Dr Flo, my son is tongue-tied. What causes this and what can I do about it? Wairimu
Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia), is an inborn anomaly where the strip of tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter and thicker than usual, restricting tongue movement.
For some children, the restriction is minimal and does not cause problems. For others, it is severe enough to cause problems with breastfeeding or with other feeding later on, and it also affects speech development.
If the tongue-tie is causing problems, it is easily corrected through a simple surgical procedure where the tie is snipped with sterile scissors.
The pain and blood loss are minimal, and the child can start feeding soon after.
Dr Flo, I have a little swelling at my anus and sometimes it bleeds when I am passing stool. It also gets very itchy, but I don’t experience any pain. Kindly advise me. Chris
The bleeding is most likely due to haemorrhoids, otherwise known as piles.
These are veins that bulge or prolapse in the lower part of the rectum and anus. The walls of the veins stretch and get irritated, and easily get a tear and bleed. The piles may be on the outside around the anal opening, or may “come out” when passing stool, and sometimes can even be pushed back in. These are called external haemorrhoids. If they are so far up inside that they cannot be seen or felt, they are called internal haemorrhoids.
Piles can be caused by straining when passing stool e.g. due to constipation or diarrhoea; any activity that causes repeated high pressure in the abdominal region e.g persistent cough or lifting weights.
They are also more common in people who stand or sit for long periods of time, and also during pregnancy. Most of the time, they resolve easily with diet and lifestyle changes, and with treatment, though they can recur.
To manage the problem, prevent constipation by taking a lot of fluid and a high-fibre diet every day; exercise; schedule time each day for a bowel movement, and take your time; use baby wipes instead of toilet paper and take a sitz bath (sit in warm water for about 20 minutes twice a day to help soothe the injured tissue).
There are fibre supplements, like Fybogel, which you can take to help with passing soft stool. There are other laxatives and stool softeners which can be prescribed by the doctor, in addition to creams that you can apply to help heal the torn tissue.
There are also suppositories and oral tablets, that will be prescribed as necessary. In case there is no improvement with these measures and the bleeding persists, surgery may be done to correct the problem.
Dr Flo, I recently saw a doctor because my heart felt squeezed in. She suggested an echocardiogram and an ECG. Please explain why she prescribed these two tests and the diet and exercise regimen one should follow to maintain peak health. Walji
An echocardiogram checks the structure and function of the heart, while an electrocardiogram checks the electrical activity, function and size of the various chambers of the heart.
These tests are ordered to find out if there is a problem with your heart. This can be done due to suspicion of a heart problem, or as part of investigating other illnesses, where necessary.
There is no need to prepare for the tests through exercise or diet because the purpose is to establish the state of your heart on your normal day.
A healthy diet is one that is well balanced with protein, carbohydrates, fats and micronutrients from vegetables and fruits. To get the best diet for you, visit a nutritionist for a workable meal plan.
Also, exercise for 40 minutes a day, three to four days in a week. This may be fast walking, skipping, jogging, running, swimming, football or cycling, among other activities.
Send your medical questions to [email protected] for free expert advice