Some Health Quaries & Answers

Do sperm killers work?
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Q: My wife has heard about “Today”. It seems an ideal contraceptive since you only have to insert it before intercourse. How effective is it?

A: The manufacturers of Today claim 89 to 91 per cent efficiency, if used correctly. It is a spermicide — that is, it kills any sperm that comes into contact with it. It has to be inserted prior to intercourse and left inside for a minimum of six hours. Independent consumer surveys have placed the efficiency at around 65 per cent. The effectiveness increases to 99 per cent if used with condoms.

Invasive thymoma
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Q: I had a cough. When a chest X-ray was taken, I was found to have “invasive thymoma”. What is that?

A: The thymus is a gland situated in front of the chest. It usually involutes and disappears after puberty. However, it can persist and grow, forming a “thymoma”. This can present at any age but is commoner after the age of 50. It causes no symptoms in a third of the people (as in your case) and is picked up only during a routine X-ray. As it is situated close to the heart, lungs and large blood vessels in the chest, it can penetrate and invade these structures forming an “invasive thymoma”.Treatment involves surgery radiation and chemotherapy. Take your doctor’s advice and go to a tertiary care hospital that specialises in cancer treatment.

Gay matter
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Q: My cousin is a homosexual. Is there any medication that can be given to him?

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A: The reason for sexual orientation is still tentative and not proven. It is probably the result of a combination of genetic, hormonal and environmental factors. There have been some articles recently in biology journals speculating that sexual orientation depends on whether the person has a preponderance of male or female receptor pheromones. This is genetic. Sexual orientation is established in early childhood. This gives credence to the genetic theory. There is no scientific evidence that abnormal parenting, sexual abuse or other adverse life event influences sexual orientation. Being “gay” is not due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. There is no medication to change it.

Always tearful…click & see
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Q: My mother has tears rolling out of her left eye all the time. Please help.

A: There is a small opening in the lower eye lid near the bridge of the nose which leads into the lachrymal (tear) duct and also opens into the nose. The opening near the eye lid seems to have become blocked . This is commoner in women after menopause and can occur for a variety of reasons. An ophthalmologist can determine if it is due to an infection or if debris has blocked it. Medical treatment for the infection involves massage, drops and ointments. If these do not work, surgery may be required.

Lump near genitalia
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Q: I have a lump on the right side of my penis. It hurts when I stand up but I cannot feel it when I lie down….click & see

A: It sounds like you have inguinal hernia. Since it disappears when you lie down, it means the hernia is still reducible and has not become obstructed. You need to see a surgeon to have it corrected. It is not a tumour or cancer.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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