A: Spot reduction of a paunch alone is not possible. You have to attempt all-round weight reduction and toning exercises. This can be done with a judicious combination of diet and exercise. Either alone will work only in the short term.
Men tend to accumulate weight around their middle. It will probably be the first place you gain weight and the last place you lose it. The risk factors associated with a paunch are diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. In men the risk increases once the waist measurement crosses 102 cm.
Q: My eight-year-old son has frequent attacks of tonsillitis when the weather changes or if he drinks or eats refrigerated things. The doctor says I should wait and not have them operated. Is that correct?
A: Years ago many children had their tonsils removed as they were considered a useless troublesome organ. Today, we know that the tonsils filter out harmful viruses and bacteria and prevent them from entering the body and causing disease. Surgery is seldom necessary. It is recommended if there are seven or more episodes of tonsillitis in one year, the swollen tonsils interfere with breathing or swallowing, or an abscess develops in the tonsils.
Infection occurs with bacteria and viruses. These are usually spread with close contact. The number of infections increases when the child starts school. The refrigerator probably has little to do with the frequent attacks.
The tonsils tend to decrease in size as the child grows older. Waiting and watching instead of rushing into surgery seems like a sensible option. Your doctor is right.
Q: We are a newly married couple and do not want children. My wife dislikes condoms and refuses to take the pill. My friend advised natural family planning and the safe days. I was too embarrassed to find out the details. How do we go about it?
A: First, you have to calculate the length of your wife’s menstrual cycle. This can vary in different women and can be anywhere from 26 to 45 days. The first day of bleeding is taken as day one.
Pregnancy occurs if there is sexual intercourse around the time the egg is released. This is usually 14 days before the next period starts. The safe period is thus seven days before and seven days after menstruation. It is not a very reliable method though.
Some couples practice coitus interruptus. In this method, ejaculation takes place outside the vagina.
Medication and sterility
Q: My wife and I have been trying to have a baby for the last 20 years. She is now nearing 40. She has had two miscarriages in the past. I was given methotrexate on and off for my medical condition of psoariasis. I now think this may be the cause of our problem.
A: Gonadotoxins are substances that interfere with sperm formation and quality. They may be chemicals, medication (both prescription and non-prescription), tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs. The severity and reversibility of the problem depend on the duration and amount of exposure. Methotrexate is one of the medicines that can do this if taken long term.
Consult a reproductive medicine unit in a hospital near you. They will be able to work with your physician to determine the best course of action.
Q: I am preparing very hard for my exams. My marks used to be very good. Now the more I study the less I remember. My marks are decreasing. All these late nights are making me irritable.
A: Sleep deprivation leads to memory loss, irritability and a decline in reasoning. All the three would work against good academic performance.
Most people need around eight hours of sleep a day. Your brain automatically knows how tired you are. If you are consistently using an alarm clock to wake up, it means that you are forcing your brain to function when it is not ready. This decreases efficiency and impairs memory.
Perhaps your marks will be better if you put in 30 minutes of physical activity a day and also got rid of your alarm clock.
Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)