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Wed, 1st February 2017

The more you look around at other people, the more you realise we all have little "quirks". We do strange things. As 99% have the same affliction, we tend to ignore it. Are these issues serious, do they need medical intervention? Yes and No.

Just watch a TV show, preferably one where there is a panel discussion and which invariably pans to the audience. Look at the person answering the question. There is always an "…er. …um". Then he/she scratches the back of the neck, rubs the nose, and stretches the neck muscles. The guy alongside is probably twitching his eyes.

The more brilliant the person, the more they seem to twitch and squirm. Sniffing is another common one, clearing the throat, rubbing the back. The more coffee/cola drinks beforehand, the worse it gets. Notice how people cover their mouth when speaking. Is this part of the body's normal physiology? A reaction to something they don't understand or cannot cope with.

Pushed to its ultimate, it can develop to horrible fears of being near people, such as shopping malls, theatres. Some are terrified to leave the house, keep returning to make sure (for the fifth time) the lights have been turned off. Often the brighter the person, the worse it gets.

These come under the general name of "phobias", terrified of something, be it small spaces, spiders, aeroplanes, a dark bedroom. Some take to hand washing rituals. The official name is OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

If it reaches an uncomfortable state, many are successfully treated with medication called SSRI, and in most cases, outcomes are good. Take all of this to heart (as I rub my nose yet again), and try and not dwell on it. You are not headed for the looney bin.



Can a person have too many x-rays. It seems every time one sees the doctor, "something" is ordered, and x-rays are awfully common.


X-ray exposure in life is cumulative, and the less the better. It may ultimately adversely affect the nucleus of some cells, which in turn may lead to cancer. The positive value or any x-radiation must be weighed against the negative. If it picks up some nasty internal issue which can be treated early, of course, it is a plus. Broken bones and the healing progress can be monitored. Today, ultrasound and various other imaging technology uses sound waves which are harmless. The amount of dangerous radiation from the suns rays, as many doctors point out, is far more dangerous than the amount of x-radiation you will receive for medical reasons.

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I recently noted blood in my seminal fluid. Is this dangerous?


The abnormal appearance of blood anywhere is always suspect. However, this is fairly common, and generally speaking is innocuous. Nevertheless, see your GP, who may refer you to an urologist to double check. Today, straightforward interventions can quickly detect internal disease. Blood is often an indication of an early cancer hidden away somewhere. Same applies to blood in the urine.

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Since starting the pill, my nipples and the usually nice pink area surrounding them have darkened. Does this mean anything?


It means your body is now receiving increased amounts of female hormone, a bit like pregnancy, when the same event occurs. Once dark, it will remain this colour for life. It is simply part of nature, being a woman and "growing up".

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We regularly hear of new methods of contraception. This leaves a woman in a quandary as to which is the best for her.


Contraception is a vast market, and naturally drug companies are always trying new ideas, pushing frontiers, and trying to capture market share. The contraceptive pill, in its myriad different forms and brands, is still the number one favourite in western lands which can afford it. It is still the use of hormones to prevent ovulation, or some mechanical device which inhibits conception. Use what suits you best. There is no point switching from brand to brand, unless one kind seems to cause unwanted symptoms. Dialogue with your GP or gynecologist.

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Is there a simple way of getting rid of freckles. As a teenager I find them unacceptable.


This simply means distribution of melanin in the upper skin layers is irregularly dispersed. When hit by the UV rays of the sun, they turn brown, whereas the melanin free areas remain white. Using SPF30 lotions or creams before sun exposure will protect, but the underlying issue remains. Like most other things, there is a genetic predisposition.

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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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