Monthly Archives - December 2016

Anal Sex Myths – Cancer, Infections & Prevention

ANAL SEX – Hidden Taboo… No More.

Anal sex was once a thing of hidden or shunned mystery indulged by a select few. However, anal sex is no longer quite the dreaded dark hidden taboo it once was.

An estimated 90% of men who have sex with men and as many as 5% to 10% of sexually active women engage in receptive anal intercourse. Not only has society become more accepting of the evolving relationships involving the same sex, but more heterosexual people are trying it and enjoying it more often than ever before. Recent surveys  estimate that 40 percent of women between the ages of 20 to 24 have tried anal sex, and 20 percent of all women have tried it in the last year.

However, there are still unclear truths or inaccurate facts (myths) around anal sex, anal cancer and the associated sexual infections. When it comes to anal sex and the topic of anal cancers, HPV; knowing the associated truths can make a difference in knowing the best methods of protection to decrease risks and treatment options.

ANAL SEX MYTHS: Cancer, Infections & Prevention

1. ANAL SEX CAUSES ANAL CANCER

Basically yes, anal sex is a risk factor for anal cancer.

Anal sex can transmit the human papillomavirus (HPV), and HPV in turn leaves the cells around our rectum more vulnerable to mutating and becoming cancerous. A similar risk exists wherever HPV rears its ugly microscopic head, including the mouth, throat, and cervix. And because anal sex is generally more damaging to the inner lining of the rectum than the stereotypical notion of heterosexual sex is to the vagina, HPV and other sexually transmitted infections are more easily spread between people who engage in anal sex. Similarly, the greater number of sexual partners, the greater the risk of cancer.

2. ANAL CANCER RATES ARE ALARMING.

Close to 90 percent of anal cancer cases can be traced back to HPV. But the cancer itself is relatively rare.

More white women get HPV-associated anal cancer than women of other races. More black men get HPV-associated anal cancer than men of other races.

According to The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons:

  • – 8,000 people will be newly diagnosed with anal cancer this year.
  • – About 8,080 new cases (5,160 in women and 2,220 in men)
  • – About 1,080 deaths (640 in women and 440 in men)

3. ANAL CANCER IS PREVENTABLE.

Like other forms of cancer fueled by HPV, the available HPV vaccine can likely cut down the risk of developing anal cancer in both men and women.

While HPV vaccination rates still aren’t anywhere near as high as we’d like them to be, there is already evidence that the vaccine has lowered the risk of later cervical cancer in teen girls.

A growing number of gay physicians and health activists now believe that routine screening, using an anal pap smear, could reduce the incidence of anal cancer as dramatically as it has cervical cancer in women. They recommend that all MSMs, especially those who are HIV+, be tested every 1-3 years depending on their immunological well-being and CD4 count.

 

 4. ANAL CANCER IS SCREENABLE.

In fact, a standardized screening protocol for anal cancer does not yet exist. Most health care providers are not offering anal cancer screening to their patients, either because they are unaware of the risk factors for anal cancer, do not inquire about their patients’ high risk sexual practices, and/or do not know how to perform an anal pap smear.

While only one of these locations is screened routinely (the cervix), there are screening tests that you can request from your doctor for the other locations. For women, a simple pap smear is used to detect these cell changes in the cervix in their early stages.

There seems to be little consensus on the practicality of offering anal pap smears to all clients, despite the fact that the AIDS Institute of New York recommends that HIV positive gay men “and others with history of HPV disease” should be tested annually.  In addition, most health insurance policies do not cover anal pap smears.

5. ANAL CANCER IS GAY DISEASE – OR MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN (MSM)

This is a big myth. Approximately 75% of all sexually active adults acquire HPV, often within the course of early adulthood, and often in the first two years of becoming sexually active and often without any symptoms.

Each year anal cancer is diagnosed in about 2 people out of every 100,000 people in the general population. Current estimates are that HIV negative MSMs are 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with anal cancer. Their rate is about 40 cases per 100,000. HIV-positive MSMs are up to 40 times more likely to diagnosed with the disease, resulting in a rate of 80 anal cancer cases per 100,000 people.

6. ANAL CANCER HAS VISIBLE SYMPTOMS.

Not always true. Although many men have no obvious symptoms, one of the most common manifestations of HPV infection is genital warts which can affect the anus, the penis and/or the peritoneum. Other possible symptoms are abnormal discharge from the anus, bleeding from the rectum and anus, itching of the anus, pain or pressure around the anus, and a sore or sores around the anus that do not heal.

7.  I’M NOT PROMISCUOUS, SO I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY.

Wrong – HPV is transferable through skin to skin contact. So, yes, you reduce your chances of getting HPV if you practice safer sex and exercise monogamy when it comes to sexual partners.This means using a latex condom during anal and vaginal sex, and using a dental dam or a condom during oral sex. You can protect sex toys with a latex condom, too… and always make sure to change the condom or wash the toy if you switch from the vagina to the anus or the other way around.

However, STIs can be passed along as readily in a loving, long-term relationship as in a one-night stand. Remember, though, that HPV can infect areas that aren’t covered by a condom or dental dam, so safer sex isn’t foolproof.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vCKdG4Dc7I[/embedyt]

Preventing Anal Infection & Cancer

The only way to completely avoid anal sex risks is to abstain from anal sex. If you do engage in anal sex, it is always important to use a condom to protect against the spread of infections and diseases.

Sex Tips: Decreasing Anal Sex Risks

  • Avoid inserting a penis into the mouth or vagina after it’s been inserted in the anus until your partner puts on a new condom.
  • Use plenty of lubricant to reduce the risk of tissue tears. With latex condoms, always use a water-based lubricant.
  • Relax prior to insertion of the penis to help reduce the risk of tears. Taking a warm bath before anal sex or lying on your stomach may make insertion easier.
  • Stop if anal sex is painful.
  • If you experience bleeding after anal sex or you notice a sores or lumps around the anus or a discharge coming from it, see your doctor as soon as possible.

anal infection & diseases myths (1)

 

Black Men Shaving Tips: Prevent Barber’s Rash (Pseudofolliculitis Barbae)

Black Men Shaving Problems

It’s the timeless battle in which every black man often experiences head-on.  The vicious and often ferocious battle between the razor and ultimately those nuisance soldiers called razor bumps.

Which leads to the age-old question….

Razor Bumps/Pseudofolliculitis Barbae:

“Why Do Black Men Suffer From Razor Bumps (Pseudofolliculitis Barbae)”

Short answer – razor bumps are caused by shaving. Sometimes when a hair is cut off at the point where it exits the skin, it can curl back and start growing inwards. These ingrown hairs cause irritation to the hair follicle, which swells into a small red lump that looks a bit like a pimple. A razor bump forms when a hair that has been cut off close to the surface of the face turns around and begins growing back into the skin.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CVnZR2iIU8[/embedyt]

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae and Shaving.

This painful process only affects about 20% of Caucasians, while various sources claim that between 60-80% of black men are affected.

The main reason why black men get razor bumps more often than their white or Asian counterparts is because the type of curly hair is particularly likely to become ingrown. Black men often have coarse or curly hair, which may lead to razor bumps and ingrown hairs. “People with darker skin often are susceptible to inflammation, such as that caused by razor bumps; along with hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Lawrence Jaeger, DO of Advanced Dermatology Associates in NYC and the Bronx.

Razor bumps form as new strands of hair curl back, puncture, and re-enter the skin while growing. Although not a serious health problem, these bumps are by no means pretty and can be a nuisance. They can fill up with puss, cause skin discoloration, or give rise to keloidal scars. The worst part is that razor bumps itch and cause quite a bit of discomfort. And when these pustules develop an infection from staph bacteria, they turn into a more serious skin disorder called Barber’s rash or folliculitis.

Also, darker skin is more prone to keloid scarring, which can develop if razor bumps are left untreated. Which is why it is especially important for black men to learn how to prevent and treat this common skin condition or seek dermatological treatment.

Black Men Shaving Tips: Prevent folliculitis

SHAVING TIPS – Black or Darker Skin People Should:

  • – Always use a sharp razor blade and discard old blades after 4-5 uses. You might think this is excessive, but dull blades force black men to go over the same area of skin again and again, increasing the chances of irritation and improperly cutting hair. This goes for electric razors, too: replace the blades after every few months of use.
  • – Reduce your number of shaves by shaving every other day. Giving the skin time to heal will allow hairs to grow straight through the skin’s surface, without forcing too-short hairs back into the skin. Frequent shaving too close to the skin will trap hairs inside the follicles.
  • – Exfoliate! Exfoliate! Exfoliating with a gentle scrub like Microfine Face Scrub removes the top layer of dead cells and allows hairs to grow out more easily. It also helps soften skin, clears pores and evens out patchy skin tones.
  • – Many African-American men benefit from using a single-blade razor, or a Deep Edge razor. Most dermatologists will encourage patients who suffer from razor bumps from using triple or quadruple blade razor systems. They exponentially increase the  potential for razor bumps. The closer the shave, the worse the razor bumps will be.
  • – Always shave in the direction of hair growth. While shaving upward seems to give a closer shave, shaving in the hair’s direction reduces irritation and the likelihood of hairs growing back into the skin. Don’t pull skin taut when shaving since this can also cause ingrown hairs to form.
  • – Soften hairs before shaving by massaging warm water into the beard area and then applying a professional-grade, highly-lubricating shave cream. Allow it to sit on the face for a minute or two to completely coat hairs before shaving.
  • – Follow a shave with an after-shave solution that contains hydrating ingredients like aloe, witch hazel and tea tree extract like Post-Shave Repair to cut down on redness and discomfort. Stay away from products that contain alcohol since this can dry skin out and provoke an ashy appearance in black skin.
  • – Resist the urge to pluck ingrown hairs out. A new hair will just grow again, and you’ll be facing the same exact problem…even worse. It can become irritated.
  • -Most importantly, take your time when shaving. Stop that 30-second shave on Monday morning. Taking your time to shave slowly and with care can dramatically reduce nicks, cuts and abrasions that can aggravate razor bumps.
  • – Aloe Vera is your best friend because it act as a moisturizer which will help speed up the healing process of the razor bumps. Aloe Vera also helps with the burning and soothing pain or discomfort.

Top Anal Cancer Myths – HPV Video

Anal sex is no longer quite the dreaded dark hidden taboo it once was.

Not only has society become more accepting of the evolving relationships involving the same sex, but more heterosexual people are trying it and enjoying it more often than ever before. Recent surveys  estimate that 40 percent of women between the ages of 20 to 24 have tried anal sex, and 20 percent of all women have tried it in the last year.

When it comes to anal sex and the topic of anal cancers, the dialogues and conversations around HPV begin to drastically vary. Then the topic of those discussions begin to be shaped by many stigmas and false perceptions which aren’t always accurate, truthful or informative to our society’s best understanding.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vCKdG4Dc7I[/embedyt]

In this blog, we discuss and share…..

The Top Anal Cancer Myths – video included

 

  1. 1. ANAL SEX CAUSES CANCER

In theory, this is yes, anal sex is a risk factor for anal cancer. Anal sex can transmit the human papillomavirus (HPV), and HPV in turn leaves the cells around our rectum more vulnerable to mutating and becoming cancerous.

A similar risk exists wherever HPV rears its ugly microscopic head, including the mouth, throat, and cervix. And because anal sex is generally more damaging to the inner lining of the rectrum than the stereotypical notion of heterosexual sex is to the vagina, HPV and other sexually transmitted infections are more easily spread between people who engage in anal sex. Similarly, the greater number of sexual partners, the greater the risk of cancer.

  1. 2. ANAL CANCER RATES ARE ALARMING.

Close to 90 percent of anal cancer cases can be traced back to HPV. But the cancer itself is relatively rare.

According to The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons:

  • – About 8,080 new cases (5,160 in women and 2,2920 in men)
  • – About 1,080 deaths (640 in women and 440 in men)
  1. 3. ANAL CANCER IS PREVENTABLE.

Like other forms of cancer fueled by HPV, the available HPV vaccine can likely cut down the risk of developing anal cancer in both men and women.

While HPV vaccination rates still aren’t anywhere near as high as we’d like them to be, there is already evidence that the vaccine has lowered the risk of later cervical cancer in teen girls.

A growing number of gay physicians and health activists now believe that routine screening, using an anal pap smear, could reduce the incidence of anal cancer as dramatically as it has cervical cancer in women. They recommend that all MSMs, especially those who are HIV+, be tested every 1-3 years depending on their immunological well-being and CD4 count.

  1. 4. ANAL CANCER IS SCREENABLE.

In fact, a standardized screening protocol for anal cancer does not yet exist. Most health care providers are not offering anal cancer screening to their patients, either because they are unaware of the risk factors for anal cancer, do not inquire about their patients’ high risk sexual practices, and/or do not know how to perform an anal pap smear.

For women, a simple pap smear is used to detect these cell changes in the cervix in their early stages.

There seems to be little consensus on the practicality of offering anal pap smears to all clients, despite the fact that the AIDS Institute of New York recommends that HIV positive gay men “and others with history of HPV disease” should be tested annually.  In addition, most health insurance policies do not cover anal pap smears.

  1. 5. ANAL CANCER IS ONLY A GAY DISEASE – MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN (MSM)

This is a big myth. Approximately 75% of all sexually active adults acquire HPV, often within the course of early adulthood, and often in the first two years of becoming sexually active and often without any symptoms.

Each year anal cancer is diagnosed in about 2 people out of every 100,000 people in the general population. Current estimates are that HIV negative MSMs are 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with anal cancer. Their rate is about 40 cases per 100,000. HIV-positive MSMs are up to 40 times more likely to diagnosed with the disease, resulting in a rate of 80 anal cancer cases per 100,000 people.

  1. 6. ANAL CANCER HAS VISIBLE SYMPTOMS.

Not always true. Although many men have no obvious symptoms, one of the most common manifestations of HPV infection is genital warts which can affect the anus, the penis and/or the peritoneum. Other possible symptoms are abnormal discharge from the anus, bleeding from the rectum and anus, itching of the anus, pain or pressure around the anus, and a sore or sores around the anus that do not heal.

  1. 7. I’M NOT PROMISCUOUS, SO I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT HPV.

Wrong – HPV is transferable through skin to skin contact. So, yes, you reduce your chances of getting HPV if you practice safer sex and exercise monogamy when it comes to sexual partners.This means using a latex condom during anal and vaginal sex, and using a dental dam or a condom during oral sex. You can protect sex toys with a latex condom, too… and always make sure to change the condom or wash the toy if you switch from the vagina to the anus or the other way around.

However, STIs can be passed along as readily in a loving, long-term relationship as in a one-night stand. Remember, though, that HPV can infect areas that aren’t covered by a condom or dental dam, so safer sex isn’t foolproof.

Top HPV Cancer Myths - Genital, Anal, Penile Warts

 

Best Lip Relief – What’s On Your Lips.

Lip Relief – What do you reach for when your lips become chapped, dry and begin to experience cheilitis. Not sure which brand or product is best for your lip condition? By exploring the many options available to your troubling lip issues will you begin to take stronger returns for what’s on your lips and how you’re either helping or hurting those suckers in the end.

The Best Lip Relief: Lip Balm, Salves, Butters

Lip balm or lip salve:

Lip balm is a wax-like substance applied topically to the lips of the mouth to moisturize and relieve chapped or dry lips, angular cheilitis, stomatitis, or cold sores. Lip balm often contains beeswax or carnauba wax, camphor, cetyl alcohol, lanolin, paraffin, and petroleum, among other ingredients. Some varieties contain dyes, flavor, fragrance, phenol, salicylic acid, and sunscreens.

Dry lips are also caused due to dehydration. Lip balms are just intended to protect, moisturize, nourish, condition, and hydrate your lips. Lip balms are made to stop irritation of the lips by keeping them moist or hydrated. Lip balm may come in various forms such as small round tubs, jars, cylinders or twist up tubes. They may be applied using your fingers or directly from the packaging that it comes in.

Lip balms are most commonly made of beeswax or similar ingredients which form a protective layer over the skin and prevent loss of moisture. They basically seal in all the moisture to prevent dryness. A lip balm may be clear where it contains only the base ingredients or it may be tinted with a host of other ingredients.

Some lip balms are being made with SPF which means they give you an additional advantage of sun protection.

 

Lip Balm Tips (for selecting the best lip balms):

  • Avoid ingredients like phenol, menthol and salicylic acid. Some lip balms — typically those containing ingredients like phenol, menthol and salicylic acid — make the lips drier. “You have to apply more, and it becomes a vicious cycle,” Dr. Piliang says. “Sometimes these cause a tingling feeling when you apply them. They either cause irritation or remove outer layers of the skin. They exfoliate. Then you have less protection, and you’re more susceptible to environmental factors, so you have to apply more product. Avoid lip balms that contain those ingredients.”
  • Limit your use of lip balms containing scents or added flavoring. The chemicals in scents and added flavorings can irritate your skin or cause allergies. They dry out the skin and then it can feel more chapped.
  • Find lip balm that is at least SPF 30. Use lip gloss or lipstick that’s at least SPF30 — and use sunscreen on your lips when you’re at the pool or beach.
  • – Be cautious of those lip balms containing petroleum. As harmless and “normal” as it might seem, petroleum jelly and mineral oil, which are derived from oil refining, can possibly be contaminated with carcinogens called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and 1,4-dioxane.

lip-balm-vs-chapstick

Lip Butters:

Genuine lip butters will contain actual butters, like avocado butter, shea butter, olive butter. All these help to soften and nourish your skin. BEWARE – Cheap lip butters will often contain some form of petroleum as their ingredient. So try to stay away from these.

ChapStick:

ChapStick is just a brand name of lip balm manufactured by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and used in many countries worldwide. It is intended to help treat and prevent chapped lips. However, ChapStick is just a very popular brand of lip balm, and probably one of the most commonly used one, people have gotten familiar to calling every type of lip balm, “ChapStick” when it’s not always the case. ChapStick’s purpose is to prevent chapping.

Keep in mind that all chapsticks are lip balms; whereas all lip balms ARE NOT chapsticks.

Best Lip Relief: lip_balm_versus_chapstick

Keep These Factors In Mind When Shopping for Lip Balms…

  1. 1. Look for the seal. “The vague terms ‘green,’ ‘organic,’ ‘natural,’ and so forth are not regulated,”. Companies can slap those terms on any product, regardless of what’s inside. Instead, rely on seals signifying a product has been certified by an independent third party, such as the “USDA Organic” seal or the “Natural Products Association Certified” seal, “both of which restrict the use of unhealthy synthetic ingredients.”
  2. 2. Stick to beeswax: Pros: Beeswax works like petrolatum by creating a seal on your lips that protects them from air and other elements that can dry them out. Plus, it’s made by bees, so there’s no worry about depleting nonrenewable resources and there are no adverse health effects associated with licking too much beeswax off your lips.Cons:Due to the current decline of honeybees, beeswax-based lip balms may not be around for us to enjoy forever. Plus, the cost of the ingredient continue to raise the prices of lip products.
  3. 3. Make Your Own or DIY. If your lips are dry and you aren’t in the mood to hit the store, or you just prefer a DIY approach; use a little cooking oil to soothe an irritated pucker, “Any cooking oils will soothe chapping, including safflower, olive, sunflower, canola, and corn oils will help offer some moisture. Just don’t put any type of oil on sunburned skin. It can irritate and prolong the sensation of burning,” expresses Lawrence Jaeger, Medical Director of Advanced Dermatology Associates.

 

If You Have Chapped Lips,… 

  • – Don’t lick your lips. Sure, it’s tempting, because your saliva will immediately moisten your lips. But as soon as it dries, according to Wu, “things get even worse. It’ll dry them out even more.” The instant gratification just isn’t worth it. And as Fishman reminded us, “Your saliva was meant to digest food. That’s why it’s so drying to the lips.”
  • – If you can, steer clear of all “sticks.” Both matte and long-wear lipstick tend to dry out your lips. “Instead, use a creamy lip conditioner, it’s much less drying.” But the truth is, all balms or lipsticks that come in tubes contain waxes that tend to dry out your lips. You’ll be better off opting for an emollient ointment, which can be applied with the tips of your fingers with greater care and gentleness. Dragging a stick across your dry lips, especially one that’s not brand new, can only irritate the skin even further.
  • – Don’t pick your lips if they’re flakyPicking at them can trigger a cold sore or lead to bleeding. And all of that’s not just unsightly, it can be unhealthy, too, leading to serious infections.
  • – Don’t chew mint gum or use balms with mint, menthol or cinnamonYes, gum… and lip balms that share its common flavors. Cinnamon in particular is known to irritate lips. 

Best Lip Relief: best_lip_balms