Doc, what can I do to stop this burning sensation?

Burning and cold sensations in your groin and inner thighs could be due to a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, muscle pain, nerve and blood circulation problems or inflammatory conditions.

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Dr Flo,
I have been experiencing a burning sensation between my thighs and achey glands. Sometimes when it is cold, I feel like something damp has been placed on my legs. I mostly experience this at night and it makes me uncomfortable. I also feel tired around my waist, back and shoulders. Sometimes I get these symptoms just by thinking about them. This has not affected my weight, pressure or daily activities. I also noticed the symptoms are relieved when I go for a short call. What is wrong?

Dear Ben,
You are experiencing burning and cold sensations in your groin and inner thighs that are relieved by passing urine. You also feel tired around the waist and shoulders. These symptoms could be due to a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, muscle pain, nerve and blood circulation problems or inflammatory conditions. They may also be triggered by anxiety since you only get the symptoms when you think about them and when you are not busy.
It is advisable for you to visit a doctor for physical examination and also for urine tests and STI screening. You may also benefit from blood sugar and cholesterol tests. If there are symptoms of a muscle, nerve, kidney or inflammatory disorder, then further tests will be done based on the findings.
In the meantime, take a lot of water (1.5 to two litres per day), urinate frequently (do not go beyond six hours without passing urine), avoid wearing tight under clothes, maintain a healthy weight, practise safe sex, maintain good posture to avoid straining the muscles and nerves, and relax. It may also be helpful to visit a mental health professional to learn relaxation techniques.

Dr Flo,
I have some scattered hard lumps on my body. I experience sharp pains. I normally apply castor oil, but the pain does not stop. I have been suffering for the past six months. Which specialist do I see?

Dear William,
The scattered hard lumps on your body are most likely due to an overgrowth of tissue under the skin (such as fibrous tissue, nerve tissue, blood vessels) or due to fluid accumulation (skin cysts). If the lumps are painful, it may be due to an infection or because they are affecting the nerves or causing irritation to surrounding tissue. You need to see a dermatologist as soon as possible for examination. A sample may also be taken from the lumps to determine what they are made up of and treatment will depend on the diagnosis.

Dr Flo,
I have a rash on my penis. How can I stop this? B B

Dear B B,
You may be suffering from a genital herpes infection. There are different types of herpes infections, and the one that most commonly causes symptoms around the genitals is herpes simplex type 2. In a few instances, you may get similar symptoms with type 1, which most commonly causes sores around the mouth and nose (cold sores).
Genital herpes is very common, and it is passed from one person to the other through sexual and skin-to-skin contact. In many cases, once the virus is in the body, it becomes dormant there for a long time. Once in a while, it can be reactivated and travel back to the skin, where it may or may not cause symptoms. It is usually reactivated when the immune system is weakened due to physical or emotional stress, for example due to fatigue, poor diet, illness, hormonal changes, severe injury, surgery and stress.
In most people, it causes no symptoms or very mild ones, though these people can still spread the virus.
The illness can be tested by doing a herpes test in blood. Unfortunately, it has no cure. Symptoms come back about four to five times a year initially, and then reduce with time as the body builds up more immunity against the virus. To avoid passing the virus to others, do not kiss when you have oral sores; avoid sexual contact when you have sores and wash your hands with soap and water after touching infected areas. In case you wear contact lenses, do not wet the lenses with your saliva. When you have the outbreak, you can use anti-viral tablets and creams such as acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir. The medication helps to relieve the symptoms and may reduce the number of future recurrences. Having a warm bath can also reduce the pain and also taking painkillers and wearing loose fitting underwear. To avoid transmitting the infection, take the medication and avoid intercourse when you have the blisters and sores, and always use a condom.
The rash may also be due to friction, lice, scabies or fungal infection. Another possibility is an allergy to the latex in condoms or to a lubricant. Visit a doctor so that some tests can be done such as STI screening and examining skin scrapings. Treatment will depend on the cause. Avoid friction burns by ensuring adequate lubrication or if an allergy is suspected, avoid the trigger.

Dr Flo,
I have round or oval, silvery, dark grey bumps all over my body. What could these be?

Dear James,
Round or oval silvery, dark grey skin lesions could be due to a fungal or viral infection, or inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, lichen planus or seborrheic dermatitis. Visit a dermatologist for physical examination. Skin scrapings may also be taken for testing and the treatment will depend on the diagnosis.

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