August 3, 2010 in Features

Dr. Gott: Some questions beg longer answers

Peter H. Gott, M.D. Syndicated columnist
 

On the Web

Dr. Peter H. Gott is a retired physician and the author. His website is www. AskDrGottMD.com.

DEAR DR. GOTT: Your column was so much better when you gave short answers to questions. You answered a lot more questions, which we all like, so why did you change? Be short and to the point, and thank you for listening.

DEAR READER: Thank you for your comments. There are times when I think readers might be interested in a better understanding of why a condition occurs, and in discovering ways to correct medical problems. That requires more in-depth information than can be provided in a few sentences. I’ll do my best to reach a happy medium by being as brief as possible. Congratulations – today is dedicated to you.

DEAR DR. GOTT: Thanks for your daily column and the many interesting cases you are kind enough to take your time to explain. I have to write you about my experience with cold sores in response to the reader who suffers from them.

I, too, had them for years, and nothing I put on prevented them. The sores always took up to 10 days to heal, and I would immediately get another one. My husband is a retired dentist who suggested not using toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate. CVS brand and Sensodyne ProNamel are two products free of the inactive ingredient. Since making the change, I have not had any more pesky sores. I hope this helps someone else.

DEAR READER: Low levels of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are commonly found in shaving cream, shampoo and toothpaste. More concentrated levels are found in industrial-cleaning products, engine degreasers, carwash soaps and floor cleaners.

Research has linked SLS to canker sores and related skin problems. I wrote about this a few years ago. At the time, I knew of only one SLS-free toothpaste, Tom’s of Maine. I’m glad to see other manufacturers have made the switch. Thanks for the tip.

DEAR DR. GOTT: I have hairs growing from my earlobes and on the edge of my left ear. I’ve cut them, but they grow back. What would cause hair to grow in these areas? Is there a Y-linked factor?

DEAR READER: Researchers once thought it was an inherited trait believed to be passed along on the Y chromosome. That apparently isn’t true. We do know that hair growth is linked with testosterone levels in males as they age, but I am at a loss to explain why a man may have a bald head but will grow hair in unwanted areas of the body like the ears and nose.


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