Is my mouth problem caused by an allergy and when will my period come back? dr Zoe Williams answers your health questions
AFTER eating all those Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns over the weekend, you might be feeling a little more off balance than usual.
We all overeat at times, but you can feel tired, bloated and with blood sugar levels going haywire.
You might also have a sore head after the holiday celebrations.
To feel normal again, eat lots of fruits and dark green leafy vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and make sure you drink enough fluids, especially if you are heavily intoxicated.
Exercise can help fight a hangover, get your blood pumping, and get your digestive system back on track as well.
You might want to spend the rest of the Easter holidays on the sofa, but try to be on the go – honestly, it’ll really give you a boost.
Here are some of the questions readers have asked me this week. . .
Q) MY husband has Parkinson’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asbestosis.
He suffers from severe constipation that lasts four to five days, followed by two days of diarrhea – for both of which he has tried many of the recommended medications.
It makes him very depressed as nothing seems to help and the problem never seems to end.
Can you please give some advice?
a) Constipation is a very common complication of Parkinson’s disease, so many people who have the disease notice difficulty with constipation before noticing any movement symptoms, such as tremors or stiffness.
Constipation can usually be relieved with a combination of lifestyle changes, such as such as adding extra fiber and fluids to your diet, and medical treatments.
There are many different laxatives that work in different ways. Some stimulate the bowel, others soften the stool, while others add bulk to the stool.
Finding the right laxative treatment for the individual is sometimes difficult, and bouts of diarrhea can be a side effect of the laxatives.
My advice would be to bring in the specialist nurse who will work with the hospital team taking care of your husband.
You will have a lot of experience in supporting patients with this.
While in your husband’s case Parkinson’s is likely to blame, it’s important to remind you – and all readers – that changes in bowel habits, for which there is no good explanation, should always be checked out if they could be symptoms of colon cancer.
Talk to a GP if you notice changes in your usual bowel habits and they last for three weeks or more.
Changes to look out for include abdominal discomfort, blood in your stools, diarrhea or constipation for no apparent reason, feeling like you haven’t completely emptied your bowels after using the toilet, pain in your stomach or buttocks (anus), or if your Feces look loose, pale, or greasy.
Q) THE lining (lining) of my mouth is slightly “swollen” when I touch it with my tongue.
This can cause breathing problems, especially in the mornings when my voice is hoarse for some time.
I lost my only sister to sinus cancer. How much does the mucous membrane affect a person?
My bowel movements happen more than once a day, is that related?
Could it be another allergy as I already have some?
a) The oral mucosa is the moist membrane that covers the inside of the mouth.
It extends from the moist inner surface of the lips to the pharynx, part of the throat behind the mouth.
The oral mucosa protects the underlying tissue and is involved in the production of saliva.
Stomatitis is the medical name for inflammation of the lining of the mouth and can be caused by ulcers, cold sores, biting or grasping the inside of your mouth with your teeth, burning your mouth from hot food, gum disease or inflammation of the gums, allergies, or medications.
One of the most common causes I see in practice is oral thrush infection.
Thrush can also infect your throat, adding hoarseness to the voice and difficulty swallowing.
If you think you might have this, it’s easily treated with an oral treatment called nystatin, which can be bought at the pharmacy.
It’s important for me to mention that hoarseness of voice is something that pricks a family doctor’s ears.
That’s because if it lasts for more than two weeks with no apparent cause, testing for breast and throat cancer becomes necessary.
What is reassuring about you is that your hoarseness is only in the morning, so that is more in line with an inflammation in the area of the vocal cords.
They also mention bowel movements and this may or may not be related.
In isolation, I wouldn’t worry about having a bowel movement more than once a day as long as it’s normal.
If your bowel movements have changed at all and the change lasts longer than three weeks, it is worth making an appointment with your GP – see question 1 above.
It’s possible that an allergy is the cause, so keeping a food and symptom diary would be the first thing you should implement to figure out what the allergy might be.
And another note on oral hygiene – are you brushing your teeth properly, twice a day, using interdental spaces and mouthwash?
Bacteria or gum disease can cause swelling.
If it does not improve despite the above things, then please make an appointment with your GP, especially if the hoarse voice persists.
Interruption of periods due to childbirth
Q) MY period has not returned eight months after giving birth. What’s up?
a) It’s perfectly normal not to get your period while breastfeeding, so please don’t worry if you’re still breastfeeding your little one day and night.
The hormone prolactin, which causes you to produce milk, also prevents ovulation and periods.
If you stop breastfeeding, your period should come back in about 12 months.
If you’re not breastfeeding, your period should have returned by now – it can return as early as four weeks after giving birth and usually within the first three months.
So if you are not breastfeeding please make an appointment with your GP or a general practitioner who can advise you and run some tests to help you understand what is going on.
There are many possible causes ranging from stress and illness to hormonal imbalances like polycystic ovary syndrome and of course pregnancy.