Tag Archives: Sexuality

Straight, No Chaser: The Other Side of 40 – The Genital System – Changes, Challenges, Solutions

sexaging
The third part of this series is about your genital system after 40. There’s a lot here both for the ladies and the gentlemen, but everyone should want to know all the information provided. As before, I’m going to go through changes – challenges – solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.
Prologue: Sex is good for your long-term genital and mental health. I can’t think of a better, more sexy application of the truism ‘knowledge is power’. Men, feel free to discuss this with your ladies. Ladies, I promise you I’m not being biased here (wink).
Changes: Allow me to start with the most important point: sexuality is not truly an issue of aging as much as it is more an issue of education, psychological response and health. However some changes specific to the genital system do occur with aging. In men, the prostate may enlarge (does so in 50% of men at age 50), potentially causing frequent and urgent needs to urinate and difficultly holding urine. However, more changes occur in women than in men. In women, the uterus shrinks, and several changes occur in the vagina, resulting in decreased lubrication and elasticity being lost.
repro
Challenges: The challenges here are interesting ones. Simple rules to better genital health – Women: Stay sexually active! Men: Be confident in your sexual stamina! It is important to understand that the changes that occur in the genital system are not as related to age as they are to one’s sense of sexuality. The physical changes in the genital system should be non-problematic, especially if sex has been occurring without long periods of abstinence.
Venus Challenges: On the female side, the physical changes all can be dealt with if the woman has maintained some regular level of sexual activity. Yes, genital responses to stimulation slow gradually in both men and women, but you can have normal sexual relations at any age, as long as you are healthy. If after the age of about 40, a woman abstains from intercourse for prolonged periods (such as 3 to 5 years) the ability to secrete lubricating fluids, and much of the elasticity of the vagina are permanently lost.
Mars Challenges: On the male side, a particularly annoying challenge for some men with prostate enlargement is to avoid self-wetting. The even greater challenge is (not believing, but) ‘knowing’ your sexual prowess and stamina are still intact, particularly if dealing with an intimidating female partner (e.g. better conditioned, more adventurous or perhaps younger). For males, premature ejaculation and impotence are dramatically reduced in men when they become legitimately confident in their sexual skills set. Work on that! Women, feed your men confidence! It will come back to you!
Venus Solutions: Masturbation can effectively help to maintain female capabilities to provide lubrication and elasticity, especially if object insertion is included. Since most research shows that less than 50% of women practice object insertion during masturbation, these women who also abstain from intercourse lose some vaginal elasticity, even with regular masturbation. In the event that the woman has been sexually abstinent for a period of 3 to 5 years or more, the use of K-Y Jelly or some other non-alcoholic, non-petroleum lubricant specifically designed for compatibility with the chemistry of the vagina may sufficiently reduce discomfort in sexual intercourse.
Mars Solutions: Remember that most sexual problems are social/psychological problems, and they occur at all ages. Men: work on learning what’s necessary to give you confidence, and better performance will follow. For some it’s a certain partner, for others it’s a pill. Do not underestimate this point: if you’re otherwise healthy, that enhances your ability to perform sexually! It’s all about blood flow anyway.
Solutions Epilogue: The main solution to age-related issues of the genitalia are all within your reach (no pun intended): it’s all about activity, especially continued regular sexual activity, exercise, good nutrition and other healthy habits.
Post-script: Petroleum products such as baby oil and vaseline must never be put in or on the vagina, as they will upset the pH balance of the vagina, making it susceptible to yeast infections and other problems like BV (bacterial vaginosis).

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Bacterial Vaginosis – No, That’s Not a STD

BV1

I try to give you straight talk but never crudely. As I’ve discussed conditions involving the genitalia, I’ve been mindful of the reality that large numbers of you have been affected by sexual transmitted diseases/infections (aka STDs/STIs), and I will always be respectful of that consideration. That doesn’t mean I’m sugar-coating your information, it just means I am aware that you’re suffering and concerned by different scenarios.

bv anyone

One of those is bacterial vaginosis. There is an age after which women invariably start discovering that various things they do can disrupt the appearance, smell and content of their vaginal fluid. It’s certainly human nature to wonder if something has gone terribly wrong. Let’s pick up our Doctor-Couple conversation from earlier
Patient: Yep! I have this grayish/whitish discharge that only happens after sex. And sometimes it itches around there. And it burns when I pee! No rashes or that other stuff, though.
Doctor: Ok. Let’s examine you…

bv thrush

All humans have various microorganisms that normally reside inside us at relatively low levels; different microorganisms inhabit different parts of the body. They’ve set up a delicate balance (like an ecosystem, if you will) that, once settled doesn’t disturb us (their hosts) at all. If external or internal circumstances disturb that balance such that one set of organisms is disproportionately affected, overgrowth of the other organisms may occur. Many of you will recognize this as happening when you get a ‘yeast’ infection. It’s also what occurs when you develop bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is the most common vaginal infection in the U.S. It’s more likely to be seen when you start having unprotected sex with a new partner, have multiple sex partners, are pregnant or douche (therefore, women who are not sexually active can have BV also). By the way, you don’t get BV from toilet seats or swimming pools.

bv causes

The question everyone always has is “What’s the role of sex, especially sperm, in it?”. That’s asked because BV is often noticed after unprotected sex that includes ejaculation. Here’s where you learn the difference between ‘sexually transmitted’ and ‘sexually associated’. It is unclear what role sex has in the development of BV, but common thoughts include alterations in the pH of the vaginal fluid based on interactions with sperm/semen. It is known that the pH of women become more alkaline (less acidic) after exposure to semen, and that environment produces compounds causing the ‘fishy smell’. Yes, that’s real.  We even have a real thing call a ‘whiff test’ as part of making the diagnosis.
The good news is BV is easily treated. The bad news is it needs to be treated, and it can recur even if it’s treated. Remember, it’s just an overgrowth syndrome.  There are complications to not getting BV treated, especially if you’re pregnant. This makes it especially important that medication be taken to completion, even though you may feel better prior to that. Male partners do not need to be treated.
So this couple gets ‘off the hook’, even though they may decide to start using condoms.  Next we will focus on the risks of various sexual activities. Stay tuned.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: When Sex Hurts Her – Vaginismus

Vaginismus

The human body is fascinating and mysterious in so many different ways. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. Not every medical condition has to be life threatening to have a powerful and detrimental impact on one’s life. Vaginismus is an example of that. It’s a condition in which women suffer involuntary contractions of the floor of the vaginal walls. These contractions can be so violent and incapacitating that it renders sex very painful and uncomfortable at best and physically impossible at worst. No, this is not esoterica. Many women suffer through this, not knowing what it is or ascribing the pain to ‘size’.

Here’s three things you need to know:

She’s not faking it. 

Vaginismus is horrible for the sufferer, as you’d imagine, and it’s a tremendous stress on relationships.  It is the number one cause of unconsummated marriages, and can be complete or situational.  It may be complete, impacting ability for a physician to complete a pelvic examination or for a woman to even place a tampon.  These contractions can be reflex occurrences such that the symptoms occur when presented with any effort to penetrate the vagina.  That said, the reflex is thought to be physiologically learned, and it has been demonstrated that it can be unlearned (Consider your immediate impulse to lift your arm when a fast object comes at you; one episode of vaginismus can prompt a lifetime of similar reactions during efforts at sex.).

vaginismus

Vaginismus can be cured.

It stands to reason that in the many cases in which vaginismus is a learned reflex, the reflex can be overcome.  Muscle training and control are the keys to overcoming vaginismus and is a process that can be accomplished over weeks to months.  The good news is developing this level of training and control can also have wonderful benefits for couples that do get past the problem.  Many women are familiar with Kegel exercises from prenatal classes.  Application of these in the correct manner (with systematic progression until penetration is possible) provides success in approximately 90% of patients.  If you require details, feel free to ask, or discuss this with your physician.

Vaginismus requires patience (and flexibility) to overcome.

Healthy sex lives are enjoyed by many couples without penetration.  This is an important frame of mind to have, less the additional stress can hinder treatment and torpedo the relationship.  It may seem like a lot to ask for some, but believe me, many couples maintain happy relationships in the midst of this, either during treatment or throughout a lifetime of suffering through it.  Taking this mindset into the period during which treatment is ongoing can lead to a very happy outcome once the vaginismus has been overcome.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Life Begins (To End) at 40 (Unless It Doesn’t) – The Genital System

sexaging
The third part of this series is about your genital system after 40. There’s a lot here both for the ladies and the gentlemen, but everyone should want to know all the information provided. As before, I’m going to go through changes – challenges – solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.
Prologue: Sex is good for your long-term genital and mental health. I can’t think of a better, more sexy application of the truism ‘knowledge is power’. Men, feel free to discuss this with your ladies. Ladies, I promise you I’m not being biased here (wink).
Changes: Allow me to start with the most important point: sexuality is not truly an issue of aging as much as it is more an issue of education, psychological response and health. However some changes specific to the genital system do occur with aging. In men, the prostate may enlarge (does so in 50% of men at age 50), potentially causing frequent and urgent needs to urinate and difficultly holding urine. However, more changes occur in women than in men. In women, the uterus shrinks, and several changes occur in the vagina, resulting in decreased lubrication and elasticity being lost.
repro
Challenges: The challenges here are interesting ones. Simple rules to better genital health – Women: Stay sexually active! Men: Be confident in your sexual stamina! It is important to understand that the changes that occur in the genital system are not as related to age as they are to one’s sense of sexuality. The physical changes in the genital system should be non-problematic, especially if sex has been occurring without long periods of abstinence.
Venus Challenges: On the female side, the physical changes all can be dealt with if the woman has maintained some regular level of sexual activity. Yes, genital responses to stimulation slow gradually in both men and women, but you can have normal sexual relations at any age, as long as you are healthy. If after the age of about 40, a woman abstains from intercourse for prolonged periods (such as 3 to 5 years) the ability to secrete lubricating fluids, and much of the elasticity of the vagina are permanently lost.
Mars Challenges: On the male side, a particularly annoying challenge for some men with prostate enlargement is to avoid self-wetting. The even greater challenge is (not believing, but) ‘knowing’ your sexual prowess and stamina are still intact, particularly if dealing with an intimidating female partner (e.g. better conditioned, more adventurous or perhaps younger). For males, premature ejaculation and impotence are dramatically reduced in men when they become legitimately confident in their sexual skills set. Work on that! Women, feed your men confidence! It will come back to you!
Venus Solutions: Masturbation can effectively help to maintain female capabilities to provide lubrication and elasticity, especially if object insertion is included. Since most research shows that less than 50% of women practice object insertion during masturbation, these women who also abstain from intercourse lose some vaginal elasticity, even with regular masturbation. In the event that the woman has been sexually abstinent for a period of 3 to 5 years or more, the use of K-Y Jelly or some other non-alcoholic, non-petroleum lubricant specifically designed for compatibility with the chemistry of the vagina may sufficiently reduce discomfort in sexual intercourse.
Mars Solutions: Remember that most sexual problems are social/psychological problems, and they occur at all ages. Men: work on learning what’s necessary to give you confidence, and better performance will follow. For some it’s a certain partner, for others it’s a pill. Do not underestimate this point: if you’re otherwise healthy, that enhances your ability to perform sexually! It’s all about blood flow anyway.
Solutions Epilogue: The main solution to age-related issues of the genitalia are all within your reach (no pun intended): it’s all about activity, especially continued regular sexual activity, exercise, good nutrition and other healthy habits.
Post-script: Petroleum products such as baby oil and vaseline must never be put in or on the vagina, as they will upset the pH balance of the vagina, making it susceptible to yeast infections and other problems like BV (bacterial vaginosis).
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: When Sex Hurts Her – Vaginismus

Vaginismus

The human body is fascinating and mysterious in so many different ways. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. Not every medical condition has to be life threatening to have a powerful and detrimental impact on one’s life. Vaginismus is an example of that. It’s a condition in which women suffer involuntary contractions of the floor of the vaginal walls. These contractions can be so violent and incapacitating that it renders sex very painful and uncomfortable at best and physically impossible at worst. No, this is not esoterica. Many women suffer through this, not knowing what it is or ascribing the pain to ‘size’.

Here’s three things you need to know:

She’s not faking it. 

Vaginismus is horrible for the sufferer, as you’d imagine, and it’s a tremendous stress on relationships.  It is the number one cause of unconsummated marriages, and can be complete or situational.  It may be complete, impacting ability for a physician to complete a pelvic examination or for a woman to even place a tampon.  These contractions can be reflex occurrences such that the symptoms occur when presented with any effort to penetrate the vagina.  That said, the reflex is thought to be physiologically learned, and it has been demonstrated that it can be unlearned (Consider your immediate impulse to lift your arm when a fast object comes at you; one episode of vaginismus can prompt a lifetime of similar reactions during efforts at sex.).

vaginismus

Vaginismus can be cured.

It stands to reason that in the many cases in which vaginismus is a learned reflex, the reflex can be overcome.  Muscle training and control are the keys to overcoming vaginismus and is a process that can be accomplished over weeks to months.  The good news is developing this level of training and control can also have wonderful benefits for couples that do get past the problem.  Many women are familiar with Kegel exercises from prenatal classes.  Application of these in the correct manner (with systematic progression until penetration is possible) provides success in approximately 90% of patients.  If you require details, feel free to ask, or discuss this with your physician.

Vaginismus requires patience (and flexibility) to overcome.

Healthy sex lives are enjoyed by many couples without penetration.  This is an important frame of mind to have, less the additional stress can hinder treatment and torpedo the relationship.  It may seem like a lot to ask for some, but believe me, many couple maintain happy relationships in the midst of this, either during treatment or throughout a lifetime of suffering through it.  Taking this mindset into the period during which treatment is ongoing can lead to a very happy outcome once the vaginismus has been overcome.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: Bacterial Vaginosis – No, That’s Not a STD

BV1

I try to give you straight talk but never crudely. As I’ve discussed conditions involving the genitalia, I’ve been mindful of the reality that large numbers of you have been affected by sexual transmitted diseases/infections (aka STDs/STIs), and I will always be respectful of that consideration. That doesn’t mean I’m sugar-coating your information, it just means I am aware that you’re suffering and concerned by different scenarios.

bv anyone

One of those is bacterial vaginosis. There is an age after which women invariably start discovering that various things they do can disrupt the appearance, smell and content of their vaginal fluid. It’s certainly human nature to wonder if something has gone terribly wrong. Let’s pick up our Doctor-Couple conversation from earlier
Patient: Yep! I have this grayish/whitish discharge that only happens after sex. And sometimes it itches around there. And it burns when I pee! No rashes or that other stuff, though.
Doctor: Ok. Let’s examine you…

bv thrush

All humans have various microorganisms that normally reside inside us at relatively low levels; different microorganisms inhabit different part of the body. They’ve set up a delicate balance (like an ecosystem, if you will) that, once settled doesn’t disturb us (their hosts) at all. If external or internal circumstances disturb that balance such that one set of organisms is disproportionately affected, overgrowth of the other organisms may occur. Many of you will recognize this as happening when you get a ‘yeast’ infection. It’s also what occurs when you develop bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is the most common vaginal infection in the U.S. It’s more likely to be seen when you start having unprotected sex with a new partner, have multiple sex partners, are pregnant or douche (therefore, women who are not sexually active can have BV also). By the way, you don’t get BV from toilet seats or swimming pools.

bv causes

The question everyone always has is “What’s the role of sex, especially sperm, in it?”. That’s asked because BV is often noticed after unprotected sex that includes ejaculation. Here’s where you learn the difference between ‘sexually transmitted’ and ‘sexually associated’. It is unclear what role sex has in the development of BV, but common thoughts include alterations in the pH of the vaginal fluid based on interactions with sperm/semen. It is known that the pH of women become more alkaline (less acidic) after exposure to semen, and that environment produces compounds causing the ‘fishy smell’. Yes, that’s real.  We even have a real thing call a ‘whiff test’ as part of making the diagnosis.
The good news is BV is easily treated. The bad news is it needs to be treated, and it can recur even if it’s treated. Remember, it’s just an overgrowth syndrome.  There are complications to not getting BV treated, especially if you’re pregnant. This makes it especially important that medication be taken to completion, even though you may feel better prior to that. Male partners do not need to be treated.
So this couple gets ‘off the hook’, even though they may decide to start using condoms.  Next we will focus on the risks of various sexual activities. Stay tuned.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Life Begins (To End) at 40 (Unless It Doesn’t) – The Genital System

sexaging
The third part of this series is about your genital system after 40. There’s a lot here both for the ladies and the gentlemen, but everyone should want to know all the information provided. As before, I’m going to go through changes – challenges – solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.
Prologue: Sex is good for your long-term genital and mental health. I can’t think of a better, more sexy application of the truism ‘knowledge is power’. Men, feel free to discuss this with your ladies. Ladies, I promise you I’m not being biased here (wink).
Changes: Allow me to start with the most important point: sexuality is not truly an issue of aging as much as it is more an issue of education, psychological response and health. However some changes specific to the genital system do occur with aging. In men, the prostate may enlarge (does so in 50% of men at age 50), potentially causing frequent and urgent needs to urinate and difficultly holding urine. However, more changes occur in women than in men. In women, the uterus shrinks, and several changes occur in the vagina, resulting in decreased lubrication and elasticity being lost.
repro
Challenges: The challenges here are interesting ones. Simple rules to better genital health – Women: Stay sexually active! Men: Be confident in your sexual stamina! It is important to understand that the changes that occur in the genital system are not as related to age as they are to one’s sense of sexuality. The physical changes in the genital system should be non-problematic, especially if sex has been occurring without long periods of abstinence.
Venus Challenges: On the female side, the physical changes all can be dealt with if the woman has maintained some regular level of sexual activity. Yes, genital responses to stimulation slow gradually in both men and women, but you can have normal sexual relations at any age, as long as you are healthy. If after the age of about 40, a woman abstains from intercourse for prolonged periods (such as 3 to 5 years) the ability to secrete lubricating fluids, and much of the elasticity of the vagina are permanently lost.
Mars Challenges: On the male side, a particularly annoying challenge for some men with prostate enlargement is to avoid self-wetting. The even greater challenge is (not believing, but) ‘knowing’ your sexual prowess and stamina are still intact, particularly if dealing with an intimidating female partner (e.g. better conditioned, more adventurous or perhaps younger). For males, premature ejaculation and impotence are dramatically reduced in men when they become legitimately confident in their sexual skills set. Work on that! Women, feed your men confidence! It will come back to you!
Venus Solutions: Masturbation can effectively help to maintain female capabilities to provide lubrication and elasticity, especially if object insertion is included. Since most research shows that less than 50% of women practice object insertion during masturbation, these women who also abstain from intercourse lose some vaginal elasticity, even with regular masturbation. In the event that the woman has been sexually abstinent for a period of 3 to 5 years or more, the use of K-Y Jelly or some other non-alcoholic, non-petroleum lubricant specifically designed for compatibility with the chemistry of the vagina may sufficiently reduce discomfort in sexual intercourse.
Mars Solutions: Remember that most sexual problems are social/psychological problems, and they occur at all ages. Men: work on learning what’s necessary to give you confidence, and better performance will follow. For some it’s a certain partner, for others it’s a pill. Do not underestimate this point: if you’re otherwise healthy, that enhances your ability to perform sexually! It’s all about blood flow anyway.
Solutions Epilogue: The main solution to age-related issues of the genitalia are all within your reach (no pun intended): it’s all about activity, especially continued regular sexual activity, exercise, good nutrition and other healthy habits.
Post-script: Petroleum products such as baby oil and vaseline must never be put in or on the vagina, as they will upset the pH balance of the vagina, making it susceptible to yeast infections and other problems like BV (bacterial vaginosis).
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: When Sex Hurts Her – Vaginismus

Vaginismus

The human body is fascinating and mysterious in so many different ways. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. Not every medical condition has to be life threatening to have a powerful and detrimental impact on one’s life. Vaginismus is an example of that. It’s a condition in which women suffer involuntary contractions of the floor of the vaginal walls. These contractions can be so violent and incapacitating that it renders sex very painful and uncomfortable at best and physically impossible at worst. No, this is not esoterica. Many women suffer through this, not knowing what it is or ascribing the pain to ‘size’.

Here’s three things you need to know:

She’s not faking it. 

Vaginismus is horrible for the sufferer, as you’d imagine, and it’s a tremendous stress on relationships.  It is the number one cause of unconsummated marriages, and can be complete or situational.  It may be complete, impacting ability for a physician to complete a pelvic examination or for a woman to even place a tampon.  These contractions can be reflex occurrences such that the symptoms occur when presented with any effort to penetrate the vagina.  That said, the reflex is thought to be physiologically learned, and it has been demonstrated that it can be unlearned (Consider your immediate impulse to lift your arm when a fast object comes at you; one episode of vaginismus can prompt a lifetime of similar reactions during efforts at sex.).

vaginismus

Vaginismus can be cured.

It stands to reason that in the many cases in which vaginismus is a learned reflex, the reflex can be overcome.  Muscle training and control are the keys to overcoming vaginismus and is a process that can be accomplished over weeks to months.  The good news is developing this level of training and control can also have wonderful benefits for couples that do get past the problem.  Many women are familiar with Kegel exercises from prenatal classes.  Application of these in the correct manner (with systematic progression until penetration is possible) provides success in approximately 90% of patients.  If you require details, feel free to ask, or discuss this with your physician.

Vaginismus requires patience (and flexibility) to overcome.

Healthy sex lives are enjoyed by many couples without penetration.  This is an important frame of mind to have, less the additional stress can hinder treatment and torpedo the relationship.  It may seem like a lot to ask for some, but believe me, many couple maintain happy relationships in the midst of this, either during treatment or throughout a lifetime of suffering through it.  Taking this mindset into the period during which treatment is ongoing can lead to a very happy outcome once the vaginismus has been overcome.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: Bacterial Vaginosis – No, That’s Not a STD

BV1

I try to give you straight talk but never crudely. As I’ve discussed conditions involving the genitalia, I’ve been mindful of the reality that large numbers of you have been affected by sexual transmitted diseases/infections (aka STDs/STIs), and I will always respectful of that consideration. That doesn’t mean I’m sugar-coating your information, it just means I am aware that you’re suffering and concerned by different scenarios.

bv anyone

One of those is bacterial vaginosis. There is an age after which women invariably start discovering that various things they do can disrupt the appearance, smell and content of their vaginal fluid. It’s certainly human nature to wonder if something has gone terribly wrong. Let’s pick up our Doctor-Couple conversation from earlier
Patient: Yep! I have this grayish/whitish discharge that only happens after sex. And sometimes it itches around there. And it burns when I pee! No rashes or that other stuff, though.
Doctor: Ok. Let’s examine you…

bv thrush

All humans have various microorganisms that normally reside inside us at relatively low levels; different microorganisms inhabit different part of the body. They’ve set up a delicate balance (like an ecosystem, if you will) that, once settled doesn’t disturb us (their hosts) at all. If external or internal circumstances disturb that balance such that one set of organisms is disproportionately affected, overgrowth of the other organisms may occur. Many of you will recognize this as happening when you get a ‘yeast’ infection. It’s also what occurs when you develop bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is the most common vaginal infection in the U.S. It’s more likely to be seen when you start having unprotected sex with a new partner, have multiple sex partners, are pregnant or douche (therefore, women who are not sexually active can have BV also). By the way, you don’t get BV from toilet seats or swimming pools.

bv causes

The question everyone always has is “What’s the role of sex, especially sperm, in it?”. That’s asked because BV is often noticed after unprotected sex that includes ejaculation. Here’s where you learn the difference between ‘sexually transmitted’ and ‘sexually associated’. It is unclear what role sex has in the development of BV, but common thoughts include alterations in the pH of the vaginal fluid based on interactions with sperm/semen. It is known that the pH of women become more alkaline (less acidic) after exposure to semen, and that environment produces compounds causing the ‘fishy smell’. Yes, that’s real.  We even have a real thing call a ‘whiff test’ as part of making the diagnosis.
The good news is BV is easily treated. The bad news is it needs to be treated, and it can recur even if it’s treated. Remember, it’s just an overgrowth syndrome.  There are complications to not getting BV treated, especially if you’re pregnant. This makes it especially important that medication be taken to completion, even though you may feel better prior to that. Male partners do not need to be treated.
So this couple gets ‘off the hook’, even though they may decide to start using condoms.  Next we will focus on the risks of various sexual activities. Stay tuned.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Syphilis Prevention, Treatment and the Tuskegee Experience

Introduction

tuskegeesyphilis4
Syphilis should be a word derived from something meaning horrible. In an earlier post, we reviewed the rather horrific progression of the symptoms of syphilis. An additionally horrible consideration is that treatment is so very easy once identified. Of course, that’s not the most horrific aspect of the disease. Read on.

Looking back retrospectively, advanced syphilis is especially disheartening because it is so easily treated and prevented. Prevention is as simple as always wearing condoms, being in a monogamous relationship with someone confirmed not to have it, checking your sexual partner prior to sex and not engaging in sex if any type of sore/ulcer is in the mouth, genitalia or anal region. Regarding treatment, syphilis once upon a time was quite the plague until penicillin was discovered; treating syphilis is how penicillin ‘made a name’ for itself. Treatment with penicillin easily kills syphilis but unfortunately does nothing for damage that has already occurred. However, as discussed in the post discussing the symptoms of syphilis, remember that treating syphilis at any point can prevent the most severe complications that lead to death. Which brings us to Tuskegee – and keep in mind this is Straight, No Chaser.

The Tuskegee Experiments

tuskegee

In the early 1930s, the US Public Health Service working with the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama began a study to evaluate the effectiveness of current treatments for syphilis, which at the time, were thought to be at least as bad as the disease. The study was conducted on 600 Black men, who were convinced to participate in the study with the promise of free medical exams, meals and money for burial, ‘if’ it was necessary.

The study was initially meant to last 6 months, but at some point a governmental decision was made to continue the study and observe the natural progression of syphilis until all subjects died of the disease, with a commitment obtained from the subjects that they would be autopsied ‘if’ they died. There were several problems with this decision.

  • None of the patients participated under informed consent. They believed they were being treated as opposed to being observed and having medicine withheld while they were being allowed to die. In other words, the subjects were not aware of the purpose of the study.
  • Penicillin was established as a true, rapidly effective treatment for syphilis and the standard of care by 1947. The study continued 25 years beyond this treatment option being available.
  • Efforts by concerned individuals failed to end the study for 5 years prior to a whistleblower going to the press in 1972. The study was ended in a day.

Aftermath

The aftermath of the study includes the following:

  • Reparations averaging a mere $15,000 per individual were given ($9M total) as well as a formal apology, delivered by President Clinton. Yep, the victims received the equivalent of $15,000 per person on average for 40 years of carrying syphilis 25 years after there was a known cure, after infecting wives and unborn children in several documented cases.
  • Strict requirements for protocols for human study (i.e. Institutional Review Boards) were implemented for the first time.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that many African-Americans remain distrustful of governmental public health efforts to this day; for many, this study continues to be the reason while vaccination isn’t optimally taken advantage of (e.g. HPV) and why organ donation rates are so relatively low in the African-American community. Even though this posture contributes to the adverse health outcomes that exist in the African-American community, it isn’t hard to see why the fear and distrust exists.

Let’s bring this full circle. When it comes to syphilis, prevention is best, and full treatment is available. At the very least, I certainly can say you’ve been warned. Folks have given their lives to make your warning possible. I welcome your questions and comments.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Life Begins (To End) at 40 (Unless It Doesn’t) – The Genital System

sexagingThe third part of this Straight, No Chaser series on aging is about your genital system after 40. There’s a lot here both for the ladies and the gentlemen, but everyone should want to know all the information provided on either sex. As before, I’m going to go through changes – challenges – solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.

And now to today’s post.
Prologue: Sex is good for your long-term genital and mental health. I can’t think of a better, more sexy application of the truism ‘knowledge is power’. Men, feel free to discuss this with your ladies. Ladies, I promise you I’m not being biased here (wink).
repro
Changes: Allow me to start with the most important point: sexuality is not truly an issue of aging as much as it is more an issue of education, psychological response and health. However some changes specific to the genital system do occur with aging. In men, the prostate may enlarge (does so in 50% of men at age 50), potentially causing frequent and urgent needs to urinate and difficultly holding urine. However, more changes occur in women than in men. In women, the uterus shrinks, and several changes occur in the vagina, resulting in decreased lubrication and elasticity being lost.
Challenges: The challenges here are interesting ones. Simple rules to better genital health – Women: Stay sexually active! Men: Be confident in your sexual stamina! It is important to understand that the changes that occur in the genital system are not as related to age as they are to one’s sense of sexuality. The physical changes in the genital system should be non-problematic, especially if sex has been occurring without long periods of abstinence.
Venus Challenges: On the female side, the physical changes all can be dealt with if the woman has maintained some regular level of sexual activity. Yes, genital responses to stimulation slow gradually in both men and women, but you can have normal sexual relations at any age, as long as you are healthy. If after the age of about 40, a woman abstains from intercourse for prolonged periods (such as 3 to 5 years) the ability to secrete lubricating fluids, and much of the elasticity of the vagina are permanently lost.
Aging-During-Menopause-07-722x406
Mars Challenges: On the male side, a particularly annoying challenge for some men with prostate enlargement is to avoid self-wetting. The even greater challenge is (not believing, but) ‘knowing’ your sexual prowess and stamina are still intact, particularly if dealing with an intimidating female partner (e.g. better conditioned, more adventurous or perhaps younger). For males, premature ejaculation and impotence are dramatically reduced in men when they become legitimately confident in their sexual skills set. Work on that! Women, feed your men confidence! It will come back to you!
Venus Solutions: Masturbation can effectively help to maintain female capabilities to provide lubrication and elasticity, especially if object insertion is included. Since most research shows that less than 50% of women practice object insertion during masturbation, these women who also abstain from intercourse lose some vaginal elasticity, even with regular masturbation. In the event that the woman has been sexually abstinent for a period of 3 to 5 years or more, the use of K-Y Jelly or some other non-alcoholic, non-petroleum lubricant specifically designed for compatibility with the chemistry of the vagina may sufficiently reduce discomfort in sexual intercourse.
Mars Solutions: Remember that most sexual problems are social/psychological problems, and they occur at all ages. Men: work on learning what’s necessary to give you confidence, and better performance will follow. For some it’s a certain partner, for others it’s a pill. Do not underestimate this point: if you’re otherwise healthy, that enhances your ability to perform sexually! It’s all about blood flow anyway.
Solutions Epilogue: The main solution to age-related issues of the genitalia are all within your reach (no pun intended): it’s all about activity, especially continued regular sexual activity, exercise, good nutrition and other healthy habits.
Post-script: Petroleum products such as baby oil and vaseline must never be put in or on the vagina, as they will upset the pH balance of the vagina, making it susceptible to yeast infections and other problems like BV (bacterial vaginosis).
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright, Sterling Initiatives, LLC. 2013-2015

Straight, No Chaser: When Sex Hurts Her – Vaginismus

Vaginismus

The human body is fascinating and mysterious in so many different ways. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. Not every medical condition has to be life threatening to have a powerful and detrimental impact on one’s life. Vaginismus is an example of that. It’s a condition in which women suffer involuntary contractions of the floor of the vaginal walls. These contractions can be so violent and incapacitating that it renders sex very painful and uncomfortable at best and physically impossible at worst. No, this is not esoterica. Many women suffer through this, not knowing what it is or ascribing the pain to ‘size’.

Here’s three things you need to know:

She’s not faking it. 

Vaginismus is horrible for the sufferer, as you’d imagine, and it’s a tremendous stress on relationships.  It is the number one cause of unconsummated marriages, and can be complete or situational.  It may be complete, impacting ability for a physician to complete a pelvic examination or for a woman to even place a tampon.  These contractions can be reflex occurrences such that the symptoms occur when presented with any effort to penetrate the vagina.  That said, the reflex is thought to be physiologically learned, and it has been demonstrated that it can be unlearned (Consider your immediate impulse to lift your arm when a fast object comes at you; one episode of vaginismus can prompt a lifetime of similar reactions during efforts at sex.).

vaginismus

Vaginismus can be cured.

It stands to reason that in the many cases in which vaginismus is a learned reflex, the reflex can be overcome.  Muscle training and control are the keys to overcoming vaginismus and is a process that can be accomplished over weeks to months.  The good news is developing this level of training and control can also have wonderful benefits for couples that do get past the problem.  Many women are familiar with Kegel exercises from prenatal classes.  Application of these in the correct manner (with systematic progression until penetration is possible) provides success in approximately 90% of patients.  If you require details, feel free to ask, or discuss this with your physician.

Vaginismus requires patience (and flexibility) to overcome.

Healthy sex lives are enjoyed by many couples without penetration.  This is an important frame of mind to have, less the additional stress can hinder treatment and torpedo the relationship.  It may seem like a lot to ask for some, but believe me, many couple maintain happy relationships in the midst of this, either during treatment or throughout a lifetime of suffering through it.  Taking this mindset into the period during which treatment is ongoing can lead to a very happy outcome once the vaginismus has been overcome.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC

Straight, No Chaser: Bacterial Vaginosis – No, That's Not a STD

BV1

I try to give you straight talk but never crudely. As I’ve discussed conditions involving the genitalia, I’ve been mindful of the reality that large numbers of you have been affected by sexual transmitted diseases/infections (aka STDs/STIs), and I will always respectful of that consideration. That doesn’t mean I’m sugar-coating your information, it just means I am aware that you’re suffering and concerned by different scenarios.

bv anyone

One of those is bacterial vaginosis. There is an age after which women invariably start discovering that various things they do can disrupt the appearance, smell and content of their vaginal fluid. It’s certainly human nature to wonder if something has gone terribly wrong. Let’s pick up our Doctor-Couple conversation from earlier
Patient: Yep! I have this grayish/whitish discharge that only happens after sex. And sometimes it itches around there. And it burns when I pee! No rashes or that other stuff, though.
Doctor: Ok. Let’s examine you…

bv thrush

All humans have various microorganisms that normally reside inside us at relatively low levels; different microorganisms inhabit different part of the body. They’ve set up a delicate balance (like an ecosystem, if you will) that, once settled doesn’t disturb us (their hosts) at all. If external or internal circumstances disturb that balance such that one set of organisms is disproportionately affected, overgrowth of the other organisms may occur. Many of you will recognize this as happening when you get a ‘yeast’ infection. It’s also what occurs when you develop bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is the most common vaginal infection in the U.S. It’s more likely to be seen when you start having unprotected sex with a new partner, have multiple sex partners, are pregnant or douche (therefore, women who are not sexually active can have BV also). By the way, you don’t get BV from toilet seats or swimming pools.

bv causes

The question everyone always has is “What’s the role of sex, especially sperm, in it?”. That’s asked because BV is often noticed after unprotected sex that includes ejaculation. Here’s where you learn the difference between ‘sexually transmitted’ and ‘sexually associated’. It is unclear what role sex has in the development of BV, but common thoughts include alterations in the pH of the vaginal fluid based on interactions with sperm/semen. It is known that the pH of women become more alkaline (less acidic) after exposure to semen, and that environment produces compounds causing the ‘fishy smell’. Yes, that’s real.  We even have a real thing call a ‘whiff test’ as part of making the diagnosis.
The good news is BV is easily treated. The bad news is it needs to be treated, and it can recur even if it’s treated. Remember, it’s just an overgrowth syndrome.  There are complications to not getting BV treated, especially if you’re pregnant. This makes it especially important that medication be taken to completion, even though you may feel better prior to that. Male partners do not need to be treated.
So this couple gets ‘off the hook’, even though they may decide to start using condoms.  Next we will focus on the risks of various sexual activities. Stay tuned.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA). Enjoy some of our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Syphilis Prevention, Treatment and the Tuskegee Experience

tuskegee syphilis4
Syphilis should be a word derived from something meaning horrible. In an earlier post, we reviewed the rather horrific progression of the symptoms of syphilis. An additionally horrible consideration is that treatment is so very easy once identified. Of course, that’s not the most horrific aspect of the disease. Read on.
Looking back retrospectively, advanced syphilis is especially disheartening because it is so easily treated and prevented. Prevention is as simple as always wearing condoms, being in a monogamous relationship with someone confirmed not to have it, checking your sexual partner prior to sex and not engaging in sex if any type of sore/ulcer is in the mouth, genitalia or anal region. Regarding treatment, syphilis once upon a time was quite the plague until penicillin was discovered; treating syphilis is how penicillin ‘made a name’ for itself. Treatment with penicillin easily kills syphilis but unfortunately does nothing for damage that has already occurred. However, as discussed in the post discussing the symptoms of syphilis, remember that treating syphilis at any point can prevent the most severe complications that lead to death. Which brings us to Tuskegee – and keep in mind this is Straight, No Chaser.
In the early 1930s, the US Public Health Service working with the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama began a study to evaluate the effectiveness of current treatments for syphilis, which at the time, were thought to be at least as bad as the disease. The study was conducted on 600 Black men, who were convinced to participate in the study with the promise of free medical exams, meals and money for burial, ‘if’ it was necessary.
The study was initially meant to last 6 months, but at some point a governmental decision was made to continue the study and observe the natural progression of syphilis until all subjects died of the disease, with a commitment obtained from the subjects that they would be autopsied ‘if’ they died. There were several problems with this decision.

  • None of the patients participated under informed consent. They believed they were being treated as opposed to being observed and having medicine withheld while they were being allowed to die. In other words, the subjects were not aware of the purpose of the study.
  • Penicillin was established as a true, rapidly effective treatment for syphilis and the standard of care by 1947. The study continued 25 years beyond this treatment option being available.
  • Efforts by concerned individuals failed to end the study for 5 years prior to a whistleblower going to the press in 1972. The study was ended in a day.

The aftermath of the study includes the following:

  • Reparations averaging a mere $15,000 per individual were given ($9M total) as well as a formal apology, delivered by President Clinton. Yep, the victims received the equivalent of $15,000 per person on average for 40 years of carrying syphilis 25 years after there was a known cure, after infecting wives and unborn children in several documented cases.
  • Strict requirements for protocols for human study (i.e. Institutional Review Boards) were implemented for the first time.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that many African-Americans remain distrustful of governmental public health efforts to this day; for many, this study continues to be the reason while vaccination isn’t optimally taken advantage of (e.g. HPV) and why organ donation rates are so relatively low in the African-American community. Even though this posture contributes to the adverse health outcomes that exist in the African-American community, it isn’t hard to see why the fear and distrust exists.
Let’s bring this full circle. When it comes to syphilis, prevention is best, and full treatment is available. At the very least, I certainly can say you’ve been warned. Folks have given their lives to make your warning possible. I welcome your questions and comments.
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Bacterial Vaginosis – No, That's Not an STD

BV1 BV

I try to give you straight talk but never crudely. Therefore as I wade into conditions involving the genitalia, I’ll be sure to respect various sensitivities. That doesn’t mean I’m sugar-coating your information, it just means I am aware that you’re suffering and concerned by different scenarios.
One of those is bacterial vaginosis. There is an age after which women invariably start discovering that various things they do can disrupt the appearance, smell and content of their vaginal fluid. It’s certainly human nature to wonder if something has gone terribly wrong. Let’s pick up our Doctor-Couple conversation from earlier…
Patient: Yep! I have this grayish/whitish discharge that only happens after sex. And sometimes it itches around there. And it burns when I pee! No rashes or that other stuff, though.
Doctor: Ok. Let’s examine you…
All humans have various microorganisms that normally reside inside us at relatively low levels; different microorganisms inhabit different part of the body. They’ve set up a delicate balance (like an ecosystem, if you will) that, once settled doesn’t disturb us (their hosts) at all. If external or internal circumstances disturb that balance such that one set of organisms is disproportionately affected, overgrowth of the other organisms may occur. Many of you will recognize this as happening when you get a ‘yeast’ infection. It’s also what occurs when you develop bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is the most common vaginal infection in the U.S. It’s more likely to be seen when you start having unprotected sex with a new partner, have multiple sex partners, are pregnant or douche (therefore, women who are not sexually active can have BV also). By the way, you don’t get BV from toilet seats or swimming pools.
The question everyone always has is “What’s the role of sex, especially sperm, in it?”. That’s asked because BV is often noticed after unprotected sex that includes ejaculation. Here’s where you learn the difference between ‘sexually transmitted’ and ‘sexually associated’. It is unclear what role sex has in the development of BV, but common thoughts include alterations in the pH of the vaginal fluid based on interactions with sperm/semen. It is known that the pH of women become more alkaline (less acidic) after exposure to semen, and that environment produces compounds causing the ‘fishy smell’. Yes, that’s real.  We even have a real thing call a ‘whiff test’ as part of making the diagnosis.
The good news is BV is easily treated. The bad news is it needs to be treated, and it can recur even if it’s treated. Remember, it’s just an overgrowth syndrome.  There are complications to not getting BV treated, especially if you’re pregnant. This makes it especially important that medication be taken to completion, even though you may feel better prior to that. Male partners do not need to be treated.
So this couple gets ‘off the hook’, even though they may decide to start using condoms.  Unfortunately, some of the next sets of couples aren’t so lucky.
I welcome any questions or comments.

Straight, No Chaser: The Doctor/Patient Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Talk

stdstud STD1in25
As an emergency physician, my first consideration is to eliminate life threats.  Along the way, I cure disease and provide a ton of information.  With all of these efforts, I provide a heavy dose of tough love and straight talk meant to empower (and hopefully never belittle).  This is heavy on my mind because this week we’ll be discussing sex – not the pleasant aspects, but those instances when something has gone wrong as a result of sex.
I’ve been on the receiving end of hundreds (more likely thousands) of couples coming in, usually one dragging the other by the ear, attempting to determine if “something’s going on”, and yes, more than a few relationships have left the emergency room dissolved after such conversations.  I would like to have the beginning of such a conversation with you much in the way that I might have with one of these couples.  This is a very appropriate prelude to a conversation about sexuality transmitted infections (aka STIs aka STDs).
Patient: I have a foul smell coming from my vagina.  I know he’s doing something!
Doctor: Can you tell me what it smells like?  Is there any vaginal discharge, rash or other lesions that you’re seeing?
Male partner (who would have been better off saying nothing): It smells like fish!
Patient (after shooting eye lasers at her partner): I am not having sex with anyone but him, so I know he did something!
Male partner: Doc, I’m not doing anything.  She’s the only one I’m with, and I don’t have any symptoms.
Doctor: So each of you only has each other as a partner?
Couple: <nods yes>
Doctor: Would you bet your lives on it?
Couple: <Stunned silence>
Doctor: Well that’s exactly what you’re doing every time you’re having unprotected sex.  Now about that discharge…
This upcoming week we are going to address 5 of the 6 most common and/or most important STIs out there for you to know about.

Chlamydia

Gonorrhea

Syphilis

Herpes

HIV

Not talking about them, not protecting yourself from them, and not testing yourself for them is truly believing that ignorance is bliss.  In this case, what you don’t know can kill you.  No matter what you think about how ‘good’ it is, it’s not worth risking your life over.  Also, as an additional conversation, I’ll discuss Bacterial Vaginosis.
While you’re waiting for the next post, go back and reread the other of the 6: this post on ‘The Sexually Transmitted Cancer’.  It definitely should be considered requiring reading for everyone who is sexually active or about to become active, and I would have addressed it first had I not already covered it.  Might I suggest you cover it as well?
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Life Begins (To End) at 40 (Unless It Doesn’t) – The Genital System

repro
The third part of this series is about your genital system after 40. There’s a lot here both for the ladies and the gentlemen, but  everyone should want to know all the information provided. As before, I’m going to go through changes – challenges – solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.
Prologue: Sex is good for your long-term genital and mental health. I can’t think of a better, more sexy application of the truism ‘knowledge is power’. Men, feel free to discuss this with your ladies. Ladies, I promise you I’m not being biased here (wink).
Changes: Allow me to start with the most important point: sexuality is not truly an issue of aging as much as it is more an issue of education, psychological response and health. However some changes specific to the genital system do occur with aging. In men, the prostate may enlarge (does so in 50% of men at age 50), potentially causing frequent and urgent needs to urinate and difficultly holding urine. However, more changes occur in women than in men. In women, the uterus shrinks, and several changes occur in the vagina, resulting in decreased lubrication and elasticity being lost.
Challenges: The challenges here are interesting ones. Simple rules to better genital health – Women: Stay sexually active! Men: Be confident in your sexual stamina! It is important to understand that the changes that occur in the genital system are not as related to age as they are to one’s sense of sexuality. The physical changes in the genital system should be non-problematic, especially if sex has been occurring without long periods of abstinence.
Venus Challenges: On the female side, the physical changes all can be dealt with if the woman has maintained some regular level of sexual activity. Yes, genital responses to stimulation slow gradually in both men and women, but you can have normal sexual relations at any age, as long as you are healthy. If after the age of about 40, a woman abstains from intercourse for prolonged periods (such as 3 to 5 years) the ability to secrete lubricating fluids, and much of the elasticity of the vagina are permanently lost.
Mars Challenges: On the male side, a particularly annoying challenge for some men with prostate enlargement is to avoid self-wetting. The even greater challenge is (not believing, but) ‘knowing’ your sexual prowess and stamina are still intact, particularly if dealing with an intimidating female partner (e.g. better conditioned, more adventurous or perhaps younger). For males, premature ejaculation and impotence are dramatically reduced in men when they become legitimately confident in their sexual skills set. Work on that! Women, feed your men confidence! It will come back to you!
Venus Solutions: Masturbation can effectively help to maintain female capabilities to provide lubrication and elasticity, especially if object insertion is included. Since most research shows that less than 50% of women practice object insertion during masturbation, these women who also abstain from intercourse lose some vaginal elasticity, even with regular masturbation. In the event that the woman has been sexually abstinent for a period of 3 to 5 years or more, the use of K-Y Jelly or some other non-alcoholic, non-petroleum lubricant specifically designed for compatibility with the chemistry of the vagina may sufficiently reduce discomfort in sexual intercourse.
Mars Solutions: Remember that most sexual problems are social/psychological problems, and they occur at all ages. Men: work on learning what’s necessary to give you confidence, and better performance will follow. For some it’s a certain partner, for others it’s a pill. Do not underestimate this point: if you’re otherwise healthy, that enhances your ability to perform sexually! It’s all about blood flow anyway.
Solutions Epilogue: The main solution to age-related issues of the genitalia are all within your reach (no pun intended): it’s all about activity, especially continued regular sexual activity, exercise, good nutrition and other healthy habits.
Post-script: Petroleum products such as baby oil and vaseline must never be put in or on the vagina, as they will upset the pH balance of the vagina, making it susceptible to yeast infections and other problems like BV (bacterial vaginosis).
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Straight, No Chaser: When Sex Hurts Her – Vaginismus

vaginismus

The human body is fascinating and mysterious in so many different ways. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. Not every medical condition has to be life threatening to have a powerful and detrimental impact on one’s life. Vaginismus is an example of that. It’s a condition in which women suffer involuntary contractions of the floor of the vaginal walls. These contractions can be so violent and incapacitating that it renders sex very painful and uncomfortable at best and physically impossible at worst. No, this is not esoterica. Many women suffer through this, not knowing what it is or ascribing the pain to ‘size’.

Here’s three things you need to know:

She’s not faking it. 

Vaginismus is horrible for the sufferer, as you’d imagine, and it’s a tremendous stress on relationships.  It is the number one cause of unconsummated marriages, and can be complete or situational.  It may be complete, impacting ability for a physician to complete a pelvic examination or for a woman to even place a tampon.  These contractions can be reflex occurrences such that the symptoms occur when presented with any effort to penetrate the vagina.  That said, the reflex is thought to be physiologically learned, and it has been demonstrated that it can be unlearned (Consider your immediate impulse to lift your arm when a fast object comes at you; one episode of vaginismus can prompt a lifetime of similar reactions during efforts at sex.).

Vaginismus can be cured.

It stands to reason that in the many cases in which vaginismus is a learned reflex, the reflex can be overcome.  Muscle training and control are the keys to overcoming vaginismus and is a process that can be accomplished over weeks to months.  The good news is developing this level of training and control can also have wonderful benefits for couples that do get past the problem.  Many women are familiar with Kegel exercises from prenatal classes.  Application of these in the correct manner (with systematic progression until penetration is possible) provides success in approximately 90% of patients.  If you require details, feel free to ask, or discuss this with your physician.

Vaginismus requires patience (and flexibility) to overcome.

Healthy sex lives are enjoyed by many couples without penetration.  This is an important frame of mind to have, less the additional stress can hinder treatment and torpedo the relationship.  It may seem like a lot to ask for some, but believe me, many couple maintain happy relationships in the midst of this, either during treatment or throughout a lifetime of suffering through it.  Taking this mindset into the period during which treatment is ongoing can lead to a very happy outcome once the vaginismus has been overcome.
I welcome your questions or comments.
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