DoctorSolve April 2012 Healthletter                                                                      (If you cannot read this, click here)
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Spring is here and with the current buzz about birth control happening in the country, we're excited to present this 'birth' edition of our newsletter. You can expect three articles, all relating to the process of birth in some way. If you want, join in on the discussion on our blog.

Have any concerns, comments, or questions? Feel free to send them to: [email protected]

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Honey, Can You Sign For My Viagra?

bottle of viagra

There's nothing embarrassing about going to your doctor to get Viagra, right? For a man it only involves admitting that you cannot function in the definitional way in which a man does. That is, admitting to another man, or worse, another woman, specific details about intimate physical relations between two adults in a relationship; furthermore, in many cases, the sanctity and privacy of a state-recognized marriage.

An Ohio state senator is looking to change the definition of privacy when it comes to dealing with impotence on grounds that seek to defend the sanctity of religious beliefs. (As opposed to that of the aforementioned privacy.)

Democratic state senator Nina Turner's proposed mandate for Viagra users would see would-be users prove their impotence with medical exams and affidavits from their partner before they can procure a prescription from a doctor.

"This isn't about restricting [Viagra]," she told the Toronto Star on Wednesday, looking to clarify possible misconceptions. "We are purely looking out for men's health and well-being so they can fully understand their options."

Turner explains she is only looking out for Men's Health, presumably in the same way that men look out for (and some have argued intrude on) women's health. After all, this legislature comes piggybacked onto the birth control debate, a polarized topic which is currently raging in the (Southern) United States.

(If you are just catching up, Republican hopefuls Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are spearheading a charge against President Obama's health care plan on the grounds that including contraceptives as part of the (tax paid) package impedes on the religious freedoms of those for whom contraceptive is an affront. In other words, the freedom to opt out of, or demand changes to taxes that do not coincide with a given religion.)

Turner's (be it genuine or not) proposal is one more polemic flame to a fire that is threatening to grow beyond reasonable social temperatures.

Turner explains that Bill 307 would require men to “have a long conversation with a sexual therapist to determine whether or not this is physical or mental." The second step is to head back to the doctor's office for a clinical test. Finally, step three is a notarized confirmation from the spouse or sexual partner confirming the alleged impotence.

Turner believes that these steps will work to support men who have perhaps not considered that there are advantages to stepping through the arbitrary hoops she has erected. That is, as opposed to continuing with the traditional process that does not involve signed documents about sexual dysfunction.

For Turner, impotence is a topic that, for one reason or another, directly correlates to the larger debate: “I see birth control, abortion and Viagra as all part of reproductive health.”

How do you feel about this topic? We want to hear your comments.
Give us your impressions on our blog and voice your opinion in the matter.

 

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Merck Shrugged: Sexual Dysfunction for 30,000 Men Globally

man sexually frusterated

It would seem that two Merck & Co. drugs—one to treat male pattern baldness, and one to treat an enlarged prostate, two issues that are definitively 'male'—share one horrific and topical side effect during, and even after a man stops taking either of the prescription drugs: erectile dysfunction.

Oh, the irony.

Put another way, men usually take drugs for balding for reasons relating to being attractive, which is of course with respect to finding (or keeping) a suitable mate. It's simple: a man wants to look good such that he will be attractive to women or desired partners. So obviously sexual dysfunction is going to be an obvious and annoying wrench in the relationship gears, especially when all the man was attempting with the initial decision was to increase his chances for sexual function. Likewise, if a man has an enlarged prostate he runs the risk of short or long-term sexual dysfunction; then, by taking the drug which is intended to rectify that problem, he ends up faced with the exact same issue.

The two drugs, Propecia (male baldness) and Proscar (prostate) both share a chemical compound called finistride, which seems to be the culprit in the matter. A direct cause between the drugs and the side effects has not been established (publically), but case reports seem to suggest that there is, at the very least a correlation, and hence a problem, the FDA conceded.

In any case, the drugs in question will now sport fashionable new labels that warn against possible sexual dysfunction and/or poor semen quality.

The FDA still asserts that the drugs are safe to take for their intended uses, but recommends that patients and doctors take into consideration the new labels and the information disclosed before proceeding.

In other words, the FDA feels that the dangers are an acceptable risk, and even though you're rolling the dice when you decide to take one of these drugs, it's to such a degree that these drugs should be available for the public regardless of the fact that a small percentage get sick. How small is that percentage? Well, for example, 3.8% of the men taking Procecia reported one of more of the sexual side effects, compared with 2.1% who received a placebo.

Moral issues aside (or perhaps withstanding), the two drugs represent relatively modest sources of income for Merck, reporting $447 million in Propecia sales last year, and $223 million for Proscar.

Statistic Brain reports that of the 812,000 men globally who experience hair loss that actually go in for medical treatment, 15% use finistride as a countermeasure. That means, for Propecia alone, over 30,400 men run the risk of sexual dysfunction worldwide.

Oh, the horror.

How do you feel about this topic? We want to hear your comments.
Give us your impressions on our blog and voice your opinion in the matter.

Click Your Heels 3 Times: There's No Place Like Home Birthing

woman contemplating birthing at home

We all know it: the archetypal image of the husband running around the house trying to throw together a bag of stuff so as to take his pregnant wife, who has just had her water break, to the hospital. Maybe your husband is the type that loses the keys often, or maybe you yourself are the type of mother who simply doesn't want to give birth in the fluorescent lightening of a hospital—whatever your reasons, if you're considering having your child at home, you're amongst a growing number of women who feel the same way.

A new study by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) shows a thirty percent increase in home births from 2005 to 2009. Conversely, in 1969, ninety-nine percent of children were born in hospitals.

Marian MacDorman, author of the study, attributes this deviation from the prototypical (sitcom) birthing setting to fear of complication.

"A lot of women really like the idea of home birth because they want a lower-intervention birth. A lot of women are worried about higher C-section rates and other types of intervention that happen once you go to the hospital," she said.

Of the women opting out of the flower-print nightgown: women who already have children (and hence have already gone through birth once) and women over thirty-five the groups that seem to the be leading the charge.

Done with proper planning and consideration, a home birth can be quite safe. In fact, a 2007 study reported that home births with registered midwifes were as safe is not safer than going to the hospital, with a lower risk of C-section, infection, and bleeding.

Saraswathi Vedam from the Home Birth Section of the American College of Nurse-Midwives feels that hospitals are best regulated for the sick; birthing is healthy.

"Women who are healthy and have a profile of having a good outcome for them and their babies have come to understand that the equipment and personnel a hospital has to offer is not necessary for all women. It's most appropriate for women and infants who have medical indications that could benefit from what the hospital offers," she says

Dr. George Macones, an obstetrician at Washington University believes that a middle ground may be found in the adoption of calmer, less invasive birthing facilities adjacent or within close proximity to a hospital.

“It’s a very nice, quiet, more natural experience, but if something happens you could literally be wheeled underground to the hospital,” Macones says.

“That’s the best of both worlds.”

How do you feel about this topic? We want to hear your comments.
Give us your impressions on our blog and voice your opinion in the matter.