Help for worsening flatulence
I had unprotected sex recently and was panicking that I might fall pregnant. It was two days before I could get to a chemist and get the morning-after pill. The chemist said I should be OK, but what are my chances of falling pregnant? The morning-after pill, or emergency contraception as it is more accurately known, is generally effective up to three days after sex. The overall success rate of the progestogen tablet, Postinor, is about 85 per cent. Its effectiveness is best if it’s taken in the first 24 hours (when the success rate is 95 per cent), but even after 72 hours it is still about 60 per cent effective at avoiding pregnancy. While you no longer need a script to get Postinor, unprotected sex can leave you exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, so a check-up with your doctor might still be useful — and at the consultation you can also discuss more reliable methods of contraception. In the 1990s I worked as a volunteer in Papua New Guinea. Despite taking the then recommended malaria precautions, I developed symptoms and was treated for malaria. No testing was available and I was treated solely on suspicion. Ever since, I have ‘‘ standing orders’’ that if I get sick, I see a doctor promptly, and if they are concerned that it could be malaria I get blood tests. However, because it is often hard to get a timely appointment, I am often told the tests are probably too late to be conclusive. Are you aware of any developments with malaria that would mean I no longer need to bother with these tests? THERE is a lot of research going on into malaria, with new diagnostic tests being developed, but at this stage the thick and thin blood films which you would have been having are still generally regarded as the gold standard for diagnosing malaria. You do need to have repeat blood tests regularly in the first couple of days after the onset of the classical symptom of fever. If you discuss the situation with your doctor, I’msure something could be organised so that you have the blood tests in a timely fashion. Linda Calabresi is a GP and editor of MedicalObserver. Send your queries to email@example.com I’minmy mid-50s and I’ve had a problem with smelly flatulence for a number of years. Just recently it has become much worse. It happens without warning, is uncontrollable, and often occurs in stressful situations. I’ve tried changing my diet to no avail. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink alcohol, I’ve got a normal BMI, I exercise regularly, I’mvigilant with my hygiene. What can I do to avoid becoming a hermit? FLATULENCE is common— however, given the problem is worsening, it might be worthwhile getting a medical check-up. You might have an underlying condition such as lactose intolerance or even coeliac disease that could account for your symptoms. Also, once you hit your 50s it’s a good idea for everyone to have a bowel check-up anyway. If the doctor’s investigations fail to find a reason for your problem then your next port of call should probably be your diet. Certain foods are more likely to be associated with smelly flatulence, such as garlic, onions, spicy foods, beer, and particular vegetables such as brussel sprouts. Other foods can increase the amount of wind you produce. These include dried fruit, fruits such as apples and pears, insoluble fibre, and legumes such as beans, peas and nuts. See if reducing these foods makes a difference. Whether the wind you are passing smells depends to a certain degree on the nature of the bacteria within your gut. You can try to alter these bacteria by taking probiotics. Another option you could try is a charcoal preparation available from the chemist, or a product called De-gas or No-gas which may also help.