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HORMONAL HARMONY
Wed, 20th May 2015
 

The body continually manufactures hormones. Thank goodness for this as they give us gender characteristics, body shape, voice tone and timbre, hair distribution and millions of other major issues we would be lost without. Can we have too much or too little of a good thing? The answer of course is yes, yes, yes. Hormonal irregularities in women produces enormous variations in bleeding patterns and inner feelings, but human interference plays a part also.

Million Pills

A million women take the pill each day. This means extra oestrogen enters the system. It is well established breast oestrogen receptors are sensitive to excess amounts of oestrogen. The longer and higher the duration, the greater the risks. Breast cancer is on the rise, for reasons not clearly understood. However, studies on thousands of women over many years indicates there is no apparent relationship. Indeed, the pill may reduce risks of uterine cancer. It is probably due to carcinogens in the air, pollution from man made chemicals which somehow access the system. We do not know. Of course, being male, it is easy to say don't take any form of extra hormone - but that does not happen. Heavy bleeding is often hormone related.

Bleeding Suppressed

This can often be suppressed by taking the pill, which is really a combination of oestrogen and progesterone, the two female hormones. It can be a nice easy solution. The pill dampens down ovulation, so it is easy to regulate "periods" which is simply withdrawal bleeding when stopped and usually lasts only a few hours. As ovulation does not take place, pregnancy cannot occur. Chances of conception during the 7 day hormone free period is unlikely although has occurred.

Cysts

Can the pill reduce ovarian cysts? Maybe, but it is not high on the list. Cysts may form in the area when ovum or egg was present before being released, perhaps in other spots also. Generally they are not serious, cause few symptoms unless they burst causing temporary pain, and do not lead to cancers. It is only when they are multiple and very large that concerns arise, but this is not very common . They are usually detected by ultrasound.

The pill has sometimes been used to enhance breast size. However, this is a bit like pregnancy, and if the hormones are suddenly stopped, breast tissue reverts to original size, or may even sag. It is not on the "A" list for this purpose. Many find the hormones tend to increase weight, may lead to headaches (often migraine), cause nausea in some (mainly due to progesterone), and some find it leads to lack of libido. But usually it is peace and harmony.

 
CATARRH

Q: 

I am forever bringing up gunk and slimy stuff which my dad says is "catarrh".

A: 

"Catarrh" is an old fashioned word now rarely used. It simply means inflammation of the airways. Common cause of your symptoms is probably a PND - post nasal drip. Inflammation of the nasal airways, and probably the sinuses (large spaces under the eye sockets), and back part of the throat and upper airways. Simple measures are often successful. Such as sniffing warm salty water through one nostril then the other. Say half a cup into each. This cleanses the nasal airways ands then coughed up and expectorated. Then gargle the throat with warm salty water. It is much like taking a surf where the salty water washes through the passageways. It also gives an exhilarating feeling. Sometimes infection may be present, or an allergy can occur making it worse. But most do okay with simple interventions. Antibiotics and nasal sprays are usually unnecessary.

 
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KNOCKED OUT TOOTH

Q: 

My son fell hitting his mouth on the concrete curb, and a tooth was knocked out. What is the usual first aid remedy for this?

A: 

Save the tooth. Place either in milk or his own saliva, not water. Then visit the dentist as a matter of urgency. If this is not possible, replace the tooth but make sure it faces the correct way as errors can occur. Amazingly, the tooth usually takes root and continues to grow merrily on its way. It is amazing how this injury seems to repair itself with minimum intervention.

 
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TOE MUSH TROUBLE

Q: 

Is there a simple remedy for horrible white mushy stuff that grows between the toes, specially the fourth and fifth ones. Also, there is a terrible odour which is quite sickening. If the area is scratched, it gives a pleasant feeling, but soon after is sore and may bleed.

A: 

This sounds like tinea, probably super-infected with Monilia and maybe bacteria. The germs thrive in a dark warm moist environment. Stockings, socks and shoes in hot weather is the ideal place for them. Place the feet in a salty water bath for five minutes, and gently bathe with cotton wool balls. Or use a very, very weak (pink only) condys crystal solution. Then dab dry with paper tissues (which are discarded as full of germs). Apply tolnaftate, tincture drops or cream. This kills the germs. Bathing at waters edge at the beach is also excellent, as salty water is mildly antiseptic and the sand abraids away the gunky stuff. Sunning the areas also kills bugs. Change, wash and sun socks daily, and place shoes so the sun gets inside. Most do well but it may take a week or two. Recurrences are common.

 
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DIABETES

Q: 

I visited the doctor for a blood pressure check, which was OK, but a blood test was advised. To my amazement I was told that sugar levels were elevated and I am a diabetic and need prompt treatment.

A: 

In Australia there are currently about one million diagnosed diabetics and another million wandering around completely unaware of the fact. Symptoms are often minimal or non-evident. Many doctors now routinely screen for sugar (and diabetes) as well as other blood chemistry. If 6.0 or over, it is presumptive evidence of diabetes. Early management is essential, otherwise it may lead to early blood vessel deterioration, heart disease, renal and eye complications. There are large numbers with amputated feet and legs due to late diagnosis and intervention. Everybody, please take the tip. See your GP this month.

 
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GALLSTONES

Q: 

We commonly hear about the intense pain of gallstones, but how does a relatively normal person know if these are developing inside?

A: 

Often there is no forewarning. First symptom may be excruciating pain under the right lower rib margin that shoots into the shoulder. It is agonising and unrelenting. Diagnosis is often obvious, but ultrasound investigation is diagnostic. Removal of the stones, or more probably of the gall bladder which is often filled with tiny stones gives prompt relief. It is carried out laparoscopically - now called minimally invasive or keyhole surgery. Keeping to a low fat diet in life may help reduce risks, and is essential after surgery.

 
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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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