Your health questions answered by our resident GP, Dr Olúṣẹ̀yẹ Àríkàwé
How can I find out what makes me feel bloated?
Your GP should be able to help you get to the bottom of this. They will take a detailed history, followed by a physical examination. Based on the findings from your history and your examination, your GP will be able to recommend further tests, which may include blood tests or scans.
There are several causes of bloating. The common causes include excess gas, food intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. However, it can also be caused by a more serious condition.
There are simple self-help tips you can do to help with bloating. These include keeping a food diary, changing your diet, avoiding fizzy drinks, doing regular exercise, eating slowly, eating a high fibre diet and drinking plenty of water (if constipation is an issue) and chewing your food with your mouth closed.
If your symptom is persistent or you have any other associated symptoms such as weight loss, loss of appetite, feeling full quickly, nausea or vomiting, a change in your bowel movements, blood in your poo, or you can feel a lump in your tummy, then you need to make sure you see your GP straight away.
I’m 53 years old and haven’t had a period for two years. I don’t get any symptoms of menopause, but in the last two years, I have suffered a lot of dryness down below, and I find it very painful to pass urine. Sex is also excruciating despite using different lubricants and gels. What else can I do?
The symptoms you have described are due to menopause. The decrease in oestrogen production during menopause makes the vaginal tissues less elastic, thinner and drier. The lack of oestrogen can also affect the bladder. The combination of oestrogen loss in the bladder and the vagina is called genitourinary syndrome of menopause. It is very common, affecting 50 per cent of postmenopausal women. It can be easily and effectively treated by vaginal oestrogens, moisturisers and lubricants.
There are different preparations of vaginal oestrogens, such as vaginal rings, tablets or cream. They usually work locally, and can be used long- term. For some women with severe symptoms that are not controlled with vaginal oestrogens, systemic oestrogens can be added. These come in pill, skin patch, ring, gel, cream or spray form.
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Dr Olúṣẹ̀yẹ Àríkàwé MBChB MRCGP DFFP DRCOG is a GP with special interest in women’s health. She helps women connect biological facts to the truth of God’s word, and blogs at wordforher.com
You can buy her book, How to Make Menopause a Positive Experience from: amazon.co.uk
Follow on @awordforher