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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ringing in ears incurable but treatable

 (The Spokesman-Review)
Peter Gott United Media

Dear Dr. Gott: I recently saw an advertisement for an herbal remedy that is touted to cure tinnitus. As someone who has suffered for years from ringing in the ears, I wonder if this product might help me.

Dear Reader: The advertisement you sent me describes an herbal remedy containing aloe, ginseng, bitter orange, dandelion root, myrrh and saffron.

There is no scientific evidence that such a remedy will cure tinnitus — or anything else, for that matter.

You would do better, in my opinion, to seek help from an ear-nose-and-throat specialist who will examine you, perform an audiogram (hearing test) and attempt to discover the cause of your symptom. Perhaps your tinnitus is caused by something as commonplace as wax in your ears, which the doctor can easily remove.

Most cases of tinnitus are due to nerve damage caused by chronic exposure to loud noise. This is permanent and incurable.

Nonetheless, many instances of tinnitus are at least treatable using a variety of special devices.

Dear Dr. Gott: I have not menstruated for two years. In the time prior, my periods were not regular. I’m 21 and a virgin. I have never smoked and don’t drink. I don’t diet and am not anorexic or bulimic. What’s happening?

Dear Reader: The cessation of menstruation in a healthy, nonpregnant young woman could well represent a hormone imbalance. I recommend that you address this issue with your gynecologist, who — after examining you — will probably order blood tests to identify a hormone deficiency, and, if one is present, prescribe an antidote, usually estrogen and other hormones.

On the other hand, as you probably know, well-trained female athletes often stop menstruating; this appears to be a consequence of chronic overexertion. Therefore, if you are an “exercise nut,” you might try reducing your workouts a bit.

Dear Dr. Gott: I suffer from boils. Would I be helped by adding Lysol, bleach or vinegar to my bathwater?

Dear Reader: Probably not. These skin infections are usually caused by staph bacteria that enter the skin’s pores and cause inflammation.

Such infections are more common in diabetics, so you should have a blood sugar test to make sure you don’t have diabetes.

Also, if you work in a dirty environment, you must scrub thoroughly each day. Many patients have discovered that antibacterial soaps — such as Dial or Lever 2000 — will reduce the incidence of boils by killing many of the staph bacteria that normally inhabit the skin. In some cases, prescription antibiotics may be necessary to eradicate the bacteria.

With the thought that you might decide to be tested for diabetes and would like further information on this condition, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Diabetes Mellitus.” 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.