Depression Has Been Linked to Issues in The Bedroom

Depression is an edgy topic for both patients and medical practitioners. Although it has been recognised for decades, it’s still a hazy area in some sectors. The average person mistakenly defines depression as ‘feeling blue’ or ‘being down.’ They think it’s a mood you can snap out of rather than a debilitating disease that can lead to self-harm and even death.

This stigma and negative attitude make it hard for people to admit they are experiencing depression. Unfortunately, there are medics and professionals who share this perspective, which only raises the barriers to treatment. Depression is much more than low spirits. It’s diagnosed if a patient experiences the following symptoms for two weeks or more:

  • Sudden changes in appetite, e.g. eating much more or not eating at all
  • Unexplainable changes in sleeping patterns, e.g. insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Extreme shifts in eating habits which lead to drastic weight gain or loss
  • Aches, pains, and illness that seems to have no cause
  • Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
  • Hopelessness and intense guilt
  • Having a hard time concentrating or focusing
  • Persistent anxiety, irritability, and sadness
  • Being tired all the time for no particular reason
  • Suicidal thoughts and plans
  • Dysfunction in your sex life

Even if a patient recognizes that they have depression, it can still be tricky to seek help. Many doctors immediately prescribe medication, and this doesn’t always work. Some drugs work well in some patients but do not affect others.

Also, there’s no consensus on what causes depression. It may be a mix of hormonal imbalance, negative thought patterns, genetic predisposition, and response to trauma. Depending on which factor is more causative, different drug regimens may be needed. For some patients, talk therapy is enough to make them better.

Once a patient has agreed to take medicine, an additional issue arises. Many depression medications have sexual dysfunction as a side effect. They can cause erectile difficulties in men and vaginal dryness in women. Aside from contributing to physical sex barriers, the depression itself can lead to a loss of interest in sex.

Sometimes, this low sex drive is a general symptom. In such cases, patients lose interest in everything. They no longer enjoy food, work, exercise, or time with loved ones. This loss of interest naturally extends to sex. Other times, the loss of libido is more specific. It may be linked to lowered self-esteem, destroying the patient’s sense of self.

When a patient is depressed, they may feel worthless and unattractive. They think they are a burden to those around them, so they don’t want anyone’s company. This emotional distancing is especially acute with their sexual partners. In the depressed patient’s mind, their partner can’t possibly find them attractive, so they don’t want to ‘impose’ sex on that partner.

Studies suggest women experience depression more frequently than men, but men have a higher suicide rate. This may mean women admit depression more frequently than men, who often suffer in silence. In the same way, men have a hard time admitting to sexual problems, so it’s bound to be worse if their medication causes, even more, problems for their masculinity.

In these instances, a man’s negative feelings about his medication-induced sexual dysfunction may deepen his depression, which then aggravates his bedroom problems. It becomes a difficult loop to get out of. In women, the case is a little different. Depression causes their dysfunction when it changes how they feel about themselves.

In both these cases, the first and best step is talk therapy. It can help both men and women get to the root of their depression before they resort to medication, which might intensify their feelings of sexual unattractiveness. Restoring a patient’s self-worth will go a long way in improving their sex drive. This matters because the brain is a bigger sex organ than genitals.

However, there are many cases where medication is essential in resolving depression. For patients who are suicidal, anti-depressants can literally save their lives, and any sexual side effects are a necessary evil. If a patient is worried their medicine will influence their sex drive, they could wait until after sex to take their required dose.

Regular exercise lifts a patient’s spirits and makes them fitter, which improves their blood flow and builds muscle. All these factors lead to better sex. A healthy diet has similar effects on mood and physical attractiveness. It makes your skin glow and your body supple.

The most important step is to ask your doctor lots of questions. If your depression medication causes sexual dysfunction, you can either ask for an alternative or get additional medicine to counteract the effects on your libido.

Could Good Dental Health Awareness Prevent Obesity in Children?

Australia is in the midst of an obesity epidemic, as you may well be aware. As we as a country become more overweight, it is increasingly important to look to our health and the steps we can take to prevent obesity in ourselves and our children, or tackle it if we are already overweight or obese. Invasive surgeries aimed at addressing obesity, like lap band surgery, are at an all-time high. Things like a junk food tax are being looked at by the government to try and help address the problem.

However, often the best way to tackle an issue is through education. This is especially true with children. Educating children and having them form good habits early is the best way to prevent ongoing issues with health, etc. in kids. In a new thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy, part of the University of Gothenburg, it is suggested that encouraging parents and their children to discuss good dental hygiene could help prevent children from becoming overweight. But how are the two linked?

Well, the basis for this thesis is, of course, already steeped in a proven scientific study. In a previous study by Louise Arvidsson, a PhD student at the Institute of Medicine, 271 pre-primary and primary school children were reviewed. The study looked at each child’s height and weight (and thus BMI) and food intake throughout the day, as well as the number of cariogenic microorganisms detected in each child’s saliva. These cariogenic microorganisms are the building blocks of tooth decay.

In the results of this former study, it was discovered that children with a higher BMI typically also had a higher amount of this tooth decay-causing bacteria in their saliva. They also typically ate more than their peers and had a higher prevalence of sugar-rich foods in their diet.

Instead, it looks at educating children and parents about dental health and what causes tooth decay. If you can have parents and children becoming more vigilant about dental health, then you are likely to see the amounts of sugar in a child’s diet decreasing. The less sugar in the diet, the more likely the BMI of the child is going to be reduced – thus leading to a healthy weight.

On the basis of the previous study, you might think that the thesis would also include educating parents and children about the dangers of overeating as it pertains to BMI, however, this is not the case. The thesis that Louise proposes makes sure to highlight the fact that, as discovered in previous studies, that food restriction among children aged 2-10 doesn’t typically stop these children from becoming overweight years down the track. It instead looks specifically at the sugar part, and the effect on teeth.

If the results are positive, then it could mean some pretty interesting things for dentists. If they see more cariogenic microorganisms in a child’s saliva, and they are not yet overweight, they can have a chat to the parents about this being an early indicator – and that the key to stopping children from becoming obese includes stepping up their dental hygiene practices as well as awareness. Dentists playing a larger role in the overall health of children is a good step forward beyond just telling children to brush and floss regularly.

It sure is interesting food for thought! We offer Louise all the best in her studies and are looking forward to seeing if there are any interesting forthcoming results. Good dental hygiene is important no matter what age you are, but seeing it as a predictor of being overweight later on down the track certainly is an interesting theory.

Some Alternatives to Sugary Drinks for The Kids This Summer

As we enjoy some beach time or family barbeques this holiday, there are likely to be lots of chilled drinks floating around. They go down beautifully in the hot summer sun and can make a fun day even more entertaining. While the adults will likely enjoy a bit of alcohol in their beverages, the kids will be more about the colour and the fizz.

The idea of sweet drinks can be a distressing one, because of the potential for sugar highs. Imagine having a bunch of ordinarily boisterous nieces and nephews. Now imagine herding them when they’re amped up on sweets and soda. The horror! Of course, from a dental perspective, the danger is far higher.

The reason dentists warn against (sweets and) fizzy drinks is that they stay in the mouth for longer periods, so the sugars have more opportunity to do damage to your teeth and gums. Sodas contain simple sugars which are broken down faster in the mouth. This makes it easier for the bacteria in your mouth to absorb and feed on them.

The sooner this happens, the sooner said bacteria would excrete acids, and those acids erode your teeth. On average, a glass of cola contains 30g of sugar per cup. Flavoured milk has 25g, while sports drinks have 20g per cup. For reference, a grown-up should take around 40g of sugar a day, which is roughly 10 teaspoons. Children should consume much less.

If you can take a single glass of soda, you’re fine, but we often consume three or four, especially when it’s hot and humid, or if we’re chilling by the pool in the summer. And of course, between the heat and their playing, kids get a lot more thirsty. They won’t realise that their drinks don’t effectively quench their thirst. They’ll just keep coming back for more.

Rather than rationing their sweet liquid intake – which can be quite the challenge, try replacing carbonated beverages with something healthier. It can still be iced, but it will have considerably less sugar than commercial products. Here are a few substitutions you can try.

Tea for soda

Kids love their fizzy drinks, but it’s easy to replace them with a fruity tea. Pick a flavour that matches their favourite commercial drink. Tea bags and infusions are available in hundreds of varieties, and they have the same taste as your kid’s favourite soda with none of the sugar.

Once you’ve selected the right kind, dip three or four tea bags into a litre of boiling water and let them sit for five to ten minutes so that the flavours fully infuse. You can give the tea some extra kick by adding a cup of soda water or sparkling water. It creates a fizzy effect. To fully bring out the flavour, stir in a teaspoon or two of sugar.

Lemons for oranges

Commercial fruit juice can pack up to 25g of sugar per cup, even when they’re completely natural. And since fruit juices aren’t buffered with fibre, the simpler sugar does more damage to teeth. Instead of bottled orange juice, offer your kids some home-made lemon water. Be sure to make lemon water rather than lemonade.

Lemon water contains one teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice added to one glass of water. Stir it in and offer it to the kids. Since it has no added sugar, it will quench their thirst more effectively than juice, and is much healthier. It also has more flavour than plain water. If you must, you can add a teaspoon of honey to the drink.

Coconuts for sports drinks

Sports drinks are marketed as a healthy option because they contain electrolytes and offer instant energy. However, they also contain a lot of sugar, colour, and artificial preservatives. Instead of putting that junk into your kids, entertain them with coconut water. If possible, use a young coconut rather than a packaged product.

For the kids, a drink served out of an actual coconut will appeal to their sense of fun. It may not be as colourful as a bottled sports drink, but it’s playful and organic. If you can only get the packaged variety, serve the kids in bright cups, quirky bottles, and curly straws.

Flavour your own milk

Flavoured milk is quite popular with little ones, and you can easily justify it because it seems healthy. However, commercially flavoured milk contains added sugar and artificial products. It’s better to buy your preferred brand of milk then add some flavour at home. You can use cocoa powder, organic essence, or blended berries.