It’s hard not to notice the influx of erectile dysfunction commercials flooding the airwaves. In the last 10 years, actors and celebrities have been recruited to market prescription medications like Viagra and Cialis to men who want to get their sex lives back on track. When prescription medications are not an option or when men choose to attempt self-medication for erectile dysfunction with herbal supplements, they may be in for dangerous side effects. Based on a report published by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2011, some herbal erectile dysfunction drugs have a hidden ingredient that could cause potentially life-threatening side effects for some men.
At the heart of the report were several supplements sold to UK customers via the Internet. The supplements tested positive for sildenafil. In case you were wondering, sildenafil is the generic name for Viagra. It seems some supplements companies are getting their hands on prescription Viagra and lacing herbal supplements with the medication to boost efficacy.
Some consumers think this is a fantastic idea as Viagra is expensive in the United States, but some men are not prescribed the medication for health reasons. Viagra use may not be safe for men with high blood pressure or certain heart-related illnesses. Taking an herbal supplement from a company not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the same as taking a street drug manufactured in someone’s house. There are no strict regulations for supplement companies so the consumer has no way of knowing where the medication was derived from or how much is in each dose. That’s saying nothing of the fact that selling herbal supplements laced with prescription medications is against federal law. MHRA suggests only ordering herbal remedies for erectile dysfunction from companies that can be trusted.
If you are having trouble with erectile dysfunction your urologist or family doctor may be able to help. Many physicians carry sample packs of Viagra and Cialis. If it is medically safe for you to try a prescription drug for erectile dysfunction, your doctor may be able to offer you a sample. Erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of an underlying heart problem. Your doctor may want to run blood work and order diagnostic tests to eliminate any connection between your erectile dysfunction and heart function.
Source: MHRA. Advice to consumers not to use Africa Black Ant, Rock Hard Weekend, Pandora and The Best, marketed for erectile dysfunction. 27 June, 2011.comments (0)
One of the things I noticed as soon as I started working from home was the utter lack of adult interaction. Aside from sporting events with one of my teenage daughters, my life had moved from constantly being in contact with hundreds (maybe thousands) of different people each day to being in contact with five – my family. For me it was a welcome change. I wanted to give up the hustle and bustle, but it got me to thinking – what happens when dads stay at home to raise young children? By the time those young children move into the toddler years, are these dads left with no adult friends to call on for a little adult time?
Considerations When Staying at Home
For the first two years of staying home with the kids I was more than happy to just enjoy their company, but soon I realized that having both mom and dad at home meant no interaction with other adults outside of school. Teachers are adults sure, but don’t kids need to have adults in their life other than parents and teachers? This was a new concept that I’d never really considered, but one I knew was important enough to consider now. I talked with my older children about how they feel with mom and dad at home and no other interaction with adults. They were quick to say they were happy with the way things were and remind me they interacted with their friend’s parents and people they volunteered with. Phew – that was a weight off my shoulders, but it brought about another consideration. Do I NEED adult interaction outside the home or is life in my little bubble perfectly natural?
I talked with my wife in detail about the subject and we came to terms with the idea that life is what we make of it and if we chose to go out and interact with other adults outside the home that was a bridge we would cross when we came to it. But, we both figured some dads are lost in the parenting lifestyle with a toddler as a best friend and that is not a healthy place to be in life. If you have to travel to the local library, grocery store, mall or gym to keep contact with other adults – then travel. You should always keep in touch with adults when raising kids at home because you need someone to talk to that understands your struggles, trials, tribulations and life’s simple pleasures; someone with whom you can have a conversation.comments (0)
Just last week I was waiting in line at the local grocery store when I noticed a couple talking about having children. I didn’t mean to eaves drop, but the conversation was quite interesting. The woman was claiming there was never a time when a couple is financially secure enough to take the jump into parenthood. The man claimed that wasn’t true – citing how much money they’d saved over the last year and voicing a desire to wait one more year so they could have enough in the bank to afford a baby. With four kids under my belt and a financial history ranging from extremely poor to upper middle class I wanted to tell the couple the honest truth about affording children – if you feel like a year’s worth of savings is not enough to raise a child you are probably not emotionally ready to start a family.
The Financial Facts About Parenthood
Having children is expensive – but not as expensive as you might think. In the beginning, infants cost no more than adults to raise. Diapers, wipes and formula (if applicable) can be covered by making simple changes in your current spending habits. In my case, we downgraded our cable package and chose to skip eating out for a few years to afford baby number one and two. Few adults have an income that allows them to save enough for 18 years of expenses, so many parents choose to make the final decision about starting a family with emotions rather than financial statistics.
There are Exceptions to the Rule
Without a doubt, a couple in dire financial straits may want to wait a few years before starting a family. There are some basics in life that all couples need to have, including safe housing and a steady job. When my wife and I wanted to start a family we looked at the extra spending we were doing each month. We knew if we had the extra money to go out to eat every week, we had enough money to have a baby. If you cannot afford to go out to eat or pay your rent on time each month, you need to work toward financial stability (no necessarily freedom) before starting a family.
Most couples are not financially free when they choose to start a family. Everyone has bills and bills often feel bigger than they really are. Put your income and bills into a family budgeting program and look at the results. You may be surprised to find out that baby may not impact your finances as much as you thought it would.comments (0)
She Thinks Staying at Home Means Doing all the Housework
This was probably the first confrontation we had after I chose to stay-at-home with the kids. Society and my wife thought being a stay-at-home parent meant doing all the housework, but that’s just not the case. Being at home with the kids does not mean I have all the free time in the world to scrub every inch of the house. She thought that was her responsibility, but together we navigated a better solution. When something is dirty we clean it – no matter who stays at home.
She Thinks Taking Time for Herself is Taking Time from the Kids
This is another huge difference between men and women. I take the time to work out every day and enjoy the news and I feel no guilt about taking this time. I’m not afraid to tell the kids they need to retire to their rooms for a while so mom and dad can have some alone time, but she is not like that. She was that stay-at-home mom would sacrificed every moment of her life for the kids. She fell into a rut where she felt guilty when she took even the smallest moment for herself. I’m still working on changing that part of her psyche, but we’ll get there one date day at a time.
Being a stay-at-home dad is a rare idea today, but there are more of us joining the ranks of daddy day care providers every day. Moms tend to offer stay-at-home dads advice like they have no idea how to raise children, but men may have more important advice to offer stay-at-home moms. Take time for yourself and jump out of the stereotyped path stay-at-home parents have resorted to.comments (0)
The Danger of Listeria for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely to contract listeria than non-pregnant women. The bacteria are often found in raw meat, raw vegetables and processed foods like hot dogs and lunch meat. You can prevent listeria infection by carefully handling foods you prepare in the kitchen and avoiding processed foods that shouldn’t be consumed during pregnancy anyway.
Those Healthy Veggies May Not be So Healthy
The fresh vegetable department at your local grocery store just installed those cool misters to keep vegetables from drying out; but that misting system could increase the likelihood you come in contact with listeria bacteria. If vegetables are sitting in standing water, skip them all together. Otherwise, wash vegetables carefully when you return home before placing them in the refrigerator. Wash your hands thoroughly after you wash each vegetable to avoid cross-contamination.
Cook Meat All the Way Through
During pregnancy rare or even medium rare meat is a no-go, but the same goes for immediately after pregnancy. Cook all meat thoroughly and wash your hands after handling raw meat before touching other foods. Never prepare raw meat on the same surface with vegetables or other foods.
Listeria is an invisible danger that causes very real and very serious illness. Remember to choose vegetables that look healthy and fresh. Wash all vegetables before storing or preparing and wash hands often. Cook meat through and wash all surfaces thoroughly after working with raw meat.comments (0)
Talk Out Your Feelings
Communication in those first days and weeks after finding out about an unintended pregnancy is crucial. Talk about all of your feelings, no matter how callous or coarse they may sound. Try to keep a level head about the situation and skip the finger-pointing and blame as these will do nothing but drive a stake between you and your pregnant partner. Remember to give her time to talk about her feelings as well. The pregnancy affects you both equally.
Face Your Emotions Head On
Don’t lie about your feelings. If you’re unhappy about the unintended pregnancy it is best to deal with those emotions from the start rather than wait until later in the pregnancy when stress levels are higher. Men commonly feel hurt, angry and disappointed by unintended pregnancy. You may also find yourself questioning the paternity of the baby or considering the idea she allowed herself to get pregnant on purpose – you are not alone. Unintended pregnancy can cause a wealth of rational and irrational emotions. Take a little time to think everything through before talking about any drastic feelings with your partner.
Change Your Spending Habits Now
The word unintended means you were not preparing for a baby. Babies are expensive, but you can make some simple spending changes early in the pregnancy to save the money you need for baby supplies. Lean on friends and family for hand-me-downs and start stocking up on diapers when they go on sale. If applicable, visit your local WIC (Women, Infant and Children) office to apply for aid. WIC offers food vouchers for pregnant women, infants and children up to age five. The vouchers cover foods like milk, beans, tuna, peanut butter and infant formula.
Unintended pregnancies are hard, but you can make it through with flying colors if you take a little time to think about your feelings, share feelings openly and prepare for baby well ahead of time.comments (0)
Three Years Have Passed and New Faces Abound
Three short years have passed and since that first day I sat in the car rider line the demographic of the car rider line has changed quite a bit. The 1 in 10 dad to mom ratio in the car rider line has moved closer to 5 in 10. I counted four dads in the six cars in front of me the other day - something that gives me a feeling of pride. I may have nothing to do with the change (chances are none of these dads even know me) but I was one of the first and that makes me feel like a founding father, literally.
What's Behind the Change?
That is a very interesting question - the same question I asked my children's teacher one day. We talked a bit about changing roles in moms and dads. She assured me that dads were showing up in places other than the car rider line. Dads are volunteering in classrooms, chaperoning trips and jumping into the PTA more often today than ever before. Something I am proud of as a dad of four.
Dads may never play as important a role as moms in the daily lives of children in some families, but as long as dads start playing a bigger role, being a stronger presence and taking the job of fatherhood more seriously I think this world and future generations will be just fine!comments (0)
Keep a Steadfast Dedication to Education
I remember when my wife and I were dating she used to tease me because I would fall asleep in front of the television doing my homework. She convinced me that homework and studying should come before television time, so that is the road we took when raising our children. Today, we have no trouble getting our kids to complete homework before they even attempt to ask to play outside or watch television. Often, we have to remind them to stop reading or studying so they can spend some time running and playing.
Allow Your Children to Follow Their Dreams – Within Reason
Education is just as important as extracurricular activities. Children learn how to work as a team by playing with other team members, but there is a limit many parents refuse to place on their support. When my middle daughter asked to attend a $1,000 basketball camp I told her simply, no. She never spent time outside at the basketball rim we’d purchased for her practicing her game, so spending $1,000 for her to attend a special camp was out of the question. She started practicing outside more often after that in hopes of earning a spot at the camp next year.
Teach Your Children Relaxation Techniques
The first time one of my children started stressing out over an assignment they could not grasp, I stepped in and took my child by the hand and led her outside for a brief walk. While walking I talked with her about how important it was to remove yourself from a stressful situation to collect your thoughts. By the time we finished the 10 minute walk she was ready to tackle the assignment head on.
Life as a parent is difficult, but after raising four children I have finally managed to pay myself on the back for a few parental choices I’ve made over the years. Education, support and guidance are the key elements in raising a smart kid.comments (0)
Understanding the Feelings That Come with Step-Parenthood
Some step-dads feel disconnected with children from a previous marriage and others immediately connect with children and never consider themselves step-parents at all. The first rule of thumb to remember is to admit how you are feeling, if only to yourself, and come to terms with the idea that loving and marrying this woman means marrying her children. This is especially true if the mother has sole guardianship of the children.
Stepping in While Staying Out of It
If there is a biological father in the picture you will need to learn how to step into certain situations and how to stay out of others. Learning the ins and outs of being a step-parent takes time. Your spouse will need your support along the way, but there may be times when she needs you to trust her instincts and decisions regarding the children even if you do not necessarily agree with those decisions.
Making a Connection with Step Children
The most important role as a step-parent is being a parent. The connection you make with your step-children will mold how the relationship grows between parent and child. Time is your best friend. Be supportive and available to step-children, but don’t attempt to be a lax parent because you are not the biological parent. Talk with your spouse about parenting roles, discipline and her expectations of you as a step-parent.
The best advice for any new step-dad is to be patient. It can take time for step-children to trust a new parent and there may be some emotional hurdles regarding your role as the new dad in the house. You have an obligation as a father to be a parent, but that obligation needs to adapt to parental situation.comments (0)
Increased Fatigue Affects Bedroom Behavior
The work/life balance most couples look for in life may elude them if they work long hours. Some couples spend more than 16 hours a day traveling to work, working and traveling home from work. That leaves about eight hours for rest, relaxation and sleep – leaving little room for intimacy or reproduction. While there may not be a direct link between working long hours and physical male fertility, if intimacy is being replaced with work and sleep, reproduction simply will not happen.
Career Before Marriage or Children
Another negative impact of long work hours and strive for advancement is delayed marriage. Just a few decades ago men and women married early in life. Women stayed home raising children while men worked outside the home. These clear-cut roles have changed. There are female CEOs and men who choose to wait until their mid-30s to get married. Career and long work hours have taken precedence over procreation and home life.
Long Work Hours and Impaired Cardiac Health
Further evidence of the impact of long work hours on male fertility was revealed in a 2012 study from researchers in Finland. The study found a connection between long work hours and coronary heart disease. Heart disease has been implicated as a possible cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) with ED being one of the first detectable symptoms of heart disease.
Long work hours may decrease male fertility both directly and indirectly. It is important to take vacation time, work normal hours and maintain a work/life balance for overall health and to maintain reproductive health.