10 embarrassing conditions


These illnesses may not all be life-threatening and most are not even serious, but some of the symptoms are hard to hide and can cause embarrassment in a social setting.

The good news: there is help for all of them – read what CyberDoc has to say about these embarrassing conditions.

1. Jock itch

I seem to have transferred a mild case of athletes' foot to my groin area and have been treating this with Caneston. It is two weeks since commencement of the treatment but although there is improvement, it has not improved very much. It has been suggested that I try another cream. Any suggestions?

Expert: I suggest that you consult your doctor to confirm that the rash is in fact due to a yeast infection – in which case, Diflucan 150mg tablet as a STAT dose will clear it up.

2. Piles

I have had piles for 14 years and I notice another one is busy developing. I am very constipated – today I went to the loo, but it is so hard for me.  Eventually some stools did come out but only a little at a time. Whenever I pass gas there is burning pain, and it also smells bad. I feel so uncomfortable at work. Please help me.

Expert: You will have to soften your stools by using two Softlax tablets at night, in combination with Solgar Multiple Fibre capsules (sold at health shops), two capsules, twice daily, as well as Laxette syrup, 20ml, twice daily for at least 7 days. You can use Schriproct suppositories and Proctocydil ointment for the treatment of your piles.

You can also consult a general surgeon for the removal of the piles, and to have a colonoscopy to find the cause for your chronic constipation.

3. Really smelly feet

My nephew is almost 16 and has been putting us in a coma with his smelly feet since he was a baby. He wears only leather shoes to school and does not wear his takkies everyday. At home he walks around barefoot mostly.

He unfortunately has the added problem that the foot powders and creams cause him to develop eczema on his feet. What could be the cause of his smelly problem and should his mother consult a doctor. He says he's fine with it but I can not see how you can like it if everybody including the pets leave the room when you take off your shoes.

Expert: Smelly feet are often caused by a combination of sweat and bacteria – so you can try soaking the feet in tea (tannin reduces sweat), using topical antibiotic like Eryderm (he may need a prescription), or using a strong antiperspirant on the feet like perspirex. He should spray all his shoes inside with surgical alcohol/spirits and put them out in the sun to dry and kill any bacterial growth in the shoes.

4. Halitosis (bad breath)

My daughter is 10 years old and has really smelly breath, especially when she wakes up. She always wakes up sneezing and has a large amount of clear mucus come from her nose. My GP says she doesn't have a sinus infection. She brushes her teeth twice a day and uses mouthwash. The children at school are teasing he, please help!

Expert: Bad breath can be caused by sinus infection, decaying teeth, lung conditions, bad digestion, chronic tonsillitis and gum disease. It can also be a sign of diseases like diabetes (smells like Acetone). Ask your doctor to look for the cause or to refer you to an ENT specialist. It may be necessary for a scan of the sinuses.

5. Genital warts?

I've noticed little multiple bumps (black in colour) on maybe 3 different parts of my penis. They look like little cauliflowers. The bumps don't hurt or itch and are not painful. They are very small. What do I do?

Expert: I suggest that you consult your doctor for an examination to have a clear diagnosis. It is possible that it is genital warts and they will be able to prescribe the correct treatment.

6. Body odour

I have a bad odour coming from my body (esp. armpits) and it is really foul. My question is: could it be lack of fluids that causes this? I also find that when I eat spicy foods and tomato its worse. Please help, what can I do to eliminate this? I don't drink a lot of water. I am female with average weight.

Expert: I strongly suggest that you consult a dermatologist for an examination, and blood tests to determine the cause of your problem and to have specific treatment prescribed.

7. Hair loss in women

I'm a lady in my mid-30's. Over the past six months I've noticed that my hair seems to be falling out more than usual when I wash/brush my hair. My hair has become a lot finer than it used to be and my scalp is more noticeable. I've tried the special shampoos which don't seem to work, so I think I should consult someone – who do I go to that specialises in this area?

Expert: I suggest that you consult a dermatologist for an examination and blood tests to determine the cause for your hair-loss, and to start treatment. To find dermatologists in your area, I suggest that you contact your nearest hospital for details.

8. Farting irritation

This is driving me crazy. I know that everyone passes gas, but this isn't me. I've been farting more than usual these days/weeks, I keep passing gas on farting practically every 3 minutes, but I try to hold it in. I've been worrying, getting stressed and anxious these days? Is that the reason?

Sometimes when I forget about the problem and relax, I stop passing gas so often, but when I start worrying about it, the problem gets worse. I had a GI Scope done which came out clean except for a lazy stomach valve and a full ultrasound on my abdomen and that came out clear. Please help me!

Expert: A cause of excessive flatulence can be due to a poor diet, low in fibre. Add fibre sachets or capsules to your diet, as this might alleviate your symptoms. It is very possible for anxiety to cause increased bowel movement with flatulence. You can ask your doctor for a product like Ativan SL, only to be used when you are really stressed and anxious.

9. Vaginal fistula

Please help me. I've had IBS for over 20 years – the diagnosis was confirmed last February when I had a colonoscopy. One of my biggest problems is bloating and gas. Earlier this year I had a strange sensation: when I had to withhold gas, for example, in company, it often escaped out of my vagina!!! When this happens, its passage out of the body and the force of it is completely beyond human control. From the Internet I have gathered that this could be a ''vaginal fistula''. Do you think so, and what will happen if it is? Sometimes my anus and that area around it (not the vagina, though) aches.

Expert: It is unfortunately possible that you have a vaginal fistula. You will have to consult your doctor as soon as possible. There are surgical procedures to correct the condition with great results.

10. Anal warts

I have an outbreak of anal warts. What topical medication can i use? Is there one that does not require a prescription? Thank you.

Expert: Anal warts need to be treated aggressively. Rather consult your doctor for an examination and treatment.


Piles and what to do about them

Quick home remedies for smelly feet

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