Why does it hurt when I visit the toilet?

DEAR DOC: Why does it hurt when I visit the  toilet?

If constipation is not attended to, it can lead to other complications.

Dr Flo, I have had severe constipation for some years, and for the last one month I have been feeling pain while passing stool. I took Dobesil for 10 days and felt slightly better, but the pain is back. It feels like the pain that accompanies chronic diarrhoea. I also suffer from hospital phobia. Kindly advise me. Wangui

Dear Wangui,

Constipation damages the lining of the rectum and anus, and it can also cause a tear. If this is not attended to, it can lead to other complications.

Here are some remedies for constipation:

1. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and complex starches like yams, arrow roots and sweet potatoes.

2.Take at least two litres of water every day

3. Exercise. Don’t sit for longer than 45 minutes without standing up to walk around for a while.

4. Drugs such as duphalac, lactulac, fybogel and castor oil can help ease constipation.

5. You can take xyloproct suppositories, anusol suppositories and scheriproct suppositories.

6. In case there is swelling, otherwise known as haemorrhoids or piles, then dobesil or phlebodia tablets might help.

7. Lastly, don’t be afraid of hospitals, those who work there are just people.

Dr Flo, for the past six months, I have noticed that my erections are not as strong as they used to be, and this is affecting my sex life with my wife. I feel very stressed. What could be the problem? John

Dear John,

The cause of this could be physical or psychological. Physical problems such as reduced testosterone levels, age, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, nerve problems and medication can affect the quality of your erections. Psychological causes include marital tension, stress, fear of underperforming, loss of attraction and other sources of sexual satisfaction, for example masturbation or having another partner. Please see a urologist (who is like a gynaecologist for men), so that he can help you figure out the source of the problem and give you a solution.

Dr Flo, I have been experiencing a lot of pain on my left side just below the ribs. It happens whenever I breath in or yawn. I got it checked out and was given antibiotics, but they never helped. What might be the problem? Nyaga

Dear Nyaga,

Chest pain when you breathe usually means that there is an infection of the lung, which is known as pneumonia, or inflammation of the lining of the lung, which is known as pleurisy.

Being given antibiotics was the correct course of action at the time, but since the pain is still there, you need a chest x-ray and some blood tests.

Treat this with urgency and go back to hospital as soon as possible.

Most likely you will need stronger antibiotics to help clear the infection. Any other measures will depend on the findings on the x-ray film, for example if there is fluid in the lungs.