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What causes male balding?They say there are 3 types of men: the ones that go bald at the top are thinkers, the ones who go bald at the back are lovers, and the ones who grow bald at both places... only think they are lovers. If pregnancy and menstruation are a female's burden, then baldness is a great inconvenience to men. Some men lose their hair in their youth and thus lose their confidence along with their hair. So what is with baldness and men? Men start having a receding hairline by the time they hit 30, though it could begin in their 20s as well. The most common type of baldness is the mid-frontal type resembling a horseshoe. Earlier it was thought that baldness is caused only by genetic factors, but apparently emotions, lifestyle and diseases also contribute largely to hair loss and baldness. This hair loss can be temporary or permanent. Some medications like anticoagulants, antidepressants, antifungal medicines, chemotherapy etc can cause baldness. Certain diseases like thyroid disease, Crohn's disease, lupus can cause hair loss and baldness. Poor nutrition is an important factor in hair loss. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies along with poor nutrition can pave the path sooner than most other things. Then there are some conditions like Alopecia Areata which cause baldness in patches -- on the head or beard. It is temporary and the hair grow back in about 6 months to 1 year. Corticosteroid injections are used to treat the condition. Air and water pollutants, environmental toxins, conventional styling products have the potential to build up on the scalp. These affect hair cuticle, cause dryness, and weaken the hair causing them to easily break off before their natural lifecycle has ended. If you notice your hairline receding more than usual, then check if you are getting enough nutrition. Exercises like the headstand and handstand send the blood rushing to the scalp and can help with hair growth. Massaging the head with warm oil helps to increase blood circulation as well. Use a shampoo that suits your hair along with a conditioner. Oil your hair overnight at least thrice a week. Keep yourself well hydrated and try vitamin C which can help arrest hair fall. Use a clean comb and ensure that you sun your scalp, as vitamin D is an essential tonic for skin, bones, teeth and even hair.    
Male infertility : An overview of the causesWhy men shy away from infertility tests? However, it is ideal for both the man and woman of a relationship to get infertility tests done. This would not only avoid unnecessary tests and expenditure later and could also result in prompt medical treatment of the problem. Following an appointment with a urologist/andrologist, the patient is instructed to provide a semen sample for analysis of the quantity and quality of the sperms in the semen. An additional semen test might be recommended for confirmation of the initial results. The semen analysis is an effective method of knowing what is going wrong in the reproductive system : No-sperm count (azoospermia) - Absence of production of sperms or the non-appearance of sperms in the semen. Sperm Morphology Issues - Issues related to the structure and form of the sperm. Low-Semen Production (oligospermia) - Production of low amount of sperms. Sperm Motility Problems - Abnormal movement of sperms resulting in incapacity to fertilize egg. Did you know that use of laptops placed on your thighs can result in increase of scrotal temperature? This could lead to abnormality with sperm production. Thus, using laptops is best when they are located on table or desks, away from constant contact with your genital region. There could also be a primary medical condition, the symptom of which could be manifested reproductively. The physician will suggest blood and urine tests, among others, for the same. There can be 10 major causes of male infertility : Semen : Semen refers to the ejaculated fluid containing sperms during sexual intercourse. There could be low or no count of sperm. It is also possible that the mobility of sperm is restricted. Sterilization : The cutting and sealing off the vas deferens (the tubes which carry the sperms from testicles to the semen) ensuring that your semen does not contain sperms is known as vasectomy. Though this process can be reversed, they are mostly not fruitful. Lack of sperms : Even though the testicles are producing quality sperms, it is possible that they do not reach the semen. The lack of sperms in the semen is medically known as obstructive azoospermia. Such a condition could be caused due to the blocking in one of the constitutive tubes of the reproductive system. This could be further resulting from an infection or a previous surgery. Ejaculation issues : Some men might find it challenging to ejaculate normally due to retrograde (ejaculation of semen into bladder) or premature (ejaculation in very short period of sexual activity) ejaculation. Medicine and drugs : Certain medications have been found to catalyze the onset of infertility. These include sulfasalazine, chemotherapy, anabolic steroids, and herbal remedies (for instance, the consumption of root derivates of Tripterygium wilfordii). The quality of semen can also be negatively affected by illegal drugs like cocaine and marijuana. Testicles : The function of production and storage of the semen lies with the testicles. In case of injury to them, the quality of the semen could be negatively affected. Causes of injury to testicles include a congenital defect, testicular infection, physical trauma, testicular surgery or cancer and undescended testicles (case where one or both of the testicles do not descend into the scrotum). Hypogonadism : This refers to the presence of a very low level of testosterone (male sexual hormone) which plays a major role in production of sperms. This could be due to tumors, Klinefelter's syndrome, or consumption of illegal drugs. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) : A series of sexually transmitted illnesses can result in male infertility, for example, chlamydia. Alcohol and weight : Consumption of over 3 to 4 units of alcohol per day can result in infertility in men. Both men and women are affected adversely due to obesity. Occupational factors and stress : Contact with certain types of pesticides, solvents, and metals can result in deterioration of sperm quality. Stress has also been associated with the loss of sexual drive resulting in lesser instances of sexual intercourse. Moreover, in case of severe stress, sperm production can be unfavorably affected.
Pregnancy and HIVMothers with higher level of viral load have been found to deliver infected babies. However, no amount of viral load can be safe as infections can occur any time during pregnancy. A high level of precaution is necessary during this phase. Mostly infection occurs during delivery but that's not the only way through which it can spread. HIV-infected mothers should not breast-feed, as virus can transmit through breast milk too. Antiretroviral medications are used to reduce chances of transmission of HIV. Keeping delivery time shorter can reduce the risk of transmission. Most of the times babies born to positive mothers are positive for HIV. Babies infected with HIV will have antibodies made in their system and will continue to test positive. But if babies aren't infected, the mother's antibodies in baby's blood will eventually disappear and babies will test negative after about one to one and half year. HIV positive women should consider possible problems with antiretroviral medications for HIV before getting pregnant. Talk to the doctor about choice, indications, and contraindications of these drugs. There's a risk of missing doses due to nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy, hence giving HIV a chance to develop resistance. Some doctors prefer the practice of stopping or modifying medications during pregnancy to lower the risk of birth defects. Short course of treatments can help eliminate or reduce risk of transmitting HIV to a newborn; but, short treatments increase the risk of resistance to the drugs used too. There is a risk of birth defects due to antiretroviral drugs during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Pregnancy does not worsen mother's HIV disease, but any HIV positive woman planning to get pregnant should discuss treatment options thoroughly and all the pros and cons with her doctor.   
Mother can pass stress patterns to childThe stress patterns in the mother have shown to affect the mental development of children and have been found to play a role in autism and even schizophrenia. "Pressure and stress is the common cold of the psyche." - Andrew Denton There are several studies conducted in this area of research. The results are varied and present a set of multiple issues that children can face if their mothers have been under stress when they were in the womb. In later years, these babies grow into children who have a weak mental state. They cry easily, pick the escape route in conflicts and difficult situations, are anxiety prone and may get easily bullied in social environments. Their social adjustment gets hampered due to emotional weakness. These children are not good at handling weak moments and end up being rubbed off the wrong way, time and again. It pushes them into a vicious cycle. The incapability to tackle socially stressful situations further scares them. They get bullied and become even more vulnerable. What to do? The approach is twofold. Curb the problem in the beginning. Yes, it is natural to be stressed. Pregnancy can be tough, physically as well as mentally. With the modern life, the stressors have increased and there is always so much to do in such little time. Relationships, work, food, health, hormones - there is ample to trouble you. Find a release for the tensions. The one growing inside you needs you to be happy and healthy. Do things that make you happy, keep your happiness at the top priority. Everyone around you needs to understand that. Reader, if you are the husband, parent, sibling or friend of a pregnant lady - support her, understand her and do all you can to make her smile. Do not be the one who reprimands if she is worried, be the one who takes away her worries. Pave way for a baby who is happy and ready to start a new life. Second, do what you can at the given time. The child is already here and is facing emotional adjustment issues - extend your support to him/her. Give the kid the ground to grow strong roots and stand tall, without being disturbed easily by gushes of the wind. While it is difficult to avoid stress, you can always try to handle it better, for the sake of your child.Soon-to-be mothers who go through stressful situations may be passing on the stress patterns to their babies.
A baby - proofed guide to childcareCaring for kids is an important task. Everyone wishes to nourish kids in a loving and caring yet protective atmosphere. Initial stages of development call for more care and attention. Health, hygiene and safety at home and outside are important when it comes to kids. Here are a few helpful tips to all the parents: Nurture your infants with massage. Learn a right way or get it done from a professional. It is a great therapy to make muscles strong and bond with the baby. Prolonged crying bothers parents a lot. Usually continuous crying for long hours is suggestive of colic or stomach ache. It is the most common problem in kids, the reason being immature gastric system. Do not panic. Keep medicines at hand and give them as per instructions by your kid's doctor. Toddlers often insist on being carried even when they know how to walk well. Make sure to hold them comfortably. Diapering a baby is a skill that must be mastered especially when the baby is fidgety. Holding baby in right position flat on the back simplifies the task. Parents adapt to doing the job effortlessly with practice. Transition period of swapping from breastfeed to bottle known as weaning is a tough task for most of the babies. Consider gentle weaning strategies advised by the doctors. Do not be abrupt. Go slow! Some Safety Tips: Cap and lock the medicines, detergents, chemicals etc. in containers keeping them far away from the children. Bathingwater should be always checked before bathing the baby. Do not leave kids alone near water tub or any water source alone. Avoid leaving baby in a highchair to prevent injuries such asbaby climbing out, falling, or sliding. Lock up all the knives, matches, and plastic bags away from children to prevent poisonings, bleeding injuries, burns and suffocation.
Teenage troubles for autistic kidsTeenage brings along with it a lot of physical and psychological problems. Your body undergoes a lot of changes, the way the world looks at you is changing and you are not in the position to accept all this. Teenage is one of the most painful periods in one's life.  For an autistic child teenage can be compared to living a nightmare day in and day out. Here is a look at the problems of teenage from an autistic kid's point of view: Social Interaction The ability to interact socially is absent in autistic kids. They are loners who prefer to be left alone and undisturbed in their own worlds. Such a child is a natural target for bullying and ragging by other kids of his age group. At times even if the autistic child wants to come out and make friends, he is not able to do so due to lack of the required skills. Teenage is a period where you need at least one friend to confide in. It can be an extremely difficult phase when you are all alone. Puberty This is the dramatic time in life dilled with hormones and emotions. Your body undergoes lots of changes and you are confused about so many things. You don't know whom to ask or whom to turn to for guidance. Autistic children do not have the maturity to understand this phase. Special issues for autistic teens and sexuality include: Knowledge of physical changes in body. Knowledge of 'good' and 'bad' touch. Ability to communicate about a 'bad' touch or action. Keeping 'safe' distance from others. Handling menstrual cycles. Avoiding 'self-touch' in public. It can be a phase of emotional turmoil for the parents. They need to work closely with their child's special teachers to chalk out a plan that will be best suited to the child in handling puberty successfully. Self-help skills Simple self-help skills like hygiene can be a challenge for teenagers with autism. Improper motor skills, compliance, and sensory problems may interfere with a teen's progress. The proper training of hygiene and grooming can help to add these elements into the daily routine. The right approach is to simplify each task into simple small steps. The positive reward system is a great source of encouragement, as positive motivation always help the teenagers. Higher Functions Autistic teenagers are socially awkward. They lack the power to comprehend and process complex social cues which includes sarcasm, body language, humor, emotional responses and facial expressions. What complicates the problem is that the autistic child lacks empathy and hence may appear rude. Such kids are likely to be teased a lot in school settings.
Faking illnesses - An illness in itself?In 2008, a 28 years old woman in the US shared some shocking news with her friends. She had been detected with cancer. She posted updates on social networking sites and wrote blogs on her illness. Sympathy poured in from all corners. Some even sent in monetary help to cover her expenses. The saddest part of the incident though was not her cancer; it was the fact that she had faked it! Police investigations revealed her little trick when no evidences or records were found at the hospitals! Apparently, this isn't a unique case;  faking illnesses or malingering is a very common occurrence. All of us have done it at some point in our lives. While we may have done it to escape a school punishment or to take undue advantage of the office 'sick leaves' for personal purposes, it is usually done on a harmless level. But faking illness can be a chronic disorder too and  medical professionals even have a name for it-; Munchausen's Syndrome. People suffering from this syndrome fake illnesses that they don't actually have, to gain sympathy or simply to be the center of attention. Usually gaining sympathy is the main reason why people fake illnesses. It gives them a chance to be in the spotlight. Everyone calls and visits, expresses concern and fusses over them. Lots of love is showered upon them. Another common reason for faking illnesses, is money and at times, the monetary benefits are higher than the emotional ones. No one hesitates to fulfill the last wish of a dying person, however expensive it may be. Often there are mixed motivations and the person faking an illness has many reasons to keep up the pretense of being sick, for as long as possible. Some people really do have a disease — a mental illness known as a factitious disorder. People with this disorder pretend to have an illness, which is usually a terminal one and often go to great lengths to maintain their hoax. Munchausen syndrome by proxy, is another form of faking illness. People with this disorder, fake illnesses of people under their care; and they usually do this, for monetary benefits. Children are the most common victims in this disease. When you tell someone that your child has cancer, you will receive a great amount of sympathy and all the money you want, no questions asked! People with these disorders are extremely cunning. They go to great extents to maintain their lies. They will build grand stories, complain of fake pains and aches, get admitted to hospitals and undergo a battery of tests, numerous times. Interestingly, they never allow and frequently discourage medical professionals, from talking to any of their family members. Since they know they are faking the illness, they will refuse to undergo treatment, for obvious reasons. . If you think a loved one may be exaggerating or faking their health issues, attempt a gentle conversation, voicing your concerns. Avoid anger, judgment or confrontation, while offering support and care and if possible, help them in finding a treatment. Treatment includes empathy, helping in identifying feelings and issues that led to the development of the disorder and finding  alternative healthy ways to deal with those feelings and issues.
Sweetie, I am addicted to you!Research shows sugar can be more addictive than heroin. What was the last thing you ate or drank before reading this? Bread? Banana? Chocolate? Cake? Fries? Wafers? Doughnut? Biscuits? Soda? Juice? Wine? Vodka? Coffee? Tea? They are all sugars ultimately. Some taste sweet, some don't. The first thing we taste as babies is milk. It is naturally sweet. From that young age, we learn that sugar is what we like and what we want. You may be a sugar addict, if: You need 'something sweet' after every meal. You cannot have tea or coffee without that second pinch of sugar. Dessert is a must every time you eat out. You go hunting to the refrigerator looking for cake leftovers. A little bite of that chocolate bar is all you need to be happy. You are the one who finishes off the last piece of laddu in the house. You want ketchup with everything - fries, noodles, pizza, burger, samosa, kachori. You want all the above listed items because you just read their names. When out in the hot sun, water is not sufficient for you, you want flavored sweetened chilled drinks. A mocktail or a soda drink makes your dinner complete. And many more such things. So, you see, almost all of us are sugar addicts. Studies show every person in countries like, USA, UK and Australia, may be a sugar addict. The reasons behind the sugar addiction are manifold. First, beyond doubt sugar tastes awesome. Taste factor cannot be debated with. But do you know, the taste is conditioned? Cravings are not always and entirely natural. They are a result of what you give the body and teach your taste buds. Second, businesses heavily exploit this weakness for sugar. Wherever you go there is unimaginable variety of sugar products. A café, a restaurant, a general store, a superstore, a street cart - they all have several options for you to indulge in. How much can one resist and how much can on filter the menu! Third, sugar creates instant gratification. That does work for it and that does add to our trouble. A sad day at work and some chocolate perks you up. Feeling dull and bored, let's go out for an ice cream. This happens too often. Why sugar isn't that sweet? We feel what harm can little sweet do, being happy is more important. However, sugar is worse than many other food vices. As an experiment, check the contents of everything in your kitchen and count how many of them have sugar, in any amounts. Try skipping everything that has sugar in it for the next three days. You will be shocked. The options to eat cut down to several degrees if you skip sugar. The problem with sugar is it makes you want more. A bit does not satisfy you. Sugar increases the desire for sugar - immediate and long term, likewise. The moment you have a bite of something sweet, you cannot stop there, you need to eat another bite, and another, and another. In the long run, your taste buds are getting deeply conditioned for sugar cravings. Your body learns that every time the mind is feeling low, it should ask for sugar. That is how it has been taught to feel better. You are entering a vicious cycle when you entertain these cravings. Sugar is often defamed as a white poison. It is not an exaggeration. Sugar has no nutritive value, apart from generating energy in the body. It simply increases the risk of numerous health complications. Sugar is a known culprit for diabetes mellitus, obesity, heart disease, hormonal imbalance, sexual dysfunctions, and others. Sugar addiction is the most common addiction of all. It is difficult to leave sugar completely out, but one can always cut the portions. How to beat that addiction? Time for some action? All this information must be making you want to cut down on your sugar intake. Hold on. Alcohol, smoking, drugs - they are understood and accepted as addictions. So, there are support groups, people around us will motivate and help us to de-addict. Getting rid of our sugar addiction is even tougher. It will require tremendous amount of will power and determination. Are you ready for the challenge? Let us see some simple ways to de-addict from sugars: Drink less Cut down on all the artificially sweetened drinks - colas, orange, iced teas, flavored canned drinks, sodas. They have zero health benefit. The only reason why you have them is because of the taste factor. Remember the taste is momentary. Once inside the body, these drinks are creating havoc for your system. One spoon less - Tea or coffee? What do you need to start your day? Whatever it is, try reducing the sugar portions. If you take two spoons, try one. If you take one spoon, try half. It will be difficult in the beginning but eventually you will get used to it and you will even like it. Have whole fruits instead of juices. Anything drinkable in the cans contains sugar. Say no to cans. Eat less Give the ketchup bottles some rest. Decide your weekly chocolate quota. Don't let the moods overpower your decision. Bakery items are loaded with sugar, forget they exist. Turn a blind eye to that shelf when you go grocery shopping. A fan of breakfast cereal? Check the packets for sugar content. The ones that are flavoured have more sugar. Pick the plain ones. You can add your own choice of fruit and dry fruits for nutrition. Desserts should be a onetime thing, only when the occasion calls for it. You don't need them daily. Let the sweetness be in your words, not on your plate.
High heels can walk you to the hospital bedHigh heels make a fashion statement which makes us look tall, elegant and good but they cause injuries on a regular basis. High heel shoes have been luxury item once upon a time; today high heels have made themselves a part of every girl's life thanks to supermodels and stars. You will not find any health warning on shoes but they ought to, as they seriously put you at a high risk of numerous health problems. How are high heels and low back painrelated? High heels significantly affect your natural posture and your spine. The natural arch of spine becomes acute when walking in high heels. This poses high risk to the spine getting injured. This not only wears  and tears intervertebral cushions called discs but cause injury to the nerves too.  High heels put strain on muscles of lower back causing pain after a long day of wearing high heels. Nerve trapping, nerve pain and radiculopathy can result from wearing high heels for a long period. This is exhibited     as tingling, numbnessand pain. Arthritis, nerve pain, hammer toes, ingrown toenails and bunions are all common problems due to high heels. Calf muscle shortens and tightens after prolonged use. Jogging, playing, running with high-heeled shoes can tear and rupture calf muscles. What can you do to prevent damage? Firstly ensure your body is in top shape before you start. There is a much less chance of developing low back pain if you are strong and fit. So do activities like swimming, pilates, circuit class, box-exercise and whatever else thatmakes you feel good. Focus on activities that make the abdominal area strong includingyour deep core muscles. Secondly a regular regime of stretching will prevent a lot of problems occurring. Either get involved in a yoga class or make sure you do 10-15 minutes of stretching every day. Stretch your back, your calves and hamstrings especially. Thirdly get sports massage at leastonce-a-month. This will loosen the tightened structures, realign the spine and lengthen the hamstrings, calves and Achillestendon
5 cardinal sins for the skinWhile cigarettes may not constitute food in the strictest sense, it does have a profound effect on skin complexion, health, color and tone. We eat that we may live, but sometimes we eat way too much and consume stuff that may be extremely hazardous to our health. Since we are talking about skin, here are 5 most hazardous foods for your skin: Grease adds to the crease Since healthy skin is all about healthy blood circulation, any food which is likely to clog up the blood vessels internally is deemed bad for skin tone. Packaged snacks like potato chips may have edible oil written in bold but this contributes significantly to the slowing down of 'collagen and elastin syntheses' which in turn causes the skin to appear aged and all wrinkly. The french fries that we consume as a TV snack can also cause an acne outbreak on the skin and face. Gluten Glutton Gluten is a substance found in wheat and other food grains. We may not even be aware that some of the food grains have gluten as a main constituent. Gluten intolerance can also cause inflammations on the skin in the form of rashes or acne. Bad news is that the pizzas, pastas, cakes and bread that we get off the rack may be heavy in gluten (Surprised that they don't say that on the pack) and that may be the reason for you to lose precious skin tone. So seek gluten free foods, though that might not be the easiest of tasks, but for your skin, it certainly will be worth it. Caffeine - the skin coffin If you are one of those coffee addicts then you may as well write an obituary column lamenting the loss of your skin tone and complexion. It's not without reason that health freaks love bashing coffee beans and caffeine rich beverages, as they are truly hazardous. How? Studies have proven that just 2-3 cups stimulate pituitary-adrenocortical response. Yes, but what does that have to do with your skin? Well this leads to the hormone cortisol to increase in our bodies. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone! So now here's what it does to your skin -it accelerates the ageing process which means wrinkled skin and causes dehydration causing the skin to show an unusual pallor. So before you turn the coffee faucet on think twice. Fad to Black How fad diets are not skin friendly? Some people go on a high protein, low-carb diet which could sound the death knell as far as complexion goes. Dieting depletes calcium levels, which means your bones are going to suffer and what's the point of having skin on bad bone density? Besides low-carb diets can utterly wreck the complexion as the delicate PH balance in the skin is ruined. Some of the meat, poultry and dairy products too can have artificial chemicals injected in them which cause a hormonal imbalance in our bodies leading to skin disasters. Fruits and vegetables have chemicals injected too sometimes! Beware! Cereal Killers Cereal killers are those people who ignore the need of a proper diet for skin health. So anybody who indulges in too much sugar, caffeine and greasy food stuffs is a 'Cereal Killer' A lack of cereals in the diet can literally kill your skin. Cereal foods have high fiber and antioxidants for moisturizing the skin and protecting it from skin damage. For great skin other than cereals which are simply fabulous for keeping skin hydrated and breathing easily, one can eat fruits, olive oil, healthy fats, almonds, tofu, grains, nuts and the good old vitamin B rich products. Ceramides in raw food diets, organic foods, wheat germ and brown rice protect the epidermis of the skin and make it impervious to external attacks and pollutants while maintaining their tone and beauty.
Flash the pearliesRemember the lines from the song, Words? Smile an everlasting smile, a smile can bring you near to me.  Well, ideally, you wouldn't want your teeth to be yellow when you flash that smile. So for those who have shades of yellow on their teeth, here's how you can go back to white. It's first important to understand what causes yellowing of the teeth. Eating habits: Carbonated drinks dissolve teeth enamel. Tea, coffee and other caffeinated drink stain the teeth yellow.In addition, alcohol and cigarette smoking too can stain teeth. Tobacco chewing especially produces stains that are difficult to remove.Food rich in artificial sweeteners are harmful for teeth. They not only make the teeth yellow but also produce cavities. Chocolates, pastries, ice-creams and all such sugar-rich foods are sticky. They stick to teeth and have corroding effect on tooth enamel and dentin and cause yellow teeth, decay and toothache. Oral hygiene: Poor hygiene of oral cavity leads to stains and caries. Take good care of your teeth. Brush teeth twice. Floss them and use a mouthwash. Ageing: Gradual loss of enamel and wear and tear lead to yellow teeth. Medicines: Medicines like iron tablets, tetracycline too can lead to yellow teeth. Injury: Trauma to teeth can sometimes lead to yellowing. This is common amongst kids. Preventing yellowing of teeth Maintain a good dental hygiene. Brush twice for atleast 3-4 minutes. But be gentle while brushing teeth. Gargle every time after you eat.This removes the leftover food particles and keeps the teeth clean. Avoid use of local powders or corrosive substances. They damage enamel. Fruits like apple, cucumber, and carrot act like cleansing agents and keep teeth clean. Fruits like sweet lime are rich in vitamin C and help to keep gums and teeth healthy.
Easy tips for fresh breathBrushing your teeth twice daily is not enough for fresh breath. How well you brush, and how long you brush are equally important, as are flossing regularly and eating right. 19 year-old Rita suffers from bad breath. It is a huge drawback for her. No one at college wants to be her friend. Her doctor suggested that she brushes twice daily, and also prescribed a good mouth wash for her. Following this advice has not helped her much. There must be millions of us who identify with Rita's problem. Halitosis, or bad breath, is a huge embarrassment not only for the person who has it, but also for the person who has to bear it. It can be a cause of social isolation, as seen in Rita's case. A fresh smelling breath is a sign of good hygiene. A fresh breath makes you more confident of yourself, and you feel ready to face any challenge that life throws your way. So, what do you do to keep your breath minty fresh all day? Brush twice a day, and use a good mouthwash regularly, would be your reply. But is this enough? Let us start by busting a few myths here! Mouthwash will give you fresh breath all day long. It won't. It will only make your breath fresh temporarily. As long as you brush your teeth regularly, you need not worry about bad breath! Brushing your teeth is necessary. The key here is how long and how well you brush. Most of us brush for 35 to 40 seconds, which is just not enough. One needs to brush properly over all the surfaces of the teeth to clean them well. This should take you not less than two minutes! And you thought brushing twice daily was enough! Here are a few tips to keep your breath fresh: Bad breath is the result of bacterial activity in your mouth. One of the reasons for bacteria to grow is due to dryness. So, never let your mouth go dry. Keep your mouth well hydrated. Drink loads of water. One of the other reasons for bacterial activity in the mouth is the food particles that get accumulated in the cracks between your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth well every time you finish eating something. Flossing is an activity you should never ignore. Flossing does what regular brushing cannot do; It removes the food stuck between your teeth. Avoid foods that cause bad breath-like coffee, tea, sugary drinks, garlic, onions, or broccoli. Sugarfree gums are a good way to keep your mouth hydrated, as they increase the flow of saliva. Gel based toothpastes may give you a fresh breath, but the effects are temporary. Go for fluoride toothpaste that is good in the long run. Yoga poses like the Kapal Bhati Pranayam, Sheetali Pranayam, Sheetkari Pranayam, Yoga Mudra, Simha Asana are effective in combating bad breath. Visit your dentist regularly, and get your teeth cleaned professionally. Avoid junk food, and foods that are rich in sugar and fats. Instead, go for fresh fruits and vegetables. Quit smoking and alcohol consumption. Simple things like brushing daily, flossing daily, rinsing your mouth after every meal, and eating right can help you keep your breath smelling fresh all day long.
Is sex linked to self esteem?Man is a curious creature, full of quirks and contradictions. Sexual intercourse, something that most people consider an intimate and private experience, is spoken about in hushed tones and often, with some discomfort. We don't reveal or talk about our sexual desires, as readily we discuss our salary packages or food habits. This is quite ironic seeing how sex is an important gauge for a person's self esteem and also an indicator of his/her social desirability. The very thing that we do under covers, we somehow choose to "keep under cover". The Link between Sex and Self Esteem: Self esteem is an important factor that determines the mental & physical well-being of an individual. All of us have a craving to be understood, liked and appreciated; and these form the equivalent of our basic needs on the inverted pyramid- Food, clothing and shelter. For a human being to flourish and prosper, consumable food, without the mental food of appreciation, is not enough; and sexual intercourse or an intimacy with the opposite sex, is one way of validating that need. Sex therefore, ceases to be just a physical need instilled by nature for the perpetuation of the species, but goes into the larger emotional cum psychological dimension of self actualization and realization. Though some of us might be embarrassed to broach the topic of 'whether or not we are getting enough', the truth is that every human seeks to achieve his sexual potential, even while he or she might, not be aware of it. Most of us have the ability to get the foods matching our taste preferences onto our plates, but with sex, this could be a little difficult, since sex, is a complex subject with a lot of social, moral and religious links. The truth is evident in the number of marriages (the very cornerstones of civil society) that fail on the basis of sexual compatibility, either by setting unrealistic sexual expectations or by not owning up to, or even identifying, one's sexual needs. This has repercussions on the psyche and self-esteem of a person, and this is especially true in the case of men in particular, as they may feel completely inferior for not being able to attract a sexual partner matching his desires. In some people, this also leads to a case of self-loathing, for having sexual needs which a partner doesn't understand, or much worse, needs which are considered taboo and sinful (Homosexuality, Anal Sex, Group Sex, Fetishes, etc.) These complex emotions can wreak  havoc on a person's self-esteem, by creating severe internal conflicts and serious self-doubts. Now socially, sex can either liberate a person, or hold him prisoner. At times, the unfulfilled needs may get repressed and banished to the shadows, only to be played out later, in the form of sexual adventurism and crime. Just one look at the sexual crimes in our society today, and we can clearly understand just how healthy our collective self esteem is! The very society that frowns upon prostitution, is actually responsible for creating it, though everybody would like to pretend otherwise. The crux of the matter is that "sex" and "self esteem" are closely related; and one should not shy away from addressing any issues one might face regarding one's sexuality. Physical love is necessary for the survival of a relationship and one needs to make time and efforts to successfully create one's own sexual space. The positive effects of a good sex life can be seen in an increased work productivity, fewer illnesses and an increase in one's overall efficiency. Some people are haunted by sexual guilt and confusion and when they keep it all locked up, they suffer from unexplained physical pains and feel 'down in the dumps' mentally. Another problem with appreciation from the opposite sex, is the addiction to  external validation. Some people feel utterly worthless until they receive positive feedback about their looks or abilities on a regular basis. This can be downright devastating, as in these cases, there is a great dependence on external factors for one to feel good. While no one denies the "feel good factor" of sexual appreciation, it is up to each one of us, to decide just how much of control one must be giving to external factors, to determine our personal self-esteem. The appreciation may be theirs, but the esteem is entirely of the self and only the self can decide how much of appreciation and sex is enough.
Pulling out - Is it an effective option for contraception?What is the 'Pulling out' method? 'Pulling out', 'Withdrawal' and 'Coitus Interruptus' are all the different names for probably one of the safest methods of contraception. It involves the male partner withdrawing or pulling out his penis just before ejaculation. This ensures that no semen has been ejaculated into the vagina or vulva of the female partner. Since there are no sperms travelling inside, the result is - No Pregnancy! Is this method really effective? Like all methods of contraception, the effectiveness of the pulling out method also depends on how correctly it is done. This method requires a lot of mutual understanding between the partners. The male partner must also exercise great self-control and accuracy in knowing when he will reach the highest point of sexual excitement so he can pull out at the right moment. Statistics have the following things to say Of women whose partners use withdrawal, 4% become pregnant each year if they always do it correctly, and 27% become pregnant each year if they don't always do it correctly. Ejaculating close to the vagina or vulva would mean that the sperms still have a way to travel inside the vagina. At times the pre-ejaculate fluid may also contain a few sperms from the previous ejaculation that may end up causing pregnancy. As a precaution against this, experts suggest the male partner pass urine before the sexual act. Withdrawal method of contraception is the best option for members of religious groups in which using contraceptive devices like pills, condoms or IUDs are a form of sin. Withdrawal method does not protect you from HIV/AIDS and other STDs. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method? Advantages It is simple, safe and convenient. It is the best method when no other contraceptive method is available. It has no side-effects It does not require a medical prescription. It does not alter the menstrual cycle. It does not affect future fertility. Disadvantages Requires great self-control, experience and trust. Not suitable for men who suffer from premature ejaculation Not suitable for teenagers and sexually inexperienced people. Does not ensure protection from sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. Less effective than other methods of birth control. May interfere with sexual pleasure due to nervousness and anticipation of pulling out at the right time. The pull out method is thus one of the safest methods of contraception, provided one has a thorough understanding of one's body, trust in the partner and a huge amount of self-control.
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