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Health Zone: What's up doc?; Let our panel of experts answer your health problems. Write to: Health Zone, The Mirror, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5AP.

Byline: Ian Marber, Anne Szarewski, Phil Stemmer

Q I GET bad PMT and have been recommended to go on the Pill. I am not in a relationship so I don't need contraception. Is it OK to be on the Pill like this, or is it better for my health to stay off it unless I really need to take it?

AGynaecologist Anne Szarewski writes: If you have bad PMT, you may feel better on the combined Pill. The important thing is to make sure it is one that is the same dose all month (monophasic) as opposed to one where doses vary (triphasic).

Also, the pills containing the newer progestogens (one of the two hormones in the Pill) tend to be better for PMT.

Lots of women take the Pill simply because it helps them with problems like heavy painful periods and PMT. Look on it as a treatment for a problem, rather than a contraceptive.

QI WAS told after a recent operation that I had a thrombosis in my leg. I am very worried about this, can you advise me on what I should do?

AGP Dr Rob Hicks writes: If a blood clot forms in a leg vein when it's not supposed to it's called a deep-vein thrombosis or DVT. Pain, swelling and redness develop in the calf or behind the knee over a few hours.

People say their calf feels tight like a balloon and the skin looks shiny. The affected calf is wider than the normal one.

If a thrombosis is suspected, the patient should see their GP immediately who will arrange an ultra-sound scan in hospital to tell whether it is there or not.

Thrombosis is more likely when someone is inactive for a long period of time, during or after air travel, after an operation and if a woman is taking certain combined oral contraceptive pills or HRT. The risk of a thrombosis while on the combined Pill or HRT is much greater if the person smokes.

Q I EAT bread at least three times a day, but someone has told me this is bad for my health. Is this true and how much bread should I eat?

ANutritionist Ian Marber writes: Unless you have a problem with yeast infections, you should be able to eat bread at least twice a day without a problem.

However, as wheat can cause bloating or digestive problems in susceptible people, do include other breads, such as rye, in addition to your regular bread and be aware of your intake of wheat from cereals and snacks.

Q I PLAN to get pregnant but want to know roughly how long it will take to get my body back in shape afterwards.

AChrissie Gallagher-Mundy at the Academy of Personal Fitness writes: To be frank, I usually tell my clients they must give themselves a year - at least - to really feel back to normal.

But you should have started to lose your excess weight and be getting in shape again in around 6-8 months.

I suggest you start with careful stomach and back exercises and then build up tone in your arms and legs before progressing to cardiovascular work.

Q I HAVE found that Daktarin, one type of thrush treatment works but another, Canestan, doesn't. Is this normal or does it mean I don't actually have thrush but something else?

APharmacist Nick Mortimer writes: Daktarin and Canestan preparations are commonly used to treat vaginal thrush. Recurrent infections need to be followed up with your doctor.

Some fungi can become resistant to one preparation but will still respond to another. It is possible you may not have used the treatment for long enough or in the correct place. Often a pessary and cream are both needed.

If the infection is not thrush, some of the symptoms, like itching, may improve but the underlying cause may not have been treated.

For example, the presence of untreated diabetes mellitus (high levels of glucose in the urine) can help the fungi that cause thrush to flourish.

If a treatment is not working, it is important that you seek further advice.

Q WHEN I eat something sweet, my back teeth really hurt for a few seconds. Are they rotten or is it something else?

ADentist Phil Stemmer writes: Pain on eating sweet things is usually an early sign of decay, sensitivity of the neck of the tooth (caused by gum recession or incorrect or over-zealous brushing), a cracked tooth or problem with a filling.

See your dentist, who may need to take an X-ray to diagnose the problem. I recommend visiting your dentist as soon as possible as the problem will only get worse if left unattended.


Ian Marber; Anne Szarewski; Phil Stemmer
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:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 11, 2001
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