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Dr Dreena Kelly nursed children in Africa before becoming a doctor while caring for her invalid sister and bringing up her son on her own. Named as woman of the 90s last year, Dreena, 38, answers all your medical queries.

Q CAN I start taking HRT before I reach the menopause? I am 40 and my hair is coming out in handfuls, but I have read hormone replacement therapy can help.

A HAIR can fall out in clumps at any age, especially after severe illness, pregnancy, emotional shock or stress. In these circumstances, it will almost certainly grow back. Though HRT isn't a specific treatment for hair loss, it does seem to improve the quality of hair and skin. And, yes, you can start taking it before the menopause.

Visit your doctor who may want to do a blood test to see if you are in the run up to the menopause.

Q MY husband and I have been married for a year. We both had several partners before so we still use condoms. Is it safe to stop using them so we can start a family?

A IT'S likely that if neither of you, but especially your husband, have been bi-sexual, and that neither of you have been illegally using intravenous drugs and shared needles, or have reason to believe a previous partner is HIV positive, then you could stop now.

If you want to talk it through with a professional, your local Genito Urinary Medicine clinic will give expert, confidential advice. In any case, it would be wise to see your GP for preconceptual counselling.

Q I bumped into an old friend and we ended up having a drink and a meal together. When I ordered another bottle of wine, he asked if I always drank so much. It was only the second bottle and I'd had one glass in the bar beforehand. He made me feel like an alcoholic, but I'm not. Do I have a problem?

A YOU may be drinking more than is good for you. Try filling the diary in a free booklet, When to say WHEN, available from: Say When, PO Box 269, Marston Book Services, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4YN (please enclose an SAE). Alcohol can be good for us, but only in moderation.


Jan De Vries is the country's foremost name in alternative medicine. The naturopath and author trained as a pharmacist before qualifying as a homeopath and herbalist. He guides you through the full range of homeopathic treatments.

Q I AM a woman in my 40s. Since my mid-teens, I have had a problem with the sweat glands in the hair- growing areas of my body. The glands are blocked so, instead of sweating, I come up in cyst- type growths. I have had operations to remove the worst of the cysts, but I am still bothered with them. I also have boils below my breasts on my stomach and legs. My GP put me on a six- month course of antibiotics, but this hasn't helped.

Can you recommend a homeopathic treatment to help my condition?

A THERE are two very helpful remedies. Mercurius Complex is a homeopathic remedy. Take one tablet, twice a day and 20 drops of Echinaforce, three times a day.

Q I'M a 61-year-old woman and lead a healthy life. I am very active and work out in the gym three times a week. I take HRT tablets and Losec for a hernia. I eat healthily and have been taking cod liver oil tablets, plus starflower oil and also one a day Centrum 50 plus. Do you think I'm overdoing the vitamins part?

A It may be advisable to take an all-round vitamin. Health Insurance Plus from Nature's Best would be best. For free information, contact Nature's Best, 1 Lamberts Rd, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Q I am an 82-year-old woman and have arthritis in the lower back and hips. I also have severe arthritis in my left shoulder. As I suffer from a duodenal ulcer, I can't tolerate strong painkillers for arthritis. Is there anything you can recommend?

A It is important that older people take the sodium-free preparation Glucosamine. You should also be very careful with your diet. Omit all pig produce, citrus fruits and be careful with tea and coffee. Glucosamine OA should be available from your local health food shop.

Q I am a 58-year-old lady and have had two hip replacements recently. I still have stiffness and pain in my lower back on the right side. I take Diclofex 50mg, two per day, and Coproxamal when required. Could you recommend alternative medicines?

A TAKE 20 drops of Alchemilla, twice a day. This preparation should be available from your local health food shop and chemist.

Q I have auto-immune disease - Sjogrens Syndrome. At first, my symptoms consisted of dry eyes, dry mouth, fatigue and a feeling of burning up. Now I also have itchy spots on my scalp and blisters on my feet. I use Euphrasia Mother Tincture for my eyes and Saliva Orthana spray and lozenges for my mouth. Can you suggest something to treat the disease?

A One preparation that can be of tremendous help is a combination of Evening Primrose Oil and Cod Liver Oil. Also take 15 drops of Imperthritica, three times a day. Both are available from your local health food shop and chemists.

Q I am 51 and have been diagnosed as suffering from gout. My doctor has taken me off a diuretic I was taking for high blood pressure and given me an alternative drug. Could you advise me on what I should eat? What supplements would you suggest I take to lower my uric acid and relieve the pain in my feet?

A Gout can be very painful. It is a spontaneous crystallisation of uric acid which can cause tremendous pain in the joint. I have discussed this condition in my book, Arthritis, Rheumatism and Psoriasis, which should be available from your local library.This will give you further advice and information on diet. The French remedy Rezall Syrup can also be very helpful in relieving the pain.

Q I read your advice on a cream for eczema. I purchased the cream for my year- old grandson, who is very badly affected with eczema. My daughter, who had tried every cream on the market, was elated when this one was of benefit, but unfortunately it was inadvertently thrown out and we have forgotten the name of it. Please could you come to our rescue and help my grandson?

A The cream is one called Echinacea Cream. It is made by Bioforce, of Switzerland, and should be available from your local health food shop or chemist. Bioforce also make an excellent herbal remedy called Violaforce, which can often be of great help for eczema.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Kelly, Dreena; Vries, Jan de
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 5, 1998
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