Ask the doc­tor:

read­ers’ health ques­tions an­swered

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - NEWS -

Q My five-year-old son oc­ca­sion­ally gets an up­set stomach after eat­ing bread. He has been fine in the past, but just re­cently he has started com­plain­ing of stomach cramps. What tests can he have done to find out if it’s a gluten prob­lem? S.A. His GP will ar­range blood tests to in­clude in­ves­ti­ga­tions for coeliac dis­ease. If these tests sug­gest coeliac dis­ease, he will be re­ferred fora gas­troscopy to con­firm the di­ag­no­sis. If he does have coeliac dis­ease, it will mean a strict life­long gluten-free diet. If not, a di­eti­tian can su­per­vise a trial of a gluten­free diet to see if it re­lieves his symp­toms. Q I have been get­ting lots of cramps in my legs at night. They don’t seem to sub­side with­out me get­ting up and walk­ing around for 15 min­utes or so. What do I do? Are there any sup­ple­ments I can take to help? P.D. A med­i­cal check-up will iden­tify pos­si­ble causes such as un­der­ac­tive thy­roid or a med­i­ca­tion side-ef­fect. Stretch­ing after ex­er­cise may help. Try a warm bath be­fore bed. A magnesium sup­ple­ment may help. Q I am a 48-year-old man in rel­a­tively fit con­di­tion. I eat well and ex­er­cise reg­u­larly to en­sure I am healthy in later life, as my fa­ther and grand­fa­ther died of a heart at­tack in their 50s and 60s. A friend told me I should take an as­pirin a day. Do you agree? L.P. See your GP for a com­pre­hen­sive as­sess­ment of your heart dis­ease risk. This in­cludes your blood pres­sure, blood su­gar, smok­ing his­tory, weight and pos­si­bly car­diac stress test­ing or imag­ing of your coro­nary ar­ter­ies. Based on your re­sults, your doc­tor will ad­vise whether tak­ing as­pirin is in­di­cated. Q My teenage son sweats a lot and, de­spite wear­ing a clin­i­cal-strength de­odor­ant ev­ery day, he comes home from school with large patches of sweat un­der the arms. What can you rec­om­mend we do to stop this? S.W. Teenagers tend to sweat more be­cause of the hor­monal changes in their bod­ies. En­cour­age him to shower in the morn­ing and again at night. He could also take a roll-on an­tiper­spi­rant to school and ap­ply it at breaks. Q I am 31 years old and I am quit­ting smok­ing as I want to be­come preg­nant at the end of the year. Can I use a nico­tine sub­sti­tute in the months be­fore hav­ing a baby to wean my­self off cig­a­rettes? T.R. I would rec­om­mend you first see a psy­chol­o­gist to help you with be­havioural meth­ods of quit­ting. You could use nico­tine re­place­ment to help you with­draw in the short term, but with a plan to be nico­tine-free be­fore you be­come preg­nant.


If you have a ques­tion for Pro­fes­sor Ker­ryn Phelps, write to: Ask The Doc­tor, PO Box 92512, Welles­ley Street, Auck­land 1141 or email awwed­i­tor@bauer­me­; sub­ject Q&A. Let­ters can­not be an­swered per­son­ally.

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