Sex clinic; Dr Catherine Hood, 33, advises on sexual- health matters at clinics in south-east England.
Since I started taking the Pill I've not had a period for four years. Surely this isn't right. I've also heard that people who don't have periods are more vulnerable to osteoporosis. Should I be taking a supplement? Is it safe to do so while I'm on the Pill?
Don't worry about your lack of bleeding. The reason you're not having periods is that when taking the combined contraceptive Pill you don't have a natural menstrual cycle. The bleeding between packets of tablets is not a `real' period - it's the womb shedding its lining because you're taking no hormones for seven days. As long as you aren't pregnant (I'm assuming you've done a test), it doesn't matter if you don't get these bleeds. Many women don't, particularly if the Pill they're taking delivers a higher dose of hormone, which tides them over the seven-day break. If you'd rather have a regular bleed, you could swap to another Pill. Either way, don't worry about taking a supplement for osteoporosis. This brittle bone disease is linked to a decrease in production of the hormone oestrogen. If you are taking a combined Pill, it will contain enough oestrogen to protect you against osteoporosis. Women using contraception that doesn't contain oestrogen, eg the injection or minipill, may, over many years, develop a slight oestrogen deficiency and require oestrogen supplements. For more information, contact the Family Planning Association on 020-7837 4044.
Two of my work colleagues have started going out together and now they can't keep their hands off each other. They're always snogging by the coffee machine, giggling in the corridor and groping each other at their desks. I'm not a prude but it makes me feel uncomfortable.
Nobody should be forced to watch a soft porn video being played out in front of their eyes at work. You are not stupid or a prude for feeling this way. If you're brave, tell them up front to keep their hands and tongues to themselves from nine to five. Or leave an anonymous `cool it' note on one of their desks. The message should get through.
My boyfriend is lovely but to be honest he's a bit of a slob. His table manners are terrible and I find it so embarrassing.
It's hard for me to advise you on this as everyone's idea of good manners is different, depending on your upbringing. Are we talking about him picking his nose in a silver service restaurant or just not knowing which knife comes first? The point is, if a certain way of behaving is really important to you, you will have to tell him about it, before the matter comes between you. Be sensitive in your approach though.
When my partner and I make love it is always very painful. No matter how turned on I get, it feels like there are needles sticking into the sides of my vagina, but as soon as we've finished the pain goes. I have had various tests but no one can find anything wrong.
Infection is still the most common cause of pain during sex. Go to a genitourinary clinic and have another check-up. If all the tests are still negative you may have a condition called vulvodynia, a chronic pain syndrome which causes genital discomfort in the form of burning, stinging, irritation or rawness. The condition varies between individuals, and pain may be constant or intermittent, localised or diffuse. Not surprisingly, vulvodynia has a profound impact on quality of life, especially sex life.
Many doctors aren't aware of vulvodynia, so sufferers can go for months without a diagnosis. Currently there's no cure for the condition, but drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants can ease the symptoms. It's also wise to avoid vulval irritants, such as soap. There's no quick solution, but given time vulvodynia can improve. For more information, see www.nva.org, the website for the US-based National Vulvodynia Association.
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Apr 28, 2001|
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