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Sunday, Apr 20, 2014
Dr. OZ

(Safe) sex can help you live longer


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“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” Thank you, Groucho Marx, for reminding us that these little guys, so important in the understanding of human genetics and biology, are always on the lookout for more potassium (bananas are loaded with it). And that’s a good thing. Potassium is essential for a healthy sex life, and we certainly don’t want sexually frustrated fruit flies!

Here’s why: The latest research reveals that male fruit flies die sooner when they’re aroused by pheromones from female drosophila (the scientific name for fruit flies) but are unrequited in their ardor. In short, sexual frustration kills. But get the twosome together, and the male lives a longer and — we may be projecting here — happier life.

What does this have to do with YOU? Genes in fruit flies are similar to humans’ and often serve the same function (for example, fruit flies produce insulin-like molecules — lose them and their blood sugar rises, just as in diabetes). Now, we seem to have similarities in our reproductive mojo as well. The Longevity Project found that women who had more orgasms lived longer, while research from the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute showed that men who had the most orgasms added about four years to their lifespan.

So, to achieve a younger RealAge, spend time with your honey exploring mutually enjoyable intimacy. You’ll flood your body with oxytocin, the bonding hormone, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a precursor to estrogen and testosterone that reduces inflammation, and immunoglobulins, which boost immune strength. The power of love!

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When a Swedish manufacturer of adult diapers sent every countryman 55 and older a sample pair, the company received thousands of angry calls. And that’s not surprising: Although 7 percent to 10 percent of all men and women admit they have fecal leakage of solid or liquid stool or mucus, hardly anyone (until nursing homes enter the equation) ever mentions it, even to a doctor.

What causes the problem? The usual suspects include: obesity and poor muscle tone; chronic constipation; gastroparesis (damage to nerves in the digestive system, often diabetes-related); hemorrhoids and rectal prolapse; difficult childbirth that damages the pelvic floor; and lack of physical activity.

What can be done? A combination of lifestyle changes, medications and sometimes surgery can relive the problem.

♦Add fiber and exercise to your daily routine. Use fiber supplements, and eat 100 percent whole grains and vegetables. Practice Kegel-like exercises to strengthen muscles in the anus, buttocks, and pelvis. Contract and hold those muscles for five seconds, relax. Repeat 30 times, three times a day.

♦Depending on the severity of your condition, consider medications that either slow down or speed up bowel movements. You also can opt for a series of four gel injections (hyaluronic acid combined with a wound-healing substance) into the anal wall. The gel supports the sphincter, the muscle that opens and closes to keep stools in or out.

♦Advanced cases can require surgery to repair or replace the anus or sphincter muscle. You also might opt for an implantable device that stimulates the sacral nerve and helps control the sphincter.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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