Infertility Isn’t the Only Problem for Men With Low Sperm Counts, Study Says


It’s well-established that sperm counts are plummeting in the Western hemisphere, dropping by more than 50 percent over the past 40 years. But while scientists agree that it’s a problem, they can’t yet agree upon the causes. This year, we learned that a low sperm count isn’t an issue singularly associated with infertility — it’s also linked to a multitude of other health concerns.

As Inverse reported in March, scientists speaking at the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in March presented research demonstrating that low sperm quality is associated with metabolic alterations, cardiovascular risk, and low bone mass. Lead investigator Alberto Felrin, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Padova in Italy, announced that this means “infertile men are likely to have important co-existing health problems or risk factors that can impair quality of life and shorten their lives.”

Ferlin and his team studied 5,177 male partners in infertile couples and discovered that men with low sperm counts were 1.2 times more likely to have more body fat, higher blood pressure, less “good” cholesterol, and more “bad” cholesterol. The broadly accepted standard for a low sperm count is less than 39 million wiggly reproductive cells per ejaculate.

sperm count
Declining sperm counts are an indicator of declining overall health, say endocrinologists.

They also found that this group of men was more likely to have “metabolic syndrome” — a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, that predisposes one to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. These men, compared to men with higher sperm counts, also had a higher resistance to insulin, a symptom that can precede diabetes.

This revelation — that a man’s semen count is an extremely transparent marker of his general health — can actually serve to benefit men. Knowing that these ailments are linked to low sperm count can prepare doctors to holistically take care of their patients when they come in for fertility treatments. Fertility specialists, Ferlin stresses, should recommend that their patients additionally see a primary care doctor. A low sperm count doesn’t just mean it’s harder to have a baby — it means that dad needs some extra care too.

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7 Period Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore


Read this if your red tide wipes you out.
woman-lying-on-bed-period

There are some period problems that are unfortunately par for the course, like cramps, irritability, and bleeding more than you would like to be bleeding from your vagina.

But there are also some period problems that you should bring up to your doctor—just in case—because they’re a bit outside of what’s normally expected during menstruation. Here are some things to keep an eye out for.

1. You soak through a pad or tampon in an hour or less, your period lasts longer than seven days, or both.

The clinical term for an exceedingly heavy or long period is menorrhagia. These are basically horror movie-style periods, but some people don’t even realize this kind of bleeding is abnormal. “One of the biggest problems is someone being so used to heavy bleeding that she underplays the amount,” Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. “She’ll come in and say her periods aren’t too bad, then say she has to change her tampon every hour.” Passing clots larger than a quarter is also a sign your bleeding is too heavy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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It’s not just that bleeding way too much or for too long is messy and inconvenient. Losing more than the typical two to three tablespoons of blood during your period or bleeding for longer than seven days can lead to anemia, the CDC says. If you have anemia, you lack enough healthy red blood cells to get oxygen to all your tissues, so you may feel tired and weak, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Bleeding too much can also be a sign of various health issues, like uterine fibroids, which are benign growths in and on the uterus that can sometimes come along with problems like pelvic pain and frequent urination. Uterine polyps, which are growths on the inner lining of the uterus, can also cause heavy bleeding, as can cervical polyps, which are lumps that emerge from the cervix. Both types of polyps are typically non-cancerous but, in rare cases, may contain cancer cells.

The hormonal issue polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also cause heavy bleeding. Worse, this bleeding can strike after months of an MIA period. This gives your uterine lining a chance to build up over time, leading to an abnormally heavy period when it finally comes, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School, tells SELF. PCOS can also cause symptoms like excess face and body hair or severe acne, thanks to high levels of male hormones.

Heavy menstrual bleeding could even be a sign of a disorder that causes you to lose too much blood, like idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). ITP usually comes along with other symptoms like easy and excessive bruising or a rash of reddish-purple dots on a person’s lower legs.

Clearly, figuring out what’s causing your heavy bleeding won’t be easy on your own, so you should see your doctor. They’ll typically ask about your other symptoms and perform exams to determine what exactly is going on, and treatment will depend on what you’re dealing with.

2. Your period brings days of pain that make it practically impossible to leave your bed.

Dr. Streicher’s rule is essentially that if you’re experiencing even an iota of period pain beyond what you’re fine with, it’s too much. The first step is typically to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, since they block hormone-like chemicals known as prostaglandins that cause uterine cramping. If that knocks out your cramps, you’re good to go. If you’re still curled up in the fetal position after a few hours, that’s a sign that you need evaluation, Dr. Streicher says. You’re dealing with dysmenorrhea (severe menstrual cramps), and doctors can help.

There are many different causes of overboard menstrual cramps. Fibroids are a common culprit. So is endometriosis, a condition many experts think happens when tissue lining the uterus travels outside of it and begins growing on other organs. (Other experts believe that tissue is actually different in that it can make its own estrogen, which can create painful inflammation in people with endometriosis.) In addition to causing extremely painful periods, endometriosis can lead to painful intercourse, occasional heavy periods, and infertility, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Adenomyosis, which happens when the endometrial tissue lining the uterus grows into the muscular walls of the organ, can also cause terrible menstrual pain, along with expelling big clots during your period and pain during intercourse.

3. You never know when your period is going to show up.

Pour one out for all the times you thought you’d have a period-free vacation, only for it to show up right as you hit the beach. Fun! Irregular periods could be due to a number of different things that are (at least somewhat) in your control, like stress and travel, Dr. Streicher says. But they can also happen because of various health conditions.

Take thyroid issues, for instance. Hypothyroidism, which is when your thyroid gland in your neck doesn’t produce enough hormones, can lead to an irregular period, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also cause myriad other symptoms, like heavier than usual periods, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, impaired memory, and more. Treatment typically involves taking medication that mimics the thyroid hormone.

On the flip side, hyperthyroidism, which is when your thyroid gland is overactive, can cause light or infrequent menstruation, along with issues like sudden weight loss, rapid heart rate, increased appetite, and more frequent bowel movements, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Irregular periods are also a sign of premature ovarian failure, which is when a person younger than 40 starts losing their normal ovarian function, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also cause menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and difficulty conceiving. Doctors can offer estrogen therapy to relieve symptoms like hot flashes (typically in conjunction with progesterone to avoid the precancerous cells that may take hold if you take estrogen alone). They can also counsel you about the possibility of in vitro fertilization if you’d like to physically conceive and carry children in the future.

PCOS and uterine polyps be behind irregular bleeding, too.

4. Your period decides not to show up for a while.

While it’s true that you can sometimes randomly miss a period for reasons like stress, you shouldn’t just ignore a long-term missing period. Suddenly being period-free may feel blissful, but you’ll want to make sure there’s not a health issue going on, like PCOS, an eating disorder or excessive exercise affecting your menstruation…or, yes, pregnancy.

“If you’re menstruating normally then suddenly go months without a period, that’s not something to ignore,” Dr. Streicher says. If your period vanishes for three months or longer (this is known as amenorrhea), see your doctor for evaluation.

It’s worth noting that the use of some hormonal birth control methods—especially the hormonal IUD—can make your period basically disappear. Still, check with your doctor, just in case, when this happens.

5. You’re dealing with a lot of unexpected spotting between periods.

There are times when this is normal, like if you’ve just started a new type of birth control, or even if you’re pregnant (spotting can be totally fine during pregnancy), Dr. Minkin says. But if nothing in your life has changed and you start spotting between periods, call your doctor for an appointment.

It could be something that’s ultimately pretty harmless, like a benign uterine or cervical polyp that’s causing bleeding between periods. But spotting is also a hallmark of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is the result of sexually transmitted bacteria from infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea spreading to reproductive organs like your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. In addition, pelvic inflammatory disease can cause issues like fever, strange vaginal discharge that smells bad, and burning when you pee.

If you have PID, your doctor will first address the STI in question with antibiotics, says the CDC, then treat your partner for an STI if necessary. Pelvic inflammatory disease is a leading cause of chronic pelvic pain and infertility in women, so if you suspect you have it, treatment is of the essence.

More rarely, spotting in between periods can be a sign of cervical cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cervical cancer can come along with watery, bloody discharge that might have a bad odor and pelvic pain, including during intercourse. Even though this likely isn’t your issue, you’ll want to get checked out, just in case. Treatment for cervical cancer may involve a hysterectomy, radiation, or chemotherapy.

6. You experience debilitating mood issues before your period.

When your estrogen and progesterone drop before your period, you may experience the typical mood swings that mark premenstrual syndrome (PMS). (Bear in mind that this may not be as drastic if you’re on hormonal birth control, which stabilizes your hormones throughout your cycle.)

But if you deal with severe mood swings, irritability, anger, a lack of enjoyment in things you usually enjoy, and other symptoms that affect your life, you may have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD happens when you experience these symptoms in the week before your period, then they start getting better in the first few days of bleeding, and disappear in the weeks after your period. It’s listed in the DSM-5, the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, for good reason: This psychological issue can completely turn your life upside down.

“If you suspect you have PMDD, the one thing I would encourage is keeping a daily record of the severity of your symptoms,” Dr. Minkin says. If these symptoms only rear their head the week before your period, PMDD might be your issue. If you realize you’re constantly dealing with them and your period just makes them worse, it might be premenstrual exacerbation, which is another way of saying you have a mental illness like depression that gets worse during your period.

Either way, a doctor can help. If you have PMDD, your doctor may have you take antidepressants in the timeframe when you usually experience symptoms, then stop once your period starts, Dr. Minkin says. (If you have premenstrual exacerbation, they may recommend staying on the antidepressants through the month and potentially upping your dosage in the week before your period.)

Or your doctor may suggest you go on birth control using a synthetic version of progesterone called drospirenone, Dr. Minin says, like Yaz and Beyaz. These are FDA-approved to treat PMDD. Though experts aren’t sure why they can be so successful in this arena, it may be because drospirenone reduces a person’s response to hormonal fluctuations. It’s also a diuretic, meaning it can flush out liquids that could otherwise cause fluid retention and contribute to annoying issues like bloating.

7. You have excruciating migraines before or during your period.

If migraines had any home training, they’d at least leave you alone when you’re about to get your period. Unfortunately, period migraines are indeed a thing.

It’s not that menstruation will just randomly cause migraines in unsuspecting people who have never had one, but women with a history of migraines may experience them before or during their periods, according to the Mayo Clinic, which adds that this may be due to estrogen fluctuations. “They tend to get the headache right as they go into their periods, and it seems to get better after they have had their menses for a day or two,” Dr. Minkin says.

If you’re dealing with this, your typical migraine medication may work for you. As you probably know if you’ve grappled with migraines, the treatment options are legion. They include pain-relieving medications to relieve symptoms ASAP and preventive drugs to ward off migraines altogether, according to the Mayo Clinic. In the former camp, you have choices like anti-nausea meds and triptans, which constrict swollen blood vessels and block pain pathways in the brain. In the latter, you’ve got meds like tricylic antidepressants, which affect brain chemicals like serotonin that may be implicated in migraines.

No matter what your period problem may be, you don’t have to suffer in silence.

You have no reason to feel embarrassed about your period—or the myriad problems that can come with it. After all, celebrities are out here talking about menstruation! Some pad commercials even—gasp—use red “blood,” these days! What a time to be alive.

If you’re having period problems, see your doctor for help. If they aren’t committed to relieving your symptoms, that’s a sign you should try to find a more sympathetic medical professional who can help you find the best treatment.

Asthma linked to infertility but not in women on inhaled steroids


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/asthma-linked-to-infertility-but-not-in-women-on-inhaled-steroids/

Fallopian Tube Recanalization in Infertility Due to Proximal Tubal Obstruction-Standard Treatment Guidelines


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/fallopian-tube-recanalization-in-infertility-due-to-proximal-tubal-obstruction-standard-treatment-guidelines/

United Nations Calls for Worldwide Treaty to Phase Out Pesticides and Transition to Sustainable Farming


Story at-a-glance
  • Research has linked long-term pesticide exposure to infertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption and obesity, reduced IQ, neurological diseases, cancer and many other health and environmental problems
  • Two United Nations experts are now calling for a comprehensive global treaty to regulate and phase out toxic pesticides in farming, and to move food production across the world toward more sustainable agricultural practices
  • Another recently released report, “Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture,” by the European Parliament, details the many benefits of organics

In a 2013 survey, 71 percent of Americans expressed a concern over the number of chemicals and pesticides in their food supply.1 And no wonder — research has linked long-term pesticide exposure to infertility,2 birth defects,3,4 endocrine disruption5 and obesity, reduced IQ,6 neurological diseases7 and cancer.8

It is only a common-sense conclusion that reducing your pesticide exposure would result in improved health.

The amount of pesticides used both commercially and in residential areas has grown immensely since 1945. More than 1 billion pounds are used each year in the U.S. alone. Worldwide, an estimated 7.7 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and that number is steadily increasing.9

According to a 2012 analysis,10 each 1 percent increase in crop yield is associated with a 1.8 percent increase in pesticide use. Logic tells us this is an unsustainable trajectory when you consider the health and environmental ramifications associated with pesticide use and exposure.

As just one example, studies done by the Chinese government show that 20 percent of arable land in China is now unusable due to pesticide contamination!11 Every now and then, though, a ray of hope descends.

Earlier this month, two United Nations (UN) experts called for a comprehensive global treaty to not only regulate but actually phase out toxic pesticides in farming, and to move food production across the world toward more sustainable agricultural practices.

This is a significant change in stance that can — and hopefully will — have far-reaching consequences.

UN Calls for Global Treaty to Promote Sustainable Farming Without Toxic Pesticides

The two experts, Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food and Baskut Tuncak, the special rapporteur on toxics, shared research with the Human Rights Council in Geneva showing pesticides are responsible for 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year.

Chronic exposure has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility. As reported by Sustainable Pulse:12

“The experts particularly emphasized the obligation of States to protect the rights of children from hazardous pesticides … The experts warn that certain pesticides can persist in the environment for decades and pose a threat to the entire ecological system on which food production depends …

The experts say the use of neonicotinoid pesticides is particularly worrying because they are accused of being responsible for a systematic collapse in the number of bees around the world. Such a collapse, they say, threatens the very basis of agriculture as 71 percent of crop species are bee-pollinated.

While acknowledging that certain international treaties currently offer protection from the use of a few pesticides, they stressed that a global treaty to regulate the vast majority of them throughout their life cycle does not yet exist, leaving a critical gap in the human rights protection framework.”

The special rapporteurs challenged the pesticide industry’s “systematic denial of harms” and “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics,” noting the industry is spending massive amounts of money to influence policymakers and contest scientific evidence showing their products do in fact cause great harm to human and environmental health.

Toxic Pesticides Are Not an Irreplaceable Farming Necessity

Even more importantly, their report firmly denies the idea that pesticides are essential to ensure sufficient amounts of food for a growing world population, calling the notion “a myth.”13

Not only have decades of heavy pesticide use failed to eliminate global hunger, they said, the same chemicals have now become a troubling food contaminant — contaminants made all the worse by the fact that they cannot be washed off like many older generation pesticides could. According to Elver and Tuncak:14

“The assertion promoted by the agrochemical industry that pesticides are necessary to achieve food security is not only inaccurate, but dangerously misleading.

In principle, there is adequate food to feed the world; inequitable production and distribution systems present major blockages that prevent those in need from accessing it …”

Moreover, the report highlighted developments in sustainable and regenerative farming, where biology can completely replace chemicals, delivering high yields of nutritious food without detriment to the environment.

“It is time to overturn the myth that pesticides are necessary to feed the world and create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production,” they said.

Which Foods Are the Most Contaminated?

According to the 2017 Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” reports,15,16,17 which rank foods based on highest and lowest pesticide contamination, strawberries still top the list of foods most likely to contain the highest amounts of residues, containing a minimum of 20 pesticides — twice the amount of the second-most contaminated crop — while non-GMO sweet corn has the lowest amounts.

EWG’s Dirty Dozen — Foods containing the highest amounts of pesticide residues and therefore best to purchase organic include:

1. Strawberries 2. Spinach 3. Nectarines
4. Apples 5. Peaches 6. Pears
7. Cherries 8. Grapes 9. Celery
10. Tomatoes 11. Sweet bell peppers 12. Potatoes

EWG’s Clean 15 — Foods containing the lowest amounts of residues, and therefore safer to buy conventional if you cannot afford organic varieties include:

1. Non-GMO sweet corn 2. Avocados 3. Pineapple
4. Cabbage 5. Onions 6. Frozen sweet peas
7. Non-GMO papaya 8. Asparagus 9. Mangos
10. Eggplant 11. Honeydew melon 12. Kiwi
13. Cantaloupe 14. Cauliflower 15. Grapefruit

European Parliament Report Highlights Benefits of Organic Foods

Another favorable piece of news is the recently released report,18 “Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture,” by the European Parliament, detailing the many benefits of organics. The report is unusually comprehensive in that it reviews a wide range of effects of organics, from nutritional content and the benefits of fewer pesticides to environmental impacts and sustainability.

Its conclusions are based on hundreds of epidemiological and laboratory studies and food analyses. The clearest benefits of organics on human health were found to be related to lowered pesticide, antibiotic and cadmium exposure. As noted by Civil Eats:19

“Most striking in its findings is the evidence suggesting organic food can help protect children from the brain-altering effects of some pesticides. And while there is evidence of greater nutrient content in some organic food — particularly milk and meat — as health benefits, these differences appear to be less significant than organic food’s lack of hazardous chemicals …

The report was prepared for a European audience, but its findings clearly apply to the U.S. ‘They did a really comprehensive job of a global literature search, so I don’t think anything in the report wouldn’t be applicable,’ said Boise State University assistant professor of community and environmental health Cynthia Curl, who researches links between diet and pesticide exposure …

‘As a consequence of reduced pesticide exposure, organic food consequently contributes to the avoidance of health effects and associated costs to society,’ write the authors, noting that research suggests these costs are currently ‘greatly underestimated.’”

Consumer Rights Group Sues EPA Over FOIA Violations

Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide — as a probable human carcinogen in 2015,20 the product has not been pulled from the market. Citing this finding and other research, more than 60 cancer patients are coordinating lawsuits against Monsanto.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), contradicted the IARC’s findings when it, in September, 2016, declared glyphosate “not likely to be carcinogenic” to humans21 — a determination that has been met with severe criticism and accusations of violating EPA guidelines22 and protecting Monsanto’s interests23 at the expense of public health.

Now the consumer rights group, U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), has filed a federal lawsuit against the EPA for violating Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provisions. As reported by USRTK:24

“The lawsuit … seeks documents related to EPA’s assessment of … glyphosate … [USRTK] requested the EPA records after the EPA posted an internal memorandum titled “GLYPHOSATE: Report of the Cancer Assessment Review Committee” to the agency’s website on April 29, 2016.

The internal EPA report, known as the CARC report, concluded that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” The EPA then deleted the public posting on May 2, saying that the document was posted inadvertently.

But before it was deleted Monsanto officials copied the document, promoted it on the company website and on social media and made reference to it in a court hearing dealing with lawsuits filed by agricultural workers and others who allege Monsanto’s herbicide gave them cancer.

The May 12, 2016 FOIA request asked for certain records relating to the CARC report on glyphosate as well as records of communications between Monsanto and EPA officials that discussed glyphosate issues. Under FOIA, the EPA had 20 working days to respond to the request, but well over 190 working days have now passed and the EPA has yet to produce any records in response to the request …”

Glyphosate — A Most Troublesome Toxin

Glyphosate is most heavily applied on GE corn, soybeans and sugar beets, but it’s also commonly used to desiccate conventional (non-GMO but non-organic) wheat and protect other conventional crops from weeds. Disturbingly, glyphosate and Roundup may actually be even worse than DDT, having been linked to an ever-growing array of health effects, including but not limited to:25,26

Nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet)
Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself) Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency
Systemic toxicity — a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut and food allergies such as gluten intolerance)
Enhancement of damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer’s disease
Increased antibiotic resistance by priming pathogens to more readily become resistant to antibiotics Increased cancer risk.27,28,29,30 Since the IARC’s determination, agricultural personnel have begun suing Monsanto over past glyphosate exposure, claiming it played a role in their bone cancer and leukemia31,32

The Many Drawbacks of Industrialized Agriculture

The UN’s special report on pesticides and call for a transition toward sustainable agriculture worldwide adds ammunition to an already well-stocked munitions store against conventional agriculture and genetic engineering. I’ve detailed a wide range of drawbacks of chemical-dependent industrial farming in previous articles, including the following:

Degrades and contaminates soil

Grains account for about 70 percent of our daily calories, and grains are grown on about 70 percent of acreage worldwide. The continuous replanting of grain crops each year leads to soil degradation, as land is tilled and sprayed each year, disrupting the balance of microbes in the soil.

Top soil is also lost each year, which means that, eventually, our current modes of operation simply will no longer work. Soil erosion and degradation rates suggest we have less than 60 remaining years of topsoil.33

Forty percent of the world’s agricultural soil is now classified as either degraded or seriously degraded; the latter means that 70 percent of the topsoil is gone. Soil degradation is projected to cause 30 percent loss in food production over the next 20 to 50 years. Meanwhile, our global food demands are expected to increase by 50 percent over this span of time.

As explained in Peter Byck’s short film, “One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts,” farm animals form symbiotic relationships where one species helps keep parasites from overwhelming another. It is the separation of crops and animals into two distinctly different farming processes that has led to animal waste becoming a massive source of pollution rather than a valuable part of the ecological cycle.

Contaminates water and drains aquifers

Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of our fresh water use. When the soil is unfit, water is wasted. It simply washes right through the soil and past the plant’s root system. We already have a global water shortage that’s projected to worsen over the coming two or three decades, so this is the last thing we need to compound it. On top of that, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are a major water polluter, destroying what precious little water we do have.

The EPA has noted that U.S. states with high congregations of CAFOs report 20 to 30 serious water quality problems each year.34 According to a report35 by Environment America, corporate agribusiness is “one of the biggest threats to America’s waterways.” Tyson Foods Inc. is among the worst, releasing 104.4 million pounds of toxic pollutants into waterways between 2010 and 2014; second only to a steel manufacturing company.

Contributes to greenhouse gas emissions

While fertilizer production produces its share of greenhouse gases, most of the emissions occur upon application. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, 1 out of every 100 kilos of nitrogen fertilizer applied to farm land ends up in the atmosphere as nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas (300 times more potent than CO2) known to deplete the ozone.36

In 2014, the amount of N2O created by nitrogen fertilizer spread on American farmland was equal to one-third of the N2O released by all cars and trucks in the U.S. More recent research suggests the real number is three to five times higher than that.

Reduces biodiversity

The efficiency model of large-scale industrialized agriculture demanded a reduction in diversity. Hence, we got monoculture: farmers growing all corn, or all soy, for example. Monoculture has significantly contributed to dietary changes that promote ill health. The primary crops grown on industrial farms today — corn, soy, wheat, canola and sugar beets — are the core ingredients in processed foods known to promote obesity, nutritional deficiencies and disease.

According to a report by the Royal Botanic Gardens in the U.K., one-fifth of all plants worldwide are now threatened with extinction, primarily through the expansion of agriculture.37 Ethanol and corn sweetener subsidies have also led to farmers abandoning conservation measures designed to preserve fragile lands and protect biodiversity in the natural landscape.38

Worsens food safety and promotes pandemic disease

Agricultural overuse of drugs, especially antibiotics, has led to the development of drug-resistant disease,39 which has now become a severe health threat. Pandemic outbreaks are also becoming more prevalent in CAFOs, revealing the inherent flaws of industrialized animal farming.

In 2015, an avian flu outbreak spread across 14 states in five months. The year before that, a pig virus outbreak killed off 10 percent of the American pig population. As noted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy:40 “The rapid spread of new disease strains … is one very visible reason why the expansion of factory-style animal production is viewed as unsustainable.”

Threatens food security by decimating important pollinators such as butterfly and bee populations.41

Promotes nutritional deficiencies and poor nutrition

Industrial farming is set up and subsidized to grow ingredients used in processed foods. This is the cheapest way to feed the masses. However, what people really need more of in order to thrive is fresh produce.

According to research42 presented at the 2016 American Heart Association’s Epidemiology meeting, reducing the price of fruits and vegetables by 30 percent could save nearly 200,000 lives over 15 years by lowering rates of heart disease and stroke.

If people added just one additional serving of fruits and vegetables a day, up to 3.5 million deaths from heart disease could be prevented in just two years. Testing also reveals nutrient content of foods has dramatically declined across the board since the introduction of mechanized farming in 1925. For example:

  • To receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, by 1998 you had to eat 26 apples; today you have to eat 36
  • Between 1950 and 1999, levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C levels in 43 different vegetables and fruits significantly declined43
  • Analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that, on average, calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels dropped 37 percent; vitamin A levels dropped 21 percent; vitamin C levels declined by 30 percent

Healthy soils contain a large diversity of microorganisms, and it is these organisms that are responsible for the plant’s nutrient uptake,44,45 health and the stability of the entire ecosystem. The wide-scale adoption of industrial farming practices has decimated soil microbes responsible for transferring these minerals to the plants.

If we do not change, we will eventually reach a point of no return, where soils will be too depleted and microbially “dead” to grow food. Conventional may be more efficient, and may provide somewhat greater yields in some cases, but in the long term it’s unsustainable.

Necessitates the use of toxins, poisons and harmful mechanical farming methods:

Industrialization led to the separation of crops and livestock farming into two different specialties. That change alone has done tremendous harm, as livestock are actually a core component of regenerative agriculture. As a result, a whole host of land maintenance services that animals serve for free have had to be replaced with chemical and mechanical means — all of which have detrimental effects on human health and the environment.

Is less profitable than organic farming and cannot affordably and sustainably increase production

Research has even shown that conventional farming cannot significantly compete with organic in terms of profitability. At least 1,000 studies have compared organic and conventional farming in terms of productivity, environmental impact, economic viability and social wellbeing.

One such study46,47 found that organic farms are more profitable,48,49 earning farmers anywhere from 22 to 35 percent more than their conventional counterparts. They also produce equally or more nutritious foods with fewer or no pesticide residues. Organic farms also use far less energy, were found to be at a distinct advantage during droughts, and provide unique benefits to the ecosystem, along with social benefits that are hard to put a price tag on. According to one of the authors:

“If I had to put it in one sentence, organic agriculture has been able to provide jobs, be profitable, benefit the soil and environment and support social interactions between farmers and consumers. In some ways, there are practices in organic agriculture that really are ideal blueprints for us to look at feeding the world in the future. Organic may even be our best bet to help feed the world in an increasingly volatile climate.”

Assures decimation of food production should feared climate changes turn into reality

Recent research50,51 indeed confirms that conventional farming methods cannot protect us from a repeat of the devastating conditions experienced during the 1930s “dust bowl,” a time when consecutive droughts decimated food production in the U.S. According to simulations, if the U.S. were to experience the same kind of drought as in 1936, we’d lose 40 percent of our corn and soy, and 30 percent of our wheat.

These losses are very similar to those back in 1936. But when including current climate change trends into their calculations, crop losses increase by 25 percent for each 1-degree increase in temperature. A 4-degree increase in average temperature would reduce crop yields by a staggering 80 percent over the course of a season. As noted by bioethicist George Divorsky:52

“Given recent predictions53 that parts of the U.S. could soon experience “megadroughts” lasting for as long as 35 years (yes, you read that correctly), these results should serve as a serious wakeup call.”

Directly promotes ill health and chronic disease

Health statistics suggest the average toxic burden has become too great for children and adults alike. More than half of all Americans are chronically ill, and toxins in our food appear to play a primary role. According to Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno,54founding president of Bastyr University, toxins in the modern food supply are now “a major contributor to, and in some cases the cause of, virtually all chronic diseases.”

A recent report55,56 by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.57 which represents OB-GYNs in 125 countries, warns that chemical exposures, including pesticides, now represent a major threat to human health and reproduction. Pesticides are also included in a new scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals by the Endocrine Society task force.58,59

This task force warns that the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals is such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them — especially those seeking to get pregnant, pregnant women, and young children. Even extremely low-level pesticide exposure has been found to considerably increase the risk of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Family Against Pesticides?

In order to reduce your exposure to toxic pesticides, you’d be wise to make some changes in your lifestyle choices. Here are just a few suggestions to help you get started.

  • Eat organic foods. Look for organic produce and grassfed meats and dairy products. Investigate the farmers markets in your area and consider planting your own garden to supply produce through the summer months. Although buying organic foods may be slightly more expensive today, they help to reduce your overall health costs in your future.
  • Go green in your lawn and garden care. You don’t have to give up a green lawn if you want to remove pesticides from your garden. However, it may take a season or two in order to get the growth you’re looking for.
  • Talk with your school board about lawn care at your children’s school. Pesticides sprayed on the school lawn and play areas can increase your child’s exposure. You may be able to change how they care for the lawn when you educate the administration about the risks involved to the children.
  • Play in a healthy environment. Before joining a golf club or playing frequently, talk with the course superintendent about the pesticides they use to control weeds and insects. Bring members together to request cleaner and safer lawn care. Talk to your city administrators about the care given to the lawn in your local parks. Educate them about the risks to adults, children and pets from pesticides.

Watch the video. URL:

Source: mercola.com

How Monsanto Promotes Worldwide Infertility


Monsanto has a long and infamous history of manufacturing and bringing to market such chemicals as DDT, Agent Orange, aspartame, Roundup and dioxin1 — chemical compounds from which society continues to feel the effects.

In an effort to distance the current corporation from past deeds, Monsanto refers to the company prior to 2002 as “the former Monsanto” in their news releases.2 However, nothing has really changed aside from their PR machine.

While Monsanto has branched into genetic engineering (GE) of plants, the sale of patented GE seeds simply feeds the need for the company’s pesticides. Monsanto is STILL primarily a purveyor of toxins, not life.

Monsanto began forging a unique and financially advantageous relationship with the U.S. government starting with the company’s involvement in the Manhattan Project that produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II. During the Vietnam War they were the leading producer of Agent Orange.

The specialization in the production and distribution of toxic chemicals continues today.

Their influence over government runs so deep that despite the fact 64 other countries have been labeling genetically engineered (GE) foods for years, the U.S. now has the distinction of being the first country to un-label GE foods at the urging of a company producing mass amounts of GE seeds.

Monsanto and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

In the latter part of the 1920s, Monsanto was the largest producer of PCBs. This chemical was used in lubricant for electric motors, hydraulic fluids and to insulate electrical equipment.3 Old fluorescent light fixtures and electrical appliances with PCB capacitors may still contain the chemical.

During the years PCB was manufactured and used, there were no controls placed on disposal. Since PCBs don’t break down under many conditions, they are now widely distributed through the environment and have made the journey up the food chain.4

Between the inception and distribution of the product and its subsequent ban in the late 1970s, an estimated 1.5 billion pounds were distributed in products around the world.5

Monsanto was the primary manufacturer of PCBs in the U.S. under the trade name Aroclor. Health problems associated with exposure to the chemical were noted as early as 1933 when 23 of 24 workers at the production plant developed pustules, loss of energy and appetite, loss of libido and other skin disturbances.6

According to Monsanto’s public timeline, it was in 1966 that “Monsanto and others began to study PCB persistence in the environment.”7 However, seven years earlier, Monsanto’s assistant director of their Medical Department wrote:

“… [S]ufficient exposure, whether by inhalation of vapors or skin contact, can result in chloracne which I think we must assume could be an indication of a more systemic injury if the exposure were allowed to continue.”8

In 1967, Shell Oil called to inform Monsanto of press reports from Sweden, noting that PCBs were accumulating in mammals further up the food chain. Shell asked for PCB samples to perform their own analytical studies.9

With full knowledge of the devastation expected to the environment and humanity, it wasn’t until 11 years later, in 1977, that Monsanto reportedly pulled production on PCB.10

PCBs Are Probable Human Carcinogens

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Toxicology Program, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIEHS) have identified PCBs as either probable, potential or reasonably likely to cause cancer in humans.11

If it seems like these agencies are couching their words, they are. Human studies have noted increased rates of liver cancer, gall bladder cancer, melanomas, gastrointestinal cancer, biliary tract cancer, brain cancer and breast cancer when individuals had higher levels of PCB chemicals in their blood and tissue.12

However, the EPA limits the ability of researchers to link a chemical as a carcinogen unless there is conclusive proof. While this proof is evident in animal studies, you can’t feed these chemicals to humans and record the results. Thus PCBs are a “probable” carcinogen in humans. Other health effects from PCBs include:

  • Babies born with neurological and motor control delays including lower IQ, poor short-term memory and poor performance on standardized behavioral assessment tests
  • Disrupted sex hormones including shortened menstrual cycles, reduced sperm count and premature puberty
  • Imbalanced thyroid hormone affecting growth, intellectual and behavioral development
  • Immune effects, including children with more ear infections and chickenpox

Once PCBs are absorbed in the body they deposit in the fat tissue. They are not broken down or excreted. This means the number of PCBs build over time and move up the food chain. Smaller fish are eaten by larger ones and eventually land on your dinner table.

Chemical Poisoning Begins Before Birth

A recent study at the University of California demonstrated that PCBs are found in the blood of pregnant women.13 Before birth, the umbilical cord delivers approximately 300 quarts of blood to your baby every day.

Not long ago, researchers believed the placenta would shield your developing baby from most pollutants and chemicals. Now we know it does not.

The umbilical cord is a lifeline between mother and child, sustaining life and propelling growth. However, in recent research cord blood contained between 200 and 280 different chemicals; 180 were known carcinogens and 217 were toxic to the baby’s developing nervous system.14

The deposits of chemicals in your body or the body of your developing baby are called your “body burden” of chemicals and pollution.

A steady stream of chemicals from the environment during a critical time of organ and system development has a significant impact on the health of your child, both in infancy and as the child grows to adulthood.

Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., director of the University of California San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, was quoted in a press release, saying:

“It was surprising and concerning to find so many chemicals in pregnant women without fully knowing the implications for pregnancy. Several of these chemicals in pregnant women were at the same concentrations that have been associated with negative effects in children from other studies.

In addition, exposure to multiple chemicals that can increase the risk of the same adverse health outcome can have a greater impact than exposure to just one chemical.”

Butyl Benzyl Phthalate — Another Monsanto Product

Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), also manufactured by Monsanto, was recently implicated in cell fat storage.15 This specific phthalate was found in human fluids and had an effect on the accumulation of fat inside cells.

BBP is used in the manufacture of vinyl tile, as a plasticizer in PVC pipe, carpets, conveyer belts and weather stripping in your home and office.

Like other phthalates used in the production of plastics, BBP is not bound to the product and can be released into your environment. It may be absorbed by crops and move up the food chain.16 The biggest source of exposure is food.

Drive-through hamburgers and take-out pizzas may be increasing your intake of phthalates. The danger is not in the food itself but in the products used to handle it. The study analyzed data from nearly 9,000 individuals, finding the one-third who had eaten at a fast food restaurant had higher levels of two different phthalates.17

Potentially, BBP may adversely affect your reproductive function. However, at lower doses it also has an effect on your kidneys, liver and pancreas.18 Increased risks of respiratory disorders and multiple myelomas have also been reported in people who have exposure to products manufactured with BBP.19 An increasing waistline from BBP exposure may also reduce your fertility.

Low Sperm Count and Infertility Affecting Animals and Humans

A 26-year study of fertility in dogs, published recently, has distinct similarities to infertility rates in humans. In this study, researchers evaluated the ejaculate of nearly 2,000 dogs. Over the 26 year period, they found a drop in sperm motility of 2.4 percent per year.20

Additionally, both the semen and the testicles of castrated dogs contained by PCBs and phthalates, implicated in other studies to reduction in fertility. Phthalates have been implicated in both decreased sperm motility and quality of your sperm,21 affecting both fertility and the health of your children.22

Researchers used dogs in this study as they live in the same environment as their owners, and often eat some of the same food. This correlation between sperm function and concentration, and environment and food in dogs and humans is significant.

In those 26 years there was also a rise in cryptorchidism in male pups (a condition where the testicles don’t descend into the scrotum) born to stud dogs who experienced a decline in sperm quality and motility.23 Cryptorchidism and undescended testicles, occurs at a rate of 1 in 20 term male human infants and 1 in 3 pre-term babies.24

Problems with infertility are also affecting marine animals at the top of the food chain. In the western waters of the Atlantic, the last pod of Orcas are doomed to extinction. High levels of PCB have been found in the fat of over 1,000 dolphins and Orcas in the past 20 years. Now taking a toll on the animal’s fertility, this pod of Orcas has not reproduced in the 19 years it has been under study.25

Orcas were living in the North Sea until the 1960s. At that time PCB pollution peaked in the area and the Orca whales disappeared. The same happened in the Mediterranean Sea, where the whales flourished until the 1980s. This pod off the coast of the U.K. is the last living pod in that area.

Monsanto’s Argument in PCB Lawsuits

Although Monsanto denies culpability and knowledge of the danger behind the chemical PCB, you’ll discover internal documentation in this video that they did, in fact, know of the danger while manufacturing and distributing the product. Monsanto is currently embroiled in several lawsuits across eight cities and the argument is over who owns the rain. The cities are suing Monsanto in Federal Court, saying PCBs manufactured by Monsanto have polluted the San Francisco Bay.26

Monsanto attorney Robert Howard argues that because the city does not own the water rights, the city does not have the right to sue. And, because the PCBs have not damaged city property, such as corroding pipes, Howard claims it is a state problem. Scott Fiske, attorney for three cities, countered with the city’s regulatory interests in management of storm water as a fundamental function of the city.27

While Fiske claims he can prove Monsanto knew the product was hazardous as early as 1969, Howard maintains the company should not be liable for the use of the chemicals it produced.

In 2001, Monsanto attorneys in the Owens v. Monsanto case, acknowledged only one health threat from exposure to PCBs: chloracne, and instead argued that since the entire planet has been contaminated, they are innocent of all liability.28 The attorney for Monsanto was quoted in the Chemical Industry Archives, saying:

“The truth is that PCBs are everywhere. They are in meat, they are in everyone in the courtroom, they are everywhere and they have been for a long time, along with a host of other substances.” 29

The cities currently engaged in lawsuits against Monsanto for damage to the environment and waterways include Berkley, Oakland, San Jose, Portland, Spokane, Seattle, Long Beach and San Diego. All eight cities attempted to combine their cases against the agrochemical giant but were unsuccessful when one judge found the issues were different enough to warrant separate cases.30

Monsanto’s Deep Pockets

Monsanto petitioned the Federal Court to dismiss Portland’s lawsuit, claiming it would countersue, adding years to the process. It is likely Monsanto would increase the scope of the case and include companies who used the product and released the PCBs.31 Meanwhile, three plaintiffs in St. Louis received better news in May 2016 when a jury awarded them a total of $46.5 million, finding Monsanto negligent in the production of PCBs.32

This suit claimed Monsanto sold PCBs even after it learned about the dangers, bringing to court internal documents dated 1955, which stated: “We know Aroclors [PCBs] are toxic but the actual limit has not been precisely defined.”33 To date this win over Monsanto has been rare. Williams Kherkher, attorney for the plaintiffs, explained in EcoWatch:34

“The only reason why this victory is rare is because no one has had the money to fight Monsanto.”

Kherkher and other firms pooled their resources in this case and expect wins in upcoming lawsuits. The firm has accumulated the names of approximately 1,000 plaintiffs with claims against Monsanto and PCBs.

Find Out the Glyphosate Levels in Your Body

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, and is the most widely used weed-killing chemical on farms, lawns, schoolyards and other public spaces. It’s also extensively applied to many crops before harvest. The World Health Organization (WHO) performed its own independent analysis in March 2015, and determined glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.

The Health Research Institute (HRI) in Iowa has developed a glyphosate test kit that will allow you to learn your personal glyphosate levels. I’ve recently gained access to a limited number of kits that I’m now able to offer on Mercola.com at cost, so no profit will be made on their sales. Ordering also allows you to participate in a worldwide study on environmental exposure to glyphosate.

10 Surprising Sex Facts About Women


There is an overwhelming lack of understanding when it comes to female sexuality, from orgasm to dysfunction and general likes and dislikes, than there is for men. Just last week, researchers from Yale University were able to explain an evolutionary idea that attributes a woman’s orgasm to ovulation. While the two may have once been linked, mammals evolved menstrual cycles — and now they no longer need the hormonal rush of an orgasm to ovulate. Good thing, too, since only 57 percent of women in a 2015 survey reported achieving orgasm most or every time they had sex, Mic reported. For anyone who thinks that’s actually pretty good, their male partners had orgasms 95 percent of the time.

Part of the problem is that science and research fields are still dominated by men; it’s not a coincidence we know more about the penis than the clitoris. There’s also poor knowledge of female anatomy among both men and women, and as Mic put it, “better knowledge of the parts can help with the mechanics.”

Lucky for you, we rounded up sex facts that (ahem) touch on knowledge and mechanics.

1. VAGINAL ORGASM IS REALLY AN INTERNAL CLITORAL ORGASM

The sole purpose of a woman’s clitoris is to provide pleasure, and that’s it. Approximately 8,000 sensory nerve fibers are located in the “tender buttons” (for you Gertrude Stein fans) or “bulb” beneath the clitoral hood, nearly twice the amount found on the head of a penis. But there’s literally more: The clitoris is mostly subterranean, which means it mostly exists inside the vagina. The circular mass on the outside is connected to the shaft of the internal clitoris, and stimulating that shaft with either a penis or sex toy can greatly increase stimulation.

2. WOMEN THINK ABOUT AND WANT FREQUENT SEX, TOO

The idea that men are the only ones who think about sex all day is more stereotype than fact, (and that it’s as often as every 7 seconds is not proven by science). A recent survey from fertility app Kindara found that 53 percent of women were not having sex as much as they would have liked. In fact, almost three quarters of respondents wished they had sex at least three times a week.

3. HORNY WOMEN WERE ONCE THOUGHT MENTALLY ILL

Women living in the 19th century were considered crazy for having sexual urges. Physician George Taylor called it hysteria, a mental disorder that included symptoms like “excessive vaginal lubcrication” and “erotic fantasy,” The Huffington Post reported. Shocker, then, that it could be cured by “pelvic massage.”

4. FEMALE SEXUALITY IS MUCH MORE FLUID

In 2015, a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that women were equally turned on by men and women, going so far as to say they could only be gay or bisexual, not straight. It’s not a generalizable study, but it echoes an earlier study that suggested women evolved to be more fluid than men as a mechanism to reduce conflict and tension among wives in polygynous marriages.

Women's sexualityWomen’s sexuality is an enigma, but it doesn’t have to be.Photo courtesy of Dave, Morguefile

5. PERIOD SEX IS NOT OFF LIMITS

Period sex has been a trending topic for years; all that’s changed recently is the number of men and women openly talking about it. Some can’t get behind it, but others enjoy the increased arousal and lubrication during that time of the month. Since the body is essentially preparing for reproduction, women sometimes feel more sexual during these encounters.

6. PENIS SIZE DOESN’T ALWAYS MATTER

Small studies on the relevance of a man’s penis size to women suggests it matters — but a 2015 video from Cut.com, a website devoted to video content, showed more women disagreeing with this idea than anything else. For many of them it mattered more “how you use it.” And then there is research, too, that shows men worry more about size than women.

7. MISSIONARY IS BEST FOR WOMEN WITH BACK PAIN

More than half of American adults deal with some kind of back pain, and in a study from Waterloo University, researchers found missionary position while using a pillow for back support was best. For women feeling pain when touching their toes or after sitting for long periods of time, researchers recommended spooning or the doggy-style position

8. PERSONALITY PLAYS A ROLE

In a study of 278 newlywed heterosexual couples married for six months or less, researchers found both husbands and wives with low levels of neuroticism reported being more satisfied with their sex lives. Then, a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found women who felt pressure from a partner to be perfect worried more about their sexual performance, possibly increasing the risk for sexual dysfunction and anxiety.

9. APPLES AN APHRODISIAC?

An Italian study found that women who ate more apples experienced increased lubrication and sexual function, increasing their overall libido. As Medical Daily previously reported, the researchers believed the link had to do phloridzin, a key compound in apples that “mimics the female sex hormone estradiol, which plays a huge role in vaginal lubrication and female sexuality.” You can learn more about potential aphrodisiacs, and if they even work, here.

10. INFERTILITY IMPACTS 1 IN 8 WOMEN

Even researchers of a recent study were surprised to find that almost half of the people experiencing infertility had not sought help. This can negatively affect women’s well-being, possibly leading to depression and emotional distress.

Do young, female cancer survivors get enough info about infertility?


A new study shows that, despite female cancer survivors being concerned about their future fertility, many do no receive adequate information. Research published this week in Cancer calls for an increase in support for women making decisions about their reproductive options.
[Young female cancer survivor]
Are cancer patients receiving the right information regarding their future fertility?

Around 1 in 47 young, female adults will be diagnosed with invasivecancer.

Cancer treatment, even when successful, is incredibly toxic, not least for the reproductive system.

The ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix all have the potential to become damaged.

Survivors face an increased risk of early menopause, giving them a shorter reproductive window.

Despite this, fertility preservation – egg or embryo freezing – before treatment is only chosen by the minority of women.

The reasons for this lack of take-up are varied and include being unaware of fertility options, emotional distress, time pressures, and financial costs. Also, before egg freezing was available, some women were uncomfortable with the idea of using a sperm donor for embryo freezing.

Pre- and post-treatment fertility preservation

For adult survivors, post-treatment fertility preservation (rather than pre-treatment) could be a useful option, but it is rarely used. Young survivors often do not receive adequate information about the relevant options. Clinicians also report that they themselves do not feel they always have the right information to share and are often not fully aware of the patient’s concerns about future fertility.

Previous research in this area has primarily focused on decisions regarding fertility preservation prior to treatment. The present study set out to uncover the reasons why women were unlikely to receive the fertility preservation after treatment when it is still a viable option. The researchers also wanted to investigate the thought processes these young women go through and the factors that impact the decision-making process.

Researchers, led by Catherine Benedict, Ph.D., of Northwell Health in New York, and Joanne Kelvin and Bridgette Thom, of Memorial Sloan Kettering – also in New York – set out to understand whether an information gap exists and, if it does, how large it is.

An anonymous survey was sent out to 346 participants, aged 18-35 (average age of 30). The participants had all completed treatment at least 1 year earlier (average of 5 years earlier).

Of this group, the team focused on 179 women who had uncertain fertility status and who had not undergone fertility preservation before or after treatment. This subsection of the population either planned to have children in the future or were “unsure.”

Fertility preservation questionnaire

The questionnaire asked whether participants felt that they had been given enough information about a number of relevant topics, including the risks of infertility and early menopause, options to assess their fertility status, preserving fertility, and options for alternative family-building.

Questions were also asked about reproductive concerns they might have, for instance, the health of any future children. Lastly, the group was asked questions about any difficulties they had in the decision-making process, such as lacking support and feeling uncertain about the options.

The majority of respondents believed that they had not received enough information about the risk of infertility (58 percent), risk of early menopause (60 percent), options to assess their fertility (62 percent), options to preserve their fertility (51 percent), and options for alternative family building (43 percent).

The women’s greatest concerns were related to potential fertility problems and the health of a future child, for instance, passing on a susceptibility to cancer (64 percent).

“The potential loss of fertility has been described in the literature as being almost as painful, if not more so, than the cancer diagnosis itself.

Failure to provide information and address concerns with respect to fertility-related decisions may have lasting consequences for young women who hope to move on from their cancer experience to achieve important life goals such as having children.

For women at risk for early menopause, delaying fertility-related decisions may cause them to miss their narrowed window of opportunity to preserve their fertility if desired.”

Catherine Benedict, Ph.D.

The authors end their report with a call for an increase in information sharing. They believe that efforts to develop detailed information resources could make genuine differences to the lives of young, female cancer survivors.

Why infertility is on a rise in India


Determining the root cause of infertility is a complex process and it involves a lot of research and investigations. Ranging from the simple and visible problem of cyst, fibroid or hormonal imbalance to a very complex genetic disorder or even due to some occupational hazards like exposure to chemical substances or radioactive elements; it can be anything.

It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack. Infertility, in both men and women, has become quite common these days. Research suggests there has been a 20-30 per cent rise in the last five years in India. It is no longer an urban phenomenon, nor is it confined to women.

In a modernised society, the problem of infertility has widened its reach that has impacted men, due to urban settings and surfacing in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities too. Increasing infertility rates are based on the lifestyle changes resulting in stress and obesity caused by lack of physical exercise, changes in eating habits and pollution accompanied by medical disorders like diabetes.

About 45 per cent of couples face infertility problems as it not only limited to women, the most common problems men face are low sperm count, morphology abnormalities and low motility of sperm.

Things you should know

1. Female infertility is easier to understand as in majority of cases, the problem is known. But, on the other hand infertility in men is tough to recognise at the early stage.

2. Stress is another factor of rising infertility in urban India. Stress of the profession, long working hours with erratic timings are key factors. Stress management is important increase the chances of conceiving.

3. One should keep a check on the nutritional deficiencies and maintain a healthy routine with balanced diet. Know the best fertility diets and best food. Take all nutrients in moderation to boost your fertility after consulting your doctor.

4. Most of the infertility cases are due to tubal issues which mean the fallopian tubes are blocked and you have to undergo some tests.

5. Healthy lifestyle is necessary for fertility. There have been studies that a majority of the infertility cases are occurring due to lifestyle diseases like endometriosis, rising obesity, irregular menstrual cycles and any more.

6. Age has direct and distinct correlation with infertility. Body strength, resistance, immunity and hormonal levels are at their peak during age and hence it is important to keep these factors under consideration. The vitality and sustainability of our body gets declined as we grow old. Therefore, it is always better to start infertility treatment at the early age.

7. Diagnosing the root cause and deciding the treatment is the turning point in the whole process and experience of handling a wide variety of cases by the experts plays a major role in it.

8. Male infertility is extremely complex to diagnose and cure. Often, we try to find out the fundamental reason by various tests and research. Semen samples are tested in the laboratory to know the sperm count, sperm strength and other factors. Hormonal levels are checked to determine the testosterone levels. Physiological problems like defects in genital organs, STD or VD, retrograde ejaculation are also checked.

9. Dealing with infertility becomes further complicated with the strain in relationship between the couple. Both partners must keep the relations absolutely tuned and no internal conflicts or friction should arise. This is the time of providing complete physical, mental and emotional support to each other.

10. Known as unexplained infertility such a situation can often be quite frustrating for everyone involved. Unfortunately, it is quite common and can sometimes hinder the fertility treatment process. Up to 15 per cent of couples who visit a fertility clinic for treatment receive a diagnosis of unexplained fertility.

Myths

1. A woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days.

Fact: Normal cycle lasts anywhere from 21 to 36 days.

2. A sperm lives for several hours.

Fact: In fertile cervical liquid, a sperm can live up to five days.

3. A man with a high sex drive will have normal sperm count.

Fact: There is no correction between virility and fertility for men and some men with a normal sex drive may have no sperm at all.

4. Infertility is primarily caused by females.

Fact: Studies have shown that infertility problems are caused by men and women equally, with 20 per cent of infertility problems being a combination of both.

5. Having sex daily increases the chances of conceiving.

Fact: Having sex every other day at the time of ovulation, most often between days 12-16 of a woman’s cycle, is sufficient since sperm live an average of two days.

6. Fertility problems begin at 35.

Fact: While women fertility peaks in their 20’s, it changes throughout a one’s life. While some women remain fertile even into their late 30’s, others experience fertility problems at a younger age. Experts say that chances of conceiving decline with age, particularly after the age of 35.

7. Single embryo transfer lowers the success rate of pregnancy.

Fact: Women have a limited number of eggs. When they run out, the menopause occurs.

Prevention

1. Minimise your exposure to toxic chemicals.

2. Aim to eat an optimal fertility diet.

3. Have an STD check.

4. Avoid coffee, smoking and alcohol.

5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

6. Do not ignore it.

Trying to conceive? Read This Misinformation and Missing Information about Infertility


Infertility is the inability to get pregnant  after 12 months or more of regular and unprotected intercourse.  The term is used to describe men who are unable to get a woman pregnant or women who cannot get pregnant.

infertility

infertility

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