YOUR HEALTH ADVICE FROM GP DR ROSEMARY LEONARD
GOT A MEDICAL PROBLEM OR NEED HEALTH ADVICE? ASK GP DR ROSEMARY LEONARD this month… itChY sKin BLADDER PRoBLEms • CPR • moRninG AFtER PiLLs • GP onLinE
my skin constantly feels itchy, especially my back, though I don’t have a rash. a friend suggested hydrocortisone cream, which did help, but I can’t use this all the time. any other suggestions?
IN MY EXPERIENCE, CONSTANTLY ITCHY SKIN IS MOST COMMONLY CAUSED BY AN UNDERLYING SLIGHTLY DRY SKIN BEING IRRITATED BY PERFUMES OR CHEMICALS IN WASHING PRODUCTS. ENZYMES FOUND IN BIOLOGICAL DETERGENTS ARE OFTEN TO BLAME, SO SWITCH TO A NON-BIOLOGICAL ONE (IT DOESN’T MATTER WHETHER IT’S POWDER OR LIQUID), WITH NO ADDED PERFUME. SIMILARLY, IF YOU USE A FABRIC CONDITIONER, MAKE SURE IT’S SUITABLE FOR SENSITIVE SKIN. BATHE WITH A CREAM WASH DESIGNED FOR SENSITIVE SKIN, AND TRY TO AVOID BARS OF SOAP, WHICH CAN BE DRYING. I HAVE RECENTLY SEEN SEVERAL NASTY RED IRRITATED AREAS ON BACKS CAUSED BY BRA LABELS. CUT THEM OFF, AS CLOSE TO THE FABRIC AS YOU CAN, SO
THE REMNANTS DON’T SCRATCH EITHER!
I’m in my early forties and recently I’ve noticed I have to go to the loo quite frequently, often with little warning, and have had a couple of accidents when I haven’t quite made it. I’ve tried doing pelvic floor exercises, but they haven’t helped. What else can I do?
THOUGH OCCASIONALLY THESE SYMPTOMS ARE CAUSED BY A URINE INFECTION, IT’S MORE LIKELY TO BE “URGE INCONTINENCE”. THIS IS CAUSED BY OVER-ACTIVE BLADDER MUSCLES, WHICH START CONTRACTING WHEN THE BLADDER ONLY CONTAINS A SMALL AMOUNT OF URINE, CAUSING A SUDDEN, DESPERATE NEED TO PEE. IT’S MORE COMMON AFTER THE MENOPAUSE, WHEN THE GENITAL TISSUES BECOME MORE DRY. DRUGS THAT RELAX THE BLADDER MUSCLE, SUCH AS OXYBUTYNIN OR TOLTERODINE (ONLY AVAILABLE ON PRESCRIPTION) CAN MAKE A
BIG DIFFERENCE, AS CAN “TRAINING” YOUR BLADDER TO GRADUALLY HOLD MORE URINE.