Why you must not drink while pregnant

Why you must never drink while pregnant
By Chukwuma Muanya

*Alcohol blocks blood vessel growth in placenta even at conception
Babies whose mothers drank alcohol during their pregnancies – even as early as at conception – are at greater risk of being born with low birth weights, a new study suggests.
The new research, from scientists in at the University of Oxford and the University of Queensland found that alcohol blocks the development of all-important blood vessels in the placenta in rats. And these effects become apparent from the very earliest stages of pregnancy.

They also discovered that the female animals were much more dramatically affected by alcohol exposure, which was linked to 17 percent lower birth weights and 32 percent less blood vessel development in the placenta. A developing fetus is sensitive to every change in the mother’s body, and vital statistics like birth weight can have lifelong consequences.

Babies are considered to have a low birth weight if they are under eight lbs and five ounces. Being small at birth puts a child at greater risk of breathing disorders, brain bleeds, heart defects, eye diseases, infection and an under-developed liver early in life.

As they grow into adolescence and adulthood, these children are more likely to develop life-threatening conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

They are also at higher risk of obesity and intellectual disabilities. Among the most common causes of low birth weight – aside from premature birth – is fetal growth restriction (FGR).

FGR simply means that a developing fetus doesn’t gain enough weight in the womb. Genetic factors – like parental size – can keep the baby from gaining this weight, but so can lifestyle factors, like drinking, smoking and using drugs. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges that there is no safe amount of alcohol to drink at any time during pregnancy – including before a woman knows she is pregnant.

While the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) echoes this advice, it also reassures women that ‘serious harm from this kind of [alcohol] use is unlikely.

“The important thing is not to drink any alcohol for the rest of the pregnancy.” But the new study, published in the journal Development, suggests that there may be risks to even the earliest sips of wine, beer or booze. Scientists at the University of Queensland and the University of Oxford studied female rats beginning four days before their eggs were fertilized.

They continued to monitor the animals and the development of their embryos until after the babies were born, and considered ‘early pregnancy’ to span to four days after fertilization.

Even alcohol exposure in these earliest days of the animals’ pregnancies had clear and damaging effects on their fetuses. In the earliest days of pregnancy, the placenta is developing around the foetus.

Proper development of the organ and its vasculature is critical to the fetus because this system of blood vessels will deliver nutrients and oxygen from mother to baby.

But in the rats, the scientists saw that even alcohol exposure in the earliest days of pregnancy cut the growth of blood vessels in the placenta.

For unclear reasons, the effects of this shortcoming were felt much more by female fetuses, whose placentas showed a 32 percent reduction in blood vessel growth, and whose birth weights were an average of 17 percent lower.

“This has implications for human health by helping to explain, in part, why babies exposed to alcohol in the womb are often born small,” said study co-author Dr Jacinta Kalisch-Smith, a placental researcher at the University of Oxford.

Source: The Guardian

Causes of prolonged menstruation

Prolonged Periods: A Cause for Concern?

A long period probably sounds like a nuisance to anyone, but for some women, it could indicate a serious problem.

For some women, time seems to move at a glacial pace during their menstrual periods especially if they’re experiencing prolonged menstrual bleeding.

Doctors consider normal menstrual bleeding a period that lasts from three to seven days; prolonged menstrual bleeding, or menorrhagia, is defined as bleeding that goes beyond a week. Depending on the circumstances, long menstruation may be a condition that can be easily controlled with birth control hormones or one that indicates a serious underlying health issue.

The length of an average menstrual cycle for an adult woman lasts anywhere between 21 and 35 days. Younger girls just entering puberty and older women approaching menopause might notice that their periods follow irregular patterns, either lasting shorter or longer than normal or perhaps with a flow that becomes heavier or lighter.

Usually, these irregularities occur because of changes in hormone levels, especially oestrogen. Oestrogen helps build up the uterine lining, called the endometrium, which will either house a fertilized egg or become most of what is shed during a menstrual period. While irregular menstrual periods can be bothersome, these hormonal changes are common and rarely mean something more serious.


You may hear your doctor use certain medical terms when referring to irregular or prolonged menstrual bleeding. Menorrhagia describes a period that is very heavy or long lasting. Polymenorrhea refers to irregular bleeding for spans of 21 days or less. These are abnormal conditions identified after other causes, like pregnancy, have been ruled out.

Dysfssssunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) is another cause of prolonged menstruation. DUB can happen at any time during a woman’s reproductive years, but most commonly affects those over age 40. DUB indicates a hormone dysfunction, which can impact the uterine lining’s stability and lead to irregular, heavy, or prolonged menstrual bleeding.

Doctors treat DUB with hormones: estrogen, progesterone, or a combination of the two female hormones in the form of birth control pills. Besides being used as contraception, birth control pills can regulate hormone production and impact how the uterine lining grows. Birth control pills may even help treat DUB for women entering perimenopause, the stage right before menopause.

Some hormone-based birth control can impact frequency, duration, and flow levels of menstrual periods. Also, changing the type or brand of birth control you use can influence menstrual bleeding. However, you should never alter your birth control strategy on your own initiative or treat your prolonged menstruation based on how a friend with similar symptoms was treated: Every woman’s menstrual cycle is different, and a host of medical issues can affect periods.

Underlying Conditions That Cause Prolonged Menstrual Bleeding

A visit with your gynecologist or other health care professional is the first step in determining the cause of your prolonged menstrual bleeding. Your doctor will make a diagnosis after performing a series of tests.

Depending on your age, your doctor may test your blood for pregnancy, hormone levels, and thyroid function. Other diagnostic tests and procedures may include pap smears, endometrial biopsies, and ultrasounds.

Medical conditions that could be the cause of abnormal menstrual bleeding include: Uterine fibroids, non-cancerous growths of the uterus wall, endometrial hyperplasia, a thickened endometrium, a bleeding disorder, like von Willebrand disease, problems with clotting, thyroid functioning, glandular issues


Besides birth control, treatments for abnormal menstrual bleeding include:


Hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus

Endometrial ablation, the surgical removal or burning of the uterine lining

The right course of treatment depends on the cause of your prolonged menstrual bleeding and your personal circumstances, such as whether you want to become pregnant in the future. Certain procedures, like a hysterectomy, will cause infertility.

Prolonged menstrual bleeding may just be part of a bothersome pattern for some women or a sign of a medical condition that should be addressed. If something doesn’t feel right to you, always ask your doctor, and keep a detailed account of your menstrual bleeding in order to provide your doctor with another piece of the diagnostic puzzle.

How to prevent brain damage, by WHO

How to prevent brain damage, by WHO

By Chukwuma Muanya

*Exercising, eating healthy, quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol can reduce chance of dementia
People should exercise more, eat a healthy diet and cut down on alcohol to reduce their risk of dementia, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

In its advice for people trying to avoid the brain disorder, the United Nation (UN) health bosses said diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity should also be controlled.

A huge review of existing evidence found age was the strongest risk factor for the memory-robbing condition – but said it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing.

There are already more than 50 million people around the world with dementia and this figure is expected to triple to 152 million by the year 2050.

Although it cannot be cured or prevented with any certainty, people who take good care of themselves may have lower odds of getting it – it is not inevitable, the report said.

Scientists have reacted by calling for more work on medicines to treat dementia and said the report clarifies what they already knew.

The international health experts published the WHO Guidelines on Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia.

“While age is the strongest known risk factor for cognitive decline, dementia is not a natural or inevitable consequence of ageing,” the report said in its introduction.

And its authors added: “Several recent studies have shown a relationship between the development of cognitive impairment and dementia with lifestyle-related risk factors, such as physical inactivity, tobacco use, unhealthy diets and harmful use of alcohol.”

According to new guidelines issued by the WHO, people can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple. We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain.”

The Guidelines provide the knowledge base for health-care providers to advise patients on what they can do to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia. They will also be useful for governments, policy-makers and planning authorities to guide them in developing policy and designing programmes that encourage healthy lifestyles.

The reduction of risk factors for dementia is one of several areas of action included in WHO’s Global action plan for the public health response to dementia. Other areas include: strengthening information systems for dementia; diagnosis, treatment and care; supporting careers of people with dementia; and research and innovation.

WHO’s Global Dementia Observatory, launched in December 2017, is a compilation of information about country activities and resources for dementia, such as national plans, dementia-friendly initiatives, awareness campaigns and facilities for care. Data from 21 countries, including Bangladesh, Chile, France, Japan, Jordan and Togo, have already been included, with a total of 80 countries now engaged in providing data.

Creating national policies and plans for dementia are among WHO’s key recommendations for countries in their efforts to manage this growing health challenge.

During 2018, WHO provided support to countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Qatar, Slovenia and Sri Lanka to help them develop a comprehensive, multi-sectoral public health response to dementia.

An essential element of every national dementia plan is support for carers of people with dementia, said Dr Dévora Kestel, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. “Dementia carers are very often family members who need to make considerable adjustments to their family and professional lives to care for their loved ones. This is why WHO created iSupport. iSupport is an online training programme providing carers of people with dementia with advice on overall management of care, dealing with behaviour changes and how to look after their own health.”

Dementia is an illness characterized by a deterioration in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from normal ageing. It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language and judgement. Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer disease or stroke.

Dementia is a rapidly growing public health problem affecting around 50 million people globally. There are nearly 10 million new cases every year. Dementia is a major cause of disability and dependency among older people. Additionally, the disease inflicts a heavy economic burden on societies as a whole, with the costs of caring for people with dementia estimated to rise to US$ 2 trillion annually by 2030.

Meanwhile, although the quality of scientific evidence to back up many of the WHO’s recommendations was low, most were recommended to improve general health.

A Mediterranean diet, which it suggested as the ultimate healthy eating, contains a lot of fruit and vegetables, nuts, lentils, beans and potatoes or rice.

The WHO stopped short of saying dementia risk could be reduced by better social interactions, hearing aids for those going deaf or the treatment of depression.

It added at-risk patients could be given brain training activities but there was no science to support taking vitamin B, E or Omega-3 supplements for brain health.

According to the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, only one in three people (34 per cent) in the country – where around 850,000 people have dementia – realise they can do anything to reduce their risk of the brain damage.

Dr. Carol Routledge, the charity’s director of research, called the WHO report a “valuable resource” which contains “the best possible information”.

What causes dementia? Dementia is not a specific illness but an umbrella term to describe various conditions, which cause irreversible brain damage and ultimately death.

Symptoms of the condition include memory loss, struggling to understand language, physical frailty and poor coordination, and personality changes.

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for between 60 and 80 per cent of cases.

Alzheimer’s is caused by a build-up of waste proteins in the brain that, as they accumulate, disrupt the connections between nerves and eventually cut off and therefore shut down sections of the brain.

Exactly why these proteins build up in some people isn’t known, but people may have a genetically higher risk of it happening, and it is far more common in old people.

Another common type of dementia is vascular dementia, in which parts of the brain are destroyed when their blood supplies are cut off.

Risk factors for vascular dementia include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and diabetes.

Routledge said: “Sadly, there will always be individuals who address many or all of these risk factors and still develop dementia.

“Genetic predisposition plays an important role in many people’s risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s, and while we cannot change the genes we inherit, taking the steps outlined in this report can still help to stack the odds in our favour.”

What are the WHO’s recommendations? Adults with normal brain function or mild cognitive impairment (a precursor to dementia) should exercise regularly to reduce their risk of brain decline.

Adults who smoke should stop.

People should eat a Mediterranean-like diet – everyone should have a healthy, balanced diet. Vitamin B, E or Omega-3 supplements should not be recommended to people trying to reduce their risk of dementia.

Interventions to reduce ‘hazardous or harmful’ drinking should be targeted at all adults.

Brain training should be offered to older adults with normal brain function or mild cognitive impairment – activities were not specified.

Obesity interventions should be offered to people who are seriously overweight.

High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol should be managed.

There was insufficient evidence to encourage recommending social activities, the management of depression, or wearing hearing aids – but these should all be offered to people who would benefit from them.

“Other recommendations have a less strong evidence base but may have evidence that they do not increase risk or harm, and can therefore be recommended safely, although their impact on risk is less certain.

“While some people are unlucky and inherit a combination of genes that makes it highly likely they will develop dementia, many people have the opportunity to substantially reduce their risk by living a healthy lifestyle.

“If people around the world follow these recommendations, we should be able to reduce the burden of dementias.”

Is there a cure? Currently there is no cure for dementia. But new drugs can slow down its progression and the earlier it is spotted the more effective treatments are.

Credit : The Guardian

Eating late could be killing you

Eating late could be killing you

Tope Omogbolagun

Eating late at night is putting millions of people in danger of heart attacks and strokes, experts warn.

A late-night meal keeps the body on ‘high alert’ when it should be winding down, researchers found.

Heart experts have advised that adults should never eat within two hours of bedtime – and ideally, nothing after 7pm.

In a healthy person, blood pressure drops by at least 10 per cent when they go to sleep.

Millions of people are putting themselves at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke by eating after 7pm, researchers have warned.

But the results of a study of more than 700 people with high blood pressure found that eating within two hours of bedtime meant their levels stayed high.

Experts think this is because eating releases a rush of stress hormones when the body should be starting to relax.

People who do not see their blood pressure fall at night are known as ‘non-dippers’ – and have a much higher rate of heart-related death. Late eaters were nearly three times more likely to be non-dippers, the Turkish researchers found.

Researcher, Dr Ebru Özpelit, presenting her results at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Rome, said, “If we eat late at night, the body essentially remains on high alert as during the day, rather than relaxing for sleep.”

Stress hormones are secreted, causing blood pressure not to decrease during sleep, which should normally happen.

Dr Özpelit, from the Dokuz Eylül University in Turkey, tracked 721 people diagnosed with high blood pressure, with an average age of 53. She found that those who ate within two hours of going to bed were 2.8 times more likely to retain high blood pressure overnight.

Some 9.4 million people in the UK are diagnosed with high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension.

They are already at a higher risk of heart disease, but if their blood pressure does not fall at night, that risk increases to a far higher level.

Experts estimate that 40 per cent of patients with hypertension are non-dippers – potentially 3.76million people in Britain– putting them at serious risk of major heart problems.

A late-night meal keeps the body on ‘high alert’ when it should be winding down, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Dr Özpelit says it is more dangerous if blood pressure doesn’t drop by more than 10 per cent as this increases cardiovascular risk and these patients have more heart attacks, strokes and chronic disease. But even healthy people with normal blood pressure should take note of the findings. How we eat may be as important as what we eat. She advised that people do not skip breakfast, eat lunch, and keep dinner to a small meal.

Eating breakfast and lunch is important but dinner must not be later than 7 o’clock in the evening. The findings add to a growing body of evidence which suggests keeping all meals to within a fixed time – and fasting at night – can have a wide range of health benefits.

Previous research has found that an early dinner reduces the risk of breast cancer, lowers blood sugar levels, and helps burn off calories. Experts think part of the reason is that the body evolved to expect meals much earlier in the day – because people went to sleep when it got dark.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said this research suggests that eating a meal late at night may contribute to the failure of their blood pressure to reduce. It is normal for blood pressure to reduce overnight, even in people with high blood pressure. However, in some, their blood pressure remains elevated throughout the night putting them at potentially higher risk of future complications.

Source: DailyMail

Early signs of depression

Early signs of depression

by Kehinde Matthew

Depression is real. As unlikely for you to think you can ever be depressed, depression can set in very subtly. It can creep in ever so quietly that you might not even know you are depressed.
It can affect anyone; young or old, rich or poor, female or male and last for years! This is why it is important to take note of the early symptoms of depression so that you can take necessary actions.


“What’s the point?”, “It can never get better”, “it’s no use”. These general outlooks about life can be early signs of depression. Feelings that there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation and that things will remain the way they are forever, feelings of emptiness, helplessness, sadness, and despair are indicators of depression.


When you begin to lose interest in what gives you joy, depression might just be around the corner. Depression can rob you of the joy or fun you used to derive from sports, social activities, reading, cooking, etc. You could be more withdrawn socially and lose interest in everything.


When the feeling of being empty, valueless, worthless, insignificant, useless and unloved overwhelms you and refuses to go, depression may be underway. When all you see are the wrongs in your life and hate yourself, your body or your situation for one reason or the other, these are signs of depression.


Usually, because of a general loss in interest, you could find your mind drifting off in the middle of some conversations or situations. You may begin to have problems remembering things and concentrating even in very serious conversations.


Exhaustion, severe fatigue, weariness, lack of energy and general tiredness especially to engage in daily activities and relationships, may also be indicators of depression.


This can be in two ways; excessive sleeping and lack of adequate sleeping. The loss of energy can make you oversleep while self-loathing can lead to insomnia.

Insomnia can, in turn, lead to anxiety which in turn leads to mood swings, feelings of tearfulness, tension as well as feeling out of control.

If you have identified two or more of these symptoms, reach out to mental health professionals or those who can lead you to them. You can click here for help from MANI https://www.mentallyaware.org/contact/

Are Energy Drinks Bad For You?

Are Energy Drinks Bad For You?

By Tunde Oguntola
Years of research have identified a variety of serious health risks such as liver damage, increased blood pressure, tooth erosion and more associated with people who consume energy drinks,. TUNDE OGUNTOLA writes.

Reports have associated energy drinks with adverse health effects, most commonly related to the cardiovascular system. Caffeine content is probably the main culprit, but sugars also play a part, and so could other ingredients — or their combination. As with all things, energy drinks can do harm but their actually doing so depends on many factors, such as the amount being consumed and the health state of the consumer.

Between 2007 and 2019, population surveys reported that a good chunk of the young population drink energy drinks. So what makes energy drinks so popular among the young? The simple desire for an energy boost is a major factor, of course: energy drinks have become the coffee of a new generation, thanks to successful marketing campaigns and the resultant peer pressure. Other factors include availability, cost, and taste. Negative health effects seem a common experience but a small deterrent.

Energy drinks are usually marketed with the lure of more energy or a mental or physical boost, no thanks to those days when all you want to do is sleep even though somehow you have to find the energy to keep going. Maybe you have an interview at the end of the day or promised friends you’d make it to a late-night party.

Here are dangers of energy drinks:

Energy Drinks Can Kill

Globally, it was reported by Food and Drug Administration that 13 deaths were caused by 5-Hour Energy shots alone. At that time, an additional 30 life-threatening situations like heart attacks and convulsions were reported. Additional overdoses from energy drinks have been reported, particularly in children and teens.

Energy Drinks Contain Unhealthy Doses Of Caffeine

This may seem obvious. Of course an energy drink is packed with caffeine — it’s why it does its job so well. What’s worrisome is just how much caffeine energy drinks contain. While a typical serving of coffee has up to 150 milligrams of caffeine, some energy drinks contain up to 500 milligrams. Since caffeine is most absorbable in a solid form, energy drink companies add chemicals to the drink to make it more absorbable to the body and to ensure the customer gets that extra kick of energy. This accounts for the immediate pick-me-up effect of energy drinks and also explains the cases of insomnia, nervousness, and headaches that are reported.

Sugar Overload:

If you’re trying to lose weight or stay away from sweets, drinking an energy drink is the last thing you want to do. Some brands have up to 62 grams of sugar, which translates into roughly 15½ teaspoons of straight sugar. The crazy-high amounts of sugar make energy drinks chock-full of calories. Consider an energy drink as comparable in calorie content to a large bottle of soda.

You Can Become Addicted

Energy drinks seem harmless enough, but for some people, habitual caffeine consumption can lead to dependency. People who become addicted to energy drinks will experience classic withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches or fatigue. In addition to caffeine withdrawal, energy drink fanatics often experience caffeine intoxication, which includes feelings of nervousness, restlessness, and gastrointestinal disturbance while drinking the caffeine-heavy beverages.

They Can Cause Heart Problems

A study that looked at instances of cardiac problems after teens consumed energy drinks, found that energy drinks increase the risk of cardiac events, especially in teens with underlying heart conditions. This danger is increased further when mixed with exercise. The study determined that energy drinks should never be consumed before or after exercise or by people who have potential heart conditions.

They’re Dangerous When Combined With Medication

You probably already know mixing energy drinks and alcohol can be dangerous, but mixing energy drinks with medications should also be avoided. Some of the ingredients in common energy drinks can interact negatively with prescription medications, especially those taken for depression.

Credit: Leadership

If a Dog Bites You, Do These 7 Things Now

If a Dog Bites You, Do These 7 Things Now

Infection is the biggest danger

You’re playing with your dog, and somehow, between growls and tail wags, it can happen. Those canine teeth can bite or scratch. Or alternatively, you could be walking down a street and an unknown mutt can attack without warning.

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Either way, there are steps you need to take right away to treat the wound and reduce the risk of infection. You’ll need professional medical attention the same day.

A dog’s front teeth will grab and compress your tissue, and their smaller teeth can also tear your skin. The result is an open, jagged wound. If the wound becomes infected, it is often severe, says Emergency medicine physician Stephen Sayles III, MD.

“The No. 1 concern with these bites is infection,” he says. “You may need hospitalization and require intravenous antibiotics. You should always see a primary care provider if you’re bitten.”

No matter what, make sure you see a doctor within eight hours of a dog bite, he says. Waiting longer raises your infection risk. If you have diabetes or are immunocompromised, your infection risk is even greater.

7 steps to treating a dog bite
If a dog bites you, take these steps right away:

Press on the wound gently to cause some bleeding to help flush out as much bacteria as possible.
Wash the wound with mild soap and water.
Slow the bleeding with a clean cloth.
Apply over-the counter antibiotic cream if you have it.
Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage. Keep the wound bandaged and see your doctor.
Change the bandage several times a day once your doctor has examined the wound.
Watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, increased pain and fever.
What will your doctor do?
Your doctor will want to know more about the dog that bit you and how it happened. He or she will also likely clean the wound again, apply antibiotic ointment and prescribe antibiotics, such as Augmentin, if there’s an infection concern.

Your doctor may also give you a booster shot if your tetanus vaccine is out-of-date.

Depending on the wound, your doctor may also recommend stitches. Generally, though, dog wounds are left open to heal unless they are on the face or if they could leave particularly severe scars if left unsutured.

Bacteria from bites raises infection risk
Roughly 50 percent of dog bites introduce bacteria, including staphylococcus, streptococcus and pasteurella, as well as capnocytophaga.

Unvaccinated and feral dogs can also potentially carry — and transfer — rabies, so your doctor will want to know details about the dog that bit you.

Ultimately, Dr. Sayles says, caring for a dog bite is about keeping bacteria from causing an infection.

Stress, the silent killer

Stress, the silent killer

By Maje Ayida, Contributor

You are stressed. You cannot live in Lagos and not be stressed. It’s an extreme environment and I don’t think people realize that they can fight back, they can reverse the effects of stress on their lifestyles. You may not be clear what I mean when I talk about the effects. This explains why the life expectancy of the average Nigerian is so low.

Stress can have an enormous impact on your physical, emotional and mental health. It’s important to note that the body cannot distinguish between one stress and another.
Everybody suffers from stress in one way or another but how stress is perceived is a very subjective matter. For example, someone who works with bears would be less stressed when confronted with a wild bear than someone who sees a bear for the first time. Here are list of signs that indicate you are suffering from stress and ways to combat your daily stress levels:

If you suffer from heavy amounts of stress then it is not uncommon for your sex drive to go down. Stress is a response to a threat whether that is physical (being attacked), mental (worrying about financial security), emotional (relationship issues), Chemical (medical drugs), and Nutritional (toxic unnatural foods).

During stressful times the hormone cortisol is released which increases energy supplies by elevating sugar in the blood but at the same time suppresses non-essential things like reproduction. When under threat of getting an erection is the last thing the body is concerned about.

Take Action
Discover your largest source of stress and deal with it. Here’s a true story about a stress that overtook my life. Some time back I started developing anxiety and it grew worse to the point where I couldn’t function. I tried everything to combat the anxiety from changing my diet, to exercising more, and even meditation.

Nothing worked until I addressed the thing I had feared the most, the relationship I had with a girlfriend. The relationship ended, there were tears but it was transformational. The anxiety attacks slowly disappeared. Then, I was blind to the impact the relationship was having on my life but now I see how that relationship was my biggest stress. By taking action to deal with that stress everything else fell back into place. So identify your biggest stress and take action.

If you have difficulty sleeping at night then you may want to take another look at your stress levels. Stress is caused by the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your heart rate as well as elevating your energy levels. During the evening you need to slow down your heart rate and reduce energy levels ready for a good nights rest.

Take Action
Wind down in the evenings. Avoid stimulating foods and drinks after 4 pm that means caffeine, sugar and chocolate. Exercise in the mornings and not late at night. Take a nice warm bath before bed and try drinking chamomile tea. Avoid bright lights in the evenings and swap TV for a nice book. Lavender oil on your pillow or wrists can also help.

Aches and Pains
Some people just can’t seem to get back into full health. They always have an ache or a pain somewhere. If you find that you take a long time to heal following an injury or a workout session then you may be suffering from stress. Cortisol, the main stress hormone, is released when you are stressed. Cortisol is responsible for suppressing growth responses that would usually help you recover from an injury or workout.

Take Action
Ask your partner for a massage or better still visit a professional massage clinic. Receiving a massage will help de-stress and also reinvigorate soft tissue by bringing fresh blood to damaged areas. Spend 30 minutes every evening stretching all your tight areas, or invest in a foam roller and start rolling! Work on getting to bed early, asleep by 11 pm latest!

Mood Swings
Stress has a large effect on the brain. The constant release of the stress hormones Cortisol and Adrenaline is not only hard on the body but on the mind too. Stressed out people often suffer from depression, have energy swings, and struggle with mental clarity including memory issues.

Take Action
Get your mind away from your troubles by trying some meditation. You don’t need to sit cross-legged to meditate. Try going for an evening walk. Also, try starting a new hobby, or making some new friends.

Basically, try to find a way to distract yourself from your daily stresses. Simply counting 20 slow deep belly breaths can be all the distraction you need from time to time. Give yourself a 5-minute break from whatever is bothering you and focus instead on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly.
Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth. Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.

Credit: The Guardian

How to stay hydrated all day long during Ramadan

How to stay hydrated all day long during Ramadan

Amid the blessed month of Ramadan, it’s critical to make sure to eat a reasonable eating regimen and keep hydrated during the day of fasting. Doing as such will help keep you active all day long.

Getting enough water following a multi-day of fasting is significant as water is important to keep your body working. There’s a danger of being dehydrated on the off chance that you don’t drink enough water before fasting, and that can cause dizziness, migraines, fatigue and more.

Here are some tips to help you avoid dehydration when you’re fasting.

1. Avoid drinks containing caffeine

Tea and coffee are our daily dose of motivation but these drinks contain caffeine. Caffeine has a diuretic impact that builds pee creation, in this way flushing out salt and water from the body.

An excessive amount of caffeine can result in expanded thirst, so to remain hydrated for the duration of the day, it’s ideal to stick to water. Make a point to have a glass of refined water alongside a sweet organic product like dates while breaking the fast

2. Breakfast with plenty of fruit and vegetables

It’s healthy to eat fruits and vegetables, they also help to keep you hydrated. Certain fruits and vegetables have high water content and make for a nutritious and refreshing way to replenish your body after a long day of fasting.

Some good fruits and vegetables to eat during this season of fasting are watermelons, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes and star fruits. They’re perfect to help you stay hydrated with their high water content.

3. Avoid spicy or salty food

When you eat Spicy or salty food it increases your body’s need for water, so keep this in mind and stick to small portions. Keep the salt-limited.

4. Avoid drinking a lot of water in one go

Drinking your water in one go will cause your body to flush it out soon after. It’s best to sip water throughout the non-fasting hours of the day.
It’s important to keep a bottle of water with you amid those hours so you can take a few sips at whatever point you’re feeling thirsty.

5. Avoid exposure to heat

Exposing yourself to heat is inevitable in this horrible climate, it is highly recommended to try avoiding the heat as much as possible.

Hot temperatures will cause sweating to lead to fluid loss. Try to limit your time outdoors and stick to the shade or cool environments or even if you do then keep your head covered.

Just sit at home and relax with your T.V


With zero sperm count you can still be a father

With zero sperm count you can still be a father

Dr. Abayomi Ajayi

Infertility has traditionally been thought of as a woman’s problem. But as it turns out, men are also affected. About one out of every three cases of infertility is due to the man alone, and men are involved in infertility about half the time.

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for 12 months without success, the best thing you and your partner can do is to visit your doctor or fertility clinic.

The reason is that infertility is a couple’s problem. A man could be affected as much as a woman. Even if either you or your partner has a child from another relationship, both of you should get tests done.

Common causes of male infertility, described as the “male factor” vary widely. Most often, the problem lies in the process of either making or moving the sperm.

Not being able to father a child can make you feel you have failed at one of your most primal responsibilities. If you’ve been trying to have a baby and it’s just not happening, you might have a low sperm count. Don’t panic. It’s actually one of the most common causes of male infertility. For many men, advances in male infertility treatment offer real help.

The good news is that there are new treatments bringing about more pregnancies for infertile couples with male factor infertility.

The goal of male infertility treatment is to ensure that as a man, you can achieve pregnancy and father a child. Sometimes, the cause of the infertility is reversible and conception can result from natural sex or In-Vitro Fertilisation.

By now, every regular reader of this column should know that sperms are made in the testicles. I have discussed this in some past editions, so you may refer to them for details.

However, I’ll remind you that sperms are stored inside the epididymis, which lies on top of each testicle. These sperms are nourished by semen, made by glands inside the vas deferens. During ejaculation, normally about 150 million sperm are released mixed with semen through the penis. This whole process depends on there being proper levels of testosterone and other hormones as well as correct signalling from the nervous system. Low sperm count means that the fluid (semen) you ejaculate during an orgasm contains fewer sperm than normal.

A low sperm count is also called oligospermia. A complete absence of sperm is called azoospermia. Your sperm count is considered lower than normal if you have fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen.

Having a low sperm count decreases the odds that one of your sperm will fertilise your partner’s egg, resulting in pregnancy. Nonetheless, many men, who have a low sperm count are still able to father a child.

Now, it is reasonable to ask, what could cause you to have a low sperm count or abnormal sperm?

We will briefly talk about some of the problems responsible for this kind of infertility. Retrograde ejaculation is a good example. In this condition, semen ejaculates backwards into the bladder instead of out the penis. Usually a previous surgery is the cause. When you have such an abnormality, you may not produce enough sperms in an ejaculate.

Also, the absence of the main sperm-supplying vessel (known as the vas deferens) is a genetic problem. An obstruction can occur anywhere between the testicles and the penis to cause blockage of sperm delivery.

Antibodies can abnormally attack a man’s own sperm on their way to the egg. Up to one in four of infertile men have what is described as idiopathic infertility. That means they have abnormal or low sperm counts for no identifiable reason.

Varicocele is quite commonly associated with low or abnormal sperm parameters. It is an abnormal collection of bulging veins above the testicle.

Undescended testicles is another problem. Other causes include infections in the testicles (orchitis), the prostate (prostatitis), or elsewhere in the body that causes a fever.

In some cases, these problems can be reversed but other times they can’t. An evaluation is the only way to sort it out.

Sometimes, making sperm isn’t really the problem, rather, the problem is getting the sperm where it needs to go. If you are a man with this type of male infertility, you may have normal sperm in your testicles. But the issue is that the sperm in your semen is very low in number, or not there at all.

Do not lose hope because there is treatment and millions of men with such problems have benefited from available treatment. The fact is that several men with zero sperm count have become proud fathers of their own biological children.

In many cases in the past, the old fertility treatment methods didn’t work, and it meant lifelong male infertility. Today, however, assisted reproductive techniques such as Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection are available. In ICSI, a single sperm is injected through a tiny needle into an egg. The fertilised egg is then implanted in the uterus. ICSI can be performed when sperm counts are extremely low or abnormal.

Modern male infertility treatments are available to give sperm an artificial boost to get into an egg. With such scientific advancement, conception is possible even for men with very low or abnormal sperm.

Sperm and semen analyses can help assess your sperm count, their shape, movement, and other variables.

Generally, a higher number of normal-shaped sperm means higher fertility but exceptions are common. You could be diagnosed with low sperm count or abnormal semen and still remain fertile. In the same vein, about one in five of infertile men are known to have normal semen and plenty of normal sperm.

If you don’t produce any active sperm in the ejaculate, it is often possible to extract sperm from the testicles. But are there things you can do on your own to maximise your fertility. For one, don’t do things to hurt your chances of having viable sperm. Hard drugs, tobacco, and more than two alcoholic drinks a day harm sperm production.

Diagnosis of male infertility brings about profound disappointment. For some men, no male infertility treatments seem to help. Finding out that you’re infertile can be an unpleasant surprise, to say the least. You may feel emotional stress with a diagnosis of infertility.

One thing you should not do is to confuse libido and potency with fertility. Most problems with male reproduction do not affect the ability to produce male hormones, sexual function or maleness. But even if things look bleak, there is always hope if you keep trying.

To know for sure if you have no sperm in the ejaculate, you need at least two semen analyses and at least one should be done using advanced sperm technology.

In general, there are four explanations why there could be no sperm in the ejaculate. One is that the testes are making sperm but there is a blockage. Two, the brain is not stimulating the testes to make sperm, or three, the testes are not producing any sperm. Lastly, the testes may be producing a tiny amount of sperm but it is not coming out in the ejaculate.

If sperm is produced but there is evidence of a blockage, the chances of getting your partner pregnant remains very good. If it is a reversible blockage, this can sometimes be fixed with a minor procedure.

If there is not a reversible problem such as a missing vas deferens (tube that carries the sperm), success rates of retrieving sperm approach 100 per cent. Pregnancy rates in this situation are usually greater than 50 per cent with IVF depending on factors such as your age, your partner’s age and the health of your female partner.

If you have no sperm at all in the ejaculate and there does not appear to be a blockage or a brain issue, can you still get your partner pregnant? The answer is yes. Men with no sperm in their ejaculate, who likely have a problem with sperm production can achieve pregnancy. All this is possible thanks to modern assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF and ICSI.

Sperm may be retrieved with either a minor procedure or a more extensive procedure based on your particular situation. The success rates in retrieving sperm are usually about 50 per cent in this situation.

The fact is that blockage can occur at any level including within the testicle, in the tubes that drain the testicle, in the epididymis, in the vas deferens, near the ejaculatory ducts or in the urethra.

When you don’t have enough sperm, there’s less chance that they’ll reach and fertilise the egg, which can lead to fertility problems.

Even if you have a normal sperm count, they still have to be healthy enough to make the journey from your partner’s vagina to the cervix and uterus to the fallopian tubes. If they’re not, you’ll have a hard time getting her pregnant.

Credit: PUNCH.