Browse Month by March 2016
Health (Men health)

Kidney Stones in Men

One of the most painful, and unfortunately the most common disorders affecting men, is the presence of kidney stones. Although they do affect women as well, men are more vulnerable to kidney stones than women. For all those men who only partially know about it, and for those completely unaware of this painful condition, here is a rundown on what the condition is, what are the causes of kidney stones, and what are the symptoms and treatment measures for the same.

What are Kidney Stones?
Formed within the kidney or the urinary tract, kidney stones are hard, crystalline mineral deposits in the form of small stone like structures. This condition is also known as nephronlithiasis (nephron = related to kidney, lithos = stone). It is one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract, affecting nearly 10% of Americans at some point in their lives. While typically all adults over the age of 30 are at risk, men tend to be affected more frequently than women; especially men in their 40s. To understand how these stones are formed in our body, we have to understand the basic working of the urinary tract.

Formation of Kidney Stones
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located below the ribs. The main function of these organs is to remove extra water and wastes from the blood, producing urine. Kidneys also help keep a stable balance of salts and other solutes in the blood. While most of the stones are passed out of the body in the urine stream, the stones which are sufficiently larger in size can cause obstruction to the ureter thus causing extreme pain. Stones or crystals are the result of certain chemicals in the kidneys, forming crystals and bonding together. Although there are many chemical compounds that can form stones in the urinary tract, the most common type of kidney stones in men contains calcium with oxalate or phosphate and uric acid.

Causes of Kidney Stones in Men

There are many causes of kidney stones; most common among these is a urinary tract infection. Certain medication is also known to cause renal stones in men. Some aspects of a person’s lifestyle habits, such as drinking less water, lack of physical activity (exercise) over long periods, and consuming excess of calcium oxalate (found in milk, tea and chocolate) can all contribute to this renal problem. Finally, genetics also predispose certain individuals to kidney stones, especially if there is a family history.

The reason why men have more kidney stones than women is because of larger muscle mass as compared to women. Daily breakdown of the tissue results in increased metabolic waste and a predisposition to stone formation. The other leading cause is a complicated urinary tract, as compared to those of females. The prostate gland in men enlarges with age, leading o a condition known as benign prostate hypertrophy; it can result in difficulty in emptying the bladder. With the obstruction of the bladder outflow, chemicals and toxins supposed to be thrown out of the body instead go on accumulating in the bladder, forming crystals and stones. The structure of penile urethra caused due to gonorrhea infection, catheterization, penile trauma may also further minimize bladder outflow and contribute to the formation of crystals.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones in Men

Specific Symptoms:
Intense pain, especially while urinating
Spasms affecting one or both sides of the back
Pain in abdomen and genitals
Other Symptoms:
Nausea
Fever and chills
Blood in urine
There may be several other symptoms of renal stones as well. Recurring urinary tract infections are another common symptom. Along with that, men suffering from kidney stones frequently feel the need to urinate. As for the urine, it presents such characteristics as a foul smell, and cloudy or red tinged color.

Treatment for Kidney Stones

Based on the size and type of the stone, treatment options may vary. Adequate hydration and exercise can help to dissolve the smaller stones (less than quarter of an inch), so that they are passed off naturally. However, the bigger stones that do not pass off naturally may have to be treated. The most common treatment is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). In this method, the kidney stones are located using X-rays or ultrasound, and shock waves are passed to break the stones into smaller particles; once broken down to smaller sizes, the stones can be passed off naturally. Sometimes, a surgical removal of stones may be necessary, a procedure known as percutaneous nephrolithotomy.

The best way to get rid of renal stones is to adopt a lifestyle that prevents the formation of kidney stones. Drink plenty of water, especially after exercising and rigorous physical activity. Along with this, if you are prone to calcium oxalate stones, avoid consuming food rich in calcium such as, milk and chocolates. If you are prone to uric acid stones, then avoid foods that are high in protein, such as meat. However, milk and meat have a lot of other nutritional benefits, so it may not be possible to entirely skip out on such foods. In that case, moderate the quantity in which you consume these foodstuffs. However, nothing substitutes the advice and care of a medical professional. Consult your doctor and physician if you plan on making any long-term changes, especially in your diet or exercise regime. Eat healthy, feel fine!

Health (Men health)

Mood Swings in Men

mh3Men are believed to be the ‘tough’ ones and so expressing their pent up feelings is assumed to be a sign of personality weakness. However, the fact is, the emotional range of men is quite similar to that of women. Just like women, men have changes in the hormone cycles and they can experience low levels of the sex hormone testosterone.

What Indicates Mood Swings in Men?

It is to be understood that the men of all ages experience hormonal changes, however, in the younger age group (mid twenties to mid thirties) mood swings because of hormonal imbalance is rare. Phases of short term depression or mental problems can trigger mood swings in younger ages.

Generally, mood swings due to hormonal imbalance is common in the age group of 40 to 60 years. Mood swings in older men is basically a primary symptom of andropause, that is the result of low levels of testosterone in the body. Since testosterone is an essential male hormone, low levels of it can trigger behavioral changes in the personality of the individual going through andropause. The symptoms are as follows.

☞ Unexplained irritability and anger
☞ Worry and tension
☞ Frustration
☞ Demanding nature
☞ Sadness
☞ Impatience
☞ Showing symptoms of anxiety
☞ Aggressiveness
☞ Unloving and withdrawn behavior
☞ Depression

Causal Factors

Irritable male syndrome are generally a result of high levels of cortisol and low levels of testosterone. Many men are not able to understand the changes in their personality due to the changes in the hormonal levels and get depressed. Basically, cortisol is a stress hormone and normal cortisol levels ensure that we are able to handle stress without letting stress affect our health.

Medical experts explain that men are relatively poor in handling stress in daily life than women and so high levels of cortisol hormone secretion in men causes harm to muscles and bones and increases fat content in the body. Excess cortisol also affects the functioning of testosterone in the body and this eventually results in increased body fat and difficulty in handling stress. Although mood swings and depression are interrelated, long terms of depression are confused to be the causes of mood swings. Long term depression can trigger severe mood swings however, the fact is, that depression can be caused due to many other factors, that can include physical trauma, death of a near one, failure etc. Mood swings, on the other hand, are the manifestation of the hormonal and chemical changes happening inside the body.

Treatment Options

Treating mood swings is not very difficult if the root cause of the underlying problem is diagnosed properly. Generally, the first step is to go for a hormonal test and this is especially true for older men above 40 years of age. As stated earlier, hormonal imbalance in younger ages is rare, however younger men experiencing mood swings can be counseled by a psychiatrist and the problem can be identified. It can be depression or any other mental trauma that could cause mood swing in the younger age group. Again, I would like to stress the fact that mood swings and depression are interrelated and correct diagnosis is essential to treat the disorder.

Extreme mood swings with hormonal imbalance, can be treated by administering synthetic hormones or by hormone replacement therapy for men. In many cases, testosterone therapy is also advised to many men. Besides these, learning the art of stress management and following a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in treating the mood swings.

Health (Men health)

Soy Consumption Effects On Men

mh2Soy is everywhere these days. Once brewed as coffee by American Civil War soldiers as a replacement for scarce coffee beans, the health benefits of soy were put forth by George Washington Carver at the Tuskegee Institute in 1904. In the 1940s and 50s food processes realized they were wasting valuable soy protein by only using soy oil in their products. Thus began a marketing and health awareness campaign to promote soy products as a healthy source of protein and fiber for vegetarians and vegans. It has been touted as a complete food having all the proteins a human body needs. Today, soy is used in some form or the other in almost all processed food, and as research has continued into the health giving benefits of soy for both men and women a few surprising facts have emerged.

Soy, Isoflavones and Men – The Good

Heralded as the ‘wonder bean’ and ‘miracle food’, soy contains the required nutrients to keep the human body healthy and protein rich. Also, studies with large control groups have shown that it can reduce the risk of life-threatening diseases in both men and women. Soy contains isoflavones, a plant-based form of estrogen like compounds that fall under the class of phytoestrogens. Although these isoflavones are found in grains, legumes and wheat, their quantity is most concentrated in soy and soy-based products. Some of the health benefits of soy are:
Reduced risk of coronary disease: There is positive correlation between a diet rich in soy protein and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. It has been observed that Japanese men, whose intake of soy is nearly 50 gm per day, are half as susceptible to heart problems than their American counterparts who consume as little as 5 gm per day. South-East Asians in general have lower incidences of heart trouble than people living in the Western hemisphere, and some researchers link this to their regular substitution of soy protein for animal protein. Even in the US, researchers have successfully lowered (lowered) bad cholesterol or LDL levels in men and women, after subjecting them to a diet rich in soy protein.
Prevents prostate cancer: People of the Orient face lesser risk of contracting cancers of the prostate than those in Western countries, this too is being linked by epidemiologists to their intake of soy fiber and protein. The hypothesis is that the compound genistein, which is a isoflavone found in soy, retard the progress of tumors.
Healthy bones: Although research is still inconsistent in this area, bone density loss has been observed to have reduced in certain test cases. Soy milk consumption has in some cases checked the advance of osteoporosis compared to normal milk.
Benefits to the digestive system: Cancer of the colon is also a leading cause of death in men, and though no irrefutable proof has been forthcoming, some studies have shown that soy helps in maintaining a good digestive system and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Helping the brain: Studies have shown that dietary supplements of soy protein can improve cognitive ability in people under the age of 65.
With a bouquet of benefits like these, soy can indeed be thought of as the food of life. However, as we shall see, all is not well on the soy front.

Can Soy be Bad for Men?

The overall effectiveness of isoflavones, in reducing risks of heart disease, LDL or bad cholesterol, osteoporosis or even breast and prostate cancer, has not been irrevocably proven. The concern for men, here, is the possibility of an increase in their estrogen levels as a result of consuming large amounts of soy. In 1999 the US FDA approved the inclusion of health benefit bylines for products containing at least 6.5 grams of soy, giving a big boost to the soy food industry. Products such as soy milk, butter and cereal began cluttering supermarket shelves. The soy diet became popular during the late 90s, encouraging men to change eating patterns, discarding the traditional meat eggs and milk breakfast for soy alternatives. However, recent research has shown that soy can have some negative effects as well:
Hormonal imbalance: Excessive intake of soy products such as soy milk has caused hormonal changes in men, increasing their estrogen levels beyond what normal healthy women would have. This results in gynecomastia, or breast enlargement in men, along with reduced libido and hair loss. Again, there is inconsistency here, as many tests show no danger from soy consumption but there are real-life cases that prove otherwise.
Soy allergies: Soy has been found to contain 15 proteins, one of them being soy lecithin, a common ingredient, which may trigger allergic reactions. Scientists are still not sure what causes soy allergy but children who show allergic symptoms to soy usually develop immunity by the age of 10. However, soy allergy affects adults of both sexes too, and in rare cases can be severe.
Suspected Carcinogens: Tests on rats have shown raw soy can cause cancer but these tests have not been duplicated on humans, and there does not exist enough data to correlate them. Although the isoflavones found in soy have been shown to be anti-cancerous, doctors as yet do not recommend taking soy supplements to reduce cancer risk.
Soy infant formulas: Soy-based infant feeding formulas were also touted as the best way to provide your baby with whole protein and a step up from regular mother’s milk. Recent research has proved that in terms of protein content, both soy milk and whole milk are at par. Moreover, soy products have proteins which act as stoppers for the release of nutrients such as vitamin B12. The proteins needed for release of such vital nutrients are called Trypsins and these ‘anti-nutrients’ act as trypsin inhibitors preventing proteins from being digested. They can only be partially removed through extensive heat treatment. What is more, studies are now showing that male infants reared exclusively on soy-based milk receive the equivalent of five birth control pills a day affecting the development of sexual organs and testosterone.
Soy and soy-based products are turning out to be double-edged swords in the light of new research. The propaganda that put soy at the top of the list of healthy foods has unraveled, and scientists are looking closely at its purported benefits and ill-effects. Soy has proven to be beneficial, but its intake should be limited and consumers should avoid becoming victims of fad diets that do more harm than good in the long run. Also, extensive research with larger populations and control groups should be undertaken to study the long-term aspects of soy consumption. These studies should be impartial and undertaken by bodies not affiliated to the soy industry.

Health (Men health)

Male Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms

mh1A urinary tract infection is very rarely contracted by men below the age of 50. Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli, is the name of the bacteria that usually causes these infections. While urinating, most of the bacteria that enter the urinary tract, are spilled out. However, the bacteria may remain trapped in the urinary tract due to several complications. In order to understand these complications, let us understand the urinary tract first.

The urinary tract comprises the kidneys, which are on either sides of the abdomen, ureters, bladder and urethra. The urine that passes down from the ureters to the bladder, is produced in the kidneys. The urine further leaves the bladder through the urethra. The bladder and the urethra are the most common areas where the UTI occurs.

Definition

According to the dictionary of MediLexicon, a urinary tract infection is a, “microbial infection, usually bacterial, of any part of the urinary tract; may involve the parenchyma of the kidney, the renal pelvis, the ureter, the bladder, the urethra or combinations of these organs. Often, the entire urinary tract is affected; the most common organism causing such infection is Escherichia coli.”

Causes

A urinary tract infection is usually caused by excess bacteria in the urinary tract. In other words, the uncontrollable growth of the bacteria, E. coli, is the primary cause of urinary tract infections. There are some other factors which also contribute to spreading of urinary tract infections, such as sex with multiple partners and poor hygiene.
The Factors Increasing the Risk of a UTI

✡ Kidney or bladder stones causing blockages
✡ Anal sex or intercourse with a person suffering from UTI
✡ An uncircumcised penis, as the foreskin traps more germs allowing it to enter the urinary tract
✡ Urinary tract surgeries in the past
✡ Weak immune system
✡ Infected prostate or an enlarged prostate gland
Signs and Symptoms

The most common sign of a UTI is frequent urination. Other symptoms may include;
✡ Pain while urinating
✡ Cloudy urine
✡ Burning sensation while urinating
✡ Blood in urine (pink or red colored urine, also called hematuria)
✡ Urine with bad odor
✡ Passing frequent small amounts of urine
✡ Pain and pressure on the lower abdomen
✡ Persistent urge to urinate
✡ Rectal pain
✡ Need to urinate at night (nocturia)
✡ Pain during sexual intercourse
✡ Pain in the penis (rare)
✡ Temperature, chills, vomiting and nausea
✡ Mental changes or confusion
Types of UTI

There are two types of urinary tract infections; lower UTI and upper UTI. In lower UTI, the infection of the bladder is known as cystitis, while the infection of the urethra is known as urethritis. This is a common condition among homosexual men. It is considered serious as there can be an obstruction in the urinary tract like a tumor or an enlarged prostate gland. Upper UTI is known as acute pyelonephritis. This is an UTI that travels up to the kidneys from the urethra and bladder. This condition is considered serious and can cause a life-threatening infection, severely damaging the kidneys.
Symptoms of Cystitis

✡ Blood in urine
✡ Pain while urinating
✡ Discomfort
✡ Pain in lower abdomen
Symptoms of Urethritis

✡ Urination with a burning sensation
✡ Blood in urine or semen
✡ Fever and dysuria
✡ Unusual discharge from penis
✡ Tenderness, swelling or itchiness in the penis or groin area
✡ Pain with ejaculation and intercourse
Symptoms of Pyelonephritis

✡ Vomiting
✡ Nausea
✡ Backache
✡ Fever or night sweats, and chills with shaking
✡ Passing of pus or blood in the urine (hematuria)
✡ Frequent urination
✡ Severe pain in the abdomen
✡ Fatigue and weakness (feeling sick)
Diagnosing UTI in Men

A urinalysis is often done to check for traces of infection in the urine. This is done by looking for RBCs, WBCs and certain chemicals such as nitrites in the urine. Traces of bacteria can also be found during the test. A further urine culture test may be done to identify the type of bacteria responsible for the infection. This facilitates in prescribing proper antibiotic for treatment.
Home Remedies for UTI

Drink a lot of water, so the bacteria causing the infection is flushed out of your system. Unsweetened cranberry juice or blueberry juice are natural remedies for urinary tract infections. They act like a natural form of antibiotic. They also prevent the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder. Consumption of garlic also helps with UTIs.

On the other hand, caffeine, alcohol and drinks containing citric acid, promote bladder irritation. They only help to worsen an UTI. Also, avoid bubble bath and tight undergarments. Maintain hygiene by keeping the genital area clean and wearing loose clothes.
Warning

If the aforementioned remedies do not seem to work for you, consult your doctor and get the UTI diagnosed. The doctor will then prescribe antibiotics based on the severity of the UTI. A simple bladder infection will take about a week or two to heal. The antibiotics prescribed will be on a course basis, like; 3 day, 5 day, 7 day, etc. Make sure you complete the course, even if you are relieved of your symptoms before the course gets over. By not doing so, you would only allow the infection to reoccur or cause prostate infection. Infection of the prostate or a recurring infection is hard to heal.