Thinking Through the Holidays Part 2: Family issues

If you enjoyed Thanksgiving, and if you enjoy the holidays with no problems every year (or almost every year), and if you don’t know anyone who struggles with the holidays, then this column is not for you. Look at a different page. The first part of this article, in the last issue of Baltimore OUTloud, explained how to use thought techniques to decrease or completely get rid of the negative, depressing thoughts that trouble many people around the holidays. Most of these are self-critical thoughts. Once you identify these thoughts, you can see that they are not true and can […]

Questions about Sexual Health

Dear Dr. Eva, A relative recently tested positive for HIV. He has been working on a farm which always has swarms of biting mosquitos. He told me he thinks that he was infected with HIV by the mosquitos. Could that be true? If it is true, would he be entitled to Workmen’s Compensation to cover the cost of his HIV care? Aunt B Dear Auntie B, Some myths never die. There are many human diseases which can be passed by mosquitos. Only two of these occur in the mainland US: West Nile Fever and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Worldwide, malaria is […]

Sizes & Measurements… and different-sized breasts

Dear Dr. Eva, Which has more nutritional value, fellatio or cunnilingus? Nutrition Major Dear Nutrition Major, If you have been reading your assignments, you should know that, if you do it correctly, you won’t get any calories from oral sex, because you are using condoms or dental dams and are not taking any of your partner’s body fluids into your mouth. To answer the question as an academic exercise: the higher protein content in male ejaculate makes it a better nutritional source than vaginal fluid, although the amount of calories is minimal. If you are having sex with energy and […]

Insulin Dosing, Excessive Sweating

Dear Dr. Eva, I have a question about insulin dosing. I am a middle-aged man with diabetes type two for about seven years now. I took pills at first but soon needed insulin. I now take 120 units of insulin a day with reasonably good control of my blood sugar. As far as I know, I’ve never had a problem with low blood sugar. Here’s the question. I have an 18-year-old niece who was found to have type 2 diabetes at age eight. Even though she has been diabetic for ten years, she only takes 24 units daily. She suffers […]

Stopping Medicines Safely

Dear Dr. Eva, Is it really dangerous to stop medications without tapering off? People (me included) often seem to do it with no problems. Skeptical Dear Skeptical, It is true that many prescription medications can be stopped suddenly without problems. However, there are some kinds of medications that are dangerous to stop suddenly. Whether it is safe to stop a medication suddenly depends on two things: how the medicine is metabolized (broken down and eliminated from the body) and what condition is being treated. When a medicine is prescribed to treat a chronic problem like diabetes, high blood pressure, or […]

Can You Get Hepatitis C…… without having A and B first?

Dear Dr. Eva, I have been told that I have hepatitis C and also that I need to get shots to protect me from hepatitis A and hepatitis B. This does not make sense to me. If I have hepatitis C now, doesn’t that mean I already had A and B? Just Diagnosed Dear Just Diagnosed, Your question makes total sense and shows how confusing medical terminology sometimes can be. Hepatitis A, B, and C are not different stages of one disease: they are three different infections caused by three very different viruses. They are called A, B, and C […]

To Pap Or Not to Pap

Just to make sure we all start at the same baseline: a cervical Pap smear is done when a physician or other medical professional uses a small, soft plastic brush to collect cells from the surface of the cervix. The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus (womb.) The cervix can only be seen after a speculum, which is a plastic or metal tool shaped like two serving-size spoons, is placed in the vagina. The speculum exam is also called a “pelvic exam.” Many women assume that every pelvic exam includes a Pap smear, but that is not the […]

New HIV Medicines

More, better treatment options, and new approaches It’s been over 30 years since the first treatments for HIV became available. In that time, we learned that it takes three different HIV medicines, taken together, to successfully treat HIV. The first treatments caused lots of unpleasant side effects. Now, side effects are few and mild. We have come a long way, and the field is still evolving. It’s now generally agreed that the best way to treat any chronic disease is to limit the number of pills by using once-a-day medication, and this is true of HIV disease as well. More […]

What About Probiotics?

Dear Dr. Eva, Do you think probiotics are helpful for getting rid of diarrhea and yeast infections? Prefer Natural Dear Natural, There are several areas of the body which normally have large amounts of bacteria lining their surfaces. These areas include the vagina and parts of the gastrointestinal tract: the mouth and the colon (large intestine). The colon normally has over 400 different species of bacteria. These bacteria naturally live in our bodies, so we benefit from them without doing anything. Babies’ bodies are colonized by these healthy bacteria soon after birth. Because they are not harmful and can be […]

Hair Loss in Women

Dear Dr. Eva, I am a 36-year-old woman. For the last several years I’ve had ongoing hair loss. My hair is thinning all over my scalp. It’s not male-pattern-like baldness on the crown or the front hairline receding. My other hair areas like eyebrows and pubic area haven’t changed. Since I first noticed this, I’ve been very gentle with my hair. I don’t dye it, don’t treat it with any kind of chemicals, don’t even use hairdryers. I keep it fairly short, just down to my shoulders. But the hair loss has continued and now has gotten to the point […]