Questions from Readers

small logo
What causes bad breath?

Halitosis (bad breath) can be due to various causes. The most common is poor dental hygiene. When we eat, food is trapped in between our teeth. Those who do not floss, or worse yet, those who do not brush their teeth after each meal, allow the food between the teeth to decompose into rotten meat, which causes foul breath. Neglected dental plaques around the teeth also stink. Tooth decay or infection of the gums, mouth or throat, can also cause halitosis. Eating red meat and gastro-esophageal reflux are other contributing factors. Ketosis from not eating could likewise cause bad breath.

What is the best way to prevent halitosis?

Regular dental check-up every 6 months is essential. Dental flossing and brushing after each meal are a must. Gurgling with mouthwashes kills odor-causing bacteria in our mouth. Taking 'breath aid' pills, and chewing gums, are helpful but not substitutes to those four practices mentioned above. Maintaining a healthy dental state does not only give you a kissable mouth, but also prevents systemic infections.

What causes bleeding after sex?

Infection, which has led to cervical (mouth of womb) erosion, trauma during ex that caused abrasion or tear in the cervix are two most common causes. Hormonal imbalance can be a factor. The presence of cancer is another possible reason. Those who have bleeding after intercourse should see their gynecologist without delay.

Why do I develop skin rashes?

Obviously, you are allergic to something, either to food, medications, pollens, dust, etc., cosmetics, or any other things that you came in contact with. The best way to find out the cause is by elimination. Note down what you eat or drink or take, or apply to your body, and analyze when the rashes appear. If your detective work does not give you the answer, consult your physician or dermatologist.

I have high blood pressure. Can I still take aspirin?

Aspirin (81 mg, like Baby Aspirin) is widely recommended for people 35 and older as a mild blood thinner, to slow down hardening of the artery to prevent heart attack and stroke. So long as your blood pressure is well-controlled with medications under a physician care, and you do not have any contraindication like stomach ulcer or previous history of it, then 81 mg of aspirin used for the reason mentioned above is safe. As always, it is best to discuss this with your own physician who is fam iliar with your personal medical history.

I am 40 pounds over weight. Do I need Xenical?

Xenical (Orlistat) is a good medication but it must be used only as a last resort drug to control body weight. One simple and inexpensive method is to drink one or two tall glasses of ice cold water before each meal. This will "fool" the brain into "sensing" that the stomach is somewhat full. Cutting down on the calorie and fat intake is the safest and best way to reduce weight. Weigh yourself (naked) once a week to see if you are losing weight. If not, then cut down some more on your food intake. Staying away from snacks and soft drinks and beer will help a lot.

Does smoking reduce the chances of getting Alzheimer's?

Preliminary studies appear to show this, but the final verdict is not in yet. One thing that is a proven fact is that smoking causes cancers and it kills. Therefore, medically, no physician will prescribe smoking for the possibility that it could lower the incidence of Alzheimer's Disease. Forget it !

My urine is tea-colored. Why?

Drinking tea will not make your urine tea-colored. If it is tea- or coke-colored, then it means there is blood in your urine. The most common cause is cystitis (urinary bladder infection) which can be cured by medications. However, more serious medical condition must be ruled out. Seeing your physician is the prudent step to take in this situation.

I am 22 and have itching below but no drainage. What can it be?

Vaginal itch, with or without drainage, must be medically attended to. The most common cause is vaginosis, like infection with Trichomonas Vaginalis. Many times there are no symptoms at all, and the first sign could be from the male partner who complain of itchiness or irritation in his organ. If gynecologic consultation proves it to be Trichomonas Vaginalis, oral medications (Flagyl) will treat the condition. But all the sexual partners (as in any sexually-transmitted diseases) must likewise be medicated to eradicate the vicious cycle.

Can I get TB from kissing?

Yes, most definitely, if your partner has active pulmonary (lung) tuberculosis. One can be exposed to TB by airborne (inhaling the breath of a person with active TB) or physical contact (contaminated hands touching food or drink that is ingested, or sharing dining utensils, tooth brush, or by kissing, etc). So, if you are in doubt, make sure your partner seek medical care. And since you are exposed to him, you also need a check-up. The same precaution must be done on all close contacts of either of you.

Can bathing in a tub cause disease?

Yes, the reason why we recommend against bathing in public (hotel, motel, resort) tubs. Besides sexually transmitted diseases, bacterial, viral or fungal illnesses can also be caught by using contaminated bath tubs. The shower is safe, but make sure the soap or towel you use have not been used by others. If home tubs are not properly cleaned, the same problem, although much less likely, could arise.

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.