Dear Doctor: I am in my mid 20s and have a three-year-old child. However, I am failing to conceive again. My boyfriend and I want another child so we stopped using family planning. Last month, at the time of going into my periods, I had little drops of light blood and thought I was pregnant. But this month, my periods have returned to normal yet I am experiencing all signs of pregnancy such as frequent urination, heartburn and back pain.
Dear Annet: What you call indicators of pregnancy can be caused by many conditions including stress and anxiety, resulting from taking long to get pregnant.
Sometimes such anxiety may be so severe that a woman may develop a false but fixed belief (which is not willful) that she at last is pregnant yet she is not. Then a condition of false pregnancy (pseudocyesis) is said to have occurred.
Family planning methods such as the use of depo-provera may delay one from getting pregnant (but not lead to infertility as many people believe) and a woman may also continue to experience side effects including that of irregular periods, long after the method has been discontinued.
You need to relax. A woman who has been pregnant before is more likely to get pregnant again especially if she stops being anxious.
Visit a gynaecologist to check if you may have another problem that is delaying the pregnancy.
Dear Doctor: Whenever I take a little wine, I become excited. Strangely, last week, when I went for a urine test, it was found that I had dead sperms. Is it true that because of this, I cannot have babies?
Dear Stanilus: Whereas urinary tract infection commonly causes penile pain (in the urethra), it is more likely that you could have strained while having sex. Appearance of sperms in urine could be a cause of this.
When a man is ejaculating, the route to the bladder is closed off so that semen (containing sperms) does not flow back towards the bladder and into the urine.
When a person has prostate problems, this process is incomplete with semen flowing back to the bladder and if none goes the normal way, a man may fail to make a woman pregnant.
However, the sperms can be recovered quickly from the urine and used to fertilise the woman.
A delay may lead to acidic urine killing the sperms, hence the likely cause of dead sperms in urine.
Prostate problems often occur with advance in age, and therefore increasing a man’s possibility of experiencing your type of condition.
Many times labs would like to check an early morning urine sample. Though one is told to first pass urine and collect the middle sample, many people collect the first passed urine resulting in it incidentally containing sperms recovered from the urethra (if a man ejaculated during the night) hence appearing as dead sperms due to the acidic urine or long stay in the urethra.
It is true however that some men may be found with all their sperms dead and these may never father children. In this case, a simple test called semen analysis can tell if such is the problem and if possible this may be rectified to improve fertility.
Dear Doctor: Whenever I shave beards, I develop pimple-like swellings which are painful. People have advised me to use Colgate toothpaste and when I do so, they disappear quickly. What else can I use to stop the swellings?
Dear Baranga: Unhygienic beard shaving practices or shaving close to the skin causes damage that can lead to infection of hair follicles with painful pimples.
Colgate toothpaste sometimes contains an antiseptic which may have helped heal your pimples. In many men with curly hair (kaweke) shaved hair grows back damaging skin and causing pimples (razor bumps).
Colgate is meant for the mouth not for the face.
Proper shaving hygiene, trimming beards instead of shaving close to the skin or use of proper shaving lotions or creams may help you better than the toothpaste.
Dear Doctor: Whenever I take alcohol and sleep with my husband, he complains that my private parts smell bad. What can I do?
Dear ABBA: A healthy vaginal canal is a dynamic environment composed of discharge that cleanses and wets the area and small organisms called normal flora. A healthy vagina has slightly sweet pungent or musky odour, and bad smell coupled with increased amounts or changes in colour of the discharge may indicate poor vaginal health.
That said, diet may determine or affect vaginal odour with strongly scented or spiced foods, coffee, onions and garlic likely to change the smell. Eliminating these foods and eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables might lead to a milder scent.
Consuming excessive meat, dairy and alcohol might change your vaginal scent either alone, or in combination.
I do not know whether your husband drinks alcohol as well, but people who do not drink detest the smell of alcohol emanating from a person who has drunk.
During sex, the pubis may sweat a lot resulting in the smell which may even be greater when it stays on the skin longer with bacteria having more time to break it up, leading to the odour.
Telling you about such smell may be one way your husband is dissuading you from drinking.
The best treatment for such condition is to deal with the cause. You should either avoid sex when you drink or avoid drinking completely. Eliminating strong scented foods such as meat and dairy and slowly adding them back one at a time to detect how each type of food affects the vaginal odour may be useful. Undergoing medical test to rule out other causes of the odour would be helpful as well.