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DR JAMES WRIGHT HEALTH COLUMN No.583
Sun, 5th July 2020
 

Questions & Answers

 
FEEDING BABY

Q: 

"I believe in breast feeding, but find it difficult to keep it up, as baby is not always co-operative. Using a bottle seems so much easier." A new mother emails.

A: 

This is what many young mothers say, but please keep on trying, for babys sake as well as your own. Plenty of support is available. Today, we have "lactation consultants", there are government operated "early childhood centres". These provide excellent backup support, and encouragement. The earlier you seek these services the better. Often, baby must be taught how to get attached to the nipple.

 
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DIZZY BOUTS

Q: 

"I suffer dizzy bouts, with everything whirling around me, for no obvious reason." Writes a 45-year-old.

A: 

This is common, and often settles with Stemetil tablets over a few days (script needed). Often it is due to a mild "labyrinthintitis" or irritation of the balance mechanism. Little particles of calcium floating in the fluid of the inner ear irritate the microscopic hairs lining the canal sending wrong signals to the brain. Some ear specialists use the "Epley Method". Lying flat, the doctor gently turns the patients head and body through 270 degrees. This removes the particles.

 
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PAINFUL SEX

Q: 

"I had my baby twelve months ago, there was a tear (which was stitched leaving scar tissue). Now I find sex quite painful, but my husband does not understand."

A: 

Scar tissue when stretched causes pain, and this may persist for some time. Taking it quietly is essential. Lubricant such as KY Jelly or similar is often helpful. Plus taking time, and not being too vigorous. In time it will get back to normal. Your GP may decide to offer a local anaesthetic cream.

 
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ADULT WHOOPING COUGH

Q: 

"My dad has been diagnosed with whooping cough. At his age, this sounds ridiculous," a young lady asks.

A: 

Today there are probably more adult cases of whooping cough than in early infancy, historically the commonest time. Many adults are now being offered a combined tetanus-whooping cough single shot vaccine. It is readily available from the GP. Infants should have the MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine) soon after birth, for these diseases are still around and potentially life imperilling. Do not listen to some who still try and disparage their use.

 
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SLEEP MEDICATION

Q: 

"I am having a sleep problem, and a friend has suggested I take Zolpidem" emails this person.

A: 

Zolpidem was once the most widely prescribed sedative in America and probably Australia. It induces very rapid and magical sleep with no hangover. However, a significant number of people sleep walk, and carry out bizarre nocturnal actions with no memory of it next day. In my view these risks are unacceptable and it is too dangerous.

 
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DISAPPOINTMENT

Q: 

"My son is now 11 and wants to play the piano. He has been taught for several years, practices regularly, but still cannot sight read or play by ear, or play much apart from some set pieces. He just has not got it. What now?" a despondent mother emails.

A: 

Heaps of kids have wide eyed expectations, but their genetic make-up simply will not achieve what they desire. Music - you either can or you cannot - there is no "in between". But I believe everybody is born with some genetic talent. It is a case of finding it. Exposure to as many different hobbies, or "callings" or enterprises as possible is worthwhile. Eventually he will suddenly discover what comes naturally.

 
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MULTIPLE INFECTIONS

Q: 

"When we were kids, if one caught chicken pox, measles, mumps, or rubella, the other kids were all thrown into the same room in the hope they too became infected. Mum thought this gave lasting immunity, and it would all be over in a few weeks", an older lady recalls.

A: 

This idea was rampant for many decades. Until it was found that some of these seemingly benign diseases were not innocuous at all. All can lead to serious life-threatening complications, ranging from serious brain infections to haemorrhages. Destruction of nerve tissue (even imbecility), serious ear, throat, airway disease, infected testes and ovaries (and possible sterility), and even death. Today, regular immunisation of infants at birth is essential.

 
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LOWER PELVIC PAIN

Q: 

"Every month, regular as clockwork, I notice discomfort in the lower pelvic region, either right or left side, never both together. At one stage it was considered appendicitis, and I almost underwent surgery", a 26-year-old writes.

A: 

As an egg pops out about 14 days before the start of menstruation, often a tiny amount of blood trickles into the lower part of the pelvis (left or right side). This is very irritating to the peritoneal lining, causing pain. As soon as the blood is absorbed, the pain vanishes, only to recur the following month. However, a gynaecological check (maybe ultrasound imaging) would confirm it all.

 
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HONEY

Q: 

"Is it true that honey maybe used to treat ulcers on the leg which are not healing?" an older lady inquires.

A: 

Honey has been used for centuries in treating infected ulcers - especially in WWI and II. It dissolves water making it impossible for germs to multiply so allowing normal immunity to heal. It also has its own magical ingredients. Although used by alternate practitioners, leg ulcers are now investigated with imaging and treated aggressively with antibiotics, regular cleansing, pressure dressings and probably surgery in dedicated clinics.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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