Medium Articles

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Getting a Good Night Sleep with BPH

   BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition from which most males over 50 years of age suffer to varying degrees.  BPH is not related to prostate cancer and is not considered a very serious condition, but the symptoms are very annoying.  One of the symptoms that can be very disturbing is having to get up a number of times during the night to urinate (nocturia).  This is the most annoying symptom of BPH for me.  Sometimes I get up  as little as twice a night or as many times  as every half hour!  Getting up several times a night to urinate is very disruptive to a good night's sleep and can affect one's overall health.

    When you talk with your Urologist or do research online you are told to stop drinking liquids after 5 or 6 at night and stop the use of alcohol and caffeine.  This sounds like good advice, but it doesn't work!  The medications given for BPH, I find have little or no effect on the frequent nighttime bathroom trips.  So I decided to go the route of natural supplements.  I have done a good deal of research about the various herbal supplements that reportedly relieve the symptoms of BPH, especially the nocturia.  First of all I have been taking Saw Palmetto for about 35 years and found it to be absolutely useless!  I have tried Maca, which other than giving me extreme gas and stomach pains did not work.  I have used Beta Sitosterol, Stinging Nettle, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Pygeum, Fenugreek and others, but not one of them had any effect on my symptoms!

    There are many combinations of these supplements, some costing a fortune, which are touted to relieve almost all BPH symptoms.  These are sold in drug stores and online and even promoted on TV infomercials.  If you check the ingredients you will see that these so called miracle supplements contain basically the same supplements I have listed above with a few added inactive ingredients.  If you look at the reviews of these products you will find that they all work marvelously!  These are evidently paid reviews!  I have tried a number of these products over the past few years and not one of them had any effect!

    One thing that I have noticed is that when I have a few glasses of red wine I get up dramatically fewer times at night to go to the bathroom!  This is the direct opposite of what is recommended! 
I have found that diet affects BPH symptoms, especially the nocturia.  I have found that eating fatty foods such as chicken wings and eating really spicy food causes more bathroom trips and more urine retention. I have also found that my blood pressure medication, amlodopine, makes my nighttime symptoms worse if I take it before bed.

    Until medical science comes up with a more effective BPH medication, with fewer adverse side effects, we older males will have to learn to live with the unpleasantness of BPH.  We can learn to adjust our diets and habits, to see what works best for us.  Each of us reacts differently, so what may help one of us may not help the rest of us.  Just don't give up trying!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Have You Ever Thought About What is the Purpose of Life?

    Homo Sapiens (modern human beings) have been on earth for approximately 300,000 years and some form of humans have been here around for about 2 or 3 million years.  For most of us reading this post we've been around at least less than 100 years.  I know many of us have asked ourselves in a moment of self pity, "why was I born?"but that unanswered question goes away after our temporary state of depression.  For me though, I have always wondered what was the purpose, of not only my life, but all life on earth!

    I see life starting for those people who have just welcomed a new child into the world and am as happy and amazed as anyone, to a point.  Whenever a child is born, the birth is regarded as a miracle, especially if the child is born healthy and to moderately affluent families.  But millions of babies are born every second of the day, all over the world and many are not considered to be a miracle.  Some were born with severe defects and only survive a few minutes or survive to live a long life of agony and hardships.  Millions are born into a family that really did not want to have another baby and cannot afford to properly care for the child.  Millions of families cannot afford the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing and shelter, much less proper medical care and education. These children have a future of pain and suffering.  Their birth is not considered a miracle!

This has been the story of mankind since the beginning of human life.  I guess Darwin would say that it is the story of "survival of the fittest"!  There has always been a division of the "haves" and "have nots" and there always will be!

    All life ends with death, the great equalizer that comes to everyone regardless of wealth or status or age. Death is the end of the so called journey of life. What comes between life and death on this journey is what defines a life or what its meaning or purpose may be.  Some people say a person's life may be defined as to how successful he/she may have been, or what he/she has done to contribute to society.  I guess that depends upon what the values of a particular society are. Some societies believe that an accumulation of wealth is of the highest importance, while others value service to our fellow man and others may say just staying alive to provide for their families is the only means of defining a successful life.

    In a modern society it is expected that when a child is born he/she will get an education, get a job, get married, raise a family, and retire to enjoy the so called golden years and then eventually die.  In other words every day in a modern society, most people wake up in the morning and go to work to earn money to pay for shelter, food, clothing, healthcare, children's education, come home to eat dinner and go to bed early so they can get up early and go to work again etc. etc. etc. For some this routine ends in an early death, while others get to retire and enjoy the rest of their lives or for those who don't have retirement income, live in fear and suffer until their death. There are also very many people who chose not to marry or cannot marry and thus do not have any children to care for.  They go through the same routine to maintain their lives as those with a family.  The end is still the same.

     Of course there are millions of people all over the world who struggle from birth to death just to stay alive, looking for scraps of food and drinkable water or  strips of cloth for clothing and perhaps a cardboard or wooden shack for shelter. They  have nothing to offer society, except for maybe servitude, as they have been abandoned by society.  Do they have a purpose? Is suffering and an early death their purpose?

    What about those people who have committed horrendous crimes against their families, their fellow men or humanity, like Hitler, serial killers, rapists and child abusers?  What was their purpose in life?  What about the severely disabled children and adults suffering all over the world? Is suffering their purpose? If so isn't caring for them the purpose of the rest of us? Can an extremely selfish and self centered person have a purpose in life?  This is what confuses me.  There are so many able bodied, healthy individuals who seem to make life miserable for everyone else, either through their lives of crime or hatred, racism or bigotry, that I cannot figure out what value they have to society!

     This journey from life to death has been going on since the advent of mankind and will continue until the planet is no more.  Out of all of the billions and billions of humans who have lived on earth there have been relatively few who have made a difference or who have had a so called purpose in life.  These may be the great names in science, literature and technology that we all remember. The majority of us have been like dust in the wind!  Perhaps the real meaning of life is to give the possibility of a better life to those who come after us!  I don't think I will ever know the answer to my question and I don't think anyone else will either.  Religious people will simply say that it is all God's plan, the usual answer for something they don't understand.  Others will say why think about something that has no answer.  While others will say "that's life".  The most likely answer I believe is that there is no purpose in life on earth. Why must there be a purpose to life? It is a random biological occurrence where the inevitable end of life on earth will be just as mysterious as the beginning was!

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