What you need to know:
- Abstain from sexual intercourse until you have completed treatment and you have been retested and found to be cured.
- Any partners you have had in the past three to six months also need to be treated, for their own health’s sake, and to prevent re-infection to you.
- If it is not treated, the symptoms may actually reduce with time, though the infection is still present.
I am 30 years old and I have a recurring problem. Some times when I pass urine I feel a sharp pain in my testicles. I especially feel pain when I get an erection. Kindly help me.
The testicular pain most likely means that you have an ongoing infection. It may be due to gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomonas, or infection by other organisms. You most likely acquired the infection through sexual transmission from any partner you have had in the past three to six months.
You need to have a sample of the urine taken for analysis and culture in a good laboratory. You should also have a testicular ultrasound done. You also need an STI screen, including Chlamydia test and HIV tests. You will be given antibiotics to treat the infection, depending on the results. Abstain from sexual intercourse until you have completed treatment and you have been retested and found to be cured. Any partners you have had in the past three to six months also need to be treated, for their own health’s sake, and to prevent re-infection to you.
If it is not treated, the symptoms may actually reduce with time, though the infection is still present. The danger is that when the infection spreads to the testicles and the rest of the reproductive tract, this can lead to infertility in the long run. The infection can also spread to the rest of the body, causing serious illness. Every time you have unprotected intercourse, you risk spreading the infection to your partner. In women, this can lead to infection in the reproductive tract and pelvic organs and can also lead to fertility problems, chronic infection and an ectopic pregnancy.
What is the work of the vaccine developed by some countries during the Covid-19 outbreak? Does it immunise against parasites?
Vaccines work by helping your body’s immune system to develop a defence against specific disease-causing organisms. This is done so that if and when your body comes across that specific organism, the immune system will quickly identify it and fight against it. This can either prevent the disease completely or prevent severe disease in case you get sick. However, a few vaccinated people still get the disease in its severest form, especially if the immune system is weak.
Vaccines are made to target specific organisms. In some cases, the vaccine may be able to protect against organisms that are closely related to the primary target. In this case, the Covid-19 vaccine is targeting the specific Covid-19 virus, and unless otherwise specified, it does not protect against any other diseases. The purpose of the Covid-19 vaccine is to help the body’s immune system develop a defence against the coronavirus so that if the vaccinated person is exposed to it, the body’s immune system will fight it, preventing any infection. Also, in case someone gets infected and develops the disease, the vaccine will help prevent severe disease.
I mostly get a heartburn in the morning, which later disappears. What might be the cause and treatment?
A heartburn is usually caused by excess stomach acid and imbalance of some digestive enzymes which go back up into the oesophagus, causing irritation within the oesophagus and in the stomach. When this process goes on for some time, it can lead to formation of an ulcer, which is an open wound on the lining of the stomach, the lower part of the oesophagus or the duodenum (first part of the small intestines).
The symptoms may come when hungry, or after eating, or it may be worse at night or early morning. You may also experience a lot of gas in the stomach, nausea or vomiting, constipation, or occasional diarrhoea. In case of an ulcer, you may find blood in your vomit, have dark coloured stool, lose weight and feel pain.
Most times, the symptoms resolve on their own or with medication. The symptoms usually come back from time to time, especially when triggered for instance by taking some painkillers, binge drinking, staying hungry and taking particular foods. For some, the symptoms may be triggered by infection such as H Pylori bacteria, for others excess acid production is due to genetics, while some may never identify a cause for the heartburn.
To manage the illness, stop taking alcohol, stop smoking and avoid use of NSAIDs (pain killers like aspirin, brufen, diclofenac, mefenamic acid). Avoid heavy meals in the evening, and stay upright for two to three hours after your evening meal before going to bed. You can also get medication to manage the symptoms such as proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole; sucralfate, antacid syrups and antibiotics (if you have an H Pylori infection).
Doctors recommend at least eight glasses of water per day. How much water is in one glass?
The amount of water that a glass can hold depends on the size of the glass. However, the average glass size can hold 200ml of water, hence the recommendation to take at least eight glasses of water, which is 1600ml. This is the minimum daily recommended intake of water for an adult of average size and average activity level. The more active you are, the more water you should take.
Is there any way to know early if you have breast cancer?
For breast cancer, the easiest early detection system is self-breast examination every month. This is done at your own chosen time of the month for instance, five days after your periods. You can be shown how to do it at the nearest health facility. If you notice any skin changes, lumps or nipple discharge, then go to the doctor for further examination. Also, make use of free breast cancer screening camps and annual check ups.
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