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Family health.

Byline: Dr SARAH BREWER

Dr Sarah Brewer is here to solve your problems in The Max. Sarah graduated from Cambridge University as a doctor in 1983. She was a full-time GP for five years and now works in hospital medicine.

She writes on all aspects of health, and has written more than 25 popular health books.

Sarah is married to Richard and has a four-year old son, Saxon, and baby twins, Roman and Sapphire.

Write to her, in confidence, with any problem your family need solved, at The Max, Daily Record, One Central Quay, Glasgow G3 8DA.

A HERNIA occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or tissues that normally contains it.

The most common types of hernia form when part of the intestines pushes through the wall of the abdomen.

This forms an external bulge which is sometimes referred to as a rupture.

The bulge of an external hernia normally contains a sac made of the membrane lining the abdominal cavity.

The sac contains either a loop of small intestine or a piece of the fatty membrane that is attached to the outside of the small intestines.

A hernia develops at an area of weakness, such as where a structure such as a major blood vessel enters or leaves the abdomen, where muscles fail to overlap properly, where there is only scar tissue rather than muscle or where a surgical scar has previously weakened the abdominal wall.

Increased pressure (eg due to coughing or obesity) causes the weakness to give way.

There are five main types of external intestinal hernia: an inguinal hernia in the groin, a femoral hernia at the top of the thigh, an epigastric hernia between the upper abdominal muscles, an umbilical hernia which forms at the navel and an incisional hernia that forms where the abdominal wall has been cut during surgery.

If you develop an abdominal lump, it is important to seek advice, especially if the lump cannot be gently pushed back into place or is tender. If the hernia becomes trapped and its blood supply restricted, this is a surgical emergency.

The traditional treatment for an external hernia involves wearing a supportive truss to strengthen the weakness by stitching the two sides together.

A newer technique uses a sterile piece of mesh at the site of the opening. This encourages the growth of strong, fibrous tissue which grows through the mesh to strengthen the wound.

Q I CAME off the Pill in August last year and still haven't had a period. How long will it take to return to normal? I'm 32.

A IT can take a while for the normal hormonal cycle to restart. This is not usually harmful and periods tend to restart on their own within eight weeks, although they can sometimes take up to a year to recur.

Your doctor should be happy to investigate you for other causes, however, such as having an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, polycystic ovaries or increased production of prolactin hormone in the pituitary gland, all of which are treatable.

Q MY 10-year-old daughter has sensitive skin. My GP suggested E45 which helps, but has not completely stopped it.

A TRY visiting a Boots Specialist Skincare centre where they stock treatments designed by dermatologists. The Pierre Fabre range includes AvEne Eau Thermal treatments for hypersensitive skin based on the healing waters of the famous AvEne Thermal Spa in France. Other ranges include Ducray A-Derma. To find your nearest Boots Specialist Skincare centre, phone 08450-708090.

Q I RECENTLY had a baby and wonder when it would be safe for me to start having sex again.

A WOMEN are usually advised to wait until their six-week check before making love. By this time, the discharge has almost settled and bruising and suturing healed. In reality, most women try as soon as they feel ready. Your GP, practice nurse or local Family Planning Clinic will be happy to advise on contraception.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 18, 2001
Words:663
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