August 6, 2005 in Features

Douching needless; papilloma treatable

Peter Gott United Media

Dear Dr. Gott: Is it safe to douche with bleach mixed in water? My daughter got very upset when I told her I do this. They used to print on the label of Clorox that it could be used as a douche, but they don’t anymore. Also, what are genital warts? What causes them, and are they contagious?

Dear Reader: My gynecologist colleagues tell me that douching – especially with diluted bleach – is unnecessary. I am not aware that Clorox douching is associated with any significant health issue, but stop doing it.

Genital warts are caused by viruses, will usually spread if untreated and are contagious – that is, they can be spread by sexual relations.

A man with genital warts should be examined by a urologist and treated, and his sexual partners should be examined.

A woman with similar warts needs aggressive therapy and all of her sexual partners should be screened. I say “aggressive” therapy because untreated human papilloma virus infections are associated with cancer of the female reproductive tract.

To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Vaginal Infections and Disorders.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

Dear Dr. Gott: I started taking blood pressure medication in June of 1978 and have done so up until this year in June. They are listed as follows: hydrochlorothiazide and metoprolol.

My physician has discontinued the hydrochlorothiazide but continues to have me on a half-dose of the metoprolol in place of the original one dose previously taken.

My former physician back in 1978 who prescribed these medications stated that I would have to be on them for life.

I am currently having my blood pressure monitored every other day for the last few weeks, and it has steadily remained 130/71. Incidentally, I am 79 years of age, 5-foot-4 and 122 pounds.

However, Dr. Gott, I am naturally concerned and would value your opinion concerning these medications for my blood pressure.

From discussions with some of my friends and also a pharmacist, they are under the opinion that I should never have been taken off the medication.

Dear Reader: I agree. Medicine to lower blood pressure can be often lessened – or even discontinued – if a person’s blood pressure is consistently too low. Yours isn’t. A normal blood pressure (120 to 130/80 to 90) is the proper goal for all adults, treated or untreated. Continue your previous dosage of anti-hypertension drugs and regularly monitor the results.

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