Jumaat, 13 Disember 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Exercise can sex up lives of anti-depressant takers


A new study has found that workouts can override libido-dulling effects of the drug.

AN unfortunate side effect of taking anti-depressants is loss of libido and inability to reach orgasm, but a new study finds that this can be mitigated with a dose of exercise, for women at least.

US researchers from the University of Texas in Austin recruited 52 women who reported sexual side effects from anti-depressants.

During the first three weeks of the study, the women had sex with their partners but didn't exercise.

In the second experiment, they completed either three weeks of exercise immediately before having sex, or three weeks of exercise not timed to sex at all. They all engaged in 30 minutes of strength training and cardio exercise three times a week.

The two groups then reversed roles in the last experiment. Women who exercised regularly were asked to add three extra sessions to their workout routines.

The results showed that 30 minutes of exercise just before intercourse reduced the effect of the libido-dulling drugs, with women reporting stronger libidos and more orgasms post-workout.

"These findings have important implications for public health, as exercise as a treatment for sexual side effects is accessible, cheap and does not add to burden of care," says study author Tierney Lorenz.

Findings, announced on Tuesday, are published online in the journal Depression And Anxiety. – AFP Relaxnews

Aspirin 101


Should you be taking it? If so, when, how much and what kind?

ASPIRIN is often hailed as a wonder drug, thanks to its ability to help stave off heart attacks and clot-caused strokes. But fewer than half of the people who could benefit from a daily low-dose aspirin take it, while many others take it when they shouldn't.

If you don't have heart disease, but do have high blood pressure or other risk factors, don't automatically assume daily aspirin is a good idea.

"A lot of people who take aspirin really shouldn't," says Dr Christopher Cannon, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

"Everyone assumes aspirin is harmless, but it's not." For some, the downsides of aspirin – mainly gastrointestinal bleeding – outweigh its benefits.

Here's what you need to know about aspirin, including details about dosage, formulations and ways to boost aspirin's benefits and lessen its risks.

Aspirin can cause bleeding in the stomach and intestines.

Painful track: Aspirin can cause bleeding in the stomach and intestines.

Who should take aspirin?

If you've had a heart attack or an ischemic stroke (the type caused by a blood clot), taking a low-dose (81mg) aspirin everyday is probably a wise move. The same is true if you face a high risk of having a heart attack, for example, if you have chest pain (angina) from heart disease, or have had bypass surgery or angioplasty to treat a narrowed heart artery.

Aspirin prevents platelets from clumping together in your blood and forming a clot. Most heart attacks happen when a clot blocks blood flow in a vessel that feeds the heart, so dampening the clot-forming process lowers your odds of a blockage.

To estimate your risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years, you can use one of the calculators listed at www.health.harvard.edu/147. If your value is 10% or higher, daily low-dose aspirin may be helpful. But the decision should always be based on a discussion with your doctor. He or she should consider other health conditions you have, medications you take, and even your weight.

Beware of bleeding

In addition to lowering the blood's ability to clot, aspirin also inhibits helpful substances that protect the stomach's delicate lining, creating a "double whammy" effect. As a result, stomach upset or bleeding in the stomach and intestines can occur.

If you take daily low-dose aspirin and your stomach starts bothering you, call your doctor, says Dr Cannon. With minor bleeding, a blood test may reveal a low red blood cell count (anaemia). With more serious bleeding, your stools turn black and smelly, and in rare cases, you may vomit blood, which requires hospitalisation and a possible blood transfusion.

Taking aspirin with food may help as do drugs to treat heartburn, which help protect your stomach. These include simple antacids like Tums, acid blockers like famotidine (Pepcid, Fluxid, generic), or proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid, generic). A pill that combines aspirin and omeprazole may soon be available.

Daily aspirin users can also lower their risk of gastrointestinal bleeding by avoiding nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. And those who drink alcohol should do so in moderation: no more than one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men 65 and younger.

Whether or not you take daily low-dose aspirin, keep a stash of regular, full-strength (325mg) aspirin handy.

Why? If you think you're having a heart attack, doctors recommend chewing an aspirin, right after you call 911. If you don't have 325mg pills, take four low-dose pills. Failing that, most emergency medical services will give you one en route to the hospital or once you're there.

Chewing the pills gets the anti-clotting chemicals into your bloodstream much faster than if you swallow it. In one study, platelet activity dropped by 50% within five minutes in people who chewed an aspirin.

That same effect took 12 minutes if the aspirin was swallowed whole.

Enteric-coated or buffered?

Most of the low-dose aspirin sold in the United States is enteric-coated (sometimes called safety-coated). The coating allows the aspirin to pass through the stomach to the intestine before fully dissolving. That is supposed to lessen stomach upset, but in reality aspirin still affects the entire digestive tract via the bloodstream.

"Enteric-coated aspirin does not decrease the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding compared with uncoated aspirin," says digestive disease expert Dr Loren Laine, a professor of medicine at Yale University. The same is true for so-called buffered aspirin, which combines an antacid such as calcium carbonate (found in Tums) or aluminum hydroxide (found in Maalox) with aspirin.

There's also evidence that not all the aspirin in coated pills gets into your circulation, which can compromise its heart benefits. Your best bet may be chewable low-dose aspirin, which you may remember from childhood as orange-flavoured "baby" aspirin. – Harvard Health Publications/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Growth in your uterus


Ovarian cysts and fibroids are harmless but occur in most women.

Recently, I went for a thorough general medical check-up. This included an ultrasound of my pelvis. The doctor told me I had both an ovarian cyst and some large fibroids. What are these and what is the difference between them?

Let's start with ovarian cysts. These are fluid-filled sacs or pouches either inside or on the surface of your ovary.

Fibroids are tumours of the uterus. But before you get worried, these are non-cancerous growths that often appear when your womb is in its child-bearing years. They are also called leiomyomas and they almost never develop into cancer.

Where are my ovaries in relation to my womb?

Your ovaries and womb (uterus) are all part of your female reproductive system. The female reproductive system consists of external structures and internal (unseen) structures. The external structures are your labia majora, labia minora (the lips), the Bartholin's glands which produce mucus and the clitoris.

The internal structures are:

1) Vagina – this is a canal which joins your cervix, which is the lower part of your womb. It connects your womb to the external organs and allows sperm to enter the womb. It is also your birth canal.

2) Uterus (womb) – this is a hollow, pear-shaped organ which houses your foetus once you get pregnant. It is divided into the cervix, the lower part and the main body, which is called the corpus. The uterus can expand to hold a baby.

3) Fallopian tubes – these are tubes which are attached to the uterus. They serve as passages for your ova (eggs) to travel from the ovaries to the uterus. Fertilisation of an egg by a sperm usually occurs in the Fallopian tubes.

4) Ovaries – these are small, oval-shaped glands which are located on either side of the uterus and are joined to it by the Fallopian tubes. Their function is to produce eggs and the female reproductive hormones.

How can I tell if I have ovarian cysts? Are they dangerous?

Ovarian cysts are very common. In fact, most women have them at some time during their lives. Most of the time, you cannot tell if you have an ovarian cyst because they do not present with any symptoms and they are harmless. Most of them actually disappear without treatment in a few months. But sometimes, a large ovarian cyst can give rise to a lot of complications.

It can become very large and swell your abdomen. I have seen ovarian cysts which are large enough to make the woman believe that she was pregnant.

Ovarian cysts can give rise to:

> Irregular menstruation

> Pain in your pelvis which may be constant or occurs shortly before your period begins and just before it ends

> Pain in your pelvis during sexual intercourse

> Pain or pressure during bowel movements

> Nausea, vomiting and breast tenderness as well as the type of symptoms experienced during pregnancy

> Fullness or heaviness in your abdomen

> Pressure upon your bladder, causing you to urinate more frequently

All these symptoms require medical attention. An ovarian cyst may also rupture, which is a medical emergency.

Why do ovarian cysts form?

Your ovaries grow cyst-like structures called follicles every month as part of your menstrual cycle. The follicles produce estrogen and progesterone and rupture to release an egg each time you ovulate. Then they normally involute.

When a follicle keeps on growing and doesn't rupture to release an egg, it becomes a follicular cyst. When it does release an egg, but the egg doesn't get released for some reason and the follicle seals off, trapping the egg inside, it becomes a corpus luteum cyst.

Both follicular cysts and corpus luteum cysts are usually harmless. They disappear on their own within three months.

There are other cysts which are not part of your menstrual cycle, however. They may develop from the other structures in your ovary. These can become very large, causing your ovary to move out of the pelvis and increase the chance of its stem being twisted. This is called ovarian torsion.

This sounds scary!

It is. Cysts that are very large can be subject to this, and it is an excruciatingly painful complication that requires you to seek medical attention immediately. Another complication of an ovarian cyst is its rupture, which can cause severe pain and internal bleeding.

* Dr Y.L.M. graduated as a medical doctor and has been writing for many years on various subjects such as medicine, health, computers and entertainment. For further information, e-mail starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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