From tackling a weak stomach to Type 2 diabetes and thrush

FROM diabetes to tummy troubles, we’ve all been there.

But if you’re struggling with a niggling health problem and can’t seem to see your GP, I’m here to help.


Dr Zoe is here to answer your questions every week, from niggling pains to worries you have about your kids and loved onesCredit: Olivia West

No issue is too embarrassing, no ache or pain too small.

So, get in touch and email me any health questions and I will do my best to answer them in my weekly column.

Q: AM a 78-year-old man and for the last 50 years I have suffered from diarrhea and a weak stomach. I would like your advice on how to tackle it.

A: This sounds as though it’s a very long-standing, chronic condition and I would expect that you’ve probably had lots of tests and investigations done by your GP and likely by hospital specialists in the past.

If you haven’t, that’s the first port of call to speak to your GP so you can be referred for tests.

I’d be interested to know if you’ve had a diagnosis made of IBS, but assuming anything serious has been ruled out, and assuming you have tried a number of treatments that have not worked, one area to explore that you may not have considered would be talking therapies.

Talking therapies, specifically CBT, can be an effective way of managing debilitating symptoms like this. They aren’t only used for helping with emotional problems.
It can sometimes reduce symptoms, but more often can reduce the amount of impact those symptoms have on your life which means that your quality of life, while living with the symptoms, is improved.

Q: I HAVE Type 2 diabetes and keep getting thrush. It clears up then comes back a week or two later. please help

A: Yeast infections such as thrush are particularly common with diabetes because the sugar which is in the blood, and also in the sweat saliva and urine, helps candida to grow.

The better your diabetes control, the less the likelihood of getting yeast infections.

However, it is important to treat thrush when it occurs.

There are a number of ways you can do this.

Creams and pessaries, which are available over the counter, are usually considered first, but if you are getting recurrent issues it would be worth seeing if a course of oral antifungal medication can be prescribed by your GP.

These medicines have lots of interactions with other drugs and cannot be used in pregnancy, so it’s not always straightforward.

If you’re still not getting anywhere it would be a good idea to see the nurse who can take vaginal swabs, which can be sent to the laboratory to check for any resistant types of candida and the treatment can be guided from there.

Q: I FEEL like I’m bothering my doctor when I visit. They don’t even look up from the computer to see me.

A: Sorry that this has been your experience and please don’t think that you are bothering your doctor.

It really isn’t about you and much more likely to be about them.

Remember this has been a really difficult couple of years for anyone working in health care and GPs are under a lot of pressure at the moment.

Sometimes even for the most caring and kind doctor it can all get a little bit too much.

Doctors are human beings too. Sometimes we might face multiple patients in a row who are upset, depressed or angry and if you put yourself in that position how much could you take before your head would drop.

However, having said that your issue and your appointment is important and warrants full attention so my advice would be if you’ve had a negative experience to rebook another appointment, and if you’re having the experience repeatedly that’s not OK.

Remember you are always well within your rights to ask to see another GP or register with another practice

Q: SHOULD I have a regular mole MoT with my GP? I have more than 100 moles on my body.

A: Mole MOTs, or mole mapping is unfortunately not something that is routinely available across the NHS.

But I would like to highlight that people can get a suspicious mole looked at free of charge through the NHS.

Patients concerned about a mole should, therefore, seek advice from their GP and ask for a referral to a dermatologist if there is concern, all of which can be done free on the NHS.

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