Health & Wellness

Ask This Doc: Q & A

Have you been wondering about anything?

Perhaps you have read something health-related on the internet but are not sure of its accuracy and would like the opinion of an impartial doctor…

Perhaps you just have a general question about how to improve your health…

I have noticed that many people have unanswered questions when it comes to health-related issues. Therefore, if you think I can help, I encourage you to ask them (of course this is not to replace your personal doctor’s advice, but just to offer you another source of information).

You are welcome to leave your question in the comment section or submit it to me directly.ย 

With love,
Phoebe

โ€ข ย  ย  ย โ€ข ย  ย  ย โ€ข

ย *Remember, any information provided through this blog is solely for educational purposes and is not intended to be used in place of medical advice. Always consult your trusted health care provider before starting or changing any medications/supplements, diet, and exercise regimens. ย 

73 replies »

    • Hi there!

      Yes, there are several ways to minimize dry mouth. This is important because anything that decreases saliva flow can put you at risk for tooth decay. Fortunately there are many effective as well as natural ways to improve this. Here are some:

      For moderate to severe dry mouth:
      – There are many over the counter “saliva substitutes” (such as Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Spray or Biotene Oral Balance) and products containing “carboxymethylcellulose” that are very effective and safe. You can find these at any drug store. If you have trouble finding them, simply ask a pharmacist, and they will help find one that works for you.

      Other tips for milder symptoms:
      – Sip water throughout the day
      – Suck on sugar-free hard candies or sugarless gum, which will help improve saliva flow.
      – Avoid mouthwash that contain alcohol or peroxide, as these ingredients will further dry out your mouth
      – Limit caffeine intake
      – Try not to breathe through your mouth
      – Use a room humidifier to moisten the air.

      Hope this helps!

      Like

    • Hi Tink,

      For osteoporosis, the recommended dose of calcium is 1200mg with 800IU of vitamin D3.

      Since it sounds like you are already taking more than that, I would advise you to continue on your current dose without increasing. Make sure not to take more than 4000IU total of vitamin D daily (unless instructed by your doctor) as this increases your risk of vitamin D toxicity.

      However, vitamin D and calcium alone are not sufficient treatments for severe osteoporosis, which usually requires a bone-forming prescription medication. Has your doctor discussed that with you?

      Like

        • I understand. I think it would be very helpful if you asked your oncologist directly regarding your concerns. If you know the medication names, you could first look them up (or ask me) and then write down specific questions to discuss with your doctor. There is a wide range of treatments for osteoporosis, and depending on your medical history, there may be one that’s best for you.

          I hope this helps. Wishing you the best. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi, me again!
    I know a fair amount of women, especially in the 55+ group, who have decided that they don’t need to go get their annual gyn exam and mammogram. Some have had hysterectomies, so say there’s nothing to check; others say that the risk of cancer from the radiation is greater than the likelihood that they have cance.
    So then, what is your advice to “older” women? How often do they need their exams and mammograms?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there!

      You bring up a very important topic, as many women often wonder the same thing. To answer your question I will address each test separately:

      PAP SMEARS (Cervical cancer screening):
      – If you are YOUNGER THAN 65: Please continue to get cervical cancer screening when your doctor asks you to. Usually this is every 3 or 5 years (depending on what tests were done and what the results were).
      – If you are 65 AND OLDER and your recent pap smears were normal: You can stop!

      -If you have had a TOTAL hysterectomy for noncancer reasons: No more paps needed!
      -If you have had a total hysterectomy for a cancerous or precancerous condition: Still need pap smears (they check vaginal wall cells for abnormalities)
      -If you have had a PARTIAL hysterectomy: Still need paps (per above)

      MAMMOGRAMS:
      – If you are 55 AND OLDER: I definitely still recommend getting them, but you can space them out to every 2 years.
      – When to stop: Some physicians recommend getting mammograms for as long as you are healthy enough to have a life expectancy of at least 10 years. Some say it's okay to stop when you're 75 years old.
      – As for the dose of radiation exposure from a mammogram: it is very minimal, so I would not use that as a reason to not get one.

      So to sum up what is a rather complicated issue: I would encourage any woman in the 55+ age group to ask their doctors directly about what they recommend given her specific medical history, and if you have concerns or reservations…let them know! That's what they are there for.

      I hope this helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so glad you are answering all of these questions! I just started taking iron pills (1 per day) about 2 weeks ago. I’m anemic. How will I be able to tell if they are actually working? What should I be looking for? Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • You asked a great question. On average, if a person’s anemia is severe enough that they were having symptoms (fatigue, weakness, headaches, shortness of breath with mild exercise), they usually will notice some improvement in their symptoms within the first week (it would be longer for you since you are on a low dose). If you only had mild or no symptoms to begin with, you might not notice a drastic change in the way you feel, but you can trust that it is definitely working to replenish your body’s iron stores.

      A couple of important things to keep in mind:
      – You are on a pretty small dose of iron. Many times people are prescribed 3 doses a day. Either way is fine, but just note that for you it will take longer to “take effect.”
      – It takes about 2 months on average for your anemia to go away, but it can take up to 6 months for your body’s iron stores to be completely replenished. Therefore, don’t stop taking it until your doctor tells you to.
      – For best absorption, take the iron pill on an empty stomach and with some source of Vitamin C (orange juice or Vitamin C supplement)
      – If you cannot take it on an empty stomach (due to nausea/upset stomach), make sure not to take antacids (like Tums) or drink milk beforehand, as these will prevent absorption of iron.

      I hope this helps. Take care! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  3. O.k. to get past the corney joke, “Hey doc it hurts when I do this…”
    Doc- “Don’t do that…”
    Seriously though it’s really nice of you to offer advice, I am wondering something. I have a bulging disk in my low back that I take care of through stretching and yoga and I usually don’t have problems with it. Well if flared up after some tennis in the cold (well Texas cold 45 degrees) and now about 4 weeks later its still causing spasms in my low back. But normally it would be bilateral, this time it’s mostly on the right side and the spasms actually go all the way to my abdominal muscles and make me feel a little nauseous also. I do have an appointment next week but I just worry about it hurting only on one side. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lol at the joke (although I wouldn’t have been that mean) ๐Ÿ™‚

      If you previously were told that you had a bulging disk, the change/worsening in symptoms could be caused by disk herniation (when a small crack forms in the outer layer of cartilage, allowing the central portion to protrude out).

      When a disk becomes herniated, it can impinge the nerves supplying your abdominal muscles and organs, and as a result cause abdominal cramps, nausea, or even loss of bladder or bowel control. And yes, the pain can be unilateral.

      It is good that you have an appointment soon. I would just caution that if your symptoms become unbearable or you develop a fever that you go to a doctor immediately instead of waiting.

      I hope this helps!

      Liked by 2 people

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