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For a Fun and Safe Tropical Getaway, Plan Ahead

Posted 6 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 17, 2017 – If you're planning a tropical getaway, be sure to pack old standbys like bug spray and sunscreen – and maybe a lot more, a doctor advises. "In places like the Caribbean and South and Central America, where it is already summertime, people can potentially be exposed to health risks that they may not have at home," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Christopher Ohl. He is head of the International Travel Clinic at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. In the Caribbean and Central America, you can get sunburned in as little as 10 minutes. Wear sunscreen and a T-shirt or cover-up during the middle of the day when the sun is strongest, Ohl advised in a center news release. Be especially careful on the beach or at poolside where the water reflects sunlight. Also, be careful about what you eat and drink to reduce the risk of diarrhea. Safest ... Read more

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HRT Won't Lower Women's Alzheimer's Risk, Study Finds

Posted 7 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 16, 2017 – Women who use hormone therapy after menopause may not have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's, a new study suggests. However, there was some evidence that long-term use – over a decade – might be tied to a lower risk of the memory-robbing brain disease. But the results were far from definitive, the researchers added. The study is the latest to delve into the question of whether menopausal hormone therapy can benefit women's brains. Research so far has yielded conflicting findings. On one hand, a number of trials have found no brain benefits for women using hormone therapy, said Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of the North American Menopause Society. On the other hand, small trials have found that when hormone therapy is given after surgical menopause, women can see "cognitive benefits," said Pinkerton, who was not involved in the new study. On ... Read more

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When Cocaine's in the Mix, Safe Sex May Not Be

Posted 7 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 16, 2017 – The long list of health woes linked to cocaine abuse includes risky sexual behavior, a small, new study suggests. The drug not only increases sexual arousal but also makes people impatient and more likely to have sex without a condom. This could increase their risk for sexually transmitted infections, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "Our study affirms and may help explain why people who regularly use cocaine are more willing to partake in risky sex when under the influence of cocaine," said study author Matthew Johnson in a university news release. He's an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Public health officials and physicians should be ensuring that cocaine users are supplied with condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease, Johnson said. Cocaine is a ... Read more

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Gay Men Less Likely to Have Safe Sex Now: Survey

Posted 10 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 13, 2017 – In a sign that powerful new ways to treat and prevent HIV are relaxing attitudes about safer sex, a new survey finds that gay and bisexual men are much less likely to use condoms than they were two decades ago. Men questioned at a Atlanta gay pride event in 2015 – including HIV-positive men – were more likely to say they'd recently had anal sex without a condom compared to men who were questioned at the same event in 2006 and 1997. Although there are signs that the rates of other sexually transmitted infections have increased and the possibility of a drug-resistant strain of the once-deadly virus looms, HIV experts said the condom-less trend may not be as troubling as it appears. "There has been an increase in the understanding that condom-less anal sex is not risky" if men take a drug to prevent HIV infection or take medication if they are already infected, ... Read more

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A Plug Instead of a Snip for Male Birth Control?

Posted 16 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 7, 2017 – A new gel-based vasectomy has proven effective in a group of monkeys, raising hopes it could one day provide a permanent but easily reversible male contraceptive option in humans. Vasalgel works by plugging the vas deferens, the two tiny tubes that convey sperm into a male's semen, researchers said. The gel "doesn't break down. It just sets up a little more, and sticks where you inject it," said lead researcher Catherine VandeVoort. She's a professor of obstetrics and gynecology with the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. Sixteen male rhesus macaque monkeys injected with the non-hormonal gel have proven incapable of reproduction, according to the study findings. No females have become pregnant in the males' presence, even though they were housed together for at least one breeding season – about 6 months. "We're over two years in a lot of these ... Read more

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Obese Couples May Take Longer to Conceive

Posted 3 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 3, 2017 – It's not just a woman's weight that matters when couples are trying to conceive, a new study suggests. When a woman and her partner are both obese, their chances for pregnancy during any menstrual cycle are about half that of a normal-weight couple, according to the analysis from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. "It translates to maybe a longer time to get pregnant," said lead study author Rajeshwari Sundaram. She is a senior investigator at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a unit of NIH. Prior studies show an association between female obesity and reduced odds for pregnancy in a single menstrual cycle, as well as a link between men's increased body weight and lower sperm count, the researchers noted. This study breaks new ground because it enrolled couples hoping to get pregnant, not couples undergoing fertility ... Read more

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2.5 Million U.S. Women Have Condition That Can Cause Infertility

Posted 3 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 3, 2017 – About 2.5 million American women have had pelvic inflammatory disease, an often-symptomless infection of the reproductive tract that can cause infertility and lasting abdominal pain, a new U.S. government report shows. Scientists also found that those who had 10 or more male sex partners experienced pelvic inflammatory disease three times as often as women with a single partner. The culprits in most cases of pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, are the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) chlamydia and gonorrhea, researchers said. Overall, about 4.4 percent of American women said they'd been diagnosed with PID. Pelvic inflammatory disease tends to be a later "complication of having a prior sexually transmitted infection, and given that there are such high numbers of chlamydia and gonorrhea infections in the U.S., it means a lot of women are at risk," said study ... Read more

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Gay Man Infected With HIV Despite Using Preventive Drugs

Posted 1 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 1, 2017 – Doctors report that a gay Canadian man contracted HIV even though he had been taking daily medication to ward off infection. Based on a genetic analysis of the virus, it was determined that the 43-year-old Toronto resident was infected with a strain of HIV that had become resistant to the anti-HIV drug Truvada, said report author Dr. David Knox. He is a doctor with the Maple Leaf Medical Clinic in Toronto. However, HIV experts say this does not mean a completely drug-resistant strain of the virus is on its way, leading to a return of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s. "The number of highly resistant strains for Truvada is still very low," said Greg Millett, vice president and director of public policy for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. "Less than 1 percent of people living with HIV have a highly resistant strain. I do not have a concern that ... Read more

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Study Counters Link Between Excess Pregnancy Weight and Overweight Kids

Posted 24 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 24, 2017 – Kids whose moms were overweight during pregnancy have increased odds of being overweight themselves – but the connection may be largely genetic, a new study suggests. The implication, researchers said, is that overweight women are unlikely to influence their kids' future weight by shedding pounds before pregnancy. But they also stressed that more research is needed to confirm their findings. And no one is suggesting that a woman's weight before and during pregnancy is unimportant. There are plenty of reasons to go into pregnancy at the healthiest weight possible, said Rebecca Richmond, the lead researcher on the study. A high body mass index (BMI) raises the risk of pregnancy complications such pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, explained Richmond, a senior research associate at the University of Bristol in England. Plus, she said, those extra pounds ... Read more

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Unlocking the Secrets of the Love Hormone Kisspeptin

Posted 24 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 24, 2017 – There may be a way to boost the activity of a hormone linked to love and sex, British researchers report. The naturally occurring hormone is called kisspeptin. It stimulates the release of other reproductive hormones inside the body, the research team said. The study included 29 healthy, young heterosexual men. They received either an injection of kisspeptin or an inactive placebo. The men then underwent brain scans while being shown different types of pictures. After an injection of kisspeptin, seeing sexual or romantic images of couples triggered increased activity in brain areas typically activated by sexual arousal and romance, the findings showed. The researchers now want to study whether kisspeptin could help treat some psychosexual disorders – sexual problems with a psychological cause. These problems commonly occur in people with infertility, the study ... Read more

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Know the Risks, Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer

Posted 19 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 18, 2017 – Women need to be aware their risk for ovarian cancer increases with age. Half of all cases affect women age 63 or older, according to specialists at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. However, the center reminds all women to be aware of other risk factors for the disease, as well as common ovarian cancer warning signs, such as: Belly bloating or swelling, Lower belly pain, Back pain, Trouble eating or feeling full quickly, Unexplained weight loss, Pain during sex, Menstrual changes, A change in bathroom habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, or having to urinate very badly or very often. "While these symptoms are common and may be caused by something other than ovarian cancer, I advise women to take them seriously," said Dr. Christina Chu, a Fox Chase gynecologic oncologist. "A woman knows what is normal for her own body. If her symptoms don't seem ... Read more

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Do Genes Steer You to a Partner With Similar Schooling?

Posted 9 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 9, 2017 – Were you drawn to your spouse's eyes? Or perhaps it was a great sense of humor you thought drew you in? British researchers say the true reason may be much more pragmatic – your romantic fire may have been lit by your partner's college degree. That's because your genes could drive you to a relationship with someone who has a similar level of education, a new study suggests. The research included about 1,600 people in the United Kingdom. They were all married or living together. The researchers found that people with genes for high educational achievement tended to link up and have children with people with similar DNA. Researchers already knew that people typically choose mates with similar traits – a phenomenon dubbed "assortative mating." But, this is one of the first studies to suggest that genes play a role in selecting a partner with similar education ... Read more

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Privacy Concerns Keep Some Young Americans From Sexual Health Services

Posted 16 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 16, 2016 – Young people may abstain from seeking sexual and reproductive health care because they fear their parents will find out, a U.S. government report suggests. About 7 percent of teens and young adults said they would not seek that care due to confidentiality concerns, the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported Friday. The youngest teens expressed the greatest reluctance. Almost one in five 15- to 17-year-olds said they would not seek that care because their parents could find out, according to the report. "It is concerning," said Casey Copen, an NCHS health scientist and lead author of the report. The NCHS is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates that 15- to 24-year-olds account for half of all cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States. "It's important that we monitor any barriers that ... Read more

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Women Denied an Abortion Endure Mental Health Toll: Study

Posted 14 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14, 2016 – Women who are denied an abortion may suffer anxiety and low self-esteem, a new analysis indicates. In contrast, the researchers found no indication that having an abortion increased the risk for near- or long-term psychological problems. "Our study found that denying women an abortion has negative consequences to their mental health and well-being in the short-term," said study author M. Antonia Biggs, a social psychologist researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. "[And] our study found no evidence of emerging mental health problems after having an abortion – for at least five years," Biggs added. Other research has suggested that having an abortion may raise the risk of mental health issues later in life. Biggs and her colleagues reported their findings online Dec. 14 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. The study was released one day after ... Read more

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FDA Explains Pros, Cons of Permanent Birth Control

Posted 18 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Nov. 18, 2016 – Women need to carefully consider the benefits and risks of permanent birth control devices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says. The agency recently introduced labeling changes for one such device called Essure. It consists of flexible metal coils that are implanted into the fallopian tubes, which carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. Within about three months, tissue forms around the coils and blocks sperm from reaching the eggs. Because the device is made with metal, women who are sensitive or allergic to nickel or other metals should be sure to let their doctor know about their allergy, the FDA said. The labeling changes for Essure include a boxed warning and patient decision checklist to help ensure that women receive and understand the benefits and risks of the device in order to make an informed decision about whether to use it. An important ... Read more

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