Erectile dysfunction

A 30-year-old woman in Kolkata has just discovered she is a man after doctors say she is suffering from a rare health condition.

For thirty years, she has lived a normal life with no complications, until recently, when doctors in Kolkata diagnosed her with a very rare condition that can be found in one out of 22,000 people. She was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer.

The 30-year-old woman, who is a resident of Bengal’s Birbhum and has been married for the last nine years, had visited the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Hospital in Kolkata with severe pain in lower the abdomen a couple of months ago. Dr. Anupam Dutta and Dr. Soumen Das conducted her medical tests and found her “true identity” during treatment. In the words of Dutta:

From her appearance, she is a woman, starting from her voice, developed breasts, normal external genitalia. However, the uterus and ovaries have been absent since birth. She has also never experienced menstruation,” Dr Dutta told PTI. We conducted clinical examinations, after she complained of abdominal pain, and found out she has testicles inside her body. A biopsy was conducted, following which she was diagnosed with testicular cancer, also called seminoma. As her testicles remained undeveloped inside the body, there was no secretion of testosterone. Her female hormones, on the other hand, gave the appearance of a woman.

When the doctor was asked about how the woman reacted to the news, he said:

The person has grown up to be a woman. She is married to a man for almost a decade. Currently, we are counselling the patient and her husband, advising them to continue living life as they have been.

The couple has also been trying to conceive to no avail.

It was also discovered that her 28-year-old sister, who underwent necessary tests following the revelation, was also diagnosed with “Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome”, a condition in which a person is genetically male but has all physical traits of a woman.

Also, The patient’s two maternal aunts have also been diagnosed with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome in the past. This has led the Oncologist to believe that the condition is most likely in the gene.

Currently, she is undergoing chemotherapy and her health condition is stable according to a report by NDTV.

late menopause
late menopause

Sexual problems are more common in postmenopausal women, which suggests that menopause can reduce libido.

The reduced sex drive is often caused by decreased estrogen levels, which can dampen arousal and result in sex being more painful.

In this article, we look at how menopause might affect someone’s sex drive, along with what can be done to improve libido.

Menopause and libido

What is menopause?

Menopause refers to when a woman stops having her period permanently, but it can affect more than a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Menopause can cause physical and emotional changes that impact a woman’s life, including her sex life.

Some symptoms and side effects associated with menopause include:

  • anxiety
  • bladder control issues
  • decreased sex drive and desire (libido)
  • depression
  • difficulty sleeping
  • thinning hair
  • weight gain

Each of these effects can impact a woman’s quality of life and relationship with her partner.

What is libido?

Libido refers to sexual interest and sexual enjoyment.

Some women going through menopause report reduced libido, but the causes vary from person to person.

According to one review, the reported rates of sexual problems in postmenopausal women are between 68 and 86.5 percent.

This range is much higher than in all women in general, which is estimated to be between 25 and 63 percent.

Why does menopause affect libido?

Decreased estrogen levels can result in reduced blood flow to the vagina, which can cause the tissues of the vagina and labia to become thinner. If this happens, they become less sensitive to sexual stimulation.

Decreased blood flow also affects vaginal lubrication and overall arousal. As a result, a woman may not enjoy sex as much and may have difficulty achieving orgasm. Sex may be uncomfortable or even painful.

Fluctuating hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause can also affect a woman’s mental health, which in turn, may cause a decrease in her libido.

Stress can also impact a woman’s libido, as she may be juggling a job, parenting, and be caring for aging parents. The changes in hormone levels a woman may experience during menopause may make her irritable or depressed, so dealing with everyday stress may feel more difficult.

According to an article published in the Journal of Women’s Health, women who have more significant side effects associated with menopause are more likely to report lower libido levels.

Examples of these side effects include hot flashes, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and fatigue.

Other factors that make a woman going through menopause more likely to experience a reduced libido include:

  • history of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or depression
  • history of smoking
  • engaging in low levels of physical activity

A woman should talk to her doctor about how these conditions could affect her sex drive.

Tips for improving libido

There are several steps a woman can take to increase her libido. These include medical treatments, lifestyle changes, and home remedies.

Medical treatments

middle aged couple enjoying a bike ride
Spending time together on shared hobbies, exercising, and planned dates will help increase a couple’s intamacy.

If a woman experiences changes to her vaginal tissue, such as thinning and dryness, she may wish to consider estrogen therapy.

Prescription estrogen can be applied directly to the vagina in the form of creams, pills, or vaginal rings. These usually contain lower doses of estrogen than regular birth control pills.

Some women may wish to take estrogen pills that contain higher levels of hormones. This treatment, known as hormone replacement therapy, might help reduce symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood changes, but may also carry risks.

A woman thinking about hormone replacement therapy should discuss it with her doctor before starting to take any medication.

One study found that women using hormone therapies reported higher levels of sexual desire compared with women who did not.

Less commonly, a doctor may prescribe testosterone therapy. However, not all women respond to this treatment, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not approve it for treating sexual disorders in women.

A woman may not experience any changes in her sex drive after using estrogen or testosterone therapies.

A woman may also choose to see a therapist who specializes in sexual dysfunction or enhancing sex. Sometimes, couples may want to attend therapy together.

Lifestyle changes

Some women may benefit from using water-soluble lubricants during sex. These can be purchased over-the-counter at most drugstores.

However, women should avoid non-water soluble and silicone-based lubricants, as these can break down condoms used to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Increasing physical activity, such as getting 30 minutes or more of exercise on a routine basis, may help reduce menopause-related symptoms, including a low libido. Eating a healthful diet can also enhance a person’s overall sense of well being.

Changing sexual habits

There are many ways a person can foster a sense of intimacy with their partner, including:

  • Changing sexual routines: Try spending extended periods on foreplay, use vibrators or other sex toys to enhance an intimate experience, or engage in sexual activity or touching without the goal of orgasm.
  • Relieving stress together: There are many stress-relieving techniques a couple can do outside of the bedroom to increase intimacy. Examples include going on planned dates together, taking a walk, or spending time doing hobbies together, such as exercise, crafts, or cooking.
  • Practicing masturbation: Spending time alone and exploring what types of touch and sexual stimulation work well for an individual can help them talk to a partner about their needs and preferences. It can also help a person feel more comfortable with sexual activity without the pressure of a partner.

Natural remedies

Some women use natural supplements to try to increase their libido. It is important to keep in mind that the FDA do not regulate herbs and supplements, so women should be sure to choose a reputable brand.

Some natural remedies used to increase libido in women include:

  • black cohosh
  • red clover
  • soy

A woman should discuss these remedies with a doctor before taking them to ensure they will not interact negatively with other prescriptions and supplements she may be taking. Soy contains estrogen, so it may react with other estrogen therapies.

When to see a doctor

A woman should speak to her doctor whenever perimenopause or menopause is having a significant impact on her day-to-day activities, including sexual activity.

Sometimes, a doctor can recommend changes in health habits as well as discuss whether prescription medications may help relieve the symptoms, including a low libido.

Speaking with a doctor can also rule out any other underlying medical conditions that may cause a reduced libido. These conditions include urinary tract infections, uterine prolapse, endometriosis, or pelvic floor dysfunction.

Outlook

While some women do experience a decreased libido in menopause, others do not.

Some women may even experience a heightened libido after menopause. This can be due to reduced stresses over pregnancy and fewer child-rearing responsibilities.

If a woman’s libido is impacted after menopause, she should talk to her doctor about treatments that could enhance her quality of life.

Tap water may be the cause of one in 20 cases of bladder cancer in Europe each year, a major study suggests. Researchers have linked drinking, showering and bathing in the water to more than 6,500 cases of the disease in 26 countries across the continent.

They estimate 1,356 bladder cancer diagnoses in Britain since 2005 were caused by contaminated water, making up a fifth of all cases in the European Union (EU).

Long-term exposure to a group of chemicals called trihalomethanes (THMs) is thought to be the cause. The chemicals, shown to be carcinogenic in animal studies, are formed as an unintended byproduct when water is disinfected with chlorine at supply plants.

As well as being drunk, steam given off in the shower can allow tap water to seep into people’s pores, and so too can prolonged periods in the bath. Earlier research has found an association between THMs and bladder cancer, but this is the first to estimate the scale of the problem. Some 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year in the United Kingdom (UK), making it the tenth most common form of the disease.

The latest study estimates nine per cent of them are caused by exposure to water contaminated with THMs.The findings are published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Scientists from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) set out to analyse the presence of the chemicals in drinking water in all 28 EU states between 2005 and 2018.

They did this by sending questionnaires to bodies responsible for the national water quality. Data was obtained for 26 countries – all except Bulgaria and Romania. The scientists probed levels of THMs in water at the tap, in the distribution network and at water treatment plants.

To make estimates as accurate as possible, the researchers also used other sources including open data online, reports and scientific literature. The findings revealed considerable differences between countries. Average THM levels were above legal levels in nine countries – Britain (24.2ug/l) , Spain, Portugal, Poland, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland and Italy.

The European Union has said the maximum limit is 11.7 micrograms per litre (ug/L). The European Union has said the maximum limit of THMs in water should be 11.7 micrograms per litre (ug/L). Researchers estimated the number of attributable bladder cancer cases using incidence rates and levels of THMs.

Analysis suggested Cyprus had highest percentage, with a quarter of diagnoses linked to the chemicals. Joint second-wort were Ireland and Malta, where one in six bladder cancer patients (17 per cent) are thought to have developed it from exposure to tap water.

Spain (11 per cent) and Greece (10 per cent) were not much better. At the opposite extreme was Denmark, where less than 0.1 per cent of cases were caused by THM water contamination. In Holland it was just 0.1 per cent of cases and Germany 0.2 per cent. THMs could be blamed for 0.4 per cent of cases in Austria and Lithuania. In total, the researchers estimated that 6,561 bladder cancer cases per year are attributable to THM exposure in the European Union.

The study authors say if the 13 countries with the highest averages were to reduce their THM levels to the EU average, 2,868 annual bladder cancer cases could be avoided.

Chloroform is the most infamous type of THM, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) describes as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’.Co-study author Manolis Kogevinas, a researcher from ISGlobal, said: “Over the past 20 years, major efforts have been made to reduce trihalomethanes levels in several countries of the European Union, including Spain.

“However, the current levels in certain countries could still lead to considerable bladder cancer burden, which could be prevented by optimising water treatment, disinfection and distribution practices and other measures.”

A spokesperson for Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “This Government takes the safety of our drinking water extremely seriously, and have a robust monitoring regime in place which tests for a wide range of chemicals, including trihalomethanes, to ensure the public can have absolute faith in the water coming from their taps.

“The latest figures from 2018 found only four samples out of 11,900 exceeded the legal limits, and firm action was taken in each of these four cases.”

A study in September last year discovered 22 carcinogenic substances in water across the United States (U.S.).Despite the fact that most of the water systems they tested were within federal limits on each of these toxins, the scientists estimated that their cumulative effects could be dire over the course of Americans’ lifetimes.

Exposure to arsenic, products of disinfectant chemicals and traces of radioactive chemicals like uranium and radium had the most substantial effects on cancer risks. Over 1.7 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed in the US each year. In the same time period, over 600,000 people die of the disease.

Better prevention strategies, earlier detection and better treatments – like the immunotherapies that are revolutionizing the disease’s future – have driven cancer mortality down dramatically. Yet the disease’s elimination is no where in sight. In part, this is because its roots are many, and difficult to control.

Rather than being triggered by any one thing, genetics, what you eat, where you live, how you eat and, of course, the water you drink all play roles in raising or lowering cancer risks.

Some chemicals, like arsenic are nearly impossible to keep out of water in certain places. For example, in some areas of Illinois, the soil is rich in arsenic, a toxic, carcinogenic heavy metal, linked to liver and bladder cancers.

Arsenic seeps into the ground water, and winds up in our bodies. It also leaks into the water supply from many types of manufacturing plants.US water systems treat drinking water with chlorine – a non-carcinogenic cleaning chemical – in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the metal.

Certain foods and drinks contain compounds that may improve vaginal health and symptoms of vaginal conditions. These include probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented food and beverages.

The vagina uses natural secretions, immune defenses, and “good” bacteria to keep itself healthy. Eating a healthful, balanced diet might also further prevent infections and improve vaginal conditions.

This article discusses what little research there is into the effects of diet on vaginal health, looks at dietary choices for common vaginal conditions, and identifies other ways to improve vaginal health.

People should speak to a doctor before using diet to address any health concerns.

Balancing pH levels

The vagina is a moderately acidic environment with a pH of around 4.5. This acidity helps healthful bacteria to grow and prevents harmful microbes from developing.

Some good bacteria, such as probiotics, may help balance vaginal acidity levels.

Probiotics

Lactobacillus species bacteria is the most dominant type of “good” bacteria found in a healthy vagina.

Research has suggested that Lactobacillus could benefit vaginal health in the following ways:

  • regulating the microflora in the vagina
  • improving the vagina’s acidity levels
  • stopping harmful microbes from attaching to the vaginal tissues
  • working with the body’s immune system

2016 study indicated that using vaginal Lactobacillus supplements after taking antibiotics hindered bacteria growth in people with bacterial vaginosis (BV), and significantly reduced vaginal pH.

2015 review study found “no significant evidence” that probiotics were more beneficial than using a placebo or no treatment. However, the authors noted that due to a lack of evidence, “a benefit cannot be ruled out.”

Probiotic supplements are available, but some nutritionists recommend getting them from fermented foods and drinks, such as:

  • yogurt and kefir
  • kimchi and sauerkraut
  • pickles
  • tempeh
  • kombucha

Prebiotics

Prebiotic compounds may also help stabilize vaginal pH by promoting the growth of healthy bacterial populations. Foods rich in prebiotics include:

  • leeks and onions
  • asparagus and Jerusalem artichoke
  • garlic
  • whole wheat products
  • oats
  • soybeans
  • bananas

It is important to note that prebiotics can worsen bowel conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Preventing UTIs

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur when bacteria enter parts of the urethra, bladder, or kidneys, causing symptoms such as burning or pain during urination and bad smelling or cloudy urine. According to the Urology Care Foundation, about 60% of women will experience a UTI at some point.

Drinking lots of fluids might help prevent a UTI.

Cranberry juice

According to the Urology Care Foundation, drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry tablets may prevent UTIs from developing.

Research supports this idea — in a 2016 study, researchers found that drinking 8 ounces (oz), or 240 milliliters (ml) of a 27% cranberry juice drink each day for 24 weeks lowered the rate of UTIs in adult women who had recently had a UTI.

Cranberries are rich in antibacterial compounds that kill bacteria. These include antioxidants and organic acids, such as:

  • proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins
  • organic and phenolic acids
  • vitamin C
  • flavanols and flavonols

Research into diet and UTIs has mainly focused on cranberries, but many fruits, especially citrus fruits and berries, are also rich in antioxidants and may have similar effects.

Reducing candida infections

Candida infections, or yeast infections, are the second most common cause of vaginitis, or vaginal inflammation.

There is no scientific proof that any foods can reduce candida infections. However, some foods contain ingredients that the fungus uses to grow. These ingredients include refined sugar, preservatives, yeasts, fungi, allergens, and trace antibiotics. People may benefit from avoiding these foods.

Researchers are studying the possible benefits of natural remedies with antifungal, anti-inflammatory, or antioxidant properties for candida infection, including tea tree oil, coconut oil, and garlic.

Other ways to improve vaginal health

Regularly eating a healthful, balanced diet that contains fermented products with probiotics and prebiotics can improve vaginal health.

Following some of these lifestyle habits might also help:

  • cleaning the genital region with mild, unscented soap before rinsing well and patting dry daily or as needed during menstruation
  • wiping from front to back
  • using antibiotics appropriately and only when necessary
  • reducing sweat around the vagina
  • exercising regularly
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • staying hydrating
  • reducing stress
  • wearing loose-fitting cotton underwear

Avoiding or limiting things that can imbalance the body’s systems or irritate the vagina can help, such as:

  • douching
  • holding in urine or rushing urination
  • personal care products with dyes, flavors, or fragrances
  • spermicidal foam or diaphragms
  • tight pants or underwear
  • smoking
  • prolonged exposure to moisture
  • alcohol
  • processed or heavily refined foods
  • foods or drinks with artificial hormones

Summary

Many nutrients contribute to vaginal health. Eating a healthful, nutrient-rich diet can improve all body systems.

Certain nutrients, antioxidants, and probiotics may have particular benefits for vaginal health. However, researchers need to do more studies to work out which nutrients help boost vaginal health and prevent vaginal infections.

Fish Oil supplements could make men’s testicles bigger and boost their sperm count, a study claims.Men who took the pills, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, were found to have testicles 1.5ml larger and to ejaculate 0.64ml more sperm, on average.The men, who had an average age of 18, were included as regular supplement-takers if they had consumed fish oil for at least 60 out of the past 90 days. Larger testicles and more sperm creation are linked to higher testosterone levels and better fertility, although the study did not test how fertile the men were.

The research was published in the journal JAMA Network Open, by the American Medical Association. The experiment was described by scientists as ‘well-conducted’ and ‘insightful’ but it was clear that it did not prove fish oil makes men more fertile. Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark did their study using 1,679 young Danish men going through military fitness testing.

In Denmark military service is mandatory for all healthy men over the age of 18, so the men in the study were not yet soldiers. Each of the men was screened for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), had physical exams, gave sperm samples and then answered questions about their diets and lifestyles. If someone was considered a regular fish oil supplement user, the research found, they produced millions more sperm in an average ejaculation.

The researchers wrote in their paper: “Fish oil supplements were associated … with higher semen volume and total sperm count, and larger testicular size.”Ninety-eight men in the study said they took fish oil supplements regularly, while another 95 took vitamin D or C supplements. Men in the fish oil group were less likely to have fertility problems, which were judged against the World Health Organization’s low sperm count limit of 39 million sperm per ml of semen.

The scientists found that 12.4 percent of the men who took fish oil supplements (12 out of 98) had sperm counts below the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) measure. This compared to 17.2 percent (192 out of 1,125) men who took no supplements. And the longer someone had been taking supplements for, the more sperm they were likely to produce.

The researchers added that, based on a model fit and healthy 19-year-old: “Total sperm count was 147million for men with no supplement intake, 159million for men with other supplement intakes, 168million for men with fish oil supplement intake on fewer than 60 days, and 184million for men with fish oil supplement intake on 60 or more days.”

The study did not give exact measurements for men’s testicle volume or sperm volumes – they only compared the two groups. And the scientists could not explain why – if it was true – the fish oil improved sperm quality.It was also not clear whether increased sperm volume was caused by – or caused – the change in testicle size. Scientists not involved with the research said the study had been well-conducted but it didn’t say how much fish oil the men took.

And nor did it reveal the men’s diets, which may have shown they were getting omega-3 from other sources such as fresh fish.Professor Sheena Lewis, reproductive medicine expert at Queen’s University, Belfast, said: “This is a large well-designed study and the association between fish oil intake and improved semen quality is compelling.

“However, the study focuses on healthy young men; mostly with sperm counts already in the fertile range.“There is no evidence from this study that infertile men with low sperm counts benefit from fish oil.”Dr. Frankie Phillips, of the British Dietetic Association, said missing information about the men’s diets did make the study’s results less convincing.She added: “Antioxidants, including vitamin C, selenium and vitamin A, as well as zinc and omega-3 fats all have a role in the production of healthy sperm.

“There is much focus on the diets of women who are trying to conceive, ensuring that they are in the best possible position to achieve a healthy pregnancy, but diet might also be a factor involved in men’s reproductive health.“Omega-3 is present in a both animal and plant derived foods, but oily fish stands out as an excellent source of long chain omega-3, and the UK population currently consume way below the recommended ‘at least one portion of oily fish per week”.

“So including omega-3 is already part of current dietary recommendations – this study on its own can’t prove that upping omega-3 will itself improve testicular function.”Also, according to researchers, women who have sex every week may have a lower chance of an early menopause. University College London experts asked nearly 3,000 women – who were tracked for 10 years – about how often they had sex. Women of any age who had sex each week were less likely to have been through the menopause, compared to those who did so less than once a month.

For example, those who had regular sex were 28 percent less likely to have entered the menopause at age 51, compared to their counterparts. Sexual activity included full-blown intercourse, oral sex, touching and caressing, or self-stimulation. Scientists said if a woman is not having sex and there is no chance of pregnancy, the body ‘chooses’ to stop investing energy into ovulation.

Instead, their bodies may decide to invest energy elsewhere, such as in looking after grandchildren. The theory, known as the grandmother hypothesis, says the menopause evolved to help mothers have more children. It suggests that grandmothers would aid their offspring to have more of their own children by caring for the existing grandchildren. A woman’s immune function is hampered during ovulation, making the body more susceptible to disease.

And so if a pregnancy is unlikely because of a lack of sexual activity, the body would divert its focus from a costly process to aiding existing relatives. The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. The process is a natural part of ageing and usually occurs among women between 45 and 55. Researchers used data collected from 2,936 women who took part in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) in the United States (U.S.).

The women, an average age of 45 at the start of the study in 1996, were asked if and how often they had had sex in the past six months. They were also asked whether they had oral sex, sexual touching, or engaged in self-stimulation in the last six months. The researchers found that the most frequent pattern of sexual activity was weekly (64 percent). None of the women who took part had already entered the menopause, but 46 per cent were starting to experience symptoms (known as peri-menopause). Fifty-four per cent were pre-menopausal, meaning they had not yet displayed any symptoms and were still having their periods.

Interviews were carried out both when the women first took part and then ten years later. Women who had sex weekly were less likely to experience the menopause, compared to those who had sex lass than monthly. And women who had sex monthly were less likely to experience menopause at any given age, compared to those who had sex less than monthly. Prof. Ruth Mace, who co-authored the study, said: “The menopause is, of course, an inevitability for women, and there is no behavioural intervention that will prevent reproductive cessation.“Nonetheless, these results are an initial indication that menopause timing may be adaptive in response to the likelihood of becoming pregnant.”

How can a man’s diet affect his fertility?
The body must get all the chemicals it needs from the diet, meaning what you eat controls your health. Certain foods can improve – or worsen – a man’s fertility. The general rule is that a healthy, balanced diet is better for fertility than one too high in sugar or fat.

Fruits and vegetables are good
Fruit and veg are rich in nutrients such as vitamins C and A, polyphenols, magnesium, folate and fiber, which act as antioxidants in the body. Research has suggested a direct association between the production of reactive oxygen species in sperm cells and intake of antioxidants, which help to reduce this damage by neutralizing them.

Eat foods rich in zinc, selenium and vitamin C
Zinc can be found in foods such as meat, cheese, shellfish wholegrain cereals and nuts. Inadequate intakes of zinc in the diet have been linked to low sperm count and reduced testosterone levels. Selenium can be found in foods such as brazil nuts, fish, poultry and eggs. This mineral is required for normal sperm production and development and men should aim to get 55mcg per day. Vitamin C is thought to help prevent sperm cells clumping together (common with infertility) and men should aim to get 80mg per day.

Limit dairy foods
Intake of dairy foods in association with sperm production is somewhat controversial but the theory goes that as around 75 per cent of the milk we consume comes from pregnant cows, there may be a high level of naturally occurring oestrogens, which could affect sperm production.

Limit meat intake
Although not fully proven, it has been suggested that meat and processed meats may impact on fertility in men by way of xenobiotics (mainly xenestrogens) used in the farming process. Over-exposure to these compounds, which have estrogenic effects in the body, may play a role in the decline of sperm quality in men.

Avoid excessive amounts of sugar
Excessive intake of sugary foods may lead to overweight and obesity, driving insulin resistance, which may negatively influence sperm quality as a result of inflammation and oxidative stress. Diets high in sugar can also lead to blood sugar imbalances, which may disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis impacting on sperm production.
*Culled from Daily Mail UK

New studies have shown that the ethanolic root bark extract of African cherry may damage fertility in men. African cherry is a plant, which has been used in traditional/alternative medicine in Nigeria to treat several health problems, as various parts of this herb have been proved to have a wide range of therapeutic effects.

The plant is a rich source of natural antioxidants, which have been established to promote health by acting against oxidative stress related disease such as; diabetics, cancer and coronary heart diseases.Its bark is used for the treatment of yellow fever and malaria while the leaf is used as an emollient and for the treatment of skin eruption, stomachache and diarrhea. The cotyledons from the seeds are used as ointments in the treatment of vaginal and dermatological infections in Western Nigeria and also possess anti-hyperglycemic and hypolipidemic effects, among other health benefits.

However, studies have shown that African cherry herbs can also have anti-fertility effects in men.Botanically called Chrysophyllum albidum, African star apple, which belongs to the plant family Sapotaceae is an edible tropical fruit known by various tribal names. It is called Utieagadava in Urhobo; Agbalumo in Yoruba; Udala in Ibo, Efik and Ibibio; Ehya in Igala, Agwaluma in Hausa tribes of Nigeria.

In southern Benin, it is called Azongogwe or Azonbobwe in local language.Several studies have been conducted to investigate the antifertility effect of the ethanolic root bark extract of C. albidum on the hormonal levels (pituitary-testicular axis) and caudal epididymal fluid parameters in wistar rats.

A study titled: “The effect of Chrysophyllum albidum fruit on testicular functions in rats” investigated the effects of C. albidum fruit methanol extract on the reproductive functions of male Wistar rats. Fifteen male Wistar rats were divided into three and received distilled water, which also served as control and extract respectively for 28 days via oral gavage.

The sperm count, motility, percentage sperm aberration, histology of testes and epididymides were examined by microscopy. The results showed the serum levels of luteinising hormone (LH), follicle‐stimulating hormone (FSH) and testosterone were quantified using ELISA. However, the sperm count significantly increased in, while the serum testosterone level decreased.

Findings from the study showed that the architecture of sections of testes and epididymides showed anomalies. C. albidum fruit adversely altered reproductive functions of male Wistar rat. Also, another study published in International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products by Nigerian researchers validated the antifertility effect of extracts of African cherry in men.

The study is titled: “Antifertility Effects of Ethanolic Root Bark Extract of Chrysophyllum Albidum in Male Albino Rats. According to the researchers, the present study was conducted to investigate the antifertility activity of the ethanol root bark extract of Chrysophyllum albidum on sperm parameter and hormonal levels in rats. Eighteen male rats were divided into three groups of six animals each, as each group were administered distilled water that serve as control, ethanol root bark extract on a daily basis. The caudal epididymal sperm count; motility and sperm morphology were observed compared with the control.

The result showed that ethanol extract of the root bark of C. albidum suppresses the hormonal levels and sperm production in rats, according to the study.The researchers conclude that the study demonstrated that the root bark of ethanolic extract of C. albidum produces a pronounced inhibition of serum testosterone and gonadrophins concentration.

However, these extract had antifertility effect on the testes of albino wistar rats and could be further investigated for possibility of developing a cheap, acceptable and easy available male contraceptive.The researchers said: “The findings of the present study showed that the ethanolic root bark extract of C. albidum could significantly alter the fertility potential of male rats. The fact that there was significant increase in body weight

(p<0.05) on treated animals does not rule out the possibility of a systemic toxicity at the doses treated due to behavioral alterations observed within the treated groups which showed progressive decrease in agility. Furthermore, the significant increase in body weight (p<0.05) indicates that the extract may have toxic effect on the rats. The analysis of caudal epididymal fluids of these treated rats revealed a concomitant decrease in the sperm concentration which may be due to the inhibition in spermatogenesis which has been reflected here by the low count.” [ad] The researchers observed that the “present study also reveals a significant decrease in sperm motility, which focuses the direct effect of the extract on matured and stored sperm in epididymis, also increased abnormal sperm morphology.”Another study evaluated the effects of ethanolic leaf extract of Chrysophyllum albidum on hormones and sperm analysis of laboratory rats. The study titled: “Ethanolic Leaf Extract of Chrysophyllum albidum on sperm analysis, hormonal profile, SOD and testicular histology of adult male wistar rats” was published in the Agriculture And Biology Journal of North America. The researchers in their findings showed that “C. albidum leave extract reduced serum levels of gonadotrophins probably by affecting hypothalamic- pituitary-gonadal axis. The treatment does not cause suppression of spermatogenesis but decrease the hormonal profile. The researchers from Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Madonna University, River State concluded that the “C. albidum leave extract reduced serum levels of gonadotrophins probably by affecting hypothalamic- pituitary-gonadal axis. The reduced levels of FSH, LH and T do not have effect on the testicular spermatogenesis for 21 days. However there was an increase in the SOD enzyme activities above the control level thereby improving its antioxidative capacity.”

The muscles, ligaments, and tissues of the pelvic floor support the bladder, rectum, and sexual organs. When the supportive structures weaken or become especially tight, doctors describe it as pelvic floor dysfunction. It is a common health issue.

When a person has pelvic floor dysfunction, the organs in the pelvis may drop. They often press down on the bladder or rectum, causing a leakage of urine or stool. Or, a person with this condition may have trouble urinating or passing stool.

Keep reading to learn more about pelvic floor dysfunction — including the symptoms, treatments, and some exercises that may help.

What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments, and tissues that surround the pelvic bone. The muscles attach to the front, back, and sides of the bone, as well as to the lowest part of the spine, called the sacrum.

The function of the pelvic floor is to support the organs in the pelvis, which can include the:

  • bladder
  • rectum
  • urethra
  • uterus
  • vagina
  • prostate

People with pelvic floor dysfunction may have weak or especially tight pelvic floor muscles.

When the muscles tighten, or spasm, people may have trouble urinating or passing stool. When they weaken, the organs within the pelvis may drop and press down on the rectum and bladder.

The table below outlines several common types of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Type of pelvic floor dysfunctionDescription
Obstructed defecationThis occurs when stool enters the rectum, but the body cannot fully evacuate the bowels.
RectoceleThis involves tissue from the rectum protruding into the vagina. Stool may get caught in this pocket, forming a bulge in the vagina.
Pelvic organ prolapseThis refers to the pelvic floor stretching and the pelvic organs dropping as a result of age, childbirth, or a collagen disorder.
Paradoxical puborectalis contractionThis involves a pelvic floor muscle called the puborectalis contracting. When it happens, trying to pass stool may feel like pushing against a closed door.
Levator syndromeThis involves the pelvic floor muscles spasming after bowel movements. It can cause lasting dull pain or achy pressure high in the rectum.
CoccygodyniaThis refers to pain in the tailbone that worsens during and after bowel movements.
Proctalgia fugaxThis involves painful spasms of the rectum and muscles in the pelvic floor.
Pudendal neuralgiaThis refers to irritation or damage to the pudendal nerves, which help the pelvis function.
UrethroceleThis refers to the urethra pressing into the vagina.
EnteroceleThis involves the small intestine descending and pushing into the vagina, forming a bulge.
CystoceleThis involves the bladder dropping and pushing into the vagina.
Uterine prolapseThis refers to the uterus descending and pushing into the vagina.

Symptoms

Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause a variety of symptoms, and some can interfere with daily life.

Depending on the type of pelvic floor dysfunction, a person may experience:

  • pelvic pain
  • pressure
  • a bulge somewhere in the lower pelvic region
  • stress urinary incontinence, which involves a small amount of urine leaking from the body due to an activity such as coughing
  • involuntary leakage of stool
  • incomplete urination
  • bowel movement dysfunction
  • pain during sexual intercourse

Also, some people who see their doctors about bladder overactivity find that pelvic floor dysfunction is responsible.

Causes

Many issues can cause the structures of the pelvic floor to weaken, including:

  • age
  • systemic diseases
  • lasting health issues that cause increased pressure in the abdomen and pelvis, such as a chronic cough
  • pregnancy
  • trauma during delivery
  • multiple deliveries
  • large babies
  • operative delivery

Research indicates that stress urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or both occur in about half of all women who have given birth. These issues are closely associated with birth-related injury to the pelvic floor muscles.

The pelvic floor muscles can also stretch naturally with age. Stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse become more common with increasing age in females, for example.

Collagen disorders can also affect the muscles’ ability to support the pelvic organs.

Meanwhile, coccygodynia usually stems from trauma to the tailbone, such as from a fall. That said, in about one-third of people with the condition, the cause of coccygodynia is unknown. The pain can make having a bowel movement difficult.

Exercises

Doctors recommend pelvic floor exercises in various situations.

They may particularly benefit pregnant women because the pelvic floor muscles can stretch and weaken during labor. Strengthening these muscles may help prevent incontinence after the baby is born. Some doctors recommend that women who wish to become pregnant start the exercises ahead of time.

Males can also benefit from pelvic floor exercises, though the dysfunction is more common in females. In males, these exercises can help prevent pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence and improve sexual intercourse.

To exercise these muscles, a person should be sitting comfortably. Then, they should attempt to squeeze their pelvic muscles without holding their breath.

It is important to isolate the correct muscles without tightening those of the stomach, buttocks, or and thighs.

Doctors recommend that females aim to do 10 long squeezes — holding each for 10 seconds — followed by 10 short squeezes. However, initially, it may be a good idea to practice holding a squeeze for a few seconds at a time.

By practicing frequently, a person should be able to add more contractions to their routine week by week. It is important to do this gradually and to avoid overworking the muscles.

Within a few months, a person may notice a reduction in their symptoms. Even if symptoms resolve completely, a person should continue strengthening these muscles.

There are physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor dysfunction. A person may find that consulting one of these professionals leads to a better outcome.

Treatment

Doctors determine the cause of pelvic floor dysfunction before recommending treatment because different types of dysfunction require different approaches.

The purpose of treatment is to relieve or reduce symptoms and improve the person’s quality of life. For some people, a combination of treatment methods works best.

Doctors may recommend:

  • Dietary changes: For example, eating more fiber, drinking more fluids, and taking certain medications can make bowel movements easier.
  • Laxatives: Taking a daily laxative may help people with pelvic floor dysfunction pass stool, but it is important to consult a healthcare provider first because not all laxatives are equally effective.
  • Pain relief: Some people require injections of pain relief or anti-inflammatory medication to relieve their symptoms.
  • Biofeedback: This involves electrical stimulation, ultrasound therapy, or massage of the pelvic floor muscles to help improve rectal sensation and muscle contraction.
  • Pessary: A doctor or nurse inserts a pessary into the vagina to support prolapsed organs. This type of device can help treat various symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, either as an alternative to surgery or while a person awaits surgery.
  • Surgery: When prolapse interferes with daily activities, a doctor may recommend surgery. Large rectoceles also require surgery if the person experiences symptoms.

Stem cell therapies

Researchers behind a 2016 study investigated whether a stem cell-based therapy could resolve pelvic floor dysfunction in rats.

The researchers engineered the stem cells to produce and release elastin and collagen into the pelvic floor and injected them into rats with pelvic floor dysfunction.

The elastin and collagen promoted the repair of pelvic floor structures and decreased signs of stress urinary incontinence.

In a final component of the study, the researchers developed stem cells that blocked a factor that stops the production of elastin. This promoted increased production and release of elastin into the pelvic floor.

With further studies, researchers may find that similar therapies are effective in humans.

When to see a doctor

Anyone who experiences painful bowel movements, difficulty urinating or passing stool, pelvic pain, or pain during sexual intercourse should speak with a doctor.

An unusual bulge in the lower pelvic region may also be a reason to see a doctor, though a bulge alone may not be a cause for concern.

People with pelvic floor dysfunction have plenty of treatment options. While the topic may be uncomfortable to bring up with a doctor, it is important to seek professional advice about these symptoms.

While some family doctors may not be familiar with pelvic floor dysfunction, specialists such as colorectal doctors, urologists, and gynecologists can help diagnose the issue and recommend the best course of action.

Summary

Pelvic floor dysfunction can affect anyone, but pregnant women have the highest risk.

The various types of pelvic floor dysfunction stem from different causes, and a doctor must identify the underlying issue before developing a treatment plan.

Exercises can help some people with pelvic floor dysfunction. Depending on the cause, a doctor may also recommend dietary changes, medication, a pessary, biofeedback, or surgery.

Regular vaginal discharge is a sign of a healthy female reproductive system. Normal vaginal discharge contains a mixture of cervical mucus, vaginal fluid, dead cells, and bacteria.

Females may experience heavy vaginal discharge from arousal or during ovulation. However, excessive vaginal discharge that smells bad or looks unusual can indicate an underlying condition.

This articles discusses why someone may have heavy vaginal discharge and what they can do about it.

1. Arousal

Sexual arousal triggers several physical responses in the body. Arousal increases blood flow in the genitals. As a result, the blood vessels enlarge, which pushes fluid to the surface of the vaginal walls.

Arousal fluid is clear and watery with a slippery texture. This fluid helps lubricate the vagina during sex.

Other signs of female arousal include:

  • increased heart rate and breathing
  • flushing of the face, neck, and chest
  • swelling of the breasts
  • erect nipples

2. Ovulation

Cervical fluid is a gel-like liquid that contains proteins, carbohydrates, and amino acids. The texture and amount of cervical fluid both change throughout a female’s menstrual cycle.

For example, after menstruation, cervical fluid has a thick, mucus-like texture. It can be cloudy, white, or yellow.

Estrogen levels increase closer to ovulation. This causes the cervical fluid to become clear and slippery, similar to that of raw egg whites.

Cervical fluid discharge increases during the days leading up to ovulation and decreases after ovulation. Females may have no discharge for a few days after their period.

3. Hormonal imbalances

Hormonal imbalances related to stress, diet, or underlying medical conditions can cause heavier vaginal discharge.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), for example, refers to a set of symptoms that occur as a result of hormonal imbalances. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PCOS affects up to 5 million females in the United States.

Those with PCOS have higher levels of male hormones called androgens. Increased androgen levels can:

  • change the amount or texture of cervical fluid
  • cause irregular periods
  • prevent ovulation

Not everyone with PCOS will have increased vaginal discharge. Paying attention to other PCOS symptoms may help someone identify and seek treatment for the condition faster.

Some other symptoms of PCOS to look out for include:

  • fewer than eight periods in 1 year, or periods that occur every roughly 21 days
  • excess facial and body hair
  • thinning hair or hair loss
  • acne on the face and body
  • weight gain
  • darkening of the skin on the neck, groin, or breasts
  • skin tags on the armpits or neck

Hormonal birth control, such as birth control pills and intrauterine devices, can also cause increased vaginal discharge, especially during the first few months of use.

Excess vaginal discharge and other symptoms, such as spotting and cramping, usually resolve once the body adjusts to the hormonal birth control.

4. Vaginitis

Vaginitis refers to inflammation of the vagina, which can occur from an infection or irritation due to factors such as douches, lubricants, and ill-fitting clothing.

Vaginitis can cause thick vaginal discharge that may be white, gray, yellow, or green.

Other symptoms of vaginitis include:

  • foul vaginal odor
  • an itching or burning sensation in the genital area
  • redness or inflammation of the vagina
  • pain or discomfort when urinating
  • pain during sexual intercourse

5. Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a condition that results from an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. This vaginal infection is the most common among females aged 15–44 years.

The exact cause of bacterial vaginosis remains unclear. Females can develop bacterial vaginosis after sexual intercourse. However, this condition is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

According to the Office on Women’s Health, those who have bacterial vaginosis may notice a milky or gray-colored vaginal discharge. Some also report a strong, fishy vaginal odor, especially after sexual intercourse.

Bacterial vaginosis can also cause:

  • discomfort when urinating
  • painful burning or itching in the vagina
  • irritation of the skin around the vagina

6. Yeast infection

Vaginal yeast infections result from an overgrowth of the Candida fungus. Females of all ages can develop a vaginal yeast infection, and nearly 70% will have a yeast infection at some point in their lives.

The most common symptom of a vaginal yeast infection is an intense itching in the vagina and vulva.

Vaginal yeast infections can also cause an odorless vaginal discharge that looks similar to cottage cheese.

Vaginal yeast infections are treatable at home using over-the-counter antifungal ointments. Symptoms should improve within a few days. However, severe infections can last longer and may require medical treatment.

7. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a parasite. Females can develop trichomoniasis after having sex with someone who has the parasite.

Although most people who have trichomoniasis do not experience symptoms, some may have an itching or burning sensation in the genital area.

Trichomoniasis infections can also cause excess vaginal discharge that has a foul or fishy odor and a white, yellow, or green color. It may also be thinner than usual.

What is healthy discharge?

Healthy vaginal discharge varies from person to person. It also changes throughout their menstrual cycle.

In general, healthy vaginal discharge can appear thin and watery or thick and cloudy. Clear, white, or off-white vaginal discharge is also perfectly normal.

Some females may have brown, red, or black vaginal discharge at the end of their menstrual periods if their vaginal discharge still contains blood from the uterus.

Natural hormonal changes during ovulation can cause an increase in vaginal discharge, which should return to normal after ovulation.

When to see a doctor

It is not always necessary to see a doctor about excessive vaginal discharge. However, a female may want to consider seeing their doctor if their vaginal discharge has an abnormal appearance.

Yellow, green, gray, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge could indicate an infection. Other reasons to see a doctor include:

  • itching or burning near the genitals
  • discomfort or pain when urinating
  • discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse

Possible treatment options

Treating excess vaginal discharge depends on the underlying cause.

People can reduce symptoms of vaginitis by avoiding the source of irritation. Doctors can treat bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections using antibiotics or antifungals.

Doctors can also treat trichomoniasis using antibiotics. The CDC recommend that females wait 7–10 days after receiving treatment before having sex.

Treatment for PCOS varies depending on the individual. A doctor may recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and medications to help people manage their symptoms and regulate their hormone levels.

Maintaining a healthy body weight and eating a varied diet low in added sugars may also help improve some symptoms of PCOS. Birth control pills that contain estrogen or progestin can help balance out excess levels of androgens.

Tips for managing heavy vaginal discharge

Even healthy vaginal discharge can cause discomfort at times. Here are some tips for managing heavy vaginal discharge:

  • Wear panty liners. However, be sure not to let them become too moist, as this can increase the risk of urinary tract infections and vaginitis.
  • Choose breathable underwear made from natural fibers such as cotton.
  • Avoid wearing tight pants.
  • Avoid using hygiene products that contain added fragrances, coloring agents, or other harsh chemicals.
  • Keep the genital area clean and dry.
  • Wipe from the front to the back when using the bathroom.

Outlook

Excess vaginal discharge can occur as a result of arousal, ovulation, or infections. Normal vaginal discharge ranges in color from clear or milky to white.

The consistency of vaginal discharge also varies from thin and watery to thick and sticky. Generally, healthy vaginal discharge should be relatively odorless.

A female can speak with a healthcare professional if they notice any symptoms of an infection. Some symptoms to look out for include:

  • yellow, green, or gray vaginal discharge
  • foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • discharge that looks similar to cottage cheese
  • itching or burning in or near the genitals

Doctors can easily treat most vaginal infections using antimicrobial medications. Depending on the severity of the infection, people may see their symptoms improving within a few days to weeks.

Some people believe that masturbation can cause erectile dysfunction, but this is a myth. Masturbation is a common and beneficial activity.

While most men have trouble getting or keeping an erection at some point in their lives, frequent difficulties getting an erection is called erectile dysfunction (ED).

Learn more about ED and masturbation, if watching porn affects sexual function, and when to see a doctor.

Can masturbation cause ED?

No, masturbation cannot cause ED — it is a myth.

Masturbation is natural and does not affect the quality or frequency of erections.

Research shows that masturbation is very common across all ages. Approximately 74 percent of males reported masturbating, compared to 48.1 percent of females.

Masturbation even has health benefits. According to Planned Parenthood, masturbation can help release tension, reduce stress, and aid sleep.

A person may not be able to get an erection soon after masturbating. This is called the male refractory period and is not the same as ED. A male refractory period is the recovery time before a man will be able to get an erection again after ejaculating.

What does the research say?

Universally, researchers are confident that masturbation does not cause ED. However, difficulty getting and keeping an erection either while masturbating or while having sex may be a sign of other conditions.

Age is the most significant predictor of ED. Erectile dysfunction is common in men over 40 years old, with approximately 40 percent being affected to some degree.

Rates of complete ED, or the inability to get an erection, increase from 5 percent in men aged 40 to about 15 percent at age 70.

Other risk factors for ED include:

  • diabetes
  • being overweight
  • heart disease
  • lower urinary tract symptoms (bladder, prostate, or urethra issues)
  • alcohol and cigarette use

ED in younger men

Although ED generally affects older men, a 2013 study found that as many as a quarter of men under 40 years old received a new ED diagnosis.

In younger men, ED is more likely to be caused by psychological or emotional factors. Younger men also have higher levels of testosterone in their bodies and are less likely to have other risk factors for ED.

Anxiety about sexual performance or erection quality can lead to further stress, sometimes creating a “vicious circle.”

Factors that can contribute to ED in younger men include:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or medications for these illnesses
  • being overweight
  • insomnia or lack of sleep
  • urinary tract problems
  • a spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or spina bifida
  • having a high-stress job
  • relationship stress
  • performance anxiety

Porn and ED

There is no evidence to suggest that watching porn causes ED.

Internet porn usage rose at the same time that the rate of ED diagnoses increased in men under 40 years old.

This led some researchers to believe that porn might affect male viewers’ ability to get and maintain erections.

While it is true that internet porn access and diagnoses of ED in younger men increased at about the same time and rate, this does not prove a link between the two.

Until recently, there was little research into ED in young men, making numbers difficult to interpret. Also, due to stigmas and reluctance to speak to a doctor about sexual health, ED may be underreported in both younger and older men.

It is also difficult to separate the psychological effect of watching porn from other psychological factors, such as performance anxiety.

When to speak to a doctor

ED is sometimes a sign of underlying conditions, such as heart disease or anxiety.

Telling a doctor about ED can prevent potential problems that these conditions might cause, and also provide solutions to ED.

For example, doctors may recommend that men with ED who are overweight lose some weight. This is because maintaining a healthy weight can increase testosterone levels, making it easier to get an erection.

A doctor may also recommend stress-relief techniques or cognitive behavioral therapy for those dealing with ED due to emotional or psychological issues.

Summary

Masturbation does not cause ED, but many underlying health problems, including heart disease, urinary tract symptoms, alcohol use, depression, and anxiety, can.

Research does not suggest that masturbation using internet porn could cause ED. Some people who watch porn may also experience performance anxiety, resulting in difficulties with erections, but performance anxiety is common without porn use.

Anyone experiencing problems getting or maintaining an erection should speak to a doctor, as ED is often treatable.

The testicles, or balls, are oval-shaped glands that form part of the male anatomy. They sit inside a thin sack of skin called the scrotum. As a person ages, the scrotum loses elasticity, and the skin starts to sag. Certain medical conditions can also cause the skin to appear saggy.

Skin loses its elasticity over time as a person gets older, and the effects of gravity start to become more noticeable everywhere on the body, including the testicles.

Some treatments can help keep the scrotum from sagging too much, although there is no way to prevent or treat the issue completely. Sagging testicles, which people often refer to as saggy balls, are usually not a cause for concern. However, if they appear with other symptoms, such as pain on one side of the balls or in the prostate, a person should see a doctor.

In this article, we look at the possible causes of sagging testicles, as well as treatment options and when to see a doctor.

What is normal?

The testicles hang inside the scrotum, or scrotal sac. The looseness of the skin around the testicles varies among individuals, and in many people, it is naturally fairly loose. The scrotum helps protect the testicles and provides some impact resistance.

The scrotum also moves in response to heat to protect the delicate testicles and sperm inside. In doing so, it helps keep the sperm viable by preventing them from becoming too warm or too cold.

In cold weather, the skin tightens up as the cremaster muscle pulls the testicles toward the body to keep them warm. In hot conditions, the skin loosens to prevent the testicles from overheating. The looser skin allows the balls to hang away from the warm body and encourages airflow around the scrotum to keep the area cool.

As such, even in younger people, the testicles will typically sag a bit. A person will generally notice this once they start producing sperm during puberty.

As a person ages, the testicles will generally sag much more. The process may not be noticeable at first, but by the age of 50 years, most people will notice a drastic difference in how much their balls sag.

Causes

Sagging testicles are a completely normal part of the aging process. A study from 2014 verifies the decrease in skin mechanical properties with aging. The skin loses collagen with age, causing the layers of the skin to stretch more.

While this applies to the skin everywhere on the body, it may be more noticeable in certain areas, such as the face and testicles. The scrotum and testicles already hang away from the body, so more stretchy skin and the efforts of gravity can lead to the effect appearing more drastic.

Other times, sagging testicles may be the result of an underlying issue, such as a varicocele. A varicocele occurs when a vein near the testicles swells up. This swelling can cause an increased blood flow to the testicles, which heats them. The body then responds by dropping the testicles lower to prevent them from getting too hot.

According to a study in the Asian Journal of Andrology, varicoceles appear in up to 15% of males and may have an association with infertility.

Varicoceles may make a person feel as though their testicles are moving or squirming, and they may also notice pain in the area. Anyone experiencing these symptoms alongside sagging testicles should see a doctor. Sometimes, a person will not experience any other symptoms and will not notice that they have the issue.

Treatments

Although age-related sagging in the scrotum is normal, some people may be uncomfortable with its appearance or find that it gets in the way of their daily life — for example, by making it easy to sit accidentally on the testicles. Surgery is the only sure way to resolve the issue, but people can also try a range of nonsurgical methods, including those below.

Exercises

There are several different exercises that people claim can prevent or treat sagging testicles, although there is no scientific evidence to prove that they work. Still, many people perform exercises to help them work out the muscles in this area of the body.

Some people say that they feel better when doing these exercises, perhaps because they feel as though they are being proactive. Even if they are ineffective, testicle exercises are unlikely to harm the testicles or make the sagging any worse.

Two exercises that some people use are Kegels and testicular holding:

Kegel exercises

Doing basic Kegels, by finding and activating the pubococcygeal (PC) muscles, may help some people support their penis and testicle health in general. The PC muscles are the muscles that a person uses to hold back their urine stream.

The basic Kegel exercise involves contracting the muscles as though trying to cut off the urine stream. As this exercise activates the PC muscles, it may improve the strength of the pelvic floor and help with some issues in the testicles, prostate, and penis.

Testicular holding

Testicular holding is similar to weight training the testicles. Holding the testicles in one hand and pulling downward activates the PC muscles. Doing this for 5 minutes each day may activate the PC muscles more strongly than simple Kegels.

Keeping the skin healthy

As much of the sagging in the testicles is due to aging skin, it may help to keep the skin as youthful as possible.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommend several ways to protect and care for the skin, including:

  • avoiding sun exposure
  • quitting smoking
  • drinking less alcohol
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • eating a balanced diet

These tips may help improve skin health in general, which may slow the progress of saggy testicles.

Surgery

Some surgical options are available to treat overly sagging testicles. These are largely for people who dislike how their testicles look. These treatments may also help in cases where the person has problems that arise from their saggy testicles, such as accidentally sitting on their testicles too often.

In these cases, a procedure called a scrotoplasty may help keep the scrotum from hanging down as far. During a scrotoplasty, the surgeon will carefully remove extra skin from the scrotum to let the testicles rest higher up toward the body.

Surgery works to treat saggy balls, but the results are not permanent. The effect is likely to wear off over time as the skin continues to stretch with age.

In the case of a varicocele, a surgical procedure called a varicocelectomy treats the underlying issue by tying off the swollen veins. The symptoms should go away as the area heals, and this may have a positive effect on the sperm.

Other methods

There is no miracle cure for sagging testicles. People may come across other methods — such as only wearing tight briefs and avoiding sex or masturbation — on internet forums and by word of mouth, but these are not effective methods.

Other sources claim that lotions, creams, hormones, or supplements can help. Although they are probably harmless to most people, there is no evidence that these methods will work.

When to see a doctor

People who notice troubling symptoms, such as pain in their groin or prostate, should see a doctor. Anyone who wants to discuss cosmetic surgery should talk to a doctor about a referral to a trusted cosmetic surgeon.

Summary

The majority of the time, sagging testicles are a normal part of the aging process. The testicles naturally sag, even at a young age, to protect the sperm inside and keep them viable.

Anyone worried about saggy balls or other associated symptoms should contact a doctor for a diagnosis. In some cases, there may be an underlying issue to treat. In others, cosmetic surgery may help a person feel better.