Archive for July, 2015

A Lemon A Day Keeps The Urologist Away

July 25, 2015

Andrew Siegel MD  July 25, 2015

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The Northeast USA has recently experienced oppressively hot weather –sizzling, steaming, scorching, sultry hot. This extreme weather has the same significance to urologist as a frigid and icy winter to an orthopedist–a harbinger of busier office hours. Ice drives patients with fractures in to see their bone specialists, but heat drives patients with kidney stones in to see their urologists. Summer is the “high season” for kidney stones, often brought on by dehydration from the stifling heat. The hotter the temperature, the greater the prevalence of kidney stones. To help prevent this very common and extremely painful condition, it is important to stay well hydrated by drinking lots of fluids. A sign of good hydration is dilute-appearing urine, which looks more like lemonade as opposed to apple cider, or for the beer drinkers, light American beer versus a rich, dark European brew. Lemons, being citrus fruits, contain citrate in high concentration, a well-known inhibitor of kidney stones.

I’m puzzled why the word “lemon”—representing such a lovely fruit—is often used with negative connotations, referring to a poorly functioning car or a challenging situation that can be overcome, turning “lemon into lemonade.” I suppose it’s because of its natural tartness. But au contraire, the lemon is a citrus superstar that is appealing to all of the senses…to the eyes with its vibrant sunshine color and oval shape, to the nose with its distinctive citrus aroma and to the sense of touch with its firm, textured outer peel and juicy, segmented inner flesh and to the sense of taste, with its unique tart and acidic flavor.

Lemons are low calorie nutritional powerhouses.  In addition to citrate, lemons contain fiber, potassium, copper, calcium, flavonoids, B vitamins, folate and other phytochemicals. Lemons are packed with Vitamin C, a formidable anti-oxidant that helps slow oxidative damage that occurs via the accumulation of byproducts of metabolism and damage from environmental toxins. This accumulation is called reactive oxygen species (also known as free radicals) and contributes to diseases, aging and ultimately death.

Squeeze one-quarter or one-half of a fresh lemon into water or seltzer on the rocks for a refreshing, extremely low-calorie, delicious drink that is so much better for you than sweetened beverages such as sodas, fruit juices and sports drinks. This serves as a powerful tonic for preventing kidney stones. Urologists often prescribe medications containing citrate to help prevent stones, but why not try the natural, first-line approach at ramping up levels of citrate before trying the pharmaceutical approach?

In addition to being an awesome fruit that is great squeezed into a drink, lemon juice is wonderful on fish, in chicken dishes and in salad dressings. Lemons are often used as an ingredient for aromatherapy and in cleansing products as well. If you have ever visited Italy, particularly the Amalfi Coast region, you probably recall an abundance of citrus groves and a lemon-based liqueur called Limoncello available everywhere.

Bottom Line: If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then a lemon a day keeps the urologist away! 

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in your email in box go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

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Her Breasts and His Prostate…So Similar, So Mysterious

July 18, 2015

Andrew Siegel MD  7/18/15

prostate breast

(Thank you, Wikimedia, for above image)

The female breasts and the male prostate are both sources of fascination, curiosity, and fear. Hidden deep in the pelvis at the crossroads of the male urinary and reproductive systems, the prostate is arguably man’s center of gravity. On the other hand, the breasts—with an equal aura of mystery and power—are situated in the chest superficial to the pectorals, contributing to the alluring female form and allowing ready access for the hungry infant, curiously an erogenous zone as well as a feeding zone.

Interestingly enough, the breasts and prostate share much in common, both serving important “nutritional” roles. Each functions to manufacture a milky fluid; in the case of the breasts, the milk serving as nourishment for infants and in the case of the prostate, the “milk” serving as sustenance for sperm cells, which demand intense nutrition to support their arduous  marathon journey traversing the female reproductive tract.

Breasts are composed of glandular tissue that produces milk, and ducts that transport the milk to the nipple. The remainder of the breast consists of fatty tissue. The glandular tissue is sustained by the female sex hormone estrogen and after menopause when estrogen levels decline, the glandular tissue withers, with the fatty tissue predominating.

The prostate—on the other hand—is made up of glandular tissue that produces prostate “milk,” and ducts that empty this fluid into the urethra at the time of sexual climax. At ejaculation the prostate fluid combines with other reproductive secretions and sperm to form semen. The remainder of the prostate consists of fibro-muscular tissue. The glandular tissue is sustained by the male sex hormone testosterone and after age 40 there is a slow and gradual increase in the size of the prostate gland because of glandular and fibro-muscular cell growth.

Access to the breasts as mammary feeding zones is via stimulation of the erect nipples through the act of nursing. Access to the prostate fluid is via stimulation of the erect penis, with the release of semen and its prostate fluid component at the time of ejaculation.

Both the breasts and prostate can be considered to be reproductive organs since they are vital to nourishing infants and sperm, respectively. At the same time, they are sexual organs. The breasts can be thought of as accessories with a dual role that not only provide milk to infants, but also function as erogenous zones that attract the interest of the opposite sex and contribute positively to the sexual and thus, reproductive process. Similarly, the prostate is both a reproductive and sexual organ, since sexual stimulation resulting in climax is the means of accessing the prostate’s reproductive function.

Both the breasts and prostate are susceptible to similar disease processes including infection, inflammation and cancer. Congestion of the breast and prostate glands can result in a painful mastitis and prostatitis, respectively. Excluding skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men (accounting for 26% of newly diagnosed cancers with men having a 1 in 7 lifetime risk) and breast cancer is the most common cancer in women (accounting for 29% of newly diagnosed cancers with women having a 1 in 8 lifetime risk). Both breast and prostate tissue are dependent upon the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, respectively, and one mode of treatment for both breast cancer and prostate cancer is suppression of these hormones with medication, e.g., Tamoxifen and Lupron, respectively. Both breast and prostate cancer incidence increase with aging. The median age of breast cancer at diagnosis is the early 60’s and there are 232,000 new cases per year, 40,000 deaths (the second most common form of cancer death, after lung cancer) and there about 3 million breast cancer survivors in the USA. The median age of prostate cancer at diagnosis is the mid 60’s and there are 221,000 new cases per year, 27,500 deaths (the second most common form of cancer death, after lung cancer) and there are about 2.5 million prostate cancer survivors in the USA.

Both breast and prostate cancer are often detected during a screening examination before symptoms have developed. Breast cancer is often picked up via mammography, whereas prostate cancer is often identified via an elevated or accelerated PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test. Alternatively, breast and prostate cancer are detected when an abnormal lump is found on breast exam or digital rectal exam of the prostate, respectively.

Both breast and prostate cells may develop a non-invasive form of cancer known as carcinoma in situ—ductal carcinoma-in-situ (DCIS) and high grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), respectively—non-invasive forms in which the abnormal cells have not grown beyond the layer of cells where they originated, often predating invasive cancer by years.

Family history is relevant with both breast and prostate cancer since there can be a genetic predisposition to both types and having a first degree relative with the disease will typically increase one’s risk. Imaging tests used in the diagnosis and evaluation of both breast and prostate cancers are similar with both ultrasonography and MRI being very useful. Treatment modalities for both breast and prostate cancer share much in common with important roles for surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

In a further twist to the relationship between breast and prostate cancer, a recent study showed that women with close male relatives with prostate cancer are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Compared to women with no family history of breast or prostate cancer, those with a family history of both were 80% more likely to develop breast cancer.

Breast and Prostate Cancer Myths and Facts

“Only old people get breast or prostate cancer.

Fact: 25% of women with breast cancer develop it before age 50, whereas less than 5% of men with prostate cancer develop it before age 50; however, many men in their 50s are diagnosed with the disease.

“Men can’t get breast cancer and women can’t get prostate cancer.”

Fact: 1700 men are diagnosed with breast cancer with 450 deaths on an annual basis.  Women have structures called the Skene’s glands, which are the female homologue of the male prostate gland. On very rare occasions, the female “prostate” can develop cancer. The Skene’s glands are thought to contribute to “female ejaculation” at the time of sexual climax. 

“All lumps in the breast or prostate are cancer.”

Fact: 80% of breast lumps are due to benign conditions as are 50-80% of prostate “nodules.”  If an abnormality is found, further evaluation is necessary.  

“It’s not worth getting screened for breast cancer because of the USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) recommendation against routine screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years and against clinicians teaching women how to perform breast self-examination.  It’s not worth getting screened for prostate cancer because the USPSTF also recommended against prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer.”

Fact: In my opinion, the USPSTF has done a great deal of harm to public health in the USA with their recommendations. The goal of screening is to pick up cancers in their earliest stages at times when treatment is likely to be most effective. Not all cancers need to be treated and the treatment can differ quite a bit based upon specifics, but screening populations at risk is a no-brainer.  For breast cancer and prostate cancer–the most common cancer in each gender–it is important to screen aggressively to obtain the necessary information to enable doctors and their patients make sensible decisions, which are individualized and nuanced, depending on a number of factors.

The reader is referred to a terrific recent article in the NY Times concerning screening for prostate cancer: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/opinion/bring-back-prostate-screening.html

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in your email in box go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com.  Work in progress is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Sexual, Urinary and Pelvic Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym pelvic floor muscle training program for men: http://www.privategym.com—also available on Amazon.

The Private Gym program is the go-to means of achieving pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance. It is a comprehensive, interactive, easy-to-use, medically sanctioned and FDA registered follow-along exercise program that builds upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel. It is also the first program designed specifically to teach men how to perform the exercises and a clinical trial has demonstrated its effectiveness in fostering more rigid and durable erections, improved ejaculatory control and heightened orgasms.

How to Best Prepare For And Recover From Prostate Cancer Surgery: What You Need to Know

July 11, 2015

Andrew Siegel, MD  7/11/15

shutterstock_orange gu tract

Having your prostate removed is an effective means of curing prostate cancer. Unfortunately, because of the prostate’s “precarious” location – – at the crossroads of the urinary and genital tracts, connected to the bladder on one end, the urethra on the other, touching upon the rectum, and nestled behind the pubic bone in a well-protected nook of the body – – it’s removal has the potential for causing unwanted and undesirable side effects.

By strengthening the all-important pelvic floor muscles prior to and after surgery, patients can reduce the negative effects of the surgery with respect to urinary control and sexual function. 

Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Surgery

Trauma to nerves, blood vessels, and muscular tissue during surgery can compromise sexual function and urinary control. A small percentage of men will experience significant urinary incontinence, whereas most men will experience mild leakage initially, which will gradually improve over time. Many note a decline in their ability to obtain and maintain an erection after the surgery, particularly during the initial healing phase.

Additional sexual-related side effects that may occur include urinary leakage with foreplay and arousal; ejaculation of urine at the time of sexual climax; less intense orgasms and possibly pain with climax; a change in penile size with a decrease in length,  and girth; and possibly a penile deformity.

The Importance of Strengthening the Pelvic Floor Muscles

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of pelvic floor muscle training after prostate surgery in terms of a hastening the recovery of urinary control and significantly improving the severity of the incontinence.  Studies have also demonstrated the beneficial impact of such training on the recovery of erectile function with respect to how long the ED lasts and how severe it is.

Because of the potential urinary and sexual side effects of radical prostatectomy, it is prudent to commit to a program of Kegel pelvic floor exercises both before and after the prostate surgery. It makes sense to become proficient in these exercises proactively – – before the trauma of surgery – – so you go into the operation armed with precise knowledge and awareness of the pelvic floor muscles as well as with their strength, power and endurance optimized.

The Principles of Arnold Kegel

A quality pelvic floor muscle training program should adhere to the 4 principles promoted by Arnold Kegel, the namesake of pelvic floor muscle training:

  1. Muscle education
  2. Biofeedback
  3. Progressive intensity 
  4. Resistance

1. Muscle education is an understanding of your pelvic floor muscle anatomy and function.  Most men are clueless as to where their pelvic floor muscles are, what they do, how to exercise them, and what benefits they confer. In fact, many men don’t even know that they have pelvic floor muscles!  Muscle education will give you the wherewithal to develop muscle memory—the development of the nerve pathway from your brain to your pelvic floor muscles.

2. Feedback is a means of confirming that you are exercising the proper muscles.

3. Progressive intensity. Over the course of time, you gradually increase reps (number of repetitions), intensity of contraction and duration of contraction. Progression is the key to increasing your pelvic floor muscle strength and endurance. Additionally, it allows you to measure and monitor you progress and witness your increased capabilities over time.

4. Resistance adds a dimension that further challenges the growth of your pelvic floor muscles. Working your pelvic muscles against resistance rapidly escalates their strength and endurance, since muscle growth occurs in direct proportion to the demands and resistances placed upon them, a basic principle of muscle physiology.  It is similar to the difference between doing arm curls without weights versus with weights.

How To Strengthen the Pelvic Floor Muscles

D.I.Y.: One possibility is a D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) program, but the problem lies in sticking with it and seeing it through in order to reap meaningful results.  D.I.Y. Kegels lack the foundational background and means of isolating and exercising the PFM in a progressively more challenging fashion. It is like handing someone a set of weights and expecting them to engage in a program without the essential knowledge and principles of anatomy and function, specific exercise routine and supervision to go along with the equipment, dooming them to most certain failure.

Physical Therapy: Pelvic floor physical therapy is the other extreme from D.I.Y.  This involves using the services of a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor. I liken the pelvic floor physiotherapist to a “personal trainer” for the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor physiotherapists have the training, tools and wherewithal to educate and instruct those in need. The down side is that physical therapy usually has to be done onsite at a physical therapy center and is both time-consuming and expensive with variable insurance coverage, depending on the carrier.

The “Private Gym” Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Program: This program gives one the advantages and benefits of pelvic floor physical therapy training, but in a D.I.Y. environment.  In many ways, it is like the highly successful P90X home training program, which I am a big fan of.  The Private Gym is the go-to means of gaining pelvic floor muscle proficiency for men who are scheduled for prostate cancer surgery and wish to train in a comfortable home environment with minimal expense.  It is a comprehensive, interactive, easy-to-use, medically sanctioned and FDA registered follow-along exercise program that builds upon the foundational work of Dr. Kegel. The Basic Training program strengthens the pelvic floor muscles with a series of progressive “Kegel” exercises, while the Complete Training program provides maximum opportunity for gains via resistance equipment.

It is recommended that the Complete Training program be used in preparation for prostate surgery because of the importance of using resistance to maximize the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. The Basic Training program can be started once sufficiently healed from surgery, with gradual progression to Complete Training at the appropriate time.

A clinical trial of the Private Gym program showed dramatic increases in the magnitude of pelvic floor muscle contractions, vastly exceeding measurements in the control group. The study demonstrated better quality erections, orgasms, ejaculatory control and sexual pleasure with a striking improvement in sexual confidence in virtually all participants. The study not only proved improved erectile function in men with mild ED, but it also showed enhanced erections and ejaculation in men without ED, with the resistance program expediting the results beyond the capacity of the non-resistance program. For more details about the results of the clinical trial please visit: http://www.privategym.com/how-it-works/clinical-trial-results/

Bottom Line:  “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”  Before embarking on prostate surgery, make every effort to get in the best general physical shape as well as achieve the best pelvic fitness possible. Yet another reason to exercise, eat properly, and maintain a healthy lifestyle are the advantages that accrue when you get ill and need surgery. A prepared pelvic floor will do wonders in helping to recover erections and urinary control.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

6922

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo) and paperback: http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com.  In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Sexual, Urinary and Pelvic Health.

Private Gym: http://www.PrivateGym.com -available on Amazon as well as Private Gym website

How To Make Orgasms More Orgasmic

July 3, 2015

Andrew Siegel MD  7/3/15

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

This is a timely blog topic for July 4th weekend, celebrated across the USA with fireworks!

The human body is a most remarkable machine. The more it is pushed towards its limits, the more it adapts and the stronger it becomes. When it comes to sex, the body reacts similarly—when the muscles that play a vital role in sexual function are toned and strengthened, the body becomes capable of experiencing more explosive and intense orgasms. Exercising your pelvic muscles—a.k.a. Kegel exercises—just might be the most rewarding workout that you aren’t doing. These exercises aren’t just for the ladies anymore. Men, it’s time to get with the program.

What’s An Orgasm?

Simply put, an orgasm is the sexual excitement, pleasure, and euphoric state accompanying the release of accumulated sexual tension.

A medical definition of the male orgasm is the climax that occurs once sufficient intensity and duration of sexual stimulation surpasses an ejaculatory “threshold.” Sexual climax consists of three phases—emission, ejaculation, and orgasm. When a certain threshold of sexual stimulation is surpassed, emission occurs, in which secretions from the prostate gland, seminal vesicles, epididymis, and vas deferens are deposited into the urethra within the prostate gland. During ejaculation the pelvic floor muscles contract rhythmically, sending wave-like contractions rippling down the urethra to forcibly propel the semen in a pulsating and explosive eruption. Orgasm is the intense emotional excitement that accompanies the physical act of ejaculation. Technically speaking, orgasm takes place in the brain, whereas ejaculation takes place in the penis, although the fact that an orgasm is a mind-body experience blurs the distinction.

For women, an orgasm occurs once sufficient intensity and duration of sexual stimulation surpasses a threshold that induces rhythmic muscular contractions of the pelvic floor muscles, as well as the vagina, uterus and anus, resulting in intense emotional excitement and a blissful state that accompanies the physical act of muscular contractions and release. In some women, Skene’s gland (the female equivalent of the male prostate gland) contractions induce the release of their secretions, referred to as “female ejaculation.”

How Can Fitness And Kegel Exercises Improve The Quality Of Orgasms?

Sex is all about movement and motion, a kinetic chain that demands aerobic fitness as well as strong core muscles and external hip rotators. This fitness optimizes the smooth, efficient and coordinated integration of pelvic thrusting and lateral hip rotation.

The floor of the core—the pelvic floor muscles—is of critical importance to penile and clitoral erections, ejaculation and orgasm. The other core muscles and the external hip rotators are involved with the kinetics and movements of sex, but the pelvic floor muscles are distinctive as they directly involve the penis and clitoris. The pelvic floor muscles anatomically support the erect penis and clitoris, cause a surge of blood flow to the genitals, and have a profound involvement in ejaculation and orgasm. They are the “motor” of ejaculation, which by virtue of their strong rhythmic contractions, drive ejaculation and contribute to orgasm.

Kegel exercises increase the strength, tone, power, and endurance of the pelvic floor muscles. Strengthening these muscles maximizes pelvic blood flow, penile and clitoral erectile rigidity, and orgasms, since the pelvic floor muscles when contracting rhythmically at climax provide the muscle power behind the physical aspect of orgasm. Pelvic floor muscle strength and proficiency is also a helpful means of improving ejaculatory control because command of the pelvic floor can help delay ejaculation. Additionally, these exercises can help increase the volume, force, trajectory (arc) and pleasurable sensation of ejaculation.

When it comes to orgasms, the pelvic floor muscles make the magic happen. Toned pelvic floor muscles are capable of generating powerful contractions that can forcibly ejaculate semen at the time of the male climax and can equally help optimize and prolong the female climax.

What Is The Best Means of Exercising One’s Pelvic Floor Muscles?

Effective muscle training derives from understanding pelvic floor muscle anatomy and function, the ability to isolate the muscles, a means of feedback to ensure that the proper muscles are being exercised, progressive intensity over time with the use of resistance to maximize muscle growth and adaptation, and allowing for the appropriate recovery time.

Wishing you the best of health and a wonderful July 4th holiday,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in your email in box go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com.  Work in progress is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Sexual, Urinary and Pelvic Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym pelvic floor muscle training program for men: http://www.privategym.com—also available on Amazon.

The Private Gym program is the go-to means of achieving pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance. It is a comprehensive, interactive, easy-to-use, medically sanctioned and FDA registered follow-along exercise program that builds upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel. It is also the first program designed specifically to teach men how to perform the exercises and a clinical trial has demonstrated its effectiveness in fostering more rigid and durable erections, improved ejaculatory control and heightened orgasms.