Lifestyle

From HPV cells to hot flashes – Dr. Zoe answers your health questions

It’s been a few months since I first asked you to submit your burning health questions. During that time, I’ve been inundated with questions about a whole host of different aches, lumps, bumps, and worrisome little things.

Let her come! If you’ve been putting off seeing your doctor about something that’s bothering you or you’re worried about a loved one, I want to hear from you.

dr Zoe is here every week to answer your questions, from nagging pains to worries you have for your children and loved ones

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dr Zoe is here every week to answer your questions, from nagging pains to worries you have for your children and loved onesCredit: Olivia West

And if you’ve already submitted a question, keep an eye out, I’ll answer as many as I can. Here are this week’s…

Q) The MY swab test results showed a high level of severe abnormal HPV cells. How likely is it to have cervical cancer?

A) First, it’s worth noting that HPV, or human papillomavirus, is very common and most of us will get infected with it at some point in our lives. Our body usually gets rid of it on its own, but not in all cases.

If a cervical screening test is positive for HPV, the cells brushed from your cervix during the test are evaluated. If they are normal or even slightly abnormal, it often means nothing needs to be done except monitor.

In your case, these show serious abnormalities, but this does not immediately mean cervical cancer. You’re already on your way to a procedure called a colposcopy — which examines your cervix closely and then makes a decision about treatment.

This may consist of a biopsy, laser or cold coagulation of cells, or freezing. This is to prevent them from becoming cancerous in the future.

Her case shows exactly why cervical cancer screening is so important to preventing cancer before it starts and why it is important that none of us ignore invitations to be screened when invited.

Q) I’m 73 and still seem to have hot flashes, mostly at night. It’s pretty much every night. When will they stop?

A) For most women, hot flashes associated with menopause last between six months and two years.

For some they can last ten years and for a very small minority they do not go away. But the good news is there are strategies and treatments in the NHS that can help.

Despite what many think, HRT can sometimes be appropriate for women in their 70s, but your GP will best help you weigh the risks and benefits. There are also herbal treatments that can help and prescribed medications.

You’ll need to see your GP to rule out other causes, but when you call to make an appointment, ask for a doctor specializing in menopause if one is available.

Q) HOW do I get rid of stretch marks on my 15 year old daughter’s back?

A) Stretch marks are very common in teenage years. I’ve had a few around that age and they’ve almost completely faded. They are harmless and become less visible over time and can be the result of a rapid growth spurt or puberty.

There are creams and lotions you can buy to reduce the appearance of stretch marks but be careful if they are expensive as there is not good evidence that they work well. There is evidence that an acne treatment called tretinoin helps.

There are also laser treatments and microdermabrasion that might help, but neither are available on the NHS as these are cosmetic procedures and they don’t come cheap.

It is important to do your research and find a good practitioner if this is the path you decide to take.

Q) HOW can I improve or get rid of jumping legs?

A) They twitch so much in the evening and at night. Restless Legs Syndrome is what you describe and doctors don’t quite understand what causes it.

The main symptom is usually an overwhelming urge to move your legs, especially at night, but it can also cause involuntary twitching of the legs and arms known as periodic limb movements during sleep.

This can disrupt sleep and affect your quality of life and mental health. It is quite common in the last weeks of pregnancy.

Speak to your GP who can rule out conditions such as anemia that may be causing this and should also test your blood salt levels as it could make it worse.

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Sometimes medication can be prescribed to relieve this symptom. In severe cases where quality of life is affected, talking therapies such as CBT can also help.

There is also a charity, RLS-UK (rls-uk.org), which contains numerous online resources and advice.

https://www.thesun.ie/health/8536076/hpv-hot-flushes-dr-zoe-williams/ From HPV cells to hot flashes – Dr. Zoe answers your health questions

Fry Electronics Team

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