Body & Fitness

What’s your problem: Recurring infections, pill paranoia, problematic periods

Dr Cameron Schauer answers your sensitive medical questions.
Dr Cameron Schauer answers your sensitive medical questions.

Recurring infections

Q. I get recurring bacterial infections in my vagina. What do you think could be causing this?

A. Often the type of bacteria is a clue as to the cause. With some infections, your sex partner will also need to be seen as it may be sexually transmitted.

Solution: A doctor can take swabs from this area to find out which bacteria it is. Other types of infection might be helped by using warm water and unscented, soap-free cleanser to wash your vulva (the area of skin around the outside of the vagina) and not using sprays, powders or scented bath products in this area.

Pill paranoia

Q. Can I still get pregnant if I use the morning-after pill, and is it safe?

A. The morning-after pill contains the same hormones found in birth control medication but in higher doses. Emergency contraception is very safe and you do not need a prescription.

Solution: You can take the morning-after pill at any time up to five days after unprotected sex, but it is most effective if taken within 24 hours. If taken four to five days after unprotected sex, you still have a 2-3 per cent chance of pregnancy.

Problematic periods

Q. Every month my period is really heavy. Could this be making me anaemic?

A. This is definitely one of the causes of anaemia. Symptoms of anaemia include feeling tired, having headaches and having trouble breathing with exercise. In a ‘normal’ period, bleeding lasts between four and eight days.

Solution: If you have to change a pad or tampon every one or two hours because it is completely soaked or you are passing large clumps of blood (called clots), you should see a doctor.

Shades of grey

Q. I’m in my early 20s but I have already started to find grey hairs. Is this normal?

A. Everyone is different and there is no ‘normal’ with changing hair colour.

Solution: There has been a study which found a link between premature grey hair and smoking, so give quitting a go if you are a smoker.

This content is not a substitute for personal medical advice, a diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health provider regarding a medical condition

Photos: Corbis, Getty Images and iStock.

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