A New Step Towards Contraception for Men

The responsibility for family planning routinely falls to women, and contraception is not accessible to an estimated 214 million women in developing countries.

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Reproductive Rights, abortion, women, birth control
Newer Contraception Tries to Engage Men. VOA

Newer birth control for men is beginning to fill the gap between the traditional condoms and sterilization. One new technology involves inserting a hypodermic needle into the scrotum. It is said to decrease libido.

For men, contraception had remained fairly stagnant for the past century, primarily limited to condoms (85 percent effective when used correctly) and vasectomy, which is usually permanent. New methods are trying to move beyond centuries-old contraception applications, and some younger men say they are enthusiastic about the prospects.

But they want them to be safe.

“Contraceptives are necessary regardless of which partner is using them,” said Shane Sullivan, a senior at Colgate University in New York. But, “I’m adverse to solutions that may induce side effects.”

But as with contraception for women, methods free of side effects are hard to come by.

Nestorone-Testosterone is a hormonal birth control gel for men that’s been in the making for more than a decade. The gel is applied to the arms and shoulders every day and works to shut down hormones responsible for sperm production. But because it drops testosterone levels, reported side effects include a low libido or problems with ejaculation.

Contraception
Contraceptive pills. Wikipedia

 

Meanwhile, scientists at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland have developed a daily birth control pill called DMAU. It lowers testosterone and sperm production, which decreases the likelihood of pregnancy, according to a study by the University of Washington Medical Center and at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California.

All participants who tried DMAU noted some weight gain and a decrease of high-density lipoproteins (HDL, “good” cholesterol responsible for healthy cardiovascular functioning).

“Despite having low levels of circulating testosterone, very few subjects reported symptoms consistent with testosterone deficiency or excess,” said the study’s senior investigator, professor of medicine Stephanie Page at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“DMAU is a major step forward in the development of a once-daily ‘male pill,’” Page said. “Many men say they would prefer a daily pill as a reversible contraceptive, rather than long-acting injections or topical gels, which are also in development.”

Contraceptives such as Vasalgel block the vas deferens, or the tubes through which sperm travel, with the injection of a gel into the scrotum. The Indian developer of Vasalgel licensed it to non-profit company Parsemus Foundation in the U.S., which focuses its development on innovative but neglected pharmaceutical advances.

Contraception
DMAU is a major step forward in the development of a once-daily ‘male pill

 

Vasalgel can last a few months to a few years. It has shown minimal adverse impacts and the developer calls it the “IUD for men” because it is non-hormonal.

Robert McLachlan, professor of men’s health at Monash University in Melbourne, found another injectable option for men. McLachlan designed an intramuscular shot delivered in the buttocks, increasing testosterone, which greatly reduces sperm production.

The most common side effects for the injectable hormonal contraceptive included acne, injection site pain, mood disorders, and an increased libido.

In a survey conducted with 134 young adults aged 18-27, of which 61 were male, their average likelihood of supporting male contraceptives was 8.6 on a scale from 1 to 10, (1 being the least likely and 10 being the most like to support.) Of all the respondents, 29 percent were quick to note that hormonal contraceptives for women already include the side effects that some of the newer drugs would present for men.

Brennan Sullivan, a 24-year-old research assistant from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (JHMI) noted the impact a male-dominated medical field has on women. He emphasized that “male contraceptives should not be seen as equivalent to female birth control,” and explained how many scientists have not considered these biological differences between men and women when developing medications.

Ahead of Food and Drug Administration approval for oral contraceptives for women in 1960, couples relied on withdrawal and condoms to prevent pregnancy. Soon, women on the early forms of the Pill began to complain of side effects that included hormone imbalance, weight gain, acne, and mood changes because of high estrogen levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), nearly 30 percent of users stopped oral contraceptives, and dosage was modified to balance contraception with user tolerance.

Contraception
For men, contraception had remained fairly stagnant for the past century, Wikimedia commons

 

Despite successful findings and trials, the pharmaceutical industry thinks there is a relatively small market for male contraceptives, so it may be a while before these drugs actually hit the shelves. McLachlan noted the industry was “involved in this research until about five years ago and both the big companies that were involved — one pulled out [of research] about a decade ago.”

“Seeing as they’re the same side effects as most female birth control options, it’s not too bad,” said Pavan Devraj, a sophomore at the University of Georgia.

Jameson Carter, a research assistant at the Library of Congress, also expressed support.

“I think this stuff has to start somewhere. I understand it won’t be as convenient as just using a condom, given the side effects. I’d try it.”

Some men see birth control as an opportunity to be equally accountable for contraception.

“Men should absolutely engage in the same difficult choices that women do if they choose to engage in sexual activity,” said Mishka Naiker, 22 and a recent graduate from the University of Alabama. “Women are biologically more responsible for the existence and welfare of a child, even though the creation of a fetus takes both a man and a woman. That is the only time the responsibility is honestly 50/50.”

Contraception
Male contraceptives proved safe and effective.

Wazir Hossain, a 24-year-old recent graduate from the University of Georgia, agrees and says it’s great for men to “have some form of control over the outcome of a situation and hold themselves accountable.”

Computer programmer Kaden Weaver, 23, expressed concerned about potential side effects.

Also Read: Ovarian Caner Risks Cut in Half With A New Birth Control Pill: Study

“I am fully supportive of male contraceptive options similar to birth control, but… I feel as though things with these side effects don’t belong in the human body. ”

That attitude is not embraced in all parts of the world. The responsibility for family planning routinely falls to women, and contraception is not accessible to an estimated 214 million women in developing countries, according to a report by the Guttmacher Institute. (VOA)

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Oil Pulling: An Ayurvedic Treatment to Boost Immunity

Oil pulling is an ancient treatment dateing back to more than 3,000 years

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Oil pulling
Oil pulling can boost your Immunity. Pixabay

Oil pulling is regarded as an ancient Ayurveda treatment that dates back to more than 3,000 years.

Considered as a detoxification therapy, it is done by taking a spoonful of cold pressed virgin oil (preferably coconut oil) and swishing it in your mouth for about 5 minutes, similar to using a mouthwash. The purpose of oil pulling is to swish the oil around in your mouth, between the teeth to get rid of bacteria in the mouth, spit it out and immediately rinse with some warm water.

Nutritionist Sheryl Salis shares how oil pulling that can help improve your immunity, uses of virgin coconut oil and the method of oil pulling:

Oil pulling is an alternative health practice gaining traction in recent times not only for oral health but also as an immunity boosting measure. As the mouth is a home to millions of microbes including bacteria, the oil pulling process helps get rid of these bacteria through swishing oil in the mouth and in-between the teeth. Swishing the oil for a prolonged period cleanses the mouth and decreases the bacterial load. Not only does this promote oral hygiene, this technique aids in overall health and well-being.

hand-sanitize
Other than basic precautions like sanitizing and washing hands, immunty is the key factor to protect yourself from COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay

With the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, it is recommended to build and maintain a strong immune system to help combat the risk of being infected. While external precautionary measures like sanitizing and washing hands are essential, maintaining basic hygiene measures and eating healthy to build one’s immunity is of utmost importance.

Using virgin coconut oil to build immunity

Cold pressed virgin coconut oil is a superfood recommended for its myriad health benefits; it is a rich source of naturally occurring Lauric acid and contains Vitamin E which helps to improve body’s immunity. The medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) that contain lauric acid and caprylic acid strengthens the immune system and has anti-viral properties. Therefore, Adding 2 spoons of virgin coconut oil to the diet every day can help improve the immunity and maintain a healthy, holistic lifestyle.

In most Indian household’s, virgin coconut oil is a staple for consumption and beauty practices and is slowly making its way in the mainstream wellness community for oil pulling. Known for its immune boosting properties, virgin coconut oil can be introduced as an effective technique into your heath regime.

Oil Pulling
Virgin coconut oil is a staple for consumption and beauty practices. Pixabay

How to do it?

eStart by swishing it in your mouth on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning

Also Read: Ace Learning From Home During Lockdown

eTake about 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil in the mouth and swish it for about 3-5 minutes.

eDiscard the oil by spitting it out. Do not swallow the oil as you will ingest the toxins with it as well

eRinse the mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as usual

eRepeat the process 3-4 times a week. (IANS)

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Covid-19 to Cause Lasting Physical and Mental Health Consequences Worldwide

Researchers warn that the pandemic is likely to cause profound health issues globally

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covid-19 consequences
Covid-19 pandemic is likely to cause major physical and mental health consequences on people all over the world. WIkimedia Commons

The coronavirus pandemic’s life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for several people, warn researchers.

For the findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research team studied low-income women from New Orleans in the US, who were surveyed the year prior to, and at intervals after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

The women reported a range of traumatic experiences during Katrina, many of which are similar to those now occurring during the pandemic, including bereavement, lack of access to medical care and scarcity of medications.

Hurricane Katrina consequences
Hurricane Katrina which struck in 2005 had major consequences and a range of traumatic experiences as reported by the survivors, many of which are similar to those now occurring during the pandemic. Wikimedia Commons

The research showed that at one, four and 12 years after the hurricane, the exposures most strongly associated with post-traumatic stress, psychological distress, general health and physical health symptoms were those most common to the current pandemic.

The pandemic continues to cause widespread death and sickness, as well as job loss and severe economic hardship for many.

“This pandemic is likely to have profound short- and long-term consequences for physical and mental health,” said study researcher Sarah Lowe, Assistant Professor at Yale University in the US.

“These impacts are likely to be even larger than what we have seen in previous disasters like Hurricane Katrina, given the distinctive qualities of the pandemic as a disaster,” Lowe added.

The study did not include other exposures that are taking place during the pandemic, such as financial losses and unemployment, which are also likely to have additional and significant impacts on public health.

The results suggest that, in addition to promoting actions to reduce COVID-19 transmission and addressing longstanding health disparities contributing to COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, public health measures should also prevent and mitigate exposures that will have indirect effects on mental and physical health.

consequences like unemployment
Many other consequences like unemployment are also likely take place will have additional and significant impacts on public health. Pixabay

This includes preventing lapses in medical care and medication access. Additionally, another key exposure in the study was fear for one’s own safety and the safety of others.

As such, public health messaging should provide tips for managing anxiety and fear, in addition to promoting efforts to increase safety from COVID-19 transmission.

Also Read: Will announce resumption of more trains to take India towards normalcy: Railway Minister

“Supplemental health services should be provided to those who are bereaved or are experiencing clinically significant fear and anxiety-related the pandemic,” Lowe said.

“This study represents a step toward disentangling the health consequences of disasters, while also recognising more longstanding factors that contribute to health disparities,” she wrote.

Recently, another study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, revealed that people taken ill by coronavirus infections may experience psychiatric problems while hospitalised and potentially after they recover. (IANS)

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Keep Your Nutrition and Overall Health Goals Spot On During Lockdown

Here's how you can meet your health goals while at home

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nutrition
Keeping a check on nutrition can be tough during lockdown. Pixabay

By Aditi Roy

“Work from Home” during quarantine has changed our lifestyles; keeping a check on nutrition can be tough when our home is our office. A few Diet Tips can be helpful during this time.

Unlike at the office, here we have plenty of packed food in the refrigerator all to ourself and enough time to graze. We could be working long hours without having eaten a thing and then accidentally reaching out for an entire packet of chips.

However, this can not only sabotage immunity but also distort our waistline. While we have plenty of time to focus on our hobbies and going by the trend, for most of us it seems to be cooking, baking and filling our stomach with easy & unhealthy food. However, it is also important to break these habits and switch to something healthier.

Let’s see how a small switch can bring us back on track? Here are some tips shared by By Kimaye Health- INI Farms to keep your nutrition and overall health goals spot on.

refrigerator-nutrition
We have plenty of packed food in the refrigerator all to ourself during the lockdown. pixabay

Ditch the noodles

Did you skip breakfast again to spend hours on a project? Well, in that case, the onset of laziness will make you reach for a pack of instant noodles. But considering health as a priority, homemade oatmeal porridge seems to be a better option. Top it with a dollop of peanut butter and banana slices and voila! A great meal to start your day with!

Workout while you WFH

Making time to workout while you WFH? This new work trend may keep you glued to your screen and your couch. Taking breaks at regular intervals to ease off some stress while keeping yourself off the couch — walk around the house, do 50 skips or squats and you are good to go.

Plan your meals

Plan your meals throughout the day just like you plan your day at work. Set aside some time towards the end of the day to plan for the next day. This will not just boost your productivity but will keep you from being a hungry mess at 5 in the evening and draw lines of discipline.

bottles-nutrition
You should plan your meals a day prior. Pixabay

Read More: Here’s How You Can Tackle Obesity And Stay Healthy During Lockdown

Cut out on caffeine

Are you reaching out for a cup of tea or coffee during odd hours? Here’s a wakeup call — start your day with a fresh pomegranate juice or fresh fruit. This will ensure a healthy sleep pattern and will keep your skin glowing.

Still binge-watching?

Binge-watching and couch potato go hand in hand. With screen times shooting up for as long as 10 hours, it is essential to give yourself a break from excessive screen time. Begin with a minimum of 30 minutes, it’s time to focus on your inner-self and cut out the external noises. (IANS)