EVEN if you like a bit of alone time, being lonely is very different, and can be very damaging.
fortunatamente, there is lots of help out there, and there are small changes you can make yourself to tackle it, from speaking to the Samaritani to joining a club to meet new people.
You’re never truly alone!
Here are this week’s reader questions . . .
Q: IS there help for someone in their late 30s starting to go through perimenopause?
UN: Premature ovarian failure insufficiency is a condition that occurs when your ovaries are no longer working properly and you’re under the age of 40.
This affects approximately one per cent of women. It usually means that your periods stop or become irregular, and you may also experience menopause symptoms.
The term “early menopause” is used when periods stop between the ages of 40 e 45.
You say that you’re in your late thirties, so it’s possible that you could fall into either of these groups.
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The most important thing is for you to seek medical help here and get a diagnosis.
While it’s not normally recommended for women over the age of 45 to have blood tests to look for menopause, for women under 45 who are having symptoms it is.
This is because it’s important to make the diagnosis because it’s vital that women receive the correct hormonal replacement therapy, o HRT.
We often talk about how HRT is safe for most women and the benefits outweigh the risks, but that calculation is different in women under 45, where almost definitely there are huge benefits to taking HRT that massively outweigh any risk.
The next step for you is to see your GP, and keep a log of the symptoms you’ve been having, and I’d expect your GP to do a series of blood tests spread out over time to find out your levels of FSH, or follicular stimulating hormone.
If these levels are high, it would suggest you’re experiencing premature ovarian insufficiency.
Q: MY metronidazole prescription finished today. I’ve had two days of awful abdominal pain, sweats and now kidney pain.
UN: It sounds possible you’ve had an allergic reaction to the metronidazole.
Serious side effects from this antibiotic medication are rare and happen in fewer than one in 1,000 persone, however the symptoms you describe after taking metronidazole suggest an adverse reaction, and this requires medical attention.
If all of your symptoms have now resolved, it may be that your GP decides further tests aren’t necessary, but if your symptoms are still ongoing you’ll need blood tests to check things like the health of your liver and kidneys and you should be monitored.
Metronidazole is a slightly unusual antibiotic, as it affects our body’s ability to metabolise alcohol.
So whenever it is prescribed, you should receive information and advice not to drink alcohol when taking the medicine, and to wait for two days afterwards before drinking alcohol, as this allows the metronidazole to leave your body.
Q: NO one has helped me in a long time – what should I do? I’ve had cancer, I can’t speak to my family about it, I have no help or support.
I’m scared, alone and getting depressed.
UN: Anybody who has cancro should be able to access help and support from the cancer specialist nurse.
The team looking after you for your cancer should be able to put you in touch if you haven’t been given their contact details already.
Usually there are also charities which provide peer support, such as online chat rooms. A diagnosis of cancer is a life-changing event which not only affects our physical health but our salute mentale pure.
It impacts our relationships, our ability to do our jobs and every aspect of our social life.
Nobody should feel that they are on the cancer journey alone, as there is always help and support available.
The first port of call if you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed is just to speak to your GP and let them help you in creating a support system, as you will need this.
It also opens up the conversation around loneliness, which we can think of as a health condition on its own now, thanks to new and ongoing research.
We know loneliness affects every aspect of a person’s physical and mental health.
It has even been said that loneliness is as risky to a person’s health as smoking.
Loneliness requires treatment.
Your GP will be able to let you know about what befriending services are available locally, and you can usually get some advice from the charity Age UK anche.
Please don’t suffer alone or in silence. “A problem shared is a problem halved” — I really believe that saying to be true.
Q: CAN you give me some advice on how to treat adult acne?
Acne can be a real pain for adults.
We tend to think of it as a condition that affects teenagers, but especially in women it is quite common for acne to persist into adulthood.
Acne over the age of 25 is termed “adult acne”, while some people get it for the first time as an adult, and this is termed “adult-onset acne”.
It can range from a few spots on the face, neck, back or chest, to more severe cases, and acne which is causing scarring should be treated by a healthcare professional without delay.
For more simple acne which is white, and blackheads with no scarring, it’s fine to try over-the-counter remedies primo.
But if these aren’t helping it’s a good idea to see your GP.
It is caused by the glands in the skin producing too much oil and at the same time dead skin cells build up and plug the pores, causing blockages.
A type of bacteria which lives on everyone’s skin can then cause you some further problems.
Whenever treating acne, the first things to think of are the basics.
Simple things such as cleansing your skin well twice a day, eating healthy and nutritious foods, maintaining good hydration levels, and using a simple oil-free moisturiser are all important.
Depending on the type of acne you have, and the pattern – whether it flares up during your period and what treatments you’ve unsuccessfully tried – the treatment strategy will differ for different people.
Talk to your pharmacist, who can assess what would be a good next step based on what you’ve tried already – and if this isn’t helping, the next step is to see your GP.
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Sometimes people require an oral medication called Roaccutane, which can only be prescribed by a dermatologist.
I cannot stress enough that if you have acne which is causing scarring, you should see your GP without delay.