6 Things Only Someone Coping with Infertility Understands

6 Things Only Someone Coping with Infertility Understands

Did you know that one in eight couples have trouble conceiving? That means you’re not alone if you have been having infertility problems. Read on to learn what only someone with infertility issues will understand:

It Can Be Very Expensive

Infertility procedures and medications are very expensive. On average, each attempt for in vitro fertilization (IVF) is $11,000 or more. Only a minority of people have health insurance that helps with those costs.

It’s Normal to be Disappointed Each Month

IVF is the most successful and drastic fertility procedure, but it is not a guarantee at all. The CDC compiles rates of success from nationwide fertility centers into one report each year and the latest one shows that 40 percent of IVF attempts in those under the age of 35 who use their own fresh embryos resulted in a birth. But that outcome becomes as low as 11 percent in 41 and 42 year olds.

Timing is Everything

Just missing a dose of fertility medication or taking them at the wrong time can be a disaster. Timing is everything. If you go against the medication schedule your doctor gave you — in the case of IVF — your eggs may not be ready to be retrieved or you might not have your intrauterine insemination during the time where it would be most successful.

It Can be an Emotional Roller Coaster

Usually women with infertility begin taking medications a few days after the start of their periods…and then they wait. “For the next 4 weeks you get your hopes up, you dream, you wish, you tell yourself, ‘It’s going to happen this month,’ and then when the stick says you’re not pregnant or the doctor tells you your embryo didn’t take, it’s soul-crushing,” says Laura Saltman, a woman who has been going through fertility treatments for three years.

It’s Painful

The medications have significant side effects that cause pain, inside and out. It can feel like the worst PMS experience combined with the amount of pain you typically feel on the first day of your period.

It’s Difficult to Hear Friends’ Pregnancy Announcements

“You want to be truly excited for them, but deep down it makes you hurt more for yourself,” says Monica Higgins, who underwent fertility treatments on and off for three years. Be careful not to judge a friend if she is not as enthusiastic about your pregnancy as you hoped she’d be. Give them some space and then attention if she does become pregnant.

 

Diet May Help Those with Endometriosis and Fibroids

Diet May Help Those with Endometriosis and Fibroids

Many women in the U.S. are affected by endometriosis and fibroids. Fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the uterus and endometriosis happens when uterine lining cells grow outside of the uterus. These conditions are both potentially painful and can trigger issues with infertility. It is likely that your doctor will recommend traditional treatments for both conditions, but there are also some foods you can eat that combat both fibroids and endometriosis. Be sure to speak with your doctor before altering your diet if you have or suspect you have either of these health conditions. Read on to learn what types of foods you may want to include in your diet if you suffer from fibroids or endometriosis.

Fatty Fish

You may be able to reduce your risk of endometriosis by including fatty fish in your diet that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. You can benefit from eating omega-3 rich foods if you have fibroids, as well. These fats reduce scar formation and inflammation that are associated with fibroids. Fish that have the highest omega-3 fats include mackerel, albacore tuna, herring, and salmon.

Cruciferous Veggies

In an effort to avoid fibroids, include cruciferous vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, or broccoli in your diet. These vegetables contain compounds that combat changes in tissues in your body, which can prevent noncancerous growths, such as fibroids, from forming. The author of “Endometriosis”, Mary Lou Ballweg, points to cruciferous vegetables as being beneficial for both fibroids and endometriosis, as they have estrogen-lowering qualities.

Fiber-Rich Foods

Eating a plant based diet that is high in fiber may help protect you from endometriosis. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25g of fiber for women and 21g if you are 51 or older. Johanna Skilling, author of “Fibroids: The Complete Guide to Taking Charge of Your Physical, Emotional and Sexual Well-Being,” suggests that upping fiber intake to 30 g per day brings down the amount of estrogen in your body, which is a hormone that triggers the growth of fibroids.

Lycopene-Rich Foods

Research featured in Nutrition Research suggests that a diet that includes lycopene can reduce the growth of fibroids. Foods high in lycopene include tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit.

 

7 Tips on Having Sex When His Penis Is Larger Than Average

7 Tips on Having Sex When His Penis Is Larger than Average

Penises come in all shapes and sizes, just like many other body parts. Some women may consider an over-sized penis to be exciting, while others are intimidated, wondering how it will fit. Having sex with a penis that is above average (an average erect penis is 5.6 inches) can be painful for some, create stress and anxiety, and possibly cause vaginal tearing, according to certified sex therapist Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D. A vagina can usually accommodate a larger penis, but you have to be more careful. Here are some ways to proceed if your partner is large:

Acknowledge That It’s Big

You don’t have to make it a significant issue because your man might be embarrassed if he’s sensitive about his size, but being honest and upfront is a good idea. Acknowledge that his penis is large, suggest you take it slow, and then proceed.

Make Sure You Set the Pace

It’s not easy to know how your vagina is going to handle the size of his penis, so it’s necessary for you to set the pace. “Until you get used to the sensation and know how your body will respond to his larger penis, take it slow,” advises Van Kirk.

Use Enough Lubrication

The chances are good that you’ll need it, so be willing to have it on hand and apply more as needed. It’s better to use a thicker lube in this situation so that it won’t absorb as quickly.

Try Out Side-by-Side Sex

This can make it possible for you to help control the rhythm in this position and be able to hold his penis, insert it, and have control of it like a sex toy. So, if he’s getting a little too deep, you can increase the amount of length that you’re holding and less will be going into you.

Try Woman on Top

Any move that will allow you to take the lead and have him remain still are ideal, says New York City sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D.

Avoid Doing it Doggy Style

If he has a penis that is long, positions such as doggy style can lead to deeper penetration. This deep penetration can cause his penis to hit your cervix, which may not feel great for you (it does for some women). If you’re into doing it from behind, try the reverse cowgirl position instead, so you still have control of the rhythm.

Have Realistic Expectations

The chances are good that you assume having sex with a large guy will lead to outstanding orgasms, but that’s not necessarily true. “Sometimes men with big penises think that’s all they need to be a gratifying lover, but a big penis doesn’t guarantee more orgasms,” says Kerner.

 

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 Gynfizz.com. “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.

 

 

Women Experiencing Genital Pain Are Not Alone

Women Experiencing Genital Pain Are Not Alone

There are a lot of women out there who experience severe pain the genital area.  Various factors keep many of these women from seeking help, one being embarrassment about approaching a doctor with this issue.  This condition is called vulvodynia and often goes undiagnosed and untreated.  Some women may even feel okay speaking with a medical professional about their pain, but are still misdiagnosed  with conditions such as estrogen deficiency or yeast infections, or even told that it’s a mental issue.

At some point in their lives, vulvodynia may affect up to 25 percent of women, of all ages.  Symptoms and issues women with vulvodynia experience include:

  • Burning in the vulva that’s sometimes accompanied by tenderness and irritation
  • Pain that is triggered by pressure on the vulva
  • Pain triggered by intercourse, tampon use or for no clear reason
  • A lower quality of life that brings on stress and depressive symptoms
  • Trouble sitting for a long time due to pain
  • Interference with sex life

According to a 2009 review in Obstetrics, Gynaecology, and Reproductive Medicine, vulvodynia may be caused by vaginal area nerve changes, which would lead to more sensitivity to pain and local immune system alteration that would increase inflammatory processes.  The actual cause still remains unclear.

There are various treatments that have been used for vulvodynia.  Studies have been conducted to attempt to figure out the effectiveness of different treatments, and  have proven to show a big placebo effect.  Doctors have prescribed antidepressants, topical lidocaine, and gabapentin–the latter being for a variety of nerve pain issues.  Those who’ve already experienced menopause might be given topical estrogen, in the case that their symptoms are caused by a deficiency in estrogen.  Kegels and biofeedback are suggested if a woman is experiencing spasms in her pelvic floor muscles.  Sometimes vulvodynia is so severe that nerve blocks are used.  Surgery is a last resort option and would be used for the removal of sensitive tissue.  Speak with your doctor, and even get more professional opinions, before deciding on surgery.

Home remedies can help ease pain.  It may be soothing to use cold compresses on the genital area, or take a sitz bath with cool or lukewarm water.  It’s important to use soap (or even no soap) that is unscented or mild for cleaning the area, and lubrication for sexual intercourse.  Activities that would involve putting pressure on the vulva such as bicycling, should be avoided; they’ll only make symptoms worse.

Nipple Pain among Women Is Common

surfer

It’s very common for women to have sore nipples.  This type of pain is triggered by various factors including environmental, hormonal imbalance, friction, infection, sexual activity, breastfeeding, allergies, and more.  Reasons for nipple pain and discomfort include:

Friction or “jogger’s nipple”

Nipple pain is often the result of friction during athletic activity such as running and working out.  This can be worsened if the athlete is wearing an ill-fitting sports bra.  Long-distance runners are at a higher risk, as well as surfers who neglect to wear rash guards.

Allergies and temperature sensitivity

Nipples are extremely sensitive and might not take well to certain environmental changes. Hygiene products such as soaps and lotions and detergents, clothing and linens, and outdoor temperatures may be too stimulating.  The nipples might appear red and chapped and feel itchy.

Hormone changes

Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can cause nipple pain during a woman’s menstrual cycle. This is quite common.  Just before her period, a woman often experiences tender breasts and nipples. This isn’t cause for concern, but if it’s prolonged, it’s important to see a doctor and get testing if needed.

Friction from sexual activity

It’s inevitable– if there’s a lot of friction in the nipple area during sex, they’ll feel sore.  This should be a temporary experience and can be relieved with different gentle moisturizers or gels.

Paget’s disease

In rare cases, pain in the nipples can be part of having Paget’s disease of the nipple.  The cause of this disease is unknown and rarely may indicate breast cancer.  This condition is seen in about 1 percent of breast cancers.  Symptoms range from redness and crusting to pain, itching and burning. In very rare, serious cases surgery is needed.

Problems during pregnancy

It’s very common to experience nipple pain during pregnancy.  Blood volume increases when pregnancy hormones kick in and since the breasts are so sensitive, soreness occurs.  A woman’s areolas are usually darker and bigger after the first few months of pregnancy.  Breathable fabric and appropriately fitting bras are even more important during this time.

Breastfeeding

Nipple pain can be unbearable for some women during breastfeeding and they might quit because of the discomfort.  It’s incredibly common for a woman to experience soreness, especially in the beginning. Sometimes their baby is unable to latch on properly or is teething and bites.  Other issues associated with breastfeeding that could cause pain are inflammation and blocked ducts, mastitis, abscess, dryness and chapping, eczema, Raynaud’s syndrome, dermatitis, milk blisters and thrush.  Many choose to breastfeed because they know of the associated benefits and might need to seek advice from a medical expert if it feels like they can’t keep it up.

Depending on the reason for nipple pain, there are a lot of home remedies and over-the-counter treatments available to help ease discomfort.  Creams, sprays, moisturizers, compresses and adjustments in feeding positions if the pain is due to breastfeeding, are options.  It’s also wise to consult a doctor if the pain seems to be a mystery.

Pain During Sex is a Sensitive Issue

Pain During Sex is a Sensitive Issue

Sex is a steamy topic.

We often make love in order to let go and be intimate with another. We hope to become aroused, get to know our body and our lover’s each time.  Overall, the feelings surrounding sexual intercourse are positive and…sexy! But, sometimes this is not the case.  Unfortunately, there are a few reasons women might experience pain or discomfort during sex. Some common times when this happens are during pregnancy, menopause and instances of hormonal change. A few reasons that women are in pain during sex include vaginal dryness, infections and injury, vaginismus, and other issues.

Vaginal dryness is a very common reason that women experience painful sex. Certain medication including psychotropics, contraceptives and allergy medicines cause vaginal skin to become dry. If medications are a problem, speaking with a doctor for a change can be helpful.  Around the time of menopause, women experience dryness when their vaginal lining loses moisture, causing itchiness and pain.  Extra, prolonged foreplay can help naturally lubricate the vagina, as well as water-soluble lubricants.

One of the root causes of pain during sex is vaginal infection. Yeast and fungal infections cause burning sensations, itching and dryness of the vagina. When a woman is penetrated deeply and her cervix is reached it can be very painful if there is a cervical infection. A cervical infection is something your doctor should definitely attend to. There are creams that can be helpful that are sold over-the-counter for fungal infections.

Sometimes a woman will experience a tear in her vagina during childbirth. This might happen naturally or after an episiotomy, which is a surgical cut that is made before a she delivers. It’s wise to wait to have sex until the doctor says it’s okay. A woman’vagina is often more dry afer she gives birth because her estrogen levels are lower. Letting it heal down there is best.

Vaginismus is a condition women experience that can occur after a traumatic event, surgery, menopause or another medical condition. The vagina blocks any effort of penetration as it goes into a spasm. Some therapies such as Botox for muscle relaxation, psychotherapy for couples, and other relaxation methods can be helpful.

There are additional problems women may experience that cause them to have pain during sex such as ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, certain STDs and pelvic inflammatory diseases.  Medical help is needed for these conditions, so talking with your doctor, or finding one, is important. Hopefully, during a visit with a doctor or with use of this information, needed help will be found in order to experience one of life’s greatest pleasures as it should be.