HELP A SNORING FRIEND 

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It could be difficult to know everything about your spouse-to-be, but you don’t want to wait until the wedding night before you find out that your sweetie-pie-cup-cake snores like a guttural toad. Don’t let your honeymoon become a snorefest. This may sound like an exaggeration, but trust me, it can be worse. Spouses, siblings, friends and roommates have suffered in silence due to the nightmare of snoring.

We all need some hours of refreshing sleep after a busy day. Even if the roommate is not complaining because (s)he is an olóorun ìyà (deep sleeper), the snorer should at least, be worried about the possibility of obstructive sleep apnea which can have devastating effects on one’s health and functioning. Poor sleep quality, daytime somnolence, inability to concentrate on tasks and generalised body weakness are some of the other symptoms of sleep apnea.

There is no one-off miracle cure for snoring, but the good news is that it can be managed in 5 easy ways.

1. LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION. This inludes weight loss (if overweight or obese), alcohol and smoking cessation,  healthy diet, adequate hydration and regular exercises.

2. CORRECT SLEEPING POSTURES. Avoid sleeping on your back because the back of the tongue, chin and other soft tissues tend to fall backwards in this position, thereby blocking the airway. Rather, sleep on your side, preferably the right side.

3. OVER-THE-COUNTER MAD’s. Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are devices that have been designed to help people who snore, by opening up and widening the airway, to stop any undue vibrations during sleep. You can buy from pharmacies or online stores.

4. ALLERGY CONTROL. People who have nasal and sinus allergies are more likely to snore. They are advised to keep the allergies under control by avoiding triggers and taking anti-allergy pills or sprays. Those with long-standing infections of the nose and sinuses should also get themselves treated.

5. SURGERY. Snoring could be as a result of enlargement of some tissues along the airway, called adenoids. This can be removed surgically (adenoidectomy) by qualified ENT surgeons.

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CHARACTERISTICS OF NORMAL MENSES

This is going to be quite graphic… So, viewer’s, oh! sorry, reader’s discretion is advised!!!

I have met a lot of women who have been menstruating for several years, yet, do not know what is normal and what is abnormal menses: the knowledge that girls should have at their fingertips as they attain puberty. If you are a woman, or a parent of prepubertal girls, you need to know these details so that you won’t get anxious over nothing. Husbands and fathers too are welcome. Let’s go…

*COLOUR
We all know blood is red, but menstrual blood can look not-so-red sometimes. It can be pinkish, like mucus with a tinge of red (especially on the first day and last 2-3 days). It can be brownish. It can be very dark red, almost tending towards black. If you look more closely, you can find some debris within the blood too.

*VOLUME 
This varies widely from person to person. It can just be a little drop, or it can measure up to 80mls per cycle. I’m not asking you to start squeezing your pads and taking measurements in a beaker o! Just study yourself and take note of any changes in the number of pads you use per day/cycle. Ideally, there should be no clotting of the blood (sounds ironical, right?). Clotted blood is tantamount to heavy bleeding.

*DURATION
Normal range is 1-7days; average of 5days. Again, study yourself. If you usually menstruate for 1 day before, and then it suddenly begins to gush for 7days in a row, then you should be worried. Also note that duration (and volume) of menses may be unstable in the first 5 years of menarche (age at menstrual debut) and towards the stage of menopause.

*CONSISTENCY 
It should be midway between watery and thick. It should be slimy, because it contains mucus. Like I said earlier, if you see clotted blood, be worried.

*ODOUR 
If you have slaughtered ram or chicken before, you already know what blood smells like. Menstrual blood should be similar to that. If you use tampons, don’t leave it in for too long, otherwise it will begin to smell really bad. Pads should be changed frequently too (average of 8 hourly), otherwise, the smell becomes stronger. Poor hygiene, pelvic infections and cancer are some of the causes of malodorous menses.

*FREQUENCY 
Normal menstrual cycle should be pretty regular. The first day of each cycle refers to the first day of menstruation (LMP). Therefore, a cycle is the duration between the first days of two menstruations (Got it?). Any cycle between 21 and 32 days is normal. The average is 28 days. So you see, if your LMP was May 1st, and your cycle length is 21 days, it means your next menses will start on May 21st or 22nd. Whoa! That’s like twice a month!!! No, darling, it simply means that YOUR OWN MONTH is just 21days long. Enjoy it!

HAVE YOU HAD YOUR PAP?

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No, No, No! Not the èko, ògì or whatever name you call it in your town. I’m referring to the screening test that helps to detect abnormal changes in the cervix (the junction between the uterus and the vagina). These precancerous changes can be treated and stopped from progressing into advanced cancer. Other diseases, such as infections can also be detected and treated. Pap smear is a simple procedure, named after the Greek doctor, Georgios Papanikolaou, who invented it. It is inexpensive but can prevent up to 80% of deaths from cervical cancer.

*Who needs to do it?
All sexually active women between ages 21-65 years.

*Where can I get it done?
Any hospital or health centre offering reproductive health services. It can be done in a doctor’s office or any other space designated for it within the hospital. It can be done by a gynaecologist but some nurses are also trained to do the procedure.

*How do I prepare?
Book an appointment and obtain detailed information on what to prepare before going for it (including the cost, if any). Two days before your appointment, you should avoid intercourse, douching and insertion of creams or ointments into the vagina.

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*How is it done?
A lubricated metallic or plastic speculum is inserted into the vagina to expand the area, revealing the cervix. After visual inspection, a spatula is used to collect cells and mucus from the cervix. This is smeared onto a glass slide or placed in a specimen bottle for transfer to the laboratory, where the cells are examined under the microscope. The result/report should be ready within 3-6weeks.

*How often should it be done?
If you have had a normal result, your next tests should be done at 5 years’ interval. If the result shows some abnormalities, you will need a more frequent follow up.

REMEMBER, prevention is better than cure!

SURVIVING THE FIRST TRIMESTER

Some women find it tough right from the month they miss their periods, up until several days after delivery of the baby. The worst part is the first 3 months; characterized by malaise, nausea, vomiting and mood changes (aka morning sickness). Here are some tips that can help to ameliorate the symptoms…

*Understand the physiology. Knowing the reason for, or wisdom behind that feeling can help you adopt a more positive perspective. As soon as the foetus begins to develop, the placenta produces a hormone (BHCG), which let’s your body “recognize” the baby as part of you and not an alien. BHCG is responsible for all the morning sickness and it peaks around the third month, when the foetus is now fully established. The symptoms should reduce or disappear after this time. This is the little price you have to pay to avoid a miscarriage.

*Avoid the triggers. Besides blaming it on BHCG, you still have to study yourself and your environment in order to identify the triggers/exacerbating factors. Whatever it is: food, drinks, spices, fumes, scents etc. – just avoid it as much as you can. If it’s warm water, try cold (and vice versa). If it’s cooked food, try fresh or dry fruits and vegetables. Eat bland snacks like crackers and oatmeal instead of oily pastries. Squeeze some lemon into your drinking water. Avoid sugary and fizzy drinks.

*Be active. It looks easier to just lie on the bed all day; but this doesn’t help the situation at all. Keep yourself busy. Push yourself out of that bed. Pray. Meditate. Take a shower. Do simple exercise. Go to work/school. Read a book. Socialize. Have some fun but, of course, get enough rest too.

*Home remedies. There are herbs and seeds that can help you feel better. I’m not a herbalist but I know one scientifically proven example: ginger. You can get it from stores and pharmacies: fresh, in form of powder, granules, candy, and even tablets.

*Prescription drugs. As a last resort, your doctor can prescribe antiemetic medications for you. You can get injections too, if you can’t tolerate orally. These drugs should not be taken over the counter, as they are not without adverse effects.

*If the vomiting is persistent, and nothing seems to be working, hospitalization and aggressive treatment would be necessary. It may even be due to something else, other than the normal pregnancy. At the end of the day, only a healthy mother can carry a healthy baby to term.

HEALTHY BUMPS

Hello ladies! let’s have a quick chat
You’re pregnant now, wow, congrats!
Go to the pharmacy and get your vitamins
Take folic acid daily, please by all means

Avoid taking drugs without prescription
Don’t come anywhere close to X-radiation
Register early for antenatal care
Never miss any appointment, my dear

Pay attention to the things you eat
This is not the time for junks and sweet
Fruits and vegetables will prevent constipation
Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration

Eat bit by bit, avoid heavy meals at night
Prop up your pillows, so you can sleep tight
Don’t sit for too long, try to exercise
Talk short walks and do Kegel’s exercise

Know the flag signs; don’t take things for granted:
Continuous pain and bleeding are not expected.
Notice the rate at which your baby is kicking
If this decreases, seek help, but no panicking.

When you feel labour pains, consult your doctor
So that you won’t be delivered by a bus conductor!

The Art of Lovemaking: Combating Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation is one of the most common cause and side effect of dysfunctional lovemaking

 

Men’s Experiences of Sex: for many men, sex means penetration, intercourse and orgasm, preferably for both partners. Sex is “doing” something either with or to their partner, so that they can both get relief from sexual tension.

Feeling turned on for men, through kissing, cuddling and stroking each other, is often not considered adequate on its own and men with premature ejaculation may particularly avoid it because they fear that it will result in their ejaculating even more quickly than usual after penetration.

Women’s Experiences of Sex: For many women, sex means sharing intimacy, being close to their partner, and achieving a lasting emotional and physical connection with each other. This isn’t just about romantic love, but about sharing a special physical and emotional union.

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The reward women seek from sex is usually more than just the physical pleasure associated with intercourse. Kissing, cuddling, holding and stroking each other are important to many women and can be enjoyed without intercourse; indeed, some women find foreplay more pleasurable and important than intercourse. They may find it frustrating if foreplay is avoided by their partner, whose only interest seems to be intercourse.

Premature ejaculation is one of the most common causes and side effect of dysfunctional lovemaking. It is defined as when a man reaches climax (emits sperm) in less than a minute; although most ladies will complain when it is less than 2-3 minutes.

Normal range of ejaculation is between 4-6 minutes after penetration, with an average of 5 minutes (just count 1 to 300) and then you are good. To put this time into good use, it greatly helps to prime the woman with foreplay, try different positions and increase physical fitness, eat healthy meals.

Premature ejaculation can be Lifelong, this is present since first sexual intercourse, or Acquired, with symptoms developing after a period of satisfactory ejaculatory function.

Premature ejaculation is caused by combination of factors not limited to past history of recurrent ‘guilty’ masturbation, performance anxiety, spousal conflict, having too little sex, stress, a genetic predisposition, elevated penile sensitivity, urinary tract infections (prostate infections and diabetes), use of some medications or even alcohol.

Treatment of Premature Ejaculation requires a combination of treatment interventions that includes; psychological behavioral, educational and then use of medications.

1. Start exercising: Core body exercise (planks) and sit-ups are great. They help the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles which are the most involved with sex. Aerobic exercises help to increase blood flow to the penis and sustain erection longer.

KegelInfographics

2. Kegel exercises: The muscles you use to hold a fart or urine. The exercise needs to be performed multiple times each day, for several minutes at a time, for one to three months, to begin to have an effect. It is usually done to reduce urinary stress incontinence especially after childbirth and reduce premature ejaculatory occurrences in men, as well as to increase the size and intensity of erections, (Women can contract this muscles during penetration to increase friction/vaginal tightness for better stimulation).

3. The Start/Stop Technique: This involves stimulating the penis and stopping just before you feel you are about to ejaculate. Stop the stimulation for 30-60 seconds and start again once you feel that you have regained control. Repeat this process 4-5 times, stopping and “resting” every time you feel that you are about to have an orgasm. Finally, let the ejaculation occur, so that you can identify the “point of no-return”. When this is combined with kegels as a form of training, it achieves great result. It is not advisable to do this with urine as it may lead to infections.

4. Position: Allowing the woman to be on top can relieve the pressure on the muscles utilized during intercourse and allow the man focus more. It can add between 30 sec- 2 minutes of extra penetration time. Explore other positions.

5. Diet: Certain diets, if you pay attention, can aid the strength of an erection and consequently improve ejaculatory time. Based on feedbacks, sea foods and dairy products help. Certain refined foods may reduce potency (Kellogg’s cornflakes), coffee (light) 2-3 hours before sex has been shown to have positive effect as well as fried eggs.

6. Environment: This plays a part, as undisturbed privacy, warmth, comfort and allowance of adequate time are very important. Time of day may also be an issue. Lovemaking late at night, when one or both partners are tired, is often not the best option. Some couples find that they prefer morning or daytime sex (When the man will have automatic erection); A bath or shower together before lovemaking can be both physically relaxing and sexually arousing. Take time in cuddling and pleasuring each other before trying penetration.

7. Medications: You can always consult an Urologist or sex therapist for help.

Summary

Sex is a healthy, natural activity and central to most loving relationships. It is important to both men and women, whatever their age, their race, creed, color or their sexual orientation. Our cultural and religious background may affect the way we perceive sex, but it will always be an important part of the human experience. Sexual health is just as important as other aspects of health and if you have a problem, you should not be afraid or embarrassed about seeking professional help.

You can assess yourself with the questions in the picture

• A score of 11 or more is commonly found in men with PE; whilst this score is not, on its own, adequate to diagnose PE without a clinical assessment from of healthcare professional, it is highly suggestive of PE
• A score of 9 or 10 may be found in men with PE; it is a “borderline” score
• A score of 8 or less suggests that a man does not have PE