Clinical director of London Doctors Clinic, Dr Daniel Fenton, answers your questions. (www.londondoctorsclinic.co.uk)
Q I’ve noticed my husband, who is 52, has become really forgetful. He struggles with words, including our kids’ names. It doesn’t happen all the time – should I be worried? Marie, Southampton A It sounds like your husband’s symptoms may be a bit more than simple forgetfulness. When memory becomes an issue and interferes with day to day function , it is time to have a formal memory test. I would recommend that your husband see his GP. They will often complete a series of questions, testing memory & recall, which help to provide a more objective measure of how good or bad the memory is. It would also be helpful if you went with him, as you can provide some info that will help the doctor gain a better idea of his memory problems.
A wee problem
Q Since having my baby a year ago, I’ve struggled with incontinence. I’ve been doing exercises but it’s not improved. Will it ever stop? Donna, Leeds A Incontinence after pregnancy is common. Pelvic floor muscle exercise is key to regaining full control of the bladder and bowel function. The exercises generally consist of long and short ‘squeezes’.
When the exercises have failed to help, it is definitely worth seeing a women’s health physiotherapist for some extra advice and seeing a urogynaecologist to advise on other treatment options. There are lots of helpful treatments, including vaginal cones , biofeedback, electrical stimulation, medication and surgery if necessary.
Q I’ve been feeling so tired lately and I’ve been putting weight on. My doctor thinks it could be thyroid related. What does this mean? Karen, Oxford A Your thyroid produces hormones that regulate how quickly the body burns energy. When the thyroid is underactive, everything slows down and as a result, you can feel tired. If you are burning less energy, you are likely to notice weight gain. Having an underactive thyroid can be easily treated with medication. Levothyroxine tablets help to replace the low thyroid hormone levels which will help to lift your energy levels and help regulate weight. Before any medications can be started, the diagnosis must be confirmed by a simple thyroid blood test. If this is normal, we explore other causes of tiredness including low iron levels , low B12 & Folic acid, or low vitamin D levels.