, you have to immediately consult with your gynecologist about your pregnancy. Even if your pregnancy test result is negative, but you feel being pregnant, you should take another test some days later and consult with gynecologist.

The reliability of birth control methods

This information will let you know which method of birth control has the highest reliability and efficiency and which one you should avoid to use.

 Birth control methods
 Reliability/Efficiency
 Tubal ligation /vasectomy  99.6 – 100%
 IUD "Mirena"  99.8 – 100%
 Copper IUD  98 – 99.7%
 Injectables  99.4 – 99.9%
 Birth control pills  99.8 – 100%
 Contraceptive patch  92 – 99.7%
 Contraceptive ring  92 – 99.1%
 Progestin-only pills  92 – 98%
 Cervical cap  90 – 95%
 Male condom  88 – 95.8%
 Female condom  79 – 95%
 Natural family planning  80 – 86.6%
 Spermicides  79 – 99.7%
 Emergency contraception  75 – 80% (onetime)
 No birth control  15 – 56.9%

Contraceptive patch vs. Birth control pills

The contraceptive patch has his one big advantage – once you placed it, you don not need to do anything for the whole week. However, women really have unlimited fantasy about the contraceptive patch – they think if you take a birth control pill, it means that you use a drug, but if you stick contraceptive patch, it does not mean that you use drugs, because we do not stick drugs directly on the skin. In addition, there is a disinformation that the patch is non-hormone birth control method , because it contains something like “special non-hormone substance”. That’s why many women think that contraceptive patch is “something special” and is safer then birth control pills. However, it is not true.

The similarity between contraceptive patch and birth control pills

It is not difficult to list the similarity between contraceptive patch and birth control pill . Firstly, they contain the same hormones in the same doses – estrogen and progestin. Also both of them work in the same way – prevent ovulation, the liver turns both hormones in inactive form and they are eliminated from organism through kidney and intestine. In addition, both of them have the same side effects and similar reliability.

Difference between contraceptive patch and birth control pills

You can see a clear-cut distinction between these birth control methods when the contraceptive patch is compared with new generation of birth control pills. Birth control pills can treat acne, while contraceptive patch can cause it; birth control pills treat or reduce PMS symptoms, while contraceptive patch doesn’t have such effect. New progestin, which is used in birth control pills, does not have any influence on metabolism, so you can use pills as long as you would like to do it, while the patch contains progestin, which splits in liver into a substance that have strong androgenic effect.

Birth control methods and alcohol

There have been made lots of scientific reports on the reaction of alcohol and drugs, on the alcohol influence on human body overall. Also many people especially youngsters are wondering how alcohol affect birth control . Good to know that people care about that. In most cases it is concentrated on the pills interaction with alcohol. But there is also another side of other contraceptives and alcohol.

To begin with alcohol does not decrease the effect of the birth control pills . The 99% effectiveness stays the same using alcohol or not together with the pills. But on the other hand it makes you get drunk much more quick. Also it might be that alcohol can make you sick and by vomiting the pill will be thrown together. Of course in this case it will not have any protection.

Second thing to discuss is the indirect influence of alcohol on the birth control . What does alcohol make you feel? Probably more relaxed, happier, not so concentrated as being sober. It has been determined that women even agree to have sex with the accidental partner rather than not being drunk. As a rule condoms or other types of contraceptives are forgotten. As a result in many cases it appears that woman gets pregnant. In such kind of situations people risk to catch the sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

Of course every situation is individual and those who really care about themselves and the person they are interacting with will not blame alcohol for not preventing from the gestation. Actually there has been a study on alcohol and birth control which showed that alcohol had no affect on condom or any other type of contraceptive use. And it also appeared that women were more likely to discuss birth control and STD prevention .

So take care of yourself, respect your body. Even if it happens that you decide to have sex being drunk, try to remember to use the condoms or any other kind of birth control methods .

 

Menstrual cycle

If you are a teenage girl, you have probably started having a period already. If you are still waiting for your first menstrual bleeding, you might be anxious about this topic and want to know more about it. Menstrual cycle is quite a complex physiological process in a woman’s body but it is very interesting and important for you to understand.

Menstrual cycle

What is a menstrual cycle? It is a periodic cycle of certain physiological changes in women’s body. Menstrual cycle is closely associated with female fertility. Reproductive hormones, such as estradiol (estrogen), progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, are responsible for recurring changes during this cycle.

Menarche is the first period in a woman’s life. The age of menarche depends on diet, genetics, environment and health status. The average age for the first menstrual bleeding is 12 years worldwide. However, this age ranges from 8 to 16 and is considered normal. Menstrual cycle continues during the whole woman’s reproductive life, the end of which is called menopause , and most commonly starts at the age of 51 years. This is when the menstrual cycle stops occurring and a woman cannot get pregnant anymore.

The length of a woman’s menstrual cycle is very individual – it can be shorter or longer. Normally, less than eight days between the longest cycle and shortest one are allowed to consider the menstrual cycle as normal.

Girls, who have their menstrual cycle for the first time in their life, should learn how to count their cycle. You should start your cycle from the first day of menstrual bleeding. Menstrual cycle is divided into several phases, which differ in physiology and hormones that regulate menstrual cycle.

Menstruation phase

First phase is menstruation. Normally it lasts from 3 to 5 days (but 2-7 days duration is also normal). During this time a woman experiences uterine bleeding of about 35 milliliters and therefore, may require more iron in her diet to avoid iron deficiency. Uterine cramps are also very common during period, and might require the use of some medications to soothe them.

Follicular phase

After menstrual phase is over, follicular or proliferative phase starts under control of the rising follicular-stimulating hormone on the 5th day through 13th day of the menstrual cycle. During this phase, the amount of estrogen increases and, therefore, uterine lining becomes thicker. In addition, due to the action of the follicle-stimulating hormone follicles begins to develop in the ovary, until there is only one of them, called the dominant, left. This dominant follicle continues to grow and soon is able to ovulate, meaning to leave the ovary.

Ovulation phase

Ovulation is the next phase of the menstrual cycle and it is when a mature ovum is released from the ovary to the abdominal cavity. This is due the action of estradiol, which triggers the luteinizing hormone that helps an egg to become mature and weakens the membrane of the follicle, so that a mature ovum could be released. Fallopian tubes must catch this released egg and bring it to the site of fertilization. If a woman has sexual intercourse during ovulation or a few days before or after it, then sperm is able to join the egg, and a woman becomes pregnant. If sperm is not present at the time of ovulation, an egg will not get fertilized and eventually it will dissolve in the uterus.&

During the phase of ovulation, this usually occurs on the 14th day of the menstrual cycle , a woman experiences changes in vaginal discharge, which then becomes profuse, stringy and clear in color. Also, some women may experience a dull pain at the lower part of the abdomen, lasting for a few hours. In addition, some women may have a light mid-cycle bleeding. Scientists say, that at the time of ovulation women have a greater smell ability.

Luteal phase

After the ovulation phase is over, luteal phase starts from the day 15 through 28 of the cycle. Parts of the follicle that are left in the ovary become a so called corpus luteum, that produces large amounts of progesterone. Progesterone is necessary for the uterine lining to proliferate, in order to become more suitable for implantation of a fertilized egg. If an egg is fertilized then it gets implanted in the uterus and corpus luteum continues to produce large amounts of progesterone and, therefore, when a woman becomes pregnant one of the first signs is absence of a period. If an egg does not get fertilized, corpus luteum diminishes in about two weeks and stops secreting progesterone, therefore menstrual bleeding occurs on the 28th day of the menstrual cycle.

During ovulation and luteal phase, the woman’s body temperature rises by one quarter to half a degree Celsius, which is important for women who use temperature method as a natural birth control method.

Duration of the menstrual cycle

The duration of the follicular phase and the menstrual cycle varies. The luteal phase usually lasts the same number of days in the same woman. Its length is from 10 to 16 days depending individually. Sperm is known to be able to survive in a woman’s body from 3 to 8 days. The period when a woman is most fertile, meaning the highest possibility of sexual intercourse to lead to pregnancy, is 5 days before ovulation and 1-2 days after it. There are certain natural methods of birth control that try to detect accurate time of ovulation and determine fertile and infertile days of the menstrual cycle.

It is, however, a mistake to take into account that ovulation always occurs on the day 14 of the menstrual cycle. There are several methods, such as basal body temperature measurements, vaginal discharge observation, observation of the cervical position. And there are also certain detection kits that help women to determine the exact day of ovulation.

However, women should be aware that natural birth control methods have a very low practical efficiency in contraception. And also, a woman must have a regular menstrual cycle in order to use natural birth control method effectively.

There is also a phenomenon known for women, who live closely together, for example, roommates, to have menstrual cycles similar in length. Although this was not 100% proved, it can still be observed, and thought to be due to the action of pheromones.

First visit to gynecologist

Taking care of your health is very important. Regular visits to your general practitioner as well as to a gynecologist are must if you care about your body and want to stay healthy. Specialists say that women need to see their gynecologist at least once a year since the beginning of their sexual life. Others say that it is important to have a first gynecological exam for women who have not yet started being sexually active but have reached the age of 18. And of course, in case a woman has problems with her reproductive system she needs to see her gynecologist at any age.
A gynecological examination is something that many women are afraid of before they actually have it for the first time. Here is a list of the things that are going to happen during your first visit to a gynecologist, including the preparation before it.

Before the Exam

When you decide to make an appointment with your gynecologist, do make sure that your visit will be during the middle of your menstrual cycle. Once the appointment is scheduled avoid having sexual intercourse, vaginal douche or putting anything, like tampons into your vagina two days before it. You are advised to think and write a list of any questions and queries you would like to ask your doctor. In addition, think of your choices when birth control method is concerned.

On the day of your scheduled exam you do not need to do anything special. You should shower normally with soap and water, avoiding talc or cream since it could affect test results. It is best for you to wear comfortable clothes in order to feel calm when you have to get undressed.

On the Day of the Exam

Before your examination a nurse may ask for urine and blood samples for the test. The nurse will also weigh and measure you and your blood pressure. Afterwards you will talk to your doctor, who will ask various questions about your previous medical history, your family history and past surgeries. It is also important for you to remember when your first period was and what it is like – whether it is regular, how long it lasts etc. It is important to tell your doctor whether you are sexually active or not. Feel free to ask any questions you want.

Your gynecologist will then ask you to undress and leave you alone in a room for a while. You will also be given a hospital gown or drape sheet, which will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. After you are ready, the doctor will ask you to sit on the examining table putting your feet in the foot rests.

Physical and External Genitalia Exams

Physical examination includes palpation of the breasts to check for any abnormalities, pelvic, abdominal and manual exams. The gynecologist will examine your external genitalia with latex gloves on. Your vulva will be examined for any pathologic symptoms. Physical examination should not be painful but if it is, you should tell your doctor straight away, since this could be a sign of certain pathology.

Speculum Examination

The speculum exam follows the physical examination. The gynecologist will insert a lubricated speculum into the vagina to check for any abnormalities like cysts, erosions, irritations and others. Before the speculum is inserted the doctor will first slip a finger into your vagina to find the cervix and detect the vaginal angle. 

During this exam the Pap smear is taken. This means that a few cells of your cervix will be swiped with a brush or spatula. This is not painful but may cause some spotting for the patient afterwards, which should not be painful either. The doctor will then collect samples for sexually transmitted diseases tests. Only then the speculum will be gently removed from a woman’s vagina and the examination will be over.

Bimanual Exam

During this part of gynecological examination the gynecologist will lubricate her/his two (second and third) fingers and put them into the vagina. The doctor will put another hand on the abdomen in order to palpate the uterus and ovaries and check for any swelling or growths.

Bimanual exam ends the gynecological examination, which normally takes not longer than 5 minutes. You may now remove your legs from the stirrups and get up from the examination table and get dressed.

After the Exam

You may ask any questions about your examination after it is over. The doctor can do some tests in the own laboratory, therefore you will be able to discuss the results of some tests on the same day. Results of the other tests performed may take a few days, and hence you will need to come back once again for them.

In case any treatment is needed the gynecologist will prescribe certain medications. He/she will also recommend you a method of birth control if you need one. Remember to ask any questions that you wish about your test results, choices of birth control, treatment or sexual life. Your gynecologist is there for you to help and give any information you need.

As you can see there is nothing to fear about the gynecological examination. If you still have any concerns about the exam, feel free to ask your friends, your sister or your mother as there is nothing embarrassing about it. And after you have had your first gynecological examination you will practically know that it is nothing extraordinary, uncomfortable but very informative and important for every woman. Remember, that staying healthy is taking care of your body and health.