Monday, April 29, 2019

I've Got A (Newish) Podcast.

Yes, I'm still alive. No, this blog isn't. I mean, it's alive in the sense that I keep posting new ads here (#GetMoney) but that's about it.

Anyways, if you want my irreverent take on today's hot topics, checkout my new podcast, The AverageBro Show, on your favorite podcasting platform. Yes, it's on Apple iTunes too, just search for it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Help For Male Incontinence

Urinary incontinence (“UI”) is almost considered normal, both in women and men. Even though it is associated with the aging process, young men aged 15 can be diagnosed with UI. Older men have a higher percentage of this disease who are over 50. Urinary incontinence is the sudden urgency to urinate but when person troes, only a trickle may emerge.

Before we get more in-depth with its causes, let's immediately share that there are treatments like the ones on Men's Liberty, including a device that is similar to an external catheter that directs urine away from the skin if it slips out. Wearing this comfortable, discrete, innovative device eliminates the use for pads, condom catheters, or diapers.

Now let's introduce Bill, who is like so many other older adults with UI. Bill works every day to help his child, who he is trying to raise by himself. He attends all the activities that his child is involved in, but he states that there have been times when he has missed a key achievement that his child accomplished because he had to run to the restroom, which ended in total disappointment.

Bill finally went to see a urologist to see what help was available and to find out if there is anything that he is doing wrong that could cause his UI. His doctor asked him a number of questions that are commonly associated with urinary incontinence. At the top of the list, the doctor asked if Bill was under unnecessary stress.

Granted, there is a certain amount of stress at his office, but nothing that he brings home. His urologist said that while mental stress can have an affect, physical stress, like lifting heavy things or playing strenuous sports, can also cause UI.

Urologists understand the common causes of UI, which includes the following:

*nerve damage from various illnesses and diseases
*prostate issues that cause changes, both as we age or changes from a surgery
*urinary tract birth defects
*lack of activity and weight gain are factors of UI. This means that as you gain weight, without some type of exercise, it affects the urinary tract system
*aging causes the body to change, including the bladder, urethra, and pelvic muscles, which can get weaker and enlarged
*coughing or deep laughter places stress on the bladder causing UI trickles

Male incontinence has a variety of causes, but the first exam by a urologist will usually perform is a prostate check. The prostate has proven to be the most likely cause of UI in older men. Then after taking the patient's history, a urologist will determine what type of UI he has:

a. Stress incontinence: As previously discussed, stress incontinence occurs when you are sneezing, running, walking fast, lifting heavy objects, or coughing. All of these actions place stress on the bladder and as we age, the bladder cannot hold urine very well.

b. Urge incontinence: Just like its name, urge incontinence is the result of having a sudden need to urinate. Urge incontinence can be the result of an infection, diabetes, or a neurological disorder.

c. Overflow incontinence: Unfortunately and often embarrassingly, the bladder cannot hold its urine. If there is a medical blockage, then urine dribbles down without your ability to control it. Overflow incontinence is a daily experience accompanied with the urgency to urinate.

d. Functional incontinence: If you have arthritis or a condition that will not allow you to move quickly enough to make it to the restroom, causing you urinate on the way, then you might have functional incontinence.

e. Mixed incontinence: Mixed incontinence means that a man even as young as 50 can have more than one type of UI.

Men and women will receiving treatment depending on the type of UI they have. Since UI is the blockage of the bladder, surgery usually the last treatment option a urologist will perform. Non-surgical treatment options include the following:

*Lifestyle: changes in diet and lifestyle is proving to be a positive treatment in many cases

*Medication: new medications are available to treat UI, to control its frequency, and to control spasms within the bladder muscle walls

*Biofeedback: the pelvis muscles are given biofeedback treatments to strengthen them which helps to control urinary frequency.

*Nerve stimulation: The tibial nerve communicates with the spinal cord. When the tibialis stimulated with acupuncture it sends a signal to the bladder to stop sending urgent messages to urinate.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

How Social Media Killed The Blog (But Not This One... Sorta Kinda)

When I started this blog in the dark ages (circa 2007!) the objective was simple: I wanted to share opinions with people far and wide, and most importantly, I wanted them to share their opinions on my opinions. Because a blog with no readers is just a diary.

While I definitely took some inspiration from other blogs that I frequented, once I found my voice he content began to pile up. I basically just wrote about what I liked, from sports, to music, to social commentary. While things started slowly (I mean "me and my sister-in-law were the only readers" slow) I caught some fortunate breaks along the way that fueled by an unexpectedly popular post called AverageBro Blogs Live! From Jena, LA. In it, I posted some very contrarian thoughts about the Jena 6 case in which I noticed some distubing behavior amongst those who descended upon the sleepy Louisiana town to protest the unfair jailing of six black men for the beating of a white classmate. The story was, in many ways, the embryonic stage of the Black Lives Matter Movement. The first social justice case of the social media age.

My critique was mostly about the performance art nature of all the protests and some of the high profile media members and civil rights icons to ran the protest. Much about that (not the undue treatment of the kids) irked me, and I said so. It was not a very popular opinion, but it's one that I stand by and which oddly made me a go-to voice for people who agreed and disagreed with me.

From there, the blog grew immensely. I got some special co-signs that really increased my exposure. The collection of regular commenters was well over one hundred, which made a community in and of itself. International media outlets started to quote me. Daily hits reached the 10,000 mark with regularity. I got opportunities to do national radio, guest podcasts, and perhaps most importantly, make good money writing pieces for other far more reputable sites thanks to an enterprising editor who saw the value in my "tell it like it is" style and brought me along with her as a freelancer as her career advanced. The whole thing culminated with a truly bewildering interview with ESPN because some nitwit at Reuters picked my story about Diddy's kid getting a football scholarship to UCLA on a slow news Friday.

I had officially arrived.

At this fork in the road, I could have really really dug in more and probably turned writing into a full time job. I have a great career as an engineer that I love (and which pays well) but who wouldn't wanna make money talkin' shit if it in theory paid somewhere in the same ballpark (and I'm not sayin' it would, but thinking out loud here)?

Among the many reasons why I didn't is because by this same time, social media (specifically Twitter) had become the go-to location for instantaneous sharing of thoughts. While I always prided myself on being someone who could take a story idea and turn it into a fully sourced, well written blog post in under 20 minutes (a quality my editors loved), nothing beat the interactive nature of a snarky tweet.

I continued blogging, although for many reasons unrelated to writing my frequency dipped (as did admittedly the quality of my posts) but found myself spending far more time on Twitter for very aforementioned reasons. It was like an Easy Button for sharing thoughts, and eventually I found myself spending so much time on it that I'd go weeks without updating the blog beyond putting an "open discussion" post for the regulars who hadn't left or followed me to Twitter themselves.

And then, an odd thing happened: I quit Twitter.

The reasons are many (and yes, unrelated to writing) but I realized I was spending far more time in a virtual world talking with people I didn't know that those in physically surrounding me everyday. While leaving Twitter cold turkey is easy, doing the same to a blog you'd spend over a decade regularly penning long form thoughts for wasn't. Plus, there was the small matter of me hosting plenty of ads here, which gave me a little pocket change on the side. It didn't make cents (see what I did there) to shut down, so I decided I'd keep it here and reap the periodic benefits of a new ad. Why not?

That said, I owed my (still visiting) readers an explanation. And just like that, the blog was comatose. With the exception of a few new posts when I really had to get something off my chest, the only new stuff here for the past couple of years has been ads. I've moved on to periodically sharing thoughts on Facebook, which I've found to be a far less engaged community than what once existed here, but otherwise I get my fix by talking to real people now. It's just better that way.

I'm not saying there's no value in social media, or that it's the sole purpose for me ending this blog. There were plenty of life related reasons (ie: a 3rd child, a day job that grew exponentially more complex and time consuming, etc.) for this. Likewise, many of my contemporaries who began blogging around the same time have since graduated on the real, full paying media gigs. While I'm happy for all of them, that for many economic reasons was never my end game.

Do I miss having a blog? Yes, I do. Sometimes I wish I'd simply chosen to use whatever energy I had maintaining this community instead of splitting it with Twitter (although that was certainly the case with most bloggers). We had something special here, and I in many ways regret just abandoning that. But life, as they say, doesn't have a rewind button. Most of the regulars have long since left, and the blog seldom gets more than a couple hundred hits a day.

But if there's one thing I don't regret, it's keeping the blog alive. Sometimes I'll wonder "what did I think about" whatever random event happened in 2011, or how I reviewed a movie when it came out. And lo and behold, since I wrote about basically everything for a full decade, there's a good chance I penned a post about it that I can just pull right up. It's like a time machine into your thoughts. It's sorta kinda cool, and the kinda thing you hope your kids might wanna read someday.

So while the blog is dead, the blog lives on.

- AB