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Doctor's advice: Is he expecting too much?

Published:Saturday | April 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Q I'm an 18-year-old guy who had a relationship recently with an older woman. She's in her 30s. Our sex life was great but sometimes I had a problem.

After ejaculating, I found that it took 30 minutes before I could get an erection again.

I bought some vitamins with iron, supposing I lacked the mineral. Should I visit a doctor to see if I have a real health problem?

A Like a lot of young guys, you are expecting far too much of your body. After a man has had an orgasm, it is usually quite a while before he can get another erection. That is normal.

There are some males in their mid-teens who can achieve an erection very soon after climaxing. But that ability tends to be lost as one moves into adulthood. Many adult males in their 20s cannot manage to have sex until at least an hour after climaxing.

And in their 40s or 50s, a lot of guys find it even more difficult to get another erection within around three hours.

Admittedly, there are exceptions to this rule, and some very virile adult males can have sex several times in an evening.

But as far as you are concerned, your responses seem biologically normal for a guy of 18. I think that you are probably wasting your time and money in buying iron and vitamins.

Nevertheless, your email does suggest that you have quite a lot of anxiety about sex. It would indeed be wise to consult a doctor; he or she could also give you advice about contraception, and can also tell you whether you really do need any iron or vitamin pills.

Q Doc, can one have a period but still be pregnant? I recently had unprotected sex with my boyfriend. Five days later, I got my period. This was the exact due date, as I had expected it from my menstrual calendar.

Even though I have seen my period, I have been feeling a little nauseated.

A This is a question that worries many younger women. The answer is quite simple.

If you really have had a period, you are not pregnant, so you have no need to fret.

Confusion sometimes occurs when a woman who is in early pregnancy bleeds from some other cause, but mistakenly believes it is a period. You seem to be pretty sure that what you experienced was genuine menstruation. If you are correct, everything is OK.

There is no need to worry about the nausea. It is not morning sickness, and should soon pass.

However, what I am concerned about is that you have been having unprotected sex with your boyfriend. You have almost certainly got away with it this month, but please do not take such a risk again.

I urge you always to use reliable contraception.

Q Do you think that lack of exercise has any bearing on a person's interest in sex?

A Well, exercise is good for health. And good health increases your chances of a good sex life.

I would say that people, male or female, who are couch potatoes are more likely to have lacklustre sex lives. To be frank, if you lie around all day watching TV and eating junk food, it is unlikely that you are going to be very active in bed.

Q I would like to know about hair growth. Recently, I cut my hair, but now I want to know how to make it grow back faster.

A I am afraid that there is nothing that will help your hair grow back faster. Do not waste any money on so-called hair restorers, which do nothing except to make their manufacturers richer!

Q I saw an article you wrote about ectopic pregnancy. I had one last November, and am thankfully alive.

But I do have a question about post-ectopic life. I had one tube removed surgically. Will this affect the cycle of my period?

Also, I have been feeling quite dizzy since I had the surgery. Why? Finally, are there any other life-changing effects to expect because of having the tube removed?

A Glad to hear that you have come through the surgery safely. As you realise, if you have to have surgery for an ectopic pregnancy, that usually involves removing the Fallopian tube and the ovary on the affected side.

Happily, the other ovary and tube can take over the work of two. So, given reasonable luck, you may well go back to having fairly regular and normal periods. However, it might be many months before everything returns to a fixed pattern.

It is not surprising that you have been feeling dizzy after that major surgery. Often, such an operation makes a person feel quite weak for a year or so. Ordinarily, I would have queried whether you are anaemic, but your email seems to suggest that you have had a blood test for that.

Otherwise, I would not expect any life-changing side effects from your operation. Your sex life should not be affected.

However, I do think it is important to give your body good rest after everything that has happened, and to avoid any possible risk of pregnancy. Therefore, I urge you to use safe contraception for the next year or so.

Do not, however, choose the intrauterine device (coil). Unfortunately, the coil is not good at preventing ectopic pregnancies, and the last thing that you want now is another ectopic.

I wish you well.

Q I am a 20-year old male and I am having a challenge. My girlfriend had a recent yeast infection. A week later, I had sex with her.

Now I have this ringworm-looking rash on my organ. The worst part is that it itches badly. Why?

A You almost certainly have a fungal infection on the skin of your penis. You probably caught this from your girlfriend.

A fungal infection is not serious but it must be treated. I strongly advise you to see a doc, who will confirm the diagnosis and prescribe you some anti-fungal cream. He may also suggest that your girlfriend get further treatment.

Do not have sex till you are cured.

Q I do not understand why you often talk about girls and young women becoming anaemic. Why does this happen?

And do boys get anaemic too?

A Anaemia is weakness of the blood. There are many possible causes of this but, by far, the commonest is lack of iron.

Females lose a great deal of iron in their menstrual blood. Indeed, they need 15 milligrams of iron per day in their diet to replace that loss. That is the simple reason why so many young women become anaemic.

It is not a common condition in males.

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