infertility problems

Fertility Factors for Life

“One in six Australian couples has infertility problems”

Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse, or the inability to carry pregnancies to a live birth.

Many couples suffering infertility problems can be successfully treated with lifestyle changes, or medical or surgical interventions. For a fertile couple in their twenties having regular unprotected sex, the chance of conceiving each month is only 25%. Infertility is shared equally among men and women.

Common causes of infertility

Causes of infertility are many and varied and involve male, female or a combination of factors. These include problems with:

  •         the production of sperm or eggs
  •         the structure or function of male or female reproductive systems
  •         hormonal and immune conditions
  •         sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia

There are degrees of infertility. The majority of infertile couples are actually sub-fertile – they produce eggs and sperm but have difficulty conceiving due to disorders such as hormone imbalances and problems of the reproductive tract. Cases of total infertility, where no eggs or sperm are produced, are rare.

Key factors affecting fertility

  •         Age
  •         weight
  •         smoking
  •         alcohol use
  •         timing
  •         nutrition
  •         caffeine consumption
  •         exposure to certain toxins.

The Your Fertility website (https://yourfertility.org.au) contains information on fertility, including information on factors affecting fertility. By paying attention to certain lifestyle factors, the chances of fertility and having a healthy baby are improved.

A woman’s age is the number one factor affecting a couple’s likelihood of conceiving, as the number of healthy eggs your ovary contains will dramatically decline as you age – especially once you are over 35.

Key ways to improve fertility

  • Stop Smoking

Men and women who smoke often take longer to conceive than those who do not smoke.

– Women who are exposed to other people’s smoking are at increased risk of infertility.

– Male and female smoking significantly reduces the chance of conception and live birth rates, as well as increasing the risk of miscarriage.

Your friendly local pharmacist can discuss the risks of smoking with you and provide advice on strategies, information and treatments such as nicotine replacement therapy to help with quitting smoking.

  • Limit caffeine intake to 1–2 cups of coffee per day.
  • Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Alcohol can affect both male and female fertility.

– In men alcohol can cause impotence, reduced libido and affect sperm quality.   

 Heavy drinking can reduce the chances of having a healthy baby.

  • Exercise

The Your Fertility website has information on the impact of exercise on fertility.

   Regular moderate exercise is beneficial for both men and women

   Moderate regular exercise can improve fertility

   High intensity and high-frequency exercise may reduce fertility

   A healthy body weight improves the chance of conceiving

   Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day

   Talk to your doctor about the best types of physical activities and exercise for you.

  •  Monitor your menstrual cycle

Women can keep a daily record of their menstrual cycle to help recognise when they are more fertile in order to plan a pregnancy. The Your Fertility website has an online ovulation calculator and a tool to help you gauge your fertility potential.

At Fresh Therapeutics our pharmacist can advise on key fertility factors. They can provide you with products used to monitor your menstrual cycle in order to help you recognise the ‘fertile window’ – the best time to try and conceive. This is different for every woman.

In addition, we provide the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Self Care Fact Cards on titles including; Pregnancy and ovulation and Menstrual chart, as well as lifestyle topics such as Alcohol, Staying a non-smoker, and Weight and health.  We also stock and provide advice on a range of vitamins and minerals for the pre and post conception period.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Self Care Health Column

 

hearing impairment

Hearing is Precious and Fragile

One in six of all Australians have some type of hearing loss.

August 20–26 is Hearing Awareness Week.

This week is a time for greater community awareness of hearing impairment across all ages. It is a time to look at ways to protect your hearing from future damage due to loud noise, particularly at work.

Hearing Awareness Week is a major event for the Deafness Foundation working with organisations that have similar goals. Events will be organised as well as community screenings for hearing throughout this week.

Those living with hearing loss will have an opportunity to share their experience and knowledge as well as create a greater understanding of their needs and aspirations. It is a chance to explain to Australians what the risks are when exposed to excessive noise, including in the workplace.

Your wondrous ear

The ear is a complex piece of equipment consisting of many parts – not just the visible exterior section – and is responsible not only for hearing but for maintaining balance as well. The outer ear captures sound waves which causes the eardrum to vibrate and the tiny bones in the middle ear to move too. The vibrations pass on to the inner ear to cause tiny hair cells to move. This then causes electrical signals which are sent to the brain, and then deciphered to sound.

Your ears, in combination with your sight and senses, helps maintain balance. The vestibular system, in the inner ear, contains tubes and sacs that are filled with fluid. When movement occurs, this fluid also moves which bends specialised sensory cells. This then leads to an electrical signal to the brain, which is interpreted as movement. Your eyes and muscles can then adjust to help your body maintain balance.

At times problems can occur with this complicated system, due to many causes:

  • ageing
  • ear wax blockage
  • a head injury or trauma
  • loud noise for too long
  • loud noise from industrial environments such as building sites, transport and mining for example using power tools
  • loud noise from exposure to loud music, car racing
  • medications – such as anti-inflammatories and certain antidepressants.

The Hearing Awareness Week website identifies a host of possible causes of noise which can damage hearing – from jack hammers to Formula One racing, food processors and car horns. It describes the maximum safe exposure time without ear protection.

Visit their website and find out ‘how loud is too loud?’ with respect to your favourite electrical device or music event.

‘Noise destroys – turn down the volume’ is the message from the Australian Tinnitus Association. Tinnitus is a condition where noises or ringing in the ears or head occurs. Many of us experience tinnitus from time to time.

Common risk factors

  • ageing
  • a genetic (inherited) disorder
  • high blood pressure or narrowing of the arteries
  • smoking – can induce tinnitus
  • gender – men are more likely to experience tinnitus.

Possible aggravating factors for tinnitus include:

  • some medicines, such as anti-inflammatory and certain antidepressant medicines
  • caffeine (found in tea, coffee, cola drinks or chocolate)
  • alcohol may worsen tinnitus
  • smoking narrows the blood vessels that supply vital oxygen to the ears. Quitting smoking can help with managing tinnitus.

There is no cure for tinnitus but we can learn how to manage it.

Tips for healthy hearing

  • Avoid too much noise
  • Buy appliances and devices with a low noise rating
  • Wear hearing protection such as earplugs or noise cancelling headphones
  • Walk away from noise
  • Remove earwax carefully
  • Check medications for hearing risks
  • Don’t smoke
  • Have your hearing checked.

When to see your doctor

  • If you notice any deterioration of your hearing
  • Feel as though people are mumbling all the time
  • If you have any buzzing, ringing, hissing, clicking or roaring
  • If you have sudden hearing loss
  • Often misunderstand what people are saying
  • Get complaints that you have the radio or television too loud.

Treatment for common ear problems is often relatively easy, provided the cause can be identified early on. At Fresh Therapeutics pharmacies we provide advice on a range of options. We also provide the Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Fact Card entitled Ear problems that can help with hints on how to reduce the risk of ear problems and how to treat those problems effectively when they do occur.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Self Care Health Column

sleeping

Sleep Problems

Everyone’s need for sleep varies. The amount of sleep we need depends on our age, lifestyle, diet, personality and environment. Generally, we sleep less as we get older and our sleep tends to be more broken. Newborn babies tend to sleep for around 16 hours out of every 24, while adults average eight hours and the elderly sleep a little less.

Sometimes it is difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You might be finding it hard to go to sleep, be restless during sleep, or waking up during the night or very early in the morning, and not be able to get back to sleep. Perhaps you are not feeling refreshed from sleep, feeling tired, irritable, anxious or depressed, or finding it difficult to concentrate, remember things and make decisions. These may be all signs that you have a sleeping problem.

Common sleep problems include:

  •         insomnia – difficulty getting to or staying asleep, or not feeling refreshed after sleep
  •         sleep apnoea – a condition that causes breathing to stop for short periods of time while sleeping
  •         restless legs – a condition that causes discomfort in the lower legs and improves with movement
  •         sleep behaviour disorders – such as sleep walking and night terrors.

Insomnia is the most common sleep problem. It requires assessment to determine whether the cause can be identified and treated. Other sleeping problems, like sleep apnoea, may require treatment at a sleep disorder clinic. Snoring may be harmless or it can be a sign of an underlying condition such as obstructive sleep apnoea. If you are concerned, worried or anxious about your sleep health, talk to your doctor or local pharmacist. Sleeping problems should be investigated.

Insomnia can be caused or worsened by a number of factors. Some environmental factors that may cause or worsen insomnia include sleeping in a room that is noisy or too brightly lit, sleeping in an uncomfortable bed, or feeling too hot or too cold. Sleep can be improved by sleeping in a darkened, quiet room with plenty of fresh air, using clean bedding that is suitable for the weather, and using a comfortable and supportive mattress and pillow. Avoid using electronic devices, such as mobile phones and computers immediately before sleeping, as they can affect the body’s ability to relax before sleep. Pain or discomfort can also cause insomnia and should be investigated.

Read more on the article here: http://www.awakeningshealth.org/sleep-problems/