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Health: Dear Doctor; Dr Mark Porter answers your questions on everything from how raspberry tea helps pregnant women to coping with restless legs and removing hand warts.

Byline: Dr Mark Porter

Trouble since stopping HRT

I had a Wertheim's hysterectomy 12 years ago and was immediately put on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which I took until last summer. Since stopping it I've noticed occasional spotting - not red blood, more like brown smudges - on my underwear. I'm no longer sexually active and can't think where the blood could be coming from.

Wertheim's hysterectomy involves removing the womb and surrounding structures and is the type of operation normally used to treat cancer of the cervix - though you don't say this is what happened in your case. Vaginal bleeding of any type is a symptom that should never be ignored in women who have gone through the menopause as it can be a sign of cancer of the lining of the womb or an inflamed lining of the vagina. You should arrange to see your GP so they can check the upper part of your vagina, where it was cut away from your cervix, just to make sure all is well.

Symptom of the week


Restless legs (Ekbom's Syndrome) are a common complaint in older people. Victims often complain of an almost irresistible urge to move their legs, sometimes accompanied by a feeling of flushing or burning. It's impossible to get comfortable in bed and it can seriously disrupt your night's sleep.

The exact cause remains unclear. General self-help tips put forward by some doctors include high dose Vitamin E (200 international units a day) and ginkgo biloba supplements. It is also recommended you raise the foot of the bed and wear compression stockings at night. More severe cases may be related to a nerve problem and there are effective prescription- only medicines that can help.

Next week: HICCUPS

Years ago, pregnant women were told to drink raspberry tea to help with their labour. Do today's midwives recommend it?

Yes they do. A herbal tea made from

raspberry leaves can promote contractions in some pregnant women. It is often recommended as a gentle and natural way of kick-starting labour in those who have come to the end of their pregnancy or in those who are overdue. It's generally best avoided by women in the earlier stages of pregnancy, particularly in the first few weeks, as it may induce premature labour and even miscarriage. Most good pharmacies and health food shops stock the tea.

Ashamed of warts

Over the last year I have developed lots of warts on my fingers. I've tried a range of different over-the-counter lotions and gels, but they haven't helped. The warts make my hands look awful and I'm very embarrassed by them. What do you suggest?

Warts are caused by a viral infection of the skin and sometimes disappear without any treatment at all - it seems the immune system suddenly gets fed up with them and destroys all the infected cells. However, it can take many years. Over-the-counter remedies work by slowly burning away the wart and require a lot of time and patience if they are to work properly. Multiple warts are always difficult to treat by yourself and you would be much better off asking your doctor to arrange for you to have them frozen off (cryotherapy). This is relatively quick and painless and doesn't require an anaesthetic. Larger warts may need more than one treatment.

Do I need surgery to get rid of gallstones?

I've been told I have gallstones which need to be removed. I've heard this can be done without surgery - is this true?

Most gallstones are now removed using keyhole surgery techniques and patients are in and out of hospital much more quickly than they used to be in the days when I was a trainee surgeon - we worked through a six to nine-inch incision! Some types of gallstone can be dissolved with special pills, while others can be blasted with ultrasound (lithotripsy) and smashed up into pieces small enough to travel out of the gallbladder and into the bowel. Unfortunately, not all patients are suitable for these more modern techniques and you will have to discuss your options with the specialist looking after you.

Female Orgasm 0901 562 8621 Premature Ejaculation 0901 562 8622 Penis Size 0901 562 8623 Dandruff 0901 562 8624 Drink Problems 0901 562 8625 Prostate Trouble 0901 562 8626 Indigestion 0901 562 8627 Menopause 0901 562 8628 Vitamins 0901 562 8629 Hair Loss In Men 0901 562 8630 Dealing With Thrush 0901 562 8631 Vasectomy 0901 562 8632 Hormone Replacement Therapy 0901 562 8634

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Glos, GL6 7RS,

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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 4, 2001
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