With the summer upon us, unforgiving and scorching, food ingredients that hydrate the body are the necessity. What can you think of? Delicious watermelons, lemons, and oranges, am I right? This piece will talk about how the humble, unassuming salad of cucumber should also be a part of this list.
Did I say salad? What if I boggled your mind and said that cucumber is a fruit after all? This is true, believe it. Considered a close relative of the watermelon, cucumbers transform and develop from the flowers of its plants and also consist of seeds. Botanically speaking and by popular definition, this is criteria enough to be considered a fruit.
Author Nat Hawes of Nature Cures believes that citrulline rich foods, abundantly present in cucumber, can help improve and reduce the effects of erectile dysfunction in men suffering from low blood pressure. A short version of this process can be explained as such- citrulline converts into an amino acid known as arginine which further converts to nitric oxide that allows blood vessels to expand and relax, facilitating a healthy blood flow to the penis. These properties coherently explain how cucumbers can do wonders for sexual health.
If you’re wondering just how credible citrulline is as a naturally occurring amino-acid, let’s talk about a short experiment conducted by reliable researchers in the year 2011. Herein, scientists tested a sum total of 24 patients with mild ED and a cumulative average age of about 56 years. They gave a placebo to the sample for one month and a citrulline supplement for another, recording hardness of their erections. The results concluded that citrulline supplements altered their mild erection functions to normal erection functioning.
Moreover, supplements to treat ED, such as viagra already exist in the competitive market. Although, they often have recorded side effects such as blurry vision and frequent headaches. So if a natural, side-effect-free, damage control method has been discovered in cucumber, why not try it out and see for yourself?
Just as a pro tip and a cherry on top, numerous women are greatly aroused by the scent of cucumber combined with black licorice. So the next time you go perfume shopping, you know what to add to your shopping cart without fail! Happy sex life to you, Mister!
As per basic human biology, to get pregnant we need an egg and a sperm; and they need to meet. However, for many couples, this process isn’t quite as straightforward as it sounds.
To have an egg, we first need to ovulate (we have a blog on this if you’re not sure what we’re talking about), and to ovulate, we need our sex hormones to be beautifully balanced and in sync with one another.
We then need strong, healthy sperm to reach the egg. Hormones are super important here too.
And finally, our uterine lining needs to be thick and stay in place long enough for a fertilised egg to make itself at home. You guessed it, our hormones look after this too.
If you’re keen on the science:
In the first few days of the menstrual cycle, low oestrogen tells FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), to make ovarian follicles grow. These developing follicles then produce oestrogen in the ovaries. This oestrogen thickens the lining of the uterus, making it nice and cosy for an embryo. As oestrogen levels rise, the brain chooses one main egg to keep growing, which will be released into the fallopian tubes. Provided oestrogen stays consistently high for about 30-40 hours, LH (luteinizing hormone) spikes, triggering a release of the egg out of the ovary within 10-12 hours. This is ovulation. Oestrogen has done its job and progesterone takes over from here.
1. Low Oestrogen
Essentially, oestrogen makes things grow. It is crucial for fertility as it is the hormone that thickens our uterus lining and drives ovulation.
When oestrogen levels are lower than optimal, ovulation might be patchy month-to-month, or you may not ovulate at all. Low oestrogen levels may also prevent the lining of the uterus from thickening enough for an embryo to implant. Both of these can contribute to infertility in women.
Lower oestrogen levels may be the result of:
Being underweight or having very little body fat
A poorly functioning pituitary gland
2. High Oestrogen
Oestrogen is essential for ovulation and fertility, but more isn’t always the answer.
Higher oestrogen is common in both endometriosis and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), two of the most common medically diagnosed conditions that affect female fertility.
Endometriosis is not a hormonal condition itself, but we know that oestrogen helps to grow the inflammatory tissue that causes pain and affects fertility.
In PCOS, high testosterone is often converted into oestrogen, leading to higher estrogen or oestrogen dominance. As a result, those with PCOS can have trouble with absent or irregular periods, and may ovulate infrequently or not at all. Naturally, this can make it much more difficult to get pregnant.
Higher oestrogen in men is also a problem when it comes to fertility, leading to erectile dysfunction and penis shrinkage (yes you read that right).
Higher oestrogen levels can be the result of:
Exposure to oestrogen mimicking chemicals in our environment (think beauty products, cleaning products, pesticides and other toxins); Poor gut health and digestion; Sluggish detoxification pathways, including the gut and liver; Poor nutrition and nutrient deficiencies.
3. Low Progesterone
After ovulation, we get a lovely surge in progesterone, which either tells the uterine lining to shred (hello period), or whether to stay and nurture a developing pregnancy.
Progesterone is our “pro-gestation” hormone that aids development of the fetus throughout pregnancy and helps your body to use its fat reserves for energy, it’s kind of a big deal when it comes to fertility.
When progesterone is lower than optimal, it’s a fairly good sign that you aren’t ovulating, making it impossible to get pregnant (no ovulation = no egg = no baby).
Even if you are ovulating, lower progesterone can make it difficult for your body to stay pregnant.
In a luteal phase defect, progesterone doesn’t quite reach the level it should after ovulation and sheds the uterine lining earlier than we would like. This means that even if there is a fertilised embryo, it doesn’t get a chance to implant into the lining, a process that takes around 7 days.
Low progesterone can be caused by
Undereating or restrictive diets
We’ve observed that lower progesterone and higher oestrogen are common across Eve test results and are often seen together.
4. Low Testosterone
Yes, women have testosterone too and scientists tend to agree that it is super important for female fertility.
Research suggests that testosterone plays a crucial role in follicular development, preventing follicles from dying before they can mature. Additionally, testosterone makes ovarian cells more sensitive to FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), helping the follicles to grow and produce oestrogen.
Testosterone has been proven to be so beneficial in female fertility (in the right quantities), that it is even used in some cases of IVF treatment.
Testosterone in women is also essential for sexual desire and satisfaction. It goes without saying that this is pretty useful when it comes to baby-making.
As you might expect, lower than optimal testosterone also affects male fertility, leading to decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction and low sperm count. Scientists have found that sperm counts in the western world have dropped more than 50% in the past 40 years and the rate of decline is showing no signs of slowing. The decline is likely due to increased oestrogen and decreased testosterone due to lifestyle and environmental factors.
Sperm Count Dropping in Western World Kate Kelland,Reuters
The trend has occurred over 40 years
5. High Androgens
Androgens are a group of hormones that include testosterone and its metabolites, DHEA-S, DHEA and androstenedione. In women, these are produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat cells.
While low testosterone can affect fertility, having too much testosterone (or other androgens) can make things difficult as well – a common theme when it comes to hormones!
High androgens in women is commonly associated with excess insulin, which impairs ovulation and tells the ovaries to make testosterone instead. This is a major cause of PCOS, characterized by weight gain, irregular or absent periods, acne, unwanted hair growth and infertility.
In a nutshell, if pregnancy is something you’re hoping to welcome into your world soon or at some point in your life, it’s certainly worth taking a look at how each of these precious hormones are sitting at in your body. As you can see, they all play a crucial part for both men and women in fertility.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I’m a 67-year-old male. For most of my later adult life (50s to the present) I have had a very low libido. My testosterone level was very low, so last year the urologist prescribed shots of testosterone that I’m giving to myself. My testosterone level now is well within the normal range, but I still have a very low libido. Is there a cause for this, and if so, is there anything I can do about it? I’m divorced and trying to date, but it’s definitely presenting problems. Is this normal in guys my age? — D.S.
ANSWER: It is certainly true that one hallmark symptom of low testosterone is decreased libido, and treatment with testosterone is effective for many men — and is also used by some experts for women — in cases of low libido. However, low libido has many causes. Libido tends to decrease with age, though this is by no means universal.
When men note concerns with libido, I look carefully at medications. Some prostate drugs as well as antidepressants can cause trouble, although depression itself can cause low libido. Other sources are alcohol use and recreational drugs (especially cannabis), as well as many medical issues. Relationship issues, including feeling pressure to perform with a new partner, can lead to loss of libido.
When men have had erectile dysfunction, which is common among men with low testosterone, it can commonly affect other parts of sexual health, including libido.There is often not an easy treatment for low libido. A mental health professional, especially one experienced with sexual health, can be very useful in the case of relationship issues or when no physical cause can be identified.