Ask the doc­tor:

your health ques­tions an­swered

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Q Two years ago, af­ter tak­ing an an­tibi­otic for a cou­ple of days only, I de­vel­oped mouth thrush. I still have a very sore mouth and tongue. Eat­ing or drink­ing any­thing not bland and non-fizzy is ex­cru­ci­at­ing, and I only eat be­cause I have to. Can you help? J.M.

If the ini­tial prob­lem was treated for thrush, you would have to ques­tion the di­ag­no­sis. Burn­ing mouth syn­drome has many causes, in­clud­ing nutri­tional de­fi­ciency, food al­ler­gies, med­i­ca­tion side-ef­fect and gas­tric re­flux.

Q My mother and now my older sis­ter have re­cently been di­ag­nosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I’m afraid I will get it as well. Is there any­thing I can do to lower my risk? L.O.

There is no sure way of avoid­ing Alzheimer’s disease. You can re­duce your risk by never smok­ing, min­imis­ing al­co­hol, hav­ing a qual­ity diet (in­clud­ing omega-3 fatty acids, fruit and veg­eta­bles) and keep­ing your mind ac­tive. Mon­i­tor your blood pres­sure.

Q I of­ten feel sick in the stom­ach af­ter eat­ing. I have been tested for ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome, Crohn’s disease and in­tol­er­ances re­lated to dairy and wheat, but the re­sults were neg­a­tive. A friend sug­gested I start the Low FODMAP diet. What is it? J.J.

If you have not had a gas­troscopy, I would ad­vise you talk to your doc­tor about a re­fer­ral for that. You should also be tested for he­li­cobac­ter py­lori. This is a blood test and (if pos­i­tive) a breath test. Your gut func­tion should also be as­sessed. A Low FODMAP diet is an ev­i­dence-sup­ported diet for man­ag­ing ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome. FODMAPs are chem­i­cals found in food. See a di­eti­tian for a com­pre­hen­sive dis­cus­sion.

Q My hus­band is 12 years older than me and will be turn­ing 42 in a few months. I have heard a lot about the risks as­so­ci­ated for women hav­ing a baby af­ter the age of 40, but I re­cently read that DNA mu­ta­tions are more likely for older fa­thers, too. What kind of prob­lems can oc­cur? D.S.

Older fa­thers do pass on more ge­netic mu­ta­tions. Grow­ing ev­i­dence shows that the chil­dren of older fa­thers have re­duced fer­til­ity and an in­creased risk of birth de­fects, some can­cers and some psy­chi­atric prob­lems. The def­i­ni­tion of “older” is con­tro­ver­sial, although gen­er­ally con­sid­ered to be over 50 at the time of con­cep­tion, but risk in­creases with time.

Q At the end of every hol­i­day, my hands peel. Whether I’ve flown over­seas or just stayed home, it hap­pens every time. It ei­ther starts at the end of the trip or when I’m back at work. There’s no dif­fer­ence to my skincare rou­tine. A.K.

This is a mys­tery. A com­mon rea­son I see is that peo­ple use hand sani­tis­ers or dif­fer­ent soaps or mois­turis­ers when they travel and this causes an ir­ri­tant con­tact der­mati­tis. There is a con­di­tion called ex­fo­lia­tive ker­a­tol­y­sis, which is more com­mon in sum­mer months. Best to see your doc­tor or a der­ma­tol­o­gist when it is ob­vi­ous.

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