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Fact or Myth: Does Underwear Really Impact Sexual Health?

Posted Sunday 18 August 2019 15:28 by in Erectile Dysfunction by Johanna Galyen

sperm health

Infertility is most often thought of as a curse upon women; but as more studies are done, it is being found that men are struggling too.

One study estimates that nearly 72.4 million couples globally experience fertility problems.” Of these cases, “approximately 40–50% are due to “male factor” infertility and as many as 2% of all men will exhibit suboptimal sperm parameters.

One of the ways men struggle with infertility is caused by excessive heat. But it’s not just the heat of summer that affects men; scientists are starting to look at the myths and fabled wives’ tales surrounding the question of underwear – and whether choosing a specific type of underwear would help men improve their sexual health.

What is the Big Deal?

For a healthy and fertile male, there isn’t an issue. He can wear whichever one he would like. Unfortunately, for those who are struggling with fertility, the debate between boxers or briefs is not just an issue of comfort or support, but it is a specific concern for the health of their sperm.

Oxford Academic published a study looking at 656 men who were complaining of infertility. They found that “overall, more than 50 percent of the men said they usually wore boxers. These men had a 25 percent "higher sperm concentration," a 17 percent higher total sperm count, and 33 percent more swimming sperm than men who said they didn't usually wear boxers.”

Importantly, the greatest statistical difference in sperm quality was found between men who wore boxer shorts and men who wore jockeys or briefs.

In men, sperm are made within the testes. The testes, located within the scrotal sack, are located outside of the body — specifically away from the core heat of the body. Celia E. Dominguez, reproductive endocrinologist, Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine says, “In order for testes to produce sufficient quality and quantity of sperm, the temperature of testes must be lower than the core body temperature.”

Another issue is the sperm’s life cycle. The body is continuously making sperm, and each sperm lives around 10-11 weeks inside the testes. If they get too hot and become damaged in the early growth cycle, they will still remain damaged the length of their life. This means that a man cannot just switch to boxers when he wants to father a child; he must protect the sperm all the time.

The Way to Keep Cool

The main goal is to keep the testes cool, and they need to be away from the core heat of the body. The best underwear choice is the loose, boxer-style underwear. This allows more air to flow into the crotch area, which in turn, keeps the area cooler. Note: Some men like the boxer-brief style. This style of underwear is typically not loose enough for most men. Your underwear should allow the scrotal sack to hang freely. Of course, there are times when men would prefer there to be less testicular movement – when playing sport, for instance – but there should always be ample time made for hanging around, so to speak.

It’s not just underwear that is an issue; tight (or heavy) clothing or an occupation that requires a man to sit for long periods of time can create havoc for the sperm. Don’t dismiss the idea of tight clothing — we’re not just talking about workout gear or riding a bike too much. The wrong clothing can be in the form of dress slacks or even heavy pants that construction workers wear. While you can’t go to work naked, try to dress in looser and lighter clothing that will keep you cooler.

Lastly, avoid sitting in hot water. Summertime may not be as tempting for the extended use of a hot tub, but in the cooler months, a long soak in a hot tub or a hot baths will raise the core temperature of the testes and possibly damage the sperm.

Conclusion

For some men, it can be a fashion choice. But for those who are struggling with infertility, your underwear does have an impact on your sexual health. So remember, anything that makes or keeps the scrotal area too hot, can harm the viability of your sperm. As you keep cool during these hot summer months, remember to keep your sperm cool too.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4691969/

https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article-abstract/33/9/1749/5066758?

https://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/features/boxers-vs-briefs-increasing-sperm-count

https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-health/how-long-does-it-take-for-sperm-to-regenerate#takeaway

Tags: Men's Health Sexual Health

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What’s Stopping You From Losing Weight?

Posted Thursday 08 August 2019 10:38 by in Weight loss by Tim Deakin

weight loss pitfalls

Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of ill health and death in the UK. Worldwide, obesity rates have almost tripled since 1975, to the point where more than a third (39%) of adults aged 18 years and over are now overweight.[1]

In the UK alone, 29% of adults are classified as obese, and 20% of children aged 10-11 are also classified as obese.[2] What’s more, 62% of UK adults are classed as overweight.[3]

These are the kinds of numbers which show us just how important weight loss is. Despite often being thought of as an aesthetic pursuit, losing weight is an important health goal when it comes to shedding excess fat and enjoying an all-round healthier lifestyle. So why do so many of us finding losing weight so hard?

The common pitfalls of weight loss

Obesity is the UK’s biggest cause of cancer after smoking.[4] Just some of the health problems associated with obesity include hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease gastroesophageal reflux, degenerative arthritis, skin infections, sleep conditions and infertility.[5]

But there are causes, as well as consequences, of obesity which should be taken into account if you’re hoping to reach a healthier body weight.

The way you choose to tackle weight loss will be a huge factor in the success of your undertaking. While we can often be drawn in by crash diets offering instant results, the best way to achieve long-term health benefits from weight control is through regular exercise and a healthy mixed diet. Not seeing the results of your efforts instantly is one of the most common reasons why we give up on a promise to be healthier. We want to see a fast turnaround, but it’s important to remember that living healthily is a lifelong commitment, and results come with time.

Mental health is another key weight management factor which is often swept under the rug. Not only can conditions like depression and anxiety make weight gain more likely, but they can also make it harder to shed excess weight, due to a lack of motivation and focus. Research has found a strong link between obesity and mental health conditions like depression. In fact, one study by The University of Exeter, King’s College London and the University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute found that obese individuals had a 45% higher chance of having depression.[6] This relationship also works vice versa — those with depression have been found to be more likely of developing obesity.

Your support system, friends and lifestyle are all further factors which can either help or hinder weight management. Without people to rely on, weight loss can become a difficult undertaking. You should also make your environments supportive of your efforts, not detrimental to them. So make sure you remove any temptingly unhealthy food and drink items from your kitchen and work desk.

When tackled from the right perspective, weight loss can be both accessible and enjoyable

Exercise and diet are the twin pillars of successful weight loss, and both can be rewarding and even fun.

Cardio-focused exercises like running, swimming and cycling can help with weight loss, but it’s important not to get stuck in a rut with exercise. Changing things up or finding something you love enough to do regularly will help you stick to your goals and see them through. Similarly, it’s important to keep in mind that a healthy diet doesn’t have to be a boring or an unsatisfactory one. Educate yourself on a range of healthy meals so that you’re not eating the same things day in day out.

Simple lifestyle changes can make a big impact, such as weighing yourself regularly, taking the stairs instead of the lift or switching white bread and rice for wholegrain alternatives.[7] Remember, every little bit of effort helps.

Medications such as Mysimba, Saxenda and Xenical have been tried and tested for their safety and effectiveness, helping to make achieving a healthy bodyweight less of a chore. These weight loss medications are available here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our expert pharmacists using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] World Health Organisation. Obesity and overweight. 2017.

[2] NHS UK. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England. 2019.

[3] Cancer Research UK. Overweight and obesity statistics. 2019

[4] Cancer Research UK. Overweight and obesity statistics. 2019

[5] Royal College of Nursing. Obesity. 2019.

[6] Tyrrell, J. et al. Using genetics to understand the causal influence of higher BMI on depression. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2018.

[7] Stanford Healthcare. Obesity Prevention. 2019.

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Do You Know How to Prevent and Treat Traveller’s Diarrhoea?

Posted Monday 29 July 2019 23:25 by in Travellers Diarrhoea by Tim Deakin

food contamination

Traveller’s diarrhoea is one of the most common afflictions facing travellers, and is defined as passing three or more loose/watery bowel motions within 24 hours.[1] The condition affects as many as 20% of people travelling to high-risk destinations.[2]

But there are things you can do to reduce your chances of developing TD, and to ease the condition if you do fall victim to it.

Preventing Traveller’s Diarrhoea

High risk areas for TD include Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and many parts of Asia. Areas that carry an intermediate risk include southern Europe, Israel, South Africa and some Caribbean and Pacific Islands.[3]

When travelling to any of these areas, it’s important to take precautions in order to reduce your chances of developing TD.

Wash your hands

Washing your hands frequently is one of the simplest ways to stop the spread of germs and infection. Take the time to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Do this after using the bathroom and before and after eating.

Be careful what you eat and drink

Contaminated food and drink are a major factor in the spread of TD, so take care to stick to a safe diet and habits. This includes:

Eating food that is cooked and served hot

Eating fruit and vegetables you have washed and peeled yourself

Consuming only pasteurised dairy products

Avoiding food served at room temperature, as well as food from street venders and raw or undercooked meat or fish

Drinking bottled water that is sealed and avoiding tap water

This also relates to swimming, as you’re advised to take care not to ingest pool water while using the pool.[4]

Home Remedies for Traveller’s Diarrhoea

As well as producing frequent loose stools, TD can also lead to symptoms such as cramping, pain, nausea, temperature, weakness and general discomfort.[5]

Thankfully, there are ways to deal with the condition effectively, whether your TD is mild, moderate or severe.

Mild TD

Dehydration is one of the most dangerous aspects of any form of diarrhoea, so however severe your TD is, you should drink plenty of fluids. Consuming small quantities of easily digestible foods like rice and bananas can also help to aid gut recovery in those with TD.[6]

In milder cases, over the counter medication like Imodium may help.

Moderate TD

Again, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You can also use oral rehydration salts mixed with clean water in order to reduce the discomfort caused by your TD.

Again, over the counter medications may be helpful, but you may find prescribed treatment to be necessary.

Severe TD

Try to stay as hydrated as possible, but seek medical support if you can’t stomach fluids. Oral rehydration powders can be diluted into clean drinking water and are useful for addressing the electrolyte imbalances caused by severe TD. However, if oral rehydration powders aren’t available, a salt and sugar solution (six level teaspoons of sugar and one level teaspoon of salt to a litre of water) can be used.[7]

In more severe cases of TD, prescription anti-traveller’s diarrhoea medication can help to alleviate symptoms as quickly as possible.

Medication for Traveller’s Diarrhoea

In many cases of TD, medication can help to alleviate symptoms and reduce the discomfort associated with the condition. In fact, a short course of medication can help to reduce the duration of an upset stomach by as much as 50%, reducing the severity of the symptoms at the same time.[8]

Treatments like Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin are among the leading medications designed to treat cases of traveller’s diarrhoea. In fact, Public Health England recommends having azithromycin on stand-by when travelling to areas considered to carry high risks of TD.[9]

You can find safe and effective traveller’s diarrhoea medication right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any concerns about your health, don’t hesitate to contact our pharmacists by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] Fit For Travel. Traveller’s Diarrhoea. NHS UK. 2017

[2] Travel Health Pro. Traveller’s Diarrhoea. 2019

[3] National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Diarrhoea — prevention and advice for travellers. 2019

[4] World Health Organisation. Guidelines for safe recreational water environments: volume 2, swimming pools and similar environments. 2006

[5] Better Health Gov. Traveller’s diarrhoea. 2017

[6] DuPont, HL., Ericsson, CD., Farthing, MJG. et al. Expert review of the evidence base for self-therapy of traveller’s diarrhoea. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2009

[7] World Health Organisation. WHO position paper on Oral Rehydration Salts to reduce mortality from cholera. 2019

[8] British Medical Journal. Traveller’s diarrhoea. 2016

[9] National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, Public Health England. Summary of antimicrobial prescribing guidance — managing common infections. 2019

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Food for Thought: How Diet Impacts Erectile Dysfunction

Posted Wednesday 24 July 2019 19:38 by in Erectile Dysfunction by Tim Deakin

diet and erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual health problem, especially in men over 40. It’s simply defined by a chronic issue with achieving and maintaining an erection throughout sexual activity.[1]

Erectile problems are something most men will experience occasionally, whether due to worry, tiredness or relationship problems, but for some men the condition won’t go away.

We’re going to take a closer look at the relationship between diet and erectile dysfunction, exploring whether what you eat could make a difference to your symptoms.

What you drink matters more than what you eat

While food can have a part to play in erectile dysfunction, the clearest connection can be found between erectile dysfunction and what you drink. Or, more specifically, erectile dysfunction and alcohol.

Drinking excess amounts of alcohol has been shown to impact sexual health in many ways. For women, this might take the form of reduced lubrication or fewer orgasms, while for men it primarily increases the likelihood of erectile dysfunction.[2]

One 2007 study found that 61% of alcohol-dependent participants involved in the research reported sexual dysfunction, the most common form of which was erectile dysfunction, followed by a reduced sexual desire. In many patients, these two symptoms coexisted.[3]

Excess weight can affect your sexual health

What you eat can also play a part in erectile dysfunction, namely by looking at your diet overall. An unhealthy diet increases your risk of carrying excess weight, leading to conditions like obesity. This can make erectile dysfunction more likely.

A study from 2014 found that almost four out of five (79%) of men with erectile dysfunction possess a BMI of 25kg/m2 or greater. They also concluded that obesity leads to erectile dysfunction to a considerably greater extent than ageing.[4]

Erectile dysfunction is far more common in overweight and obese men than in healthy weight men. In fact, figures show that carrying excess weight can increase your chances of erectile dysfunction by between 30 and 90%.[5]

Can food help?

Although there is little scientific evidence to suggest that certain foods hold the power to alleviate and worsen symptoms of erectile dysfunction, the healthiness of your diet overall can definitely play a part.

Changing your dietary habits to be healthier, helping you lose excess weight, can help to improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction. In one Massachusetts study, eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and whole grains decreased the likelihood of erectile dysfunction appearing.[6]

One Italian study also found that men with erectile dysfunction who had a diet and exercise program included in their treatment were far more likely to see improvements in their symptoms. After two years, 30% of men in the diet and exercise group had corrected their erectile dysfunction, compared to just 6% in the other group.[7]

Medication is also key to successfully treating erectile dysfunction. Treatments like Viagra and Sildenafil are not only quick and easy to consume, but they’ve also been shown in clinical trials to improve blood flow to the penis, relieving symptoms of erectile dysfunction.[8]

Discover a range of safe and effective erectile dysfunction medication right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our pharmacists by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. Erectile dysfunction (impotence). 2017

[2] Drink Aware. Is alcohol ruining your sex life? 2016

[3] Arackal, B.S., Benegal, V. Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2007

[4] Skrypnik, D. Obesity — significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men. 2014

[5] Bupa. Male Obesity and Erectile Dysfunction. 2011.

[6] Healthbeat. 5 natural ways to overcome erectile dysfunction. Harvard Health Publishing. 2016

[7] Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Obesity: Unhealthy and unmanly. Harvard Health Publishing. 2011

[8] Moore, RA., Edwards, JE., McQuay, HJ. Sildenafil (Viagra) for male erectile dysfunction: a meta-analysis of clinical trial reports. BioMed Central. 2002.

Tags: Sildenafil Viagra Erectile Dysfunction Sexual Health

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Does Period Pain Become Worse When You’re Stressed?

Posted Wednesday 10 July 2019 22:18 by in Period Pain Medication by Tim Deakin

Period pain is something almost every woman is familiar with. Considered a normal part of the menstrual cycle, period pain is usually felt as uncomfortable muscle cramps in the stomach, often spreading to the back and the thighs. This pain can be intense and sharp, or dull and constant.[1]

According to Women’s Health Concern, more than 80% of women will experience some form of period-related discomfort at some point in their lives, and this pain can be severe enough to disrupt day-to-day life in around 5-10% of women.[2]

But can your emotional state impact your period, and does feeling stressed actually make your pain worse?

Do you experience more pain when you’re stressed during your period?

A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health back in 2010 found that stress could indeed lead to worse symptoms of period pain. Participants who said they felt stressed two weeks before starting their period were between twice and four times as likely to report severe period pain symptoms compared to women who reported no signs of stress.[3]

Researchers couldn’t pinpoint an exact reason for why this might be the case, though several theories were suggested by the team. These include that stress can alter ovarian hormones, or that the stress hormone cortisol may have a direct effect on period pain.[4]

Speaking to SELF, Dr Antonio Pizarro, MD, described how a lack of sleep and an increase in stress can cause hormone imbalances which could exacerbate pain, saying:

“If you don’t sleep enough, your body will release more of the stress hormone cortisol, which affects how your pituitary gland works. Your pituitary gland regulates hormones, so this can have a major effect on your cycle, leading to periods that don’t arrive when you’re expecting them to. Thanks to the imbalanced hormones, they may even be heavier or more painful than usual.”[5]

The relationship between stress and period pain goes both ways too. Studies have shown that when women are on their period, they are generally more prone to feelings of anxiety and stress. Menstruation leads to a number of hormonal changes, potentially leading to physical and emotional effects which contribute to anxiety. Fluctuations in hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone can impact appetite, digestion and energy, all of which can impact your mood.[6]

So while there are still questions regarding the link between stress and period pain, it’s clear that relaxation is an important part of making your period more manageable.

How to effectively deal with period pain

The NHS recommends several simple lifestyle changes which can help to alleviate the severity of your period pain. These include:

Exercising, such as gentle swimming, cycling or even walking

Using a heat pad or hot water bottle to ease the pain

Having a hot bath or shower to help you relax

Stopping smoking, as smoking is thought to increase the risk of pain

Lightly massaging your lower abdomen

Relaxation techniques such as yoga or Pilates[7]

Medication is also available to help effectively ease the pain you experience while on your period. Mefenamic acid works by reducing inflammation, therefore lowering pain levels.

Discover safe and effective period pain medication like mefenamic acid right here at Express Pharmacy. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact our team on 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. Period pain. 2016

[2] Women’s Health Concern. Period Pain. 2017

[3] Gollenburg, A.L. et al. Perceived Stress and Severity of Perimenstrual Symptoms: The BioCycle Study. Journal of Women’s Health. 2010

[4] Nauert, R. PhD. Stress Exacerbates Menstrual Symptoms. PsychCentral. 2019

[5] Barnes, Z. 8 Habits That Are Making Your Periods Even Worse. SELF. 2016

[6] Nillni, Y.I. et al. Anxiety Sensitivity, the Menstrual Cycle and Panic Disorder: A Putative Neuroendocrine and Psychological Interaction. Clinical Psychology Review. 2011

[7] NHS UK. Period pain. 2016

Tags: Period Pain

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