Dear Dr Hilary
I am literally tearing my hair out – I’m so stressed about college and
problems with friends that I tug it out in clumps. My mum gets cross with
me, but the more upset she gets, the more I do it. What’s wrong with me?
Lots of people pull their hair out as a result of stress. This condition,
trichotillomania, is a habit, just like biting your nails. As hair is
fragile, tugging at it can cause the hair shafts to be pulled out at the
root, leading to bald patches. It’s a psychological problem and you need to
address the stress first. Work out what makes you anxious and find
constructive ways of dealing with the stress. Try relaxing activities such
as yoga, do some exercise, and definitely speak to a counsellor. Think about
a hairstyle that makes pulling your hair difficult, and distract your hands
by squeezing a rubber ball. For more help, visit Trichotillomania.co.uk.
Dear Dr Hilary
My boyfriend and I have been together for seven months, and have had a very
active sex life. But for the past eight weeks, I’ve been experiencing a
burning sensation. This is putting a strain on our relationship, but I’m too
scared to see my doctor.
As this sensation is only recent, it is likely to be caused by inflammation or
infection. It could be a bacterial infection or even an allergy to your
partner’s sperm or to latex if you use condoms. There’s also the possibility
the pain is caused by a small cyst inside the vagina or pelvic inflammatory
disease, where the infection is in your fallopian tubes or womb. There is no
reason to be scared about seeing your doctor, but it might be easier going
to your local genito-urinary clinic, where you will be seen anonymously. I’m
sure this would be sorted out very quickly if you do.
Need advice? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
COMPILED BY SARAH MASON, KATE DOBINSON AND KATE WILLS