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Busting for love... but it all goes flat.

I am 26 and have inverted nipples. It may seem a small problem, but I am so ashamed by the appearance of my breasts that I have so far avoided getting into a steady relationship.

The moment I get close to a bloke and things start to get steamy I end up giving him the elbow because I lack the confidence to take things any further. Can you suggest anything to help?

Inverted or flat nipples are surprisingly common, affecting around one in 10 women. Most women choose to do nothing about them, but a significant number are worried about either their cosmetic appearance or whether or not it will affect their ability to breast feed - in fact, with a little bit of care and training, women with inverted nipples can breast feed normally.

In the old days people wanting cosmetic improvement had to undergo surgery which, whilst making the nipples look normal, often removed all sensation. These days things are very different thanks to a clever little device called the Avent Niplette. This is basically a thimble-shaped plastic cap attached to a syringe.

The nipple is sucked into the cap using the syringe, which can then be disconnected leaving the caps in place.

Most women find that their nipples remain permanently stuck out without the cap after 2-3 months of usage. You can obtain the Niplette from any good pharmacist, but I am afraid that it is not available on the NHS.

Be warned...any nipple that becomes newly inverted, particularly if it only occurs on one breast, should always be checked out by a doctor. It can be a sign of breast cancer.

I was diagnosed as having a polyp on my cervix after a smear test. Thankfully, the results of the smear have come all clear, but my GP has asked me to see him so he can remove the polyp. Does it matter if I do not have it treated and, if I do, will it hurt?

CERVICAL polyps are benign lumps that arise from the lining of the cervix. They are thin-walled, fluid-filled sacs that lock a bit like a miniature bunch of grapes. Most women would never know that they are there and they tend only to be discovered during routine examinations like yours. Left untreated they rarely cause problems but may lead to a heavier than normal vaginal discharge.

Removal is simple and painless. In most cases the polyp can be twisted off. Make that appointment with your GP.

So slow, putting

your finger

on the trigger

I am a motor mechanic diagnosed as having "trigger finger" in both hands. My appointment with a specialist is not for nine months. Is there anything I can do in the meantime?

Nine months is a ridiculous time to wait, but sadly it is not unusual these days. Trigger finger tends to affect the ring and middle fingers and is caused by a narrowing of the outer layer of the tendons in the hand. There is nothing you can do yourself. The specialist may try a steroid injection, but the chances are you will need a small operation.

Smoothing

the way for

sexy couple

My husband and I enjoy an active sex life, but to make things more comfortable for us I use KY jelly lubricant. I have recently heard about a new long-acting type that only needs to be used two or three times a week. Do you have any details?

Water-based lubricants like KY jelly are excellent and safe, but they must be used immediately before love-making, and some people find this off-putting.

I suspect that the product you refer to is Replens, a slow-release vaginal moisturiser that needs to be used only three times a week. It is not available on the NHS and, like KY, can be bought without a prescription. But at pounds 4 for a week's supply it is much more expensive.

Keeping those

old bones

feeling young

I am a fit and active 60-year-old woman and am devastated to find that I have osteoporosis. I am already on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) but are there are any other steps I can take to keep my bones strong?

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become so thin and brittle that they can fracture at the slightest knock. HRT does help protect the bones, but for further measures on how you can help protect yourself, phone The National Osteoporosis Society on 01761 471771 and ask how to become a member and receive one of their information packs.

Get your own

back - the

painless way

My son had a car accident five years ago and has had a bad back ever since. Is there an association for people with back problems?

Back pain is a huge problem and one that is generally poorly managed. Teaching patients how to look after and strengthen their backs is the key to preventing recurrent problems and I direct my patients to the National Back Pain Association. For a copy of their information pack ,send pounds 2.50 to them at 16 Elmtree Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 8ST.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Porter, Mark
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 26, 1996
Words:852
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