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Wed, 10th September 2014
 

Today it's for the ladies. Yes topics that some face regularly. Guys may read it too, in fact it may develop some chauvinistic empathy. I hope so. It also answers the common questions. Like, when can a girl fall pregnant? As soon as periods start, as this indicates ovulation. It may be anywhere from 11-15 years onwards. That's when special precautions are needed if playing around.

The Pill

When should the pill (or other contraceptive) be started? At the beginning of sexual activity, and continued until the menopause or sexual inactivity - mid forties on. How often is a smear test required? At the start of sexual activity, or around 20 and if clear each two or three years (some doctors say annually). What about heavy bleeding? Evaluation is needed, there are many causes from hormonal to growths, many (fortunately) non cancerous ones such as polyps and fibroids. Pelvic checks and ultrasound and intervention fix most. Irregular bleeding, prolonged and inter-menstrual also needs checking.

Pain

Pain with periods is common, reduces after childbirth, but if severe a few days after could be endometriosis which can be treated. Any bleeding after the menopause, or irregular bleeding around that age must be evaluated carefully, for cancer risks start then and escalate. Although smear tests help, they only check the cervix, not the inside part or ovaries, where symptoms maybe minimum but dangerous. Today we have the gear to investigate and intervene promptly.

Irritation

Irritation (outside and inside) must be checked, for many infections can occur, most of which are treatable and fixable. Unprotected sexual activity and multiple partners can lead to many issues and hidden risks. One stable partner is preferable. HIV, Hepatitis B and Wart (HPV) virus are preventable. Pre-menstrual tension (irritation a week before periods) is due to hormonal changes, often relieved by simple measures, but see the doctor. Period pain responds well to aspirin products and the NSAIDS (but take these minimally as they cause gastric irritation). Sexual feeling waxes and wanes, but usually peaks 14 days before the start of the next period, when of course pregnancy risk is maximum. Seek pelvic and breast evaluation regularly, with a mammogram annually if over 50 (some say 40).

 
DRYNESS AND SEX

Q: 

I find vaginal dryness makes sex often unattractive, or downright uncomfortable, but this message is hard to get over to my partner.

A: 

Is it time to change partners? Natural lubrication from the bartholin glands located at the vaginal entrance miraculously occur with gentle tactile sexual stimulation. That's their purpose, and they can work on tirelessly for many years and decades. However, gentle persuasion is essential to get the machinery working efficiently. This is the partners task, usually a happy one. Artificial lubricants such as KY Jelly and similar slippery creams are readily available. In some women, a short course of hormonal therapy is also helpful.

 
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VITAMIN D AND THE SKIN:

Q: 

We are told to have some sunshine to enhance vitamin D levels and make strong bones, but many seem to take supplemental capsules. Is this necessary.

A: 

With age, vitamin D production from sunshine gradually wanes, so an Ostelin capsules once or twice a day may be recommended. In younger years, regular intake of calcium is also essential, for the bones maximise their strength and density in the first twenty five years. Dairy products probably top the list, but ideally go for fat reduced lines. Small boned fish and almonds are also high in calcium.

 
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NON STOP TALK

Q: 

My mum never stops talking. I am the one remaining child at home, and I have this never ending barrage of stuff which often has little if any meaning to me.

A: 

Mum is probably lonely, and your company may be the highlight of the day. Try and be kind and understanding, for she was once young and probably in a similar position to you right now. Their last doctors visit, medication and food often become the highlight of life. Try and encourage more company for your mum, interaction with social groups, seniors clubs, church bodies, all of which are peopled by similar individuals, and all wanting to share their experiences, however boring they may seem. Life events and interests come in age waves.

 
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HAIRY ARMS

Q: 

My partner has very hairy arms, chest and back which I find quite off putting and sexually unattractive. He will not listen to my pleas.

A: 

Lucky you. This indicates high levels of male hormone testosterone circulating in his system, and I'll bet he is a tiger in the cot, if you give him the chance. Many women are attracted to maleness. But if not, it may be time to look elsewhere, and find a guy whose skin is smoothe and denuded of sexuality. Then you will write again with that complaint. What attracted you to this guy in the first place. He is probably good looking, tall, muscular and robust, all the attributes of masculinity and manliness.

 
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DESK AND ROOM RUBBISH

Q: 

My relatively new partner is continually telling me to clean up my desk and keep my room tidy. But I happen to enjoy the organised chaos, and have lived comfortably with it all my life, and do not wish to change now.

A: 

Everybody has a comfort zone, and comfort toys. Kids love dolls and teddies and their childish mayhem. Many stick with this feeling comfortable. Seeing everything clinically perfect may be a turnoff and making one feel inadequate and unclothed. A change in adult life is unlikely, and could lead to major challenges not far down the track. "I'll make him perfect once I get my claws into him" is the swan song of thousands of women in the past. Whether it be alcohol, tidiness, clothing, religion, money, friends, music or most other life issues.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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