DOCTOR'S ADVICE: How can she lose weight?

Published: Sunday | May 3, 2009

More women need to practice self-examination

Q Doctor is it true that there is some kind of pill or medicine that can make someone lose weight?

I have been struggling with my weight for years and my doctor says that I am overweight.

But a friend told me that it is possible to take a tablet that makes you pass more fat in the bowel motions, so that less fat goes into your body. Is this true?

A In general, people who are overweight need to concentrate on eating less and also on getting some exercise. This is because exercise burns the excess fat in the body.

Has your doctor given you a diet sheet showing what you should eat? If not, there are many such diet plans available on the Internet. The trick is to go for a low-fat diet - because fatty foods contain far more calories than any other type of food.

I think you should also ask the doctor for some sort of 'exercise plan'. For instance, this might specify 30 minutes jogging every day, and 30 minutes working out in a gym. Of course, the plan would depend on what exercise facilities are available in your neighbourhood.

However, what you want to know is whether it can all be done by tablets! It would be really nice if this were true. All we would need to do is to take a tablet every day, and that would keep us slim.

Unfortunately, in the real world, there are NO really effective 'make-me-thin' pills. Nevertheless, there is just a hint of truth in what your friend has told you.

You see, for people who are morbidly obese, doctors are usually willing to prescribe medication which helps prevent the fat from food you eat from being absorbed into the body.

However the ideal way to lose weight is through diet and exercise, not using pills.

Q I have read your comments about 'tightening up' the vagina, in order to make sex better.

I am 33 years old and have two children. My partner has been saying that I am now so loose that he cannot have an orgasm. This is very distressing.

I am doing the exercises that you recommended. But a friend has told me that there is some device which will stimulate the vagina and make it tighter. Is this true?

A Yes. These are devices called vaginal exercisers. If you check for it on Google, you will see that you are immediately offered two and a half million entries! That supports the fact that there are many women who need help with this problem.

The manufacturers claim that they will not only improve a woman's sex life, but also counteract any tendency she may have to incontinent of urine (i.e. leaking).

The simplest ones are about the size of a medium-sized cigar. Some are shaped like a dumbbell. You put one into your vagina, and practice squeezing your muscles around it.

If you do this regularly, many times a day for around six months, that will 'tone up' the vaginal muscles, which should, with luck, make sex better.

There are more complicated vaginal exercisers, but naturally they cost more. Some of them actually cause electrical stimulation of the muscles around the vagina, so that you feel a distinct and repeated 'twitch'.

There is also a system of weighted 'cones' which you put into the vagina. The idea is that you start off with the lightest one, put it inside you while standing, and practise flexing your muscles around it until you can prevent it from falling out. That may take some weeks.

After that, you switch to the next lightest one. Over a period of perhaps six months, you get your vaginal muscles so well-exercised that you can hold the heaviest one inside your body without difficulty.

You can find details of about these inventions on Google. A good alternative is to purchase a small and inexpensive vibrator. Put it inside every day, and try hard to keep flexing those muscles around it.

Finally, if the exercises do not solve your problem, you should definitely consult a 'gyno'. He can advise you as to whether you should take a 'repair' operation to tighten everything up. Good luck.

Q I am a 65-year-old man and although I still enjoy vigorous sex with my partner, I find that there are days when it is a little difficult to have an orgasm. Is this normal, Doc?

A Yes. It has been shown that as you get older, most men generally remain perfectly able to get an erection. However, there may be times when they cannot quite manage to orgasm.

In these circumstances, it may be best to 'postpone the pleasure' until another day.

Q If I have a hysterectomy is that the end of my sex life?

A Definitely not. In a hysterectomy, the surgeon removes the womb (the uterus). He does not remove the vagina.

Therefore, most women who have a hysterectomy are able to enjoy a happy sex life afterwards.

However, they usually report that their orgasms feel rather different after the surgery.

Q Doc, I think my husband who is 37, is drinking too much. Could this be the reason why he is having trouble in getting an erection?

A Definitely. Shakespeare said that alcohol 'increases the desire, but takes away the performance'. And he was absolutely right.

So urge your husband to cut down on his drinking.

Q Is it true that pregnancy protects you against breast cancer?

A There is some truth in this. Women who have never been pregnant do have a higher rate of breast cancer than women who have had children.

It is theorised that this may be because of the fact that women who are mothers have had fewer menstrual cycles in their lives than women who have never given birth. Some scientists think that the repeated monthly hormone surge of the menstrual cycle makes you more vulnerable to breast carcinoma.

However, please do not forget that ALL women are at risk of breast cancer. That is why every adult female should check her breasts regularly - particularly after age 35.

If anything seems unusual - particularly a lump, then see a doctor at once.