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Sexual activity and arthritic pain.

Sexual Activity and Arthritic Pain From The Doctor's Casebook

Q: Is it scientifically true that sexual activity can relieve arthritic pain?

A: There may be some truth in that assumption. There is the scientific fact that pleasurable activity can relieve pain. The brain releases endorphins, morphine-like neuropeptides, when stimulated by vigorous activity. Exercise can also provoke such phenomenon, so can long-distance running. One reason runners seem to catch a "second wind" and become exhilarated is their reaction to the heavy flow of endorphins in the bloodstream. Joggers know the feeling.

Q: What can be the cause of genital itching? My father is 65 years of age and suffers from constant bouts of discomfort.

A: The affected area should be examined by a competent physician. Most cases are not serious, but there is always the possibility of a sexually transmitted disease being present. In such cases, the concern would be finding infectious lesions, such as herpes, or condylomata, another virus that infests the genital area.

The possibility of cancer should also be suspected and biopsies of suggestive lesions performed.

Of course, the lesser dangers, allergy, fungus, and psychological factors must also be considered. Last, but certainly not least, diabetes in varying stages of development must be appraised.

Q: My daughter suffers from infrequent menstruation periods - more often, none at all. Can you clarify the problem?

A: The condition is known as amenorrhea and both the causes and occurrences are complex. Amenorrhea can be caused by physiological, pathological, or psychogenic factors. Nor should the psychological aspect be overlooked. The physiologic factor may be simple: pregnancy. A test, either at home or in a doctor's office will resolve that aspect of the problem.

The other probabilities require a complete physical examination and case history review, including use of medications, including oral contraceptives. (Several pharmaceutical drugs have been implicated in amenorrhea among susceptible women.)

Stress, strenuous exercise, fasting, starvation, malnutrition, bulimia, anorexia, and thyroid disorders can also be contributing factors to amenorrhea in young women.

For women who do not desire pregnancy, and who are not ovulating, the customary treatment is a regimen of oral contraceptives. For those who are hoping to become pregnant and are ovulating, the most frequently prescribed medication is Clomid, a drug that is reported to be effective in inducing ovulation.

Diagnosis and treatment require expert attention. Consult a gynecologist, endocrinologist, or infertility specialist.

Q: Are you in favor of frequent gynecological examinations? I've heard that they can be overdone.

A: All females over the age of 18 should have their external genitalia examined at periodic intervals, especially sexually active women of any age.

The procedure should be performed by a professional during your annual check-up. You can also have a self-examination between check-ups at the time that you do a breast self-examination.

If a cancerous condition is evolving, the earlier it is detected the easier it will be to cure. The sexually active woman should also avail herself of the opportunity to investigate the possibility of a sexually transmitted disease developing. There are at least twenty-two such conditions.

Most lesions or bumps sighted are not cancerous, but only a trained diagnostician can determine that possibility.

Performing a gynecological self-exam is relatively easy. All you need is an adequate source of light and a hand mirror. The most comfortable position is sitting on the bed facing a strong enough light that can be directed, your knees bent touching your chest. Use any position that is comfortable and will allow inspection of the external genitalia.
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Title Annotation:The Doctor's Casebook; includes information on genital itching, amenorrhea and gynecological exams
Author:Flatto, Edwin
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Article Type:column
Date:Jun 22, 1990
Previous Article:Can diet affect the immune system?
Next Article:Guilt and regret despite sexual revolution.

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