Sleep Deprivation Can Dampen Your Sex Drive and More

Sleep Deprivation Can Dampen Your Sex Drive and More

Everyone knows that sleep is important, but many of us still don’t get enough of it. Of course sleep deprivation depletes your energy and makes it difficult to focus on things. Read on to learn more ways that sleep deprivation affects your body and mind.

It can dampen your sex drive.

According to research, getting six hours of sleep or less each night can lead to lower levels of testosterone in both women and men. If you combine that with lower levels of energy, drowsiness, and more tension because of a lower stress threshold, sex is not going to be the first thing on your mind.

It can age your skin.

Not getting enough sleep does a lot more to the way you look than just giving you under-eye bags. Your body responds by releasing extra cortisol (the stress hormone), which can break down your skin’s collagen and make it more likely to become wrinkled, discolored, and dull. The skin also depends on human growth hormone (HGH) to replenish and repair itself. HGH is released when you get a good night’s sleep, so you’re not getting enough HGH release if you don’t rest well, which can affect the body, night after night.

It makes it more difficult for you to recognize facial expressions.

According to a study out of UC Berkeley, sleep deprivation makes it more difficult to read faces. Eighteen healthy participants were asked to interpret 70 facial expressions, once after they had a good night of sleep and again after they stayed awake for a period of 24 hours. Brain scans showed that when the individuals were deprived of sleep, they could not tell the difference between a threatening facial expression and a friendly one because the emotion-sensing parts of their brains were overestimating threat’s presence.

It makes you feel hungrier.

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation affects the brain’s pleasure response processing in relation to cravings and hunger. The hunger hormones (leptin and ghrelin) are thrown off. Leptin tells you when you are full and ghrelin signals hunger. When you are sleep deprived, leptin typically decreases and ghrelin increases.

It can cause depression symptoms.

Some studies have shown that individuals who suffered from insomnia were at risk of experiencing depression five times more than a person who gets enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can worsen depression symptoms and depression can actually make it more difficult for some people to fall asleep, which is a tough cycle to break. If you believe your depression is linked to poor sleep quality, begin by visiting a professional who can help you treat sleep issues or lifestyle habits that may be contributing to your symptoms.


5 Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

5 Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in the U.S. and the fifth most common that affects women in the U.S. Medical News Today says that one in about 70 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer during her life. Read on to learn some of the risk factors for ovarian cancer.


Cigarette smoking is considered to be a culprit for three percent of cases of ovarian cancer. Women who currently smoke are 31 to 49 percent more likely to develop ovarian mucinous cancer compared to those who’ve never smoked. The length time smoking matters significantly.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS can increase the risk for certain cancers including ovarian and breast cancer. The risk of ovarian cancer is tripled for those who suffer from PCOS. It’s important to have annual pelvic exams to screen for ovarian cancer, especially if you have been diagnosed with PCOS.


There are a number of age differentiators that can predispose women to ovarian cancer later, according to research from the Mayo Clinic. For example, early menstruation — before age 12— is connected to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Also, if you begin menopause after age 52, you may be at a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer can affect women of any age group, but is most likely to develop in those between ages 50 and 60.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation

These inherited gene mutations are a lesser cause of ovarian cancer (and breast cancer), according to the Mayo Clinic. These genes also cause Lynch syndrome, which is a kind of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) caused by the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. Lynch syndrome is connected to higher rates of ovarian cancer.

Fertility treatment

Certain studies that are quoted by the National Cancer Society connect the usage of some fertility drugs to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. For example, they point to the drug clomiphene citrate taken for longer than a year as a risk factor for low malignant potential ovarian tumors. Doctors should advise those undergoing fertility treatments of the risk factors. For example, the risks are quite a bit higher in women who are infertile and unable to conceive while taking the drug compared to those who become pregnant and carry a baby to term normally.




Acupuncture Instead of Metformin for PCOS?

Acupuncture Instead of Metformin for PCOS?

Common symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) include weight gain, an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, acne, infertility, and excess body and facial hair (hirsutism). PCOS affects one in 10 women, so if you do not suffer from it, you likely know someone who does. But there’s good news for those with this condition.

Receiving regular abdominal acupuncture could be a solution to what is a “male-hormone overload”. A study in the latest issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine shows that women who received a daily acupuncture session for six months showed the same improvements in cholesterol levels, levels of male hormone, insulin and glucose markers as women who took prescription pills (metformin), three times each day.

The women who were in the acupuncture group actually saw more drastic change than the group who took metformin when it came to having their menstrual cycles regular and losing weight.

“Acupuncture helps balance hormones in general; over time, it normalizes everything,” says Tasneem Bhatia, MD, and advisor for Prevention and medical director and founder of the Atlanta Center for Holistic & Integrative Medicine. “It’s used for people with many different hormonal imbalances, whether that’s PCOS or infertility.”

It’s important for women with PCOS to check with their doctor to be sure they are not at risk for diabetes before beginning acupuncture treatment. Uncontrolled diabetes hampers the immune system, says Helen Kim, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago. Acupuncture treatment might be a welcome and needed alternative for the majority of women suffering from the condition, though. Some women are unable to tolerate metformin, so it’s ideal to have alternative options.

Be sure to check in with your doctor before deciding that acupuncture the right treatment for you if you have PCOS — it may not be the only alternative.


6 Things Your Nipples Can Tell You about Your Health

6 Things Your Nipples Can Tell You about Your Health

Your nipples are there just for decoration, which you probably already know. But they can clue you into some health issues that are serious. Read on to learn what you need to know about your nipples.

Discharge is often normal.

Discharge that is milky, clear, or bluish-green can happen in most women if their nipple is squeezed. However, if you’re not squeezing and especially if the discharge is coming from just one of your breasts or is bloody, see a doctor. This discharge could be due to a harmless cyst, benign growth, or breast cancer.

Third nipples are pretty common.

Up to 27.2 million Americans have a third nipple, according to one estimate. These are called “supernumerary” nipples and are often mistaken for skin tags or moles. Having a third nipple is not a problem, but they can be easily removed in an outpatient procedure that takes about a half an hour.

Exercise may chafe nipples.

But if you are not participating in vigorous activity and notice that you have scaly, red, itchy, and/or flaking nipples, see your doctor. This may be a sign of Paget’s disease, which is a rare form of cancer that involves the areola and nipple. It may also mean it’s simply eczema.

Nipple pain during breastfeeding is common.

Especially during the first few weeks of breastfeeding, throbbing, burning, sore, or cracked nipples are all common complaints. However, if the pain carries on, see a breastfeeding specialist because your baby might not be latching on correctly.

Inverted nipples are nothing to be concerned about.

Approximately 15 percent of women have inverted nipples from birth, according to Z. Paul Lorenc, MD, a plastic surgeon in New York City. “It’s a simple matter of connective tissue retracting the nipple inward,” explains Lorenc. “It’s a relatively minor surgical procedure to correct it. We make a tiny incision to release the connective tissue, and the nipple pops out. We can do both nipples under local anesthesia in about an hour.”

Nipples are erogenous zones.

The sensation from stimulation of the nipples travels to the same pleasure centers of the brain as sensations from the cervix, vagina, and clitoris, according to researchers at Rutgers University. If you pierce your nipples, you might lose sensation because of nerve damage.



5 Reasons You Should Sleep Naked Tonight

5 Reasons You Should Sleep Naked Tonight

Most of us sleep in some type of clothing, whether it’s regular pajamas, a t-shirt, or even underwear. A minority (about 8 percent, according to a sleep survey) say they sleep completely naked. But sleeping in the nude is actually good for you. Read on to learn five ways how.

It helps you get a better night’s sleep.

Your body naturally decreases its temperature as you sleep. A cooled-down body encourages a more deep and restful sleep. If you’re all bundled up and your body is overheated, you might not be able to release excess heat, which could interfere with a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that body temperature and insomnia are closely related. Try sleeping naked if you find you can’t get a solid night of sleep.

It improves metabolism.

You may be able to reduce excess fat by balancing cortisol — stress hormone — levels. Between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am, cortisol levels drop. If you’re not getting sufficient sleep, you may have excess cortisol in the body when you wake, which could encourage extra belly fat. Sleeping in cooler temperatures or in the nude has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels, which could potentially prevent type 2 diabetes. Sleeping in an environment that is more cool pushes the body to transform regular fat into brown fat, which boosts metabolism and is responsible for improved insulin sensitivity and regulation of temperature. Your health could improve in a matter of weeks, so sleep naked!

It helps you age more slowly.

Your body makes growth hormone and melatonin when you sleep well. These both behave as anti-aging agents in your body. Sleeping without pajamas also encourages healthier skin, since there are no waistbands or seams that encourage wrinkles or dryness.

It can improve your relationship.

Your body produces more oxytocin when you have skin-on-skin contact with your partner. Oxytocin is a hormones that increases feelings of attachment and bonding.

Your vagina will be happier.

You can reduce the growth of unwanted bacteria and yeast by exposing your vagina to unobstructed air flow each night. This is very helpful since vaginas are naturally warm and damp areas.

Sleeping in the nude will allow you to be yourself and be healthier. So let your body cool down and sleep naked tonight!



Things You May Not Know about Orgasms

Things You May Not Know about Orgasms

Some people are shy when it comes to talking about orgasms. But they’re just as much a part of a woman’s health as anything else. Maybe there are some things you’ve been dying to find out, but have been afraid to ask. Read on to expand your knowledge of all things “O”.

Orgasms are pain relievers.

If you have a headache, maybe you should have sex instead of turning it down. “There is some evidence that orgasms can relieve all kinds of pain—including pain from arthritis, pain after surgery and even pain during childbirth,” notes Lisa Stern, RN, MSN, a nurse practitioner in Los Angeles and blogger at at “The mechanism is largely due to the body’s release of a chemical called oxytocin during orgasm,” she says. The pain relief is usually short-lived (approximately eight to 10 minutes), but even thinking about sex can help alleviate pain, according to past research.

A lot of women have trouble reaching orgasm.

If you’ve ever had trouble having an orgasm you’re not alone. As many as one in three women have trouble reaching climax when having sex, according to Planned Parenthood statistics. And as many as 80% of women have trouble with orgasm from just having vaginal intercourse.

Orgasms become better with age.

There are a lot of things to complain about regarding aging, but your sex life might actually get better, especially the frequency and quality of orgasm, according to Debby Herbenick, PhD, a research scientist at Indiana University. “Orgasm becomes easier with age,” she says. “As an example, while 61 percent of women ages 18 to 24 experienced orgasm the last time they had sex, 65 percent of women in their 30s did and about 70 percent of women in their 40s and 50s did.”

An orgasm can sometimes happen without genital stimulation.

This is rare, but possible. Experts say it is a real phenomenon. “The reason for spontaneous orgasms during certain activities is twofold—increased blood flow to the genitals and vibration of or contact with the clitoris. The increased blood flow and the general relaxation of a massage can lead to orgasm sometimes, too,” says Stern.

It takes a while for most women.

A lot of women take longer to climax than their male partners which is perfectly normal, according to Stern. Statistics say that most women require at least 20 minutes of sexual activity to have an orgasm.



7 Common Misconceptions about HPV

7 Common Misconceptions about HPV

The human papillomavirus (HPV) affects approximately 79 million Americans and is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the country. Despite the prevalence of HPV, there are many misconceptions out there about what it is, who gets it, and what it means to have a diagnosis. Here are some common myths about HPV:

Myth #1 – Only women get HPV.

Fact – Men also get HPV. Most sexually active women and men will have at least one HPV infection at some time in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Anyone who is sexually active can contract HPV, even if they’ve only had one other sexual partner.

Myth #2 – All HPV strains cause cancer.

Fact – HPV can cause cervical, anal, vaginal, vulvar, and penile cancers. But not all HPV strains have the ability to cause cancer. Low-risk strains of HPV (the ones that don’t cause cancer, but do cause skin lesions) can cause genital or anal warts. Even then it can take years to decades for cancer to develop after a person contracts HPV, according to the CDC.

Myth #3 – You won’t get HPV if you don’t have sex.

Fact – HPV can be spread through skin-to-skin vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If there’s skin-to-skin contact, you can still contract the virus, even if you use a condom.

Myth #4 – Men can get HPV screening.

Fact – Unfortunately, there are no FDA-approved tests to screen for HPV in men.

Myth #5 – Treatment options are available.

Fact – While medical professionals can treat genital warts and precancerous lesions that are caused by HPV infections, there is not a treatment available for the actual virus.

Myth #6 – HPV always comes with symptoms.

Fact – Actually, most people with HPV don’t develop any symptoms. Even though there are a number of potential health issues associated with HPV, such as certain types of cancer and genital warts, most people don’t end up with health issues from an infection of HPV. In 90 percent of HPV cases, a person’s immune system combats the infection within two years, according to the CDC.

Myth #7 – You don’t need Pap tests if you received the HPV vaccine.

Fact – you still need to get regular Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer, even if you received the HPV vaccine. The two available vaccines protect against only two high risk HPV strains (16 and 18) that cause cancer. Also, the vaccine is a preventive measure — it won’t help those who are already infected, which is why it’s recommended for people in their twenties or younger.

The next time you visit your gynecologist, ask them if you’re a good candidate for the HPV vaccine.