Studies fail to link disease risks, antiperspirants


A friend recently accompanied me to the drugstore, where I was buying deodorant along with some other personal items. She warned me not to buy any products containing aluminum because it could cause breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

I never heard of such a thing before, and this is very frightening. I couldn't find a single underarm product without aluminum. Is there any truth to her warning?

Most antiperspirants contain aluminum in one form or another, while deodorants do not. Aluminum stops sweating, whereas deodorants primarily neutralize or mask odor.

The idea that aluminum antiperspirants could cause cancer has circulated widely on the Internet. New research (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Oct. 16, 2002) shows no connection between use of antiperspirants and risk of breast cancer.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemi- ology (Sept. 1, 2002) found no link between antiperspirant use and Alzheimer's disease. This should be comforting, but if you want to make your own deodorant, you can mix baking soda with cornstarch and dust it on.

I frequently read in your column about women with low libido. My problem is just the opposite. My husband is rarely interested in making love. I am 38 with a healthy sex drive. He is 42 and just seems too young to give up on sex. Is there anything I can do to revive our love life?

You didn't mention whether he is taking any drugs. Quite a few medications can affect libido and performance. A man who worries about erectile dysfunction might avoid sex.

Low testosterone levels might also account for a lack of sex drive. This hormone affects both male and female libido. His doctor could perform a simple test to determine if this is the problem.

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