ASK DR NOMTETO

DRUM - - Advice -

E-mail Dr Nomteto at doc­tor@drum. co.za or SMS the key­words DR NOMTETO, fol­lowed by your ques­tion and name to 36489. Each SMS (160 char­ac­ters) costs R1.

Q HAIR LOSS IN WIN­TER

My hair falls out ev­ery win­ter and my scalp gets itchy. Is there any­thing I can do about this? ZINZI, SMS

A The cold win­ter cli­mate can dry out the skin and could be the rea­son for your itchy scalp. There are, how­ever, other things that could be linked to your hair loss, in­clud­ing cer­tain med­i­ca­tions, a lack of iron, un­di­ag­nosed skin con­di­tions, thy­roid prob­lems, crash di­et­ing and stress.

A more se­ri­ous form of hair loss is known as alope­cia. Peo­ple with this au­toim­mune con­di­tion lose their hair be­cause their im­mune sys­tem at­tacks their own hair fol­li­cles.

Ex­perts are not sure why this hap­pens, but it is usu­ally not per­ma­nent.

For starters, I’d sug­gest you talk to your phar­ma­cist, as var­i­ous scalp-treat­ment creams and sprays can be help­ful. If this doesn’t work, you might need to see a skin spe­cial­ist (a der­ma­tol­o­gist), who will get to the root of the prob­lem and find the right treat­ment.

Q RUMBLY TUMMY IS­SUES

I have a prob­lem with a noisy stom­ach, and get em­bar­rassed when it grum­bles when I’m around other peo­ple. Please help – I don’t know what to do. SINDI, E-MAIL

A It may be a bit em­bar­rass­ing but a noisy stom­ach is not un­usual. Our bod­ies make noises all the time, and th­ese sounds are prob­a­bly re­lated to the move­ment of food and air through your in­testines – which is per­fectly nor­mal and healthy.

Af­ter you have eaten, your stom­ach may grum­ble or growl as your muscles con­tract and re­lax to mix up your food so that it can be di­gested. The noises can be worse if you’ve eaten food that doesn’t di­gest eas­ily.

If loud noises also come with other symp­toms – like cramp­ing, nau­sea or vom­it­ing – there might be a big­ger prob­lem. Go and see a doc­tor if this is the case.

Other­wise try to avoid fizzy drinks that can cause a build-up of gas in your in­testines, and take a walk af­ter eat­ing to help di­ges­tion.

Q AM I AT RISK OF GET­TING CANCER OR DI­A­BETES?

My dad died of gas­tric cancer and my mother’s di­a­betes was only dis­cov­ered a week be­fore she passed away. Is my risk for de­vel­op­ing ei­ther of th­ese con­di­tions high? KABELO, E-MAIL

A Yes it is, as ge­net­ics and fam­ily history play a large role when it comes to one’s health is­sues. Now that you know your risk for de­vel­op­ing th­ese con­di­tions, you are in a good po­si­tion to do some­thing about them.

Tell your doc­tor about your mother and fa­ther and go for yearly screen­ings. Al­though cancer or di­a­betes might come from your fam­ily, they are also re­lated to your life­style. Again, this is some­thing you have some con­trol over.

Q MY VAGINA SMELLS

I’m 20 and have re­cently no­ticed that my vagina has an un­pleas­ant fishy smell when­ever I have sex with my boyfriend. What can I do to make it go away? ANONY­MOUS, SMS

A There are many causes for a smelly dis­charge, but in most cases it’s linked to a sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­ease (STD) known as tri­chomo­ni­a­sis. If this is the case, you and your part­ner should be treated with pre­scrip­tion an­tibi­otics.

Visit your doc­tor as soon as pos­si­ble, as leav­ing this con­di­tion un­treated could lead to other com­pli­ca­tions and in­fec­tions.

For more in­for­ma­tion on STDs, call Marie Stopes Clinic on 0800-117-785.

Q HELP FOR HEAD LICE

My child was sent home from school be­cause of head lice and I was told not to send her back un­less she’s been given the all-clear.

What is a good treat­ment for lice that is not harm­ful to the skin? And how do I pre­vent my child from get­ting lice again? ANDILE, E-MAIL

A Head lice are very com­mon, es­pe­cially in schools where kids play in close con­tact with each other. They can be white, brown or dark grey, and al­though they are small you can usu­ally see them. Nits are the eggs laid by lice, and they may look like lit­tle specks of skin, but they won’t move eas­ily when you try to slide them off the hair.

Var­i­ous over-the-counter treat­ments are avail­able at your lo­cal phar­macy. They usu­ally con­sist of a spe­cial sham­poo and a fine-toothed comb.

Fol­low the in­struc­tions care­fully. You might find a sec­ond treat­ment is nec­es­sary a few days later. Treat­ing cloth­ing and bed­ding can also help pre­vent lice from re­turn­ing.

Head lice are not dan­ger­ous, but it’s best to treat your child as soon as pos­si­ble to pre­vent the lice from spread­ing to oth­ers.

‘Al­though cancer or di­a­betes might come from your fam­ily, they are also re­lated to your life­style’

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