Dear Dr Hilary
For the last few months, I’ve thrown up whenever I eat or drink. I also have a swollen stomach. My GP hasn’t been able to help. What’s wrong with me? Alice, via email
Your symptoms are obviously affecting your everyday life, so I think it’s time to get your problems investigated thoroughly. If an antacid medication such as Gaviscon Original Aniseed Relief (£6.39, Boots.com) isn’t helping, then ask your GP to refer you to a gastroenterologist for blood tests and a gastroscopy. This will involve a narrow, flexible telescope being passed through your mouth to look at the inside of your gullet, stomach and small intestine to check for inflammation or ulcers. A biopsy can be taken in any inflamed areas during the gastroscopy. It may be that you have an infection of the stomach caused by the bacterium helicobacter pylori, which is treatable by antibiotics, or it could be gastritis – inflammation of the stomach or gullet. Once you’ve had the gastroscopy and biopsy your doctor will be able to diagnose and treat you accordingly.
Dear Dr Hilary
I’ve developed painful spots on my scalp. My chemist suggested various topical treatments, but none have helped. What else can I do? Tara, via email
There are a number of causes of painful spots on the scalp. One is folliculitis, where the hair follicles get infected with bacteria. Another is psoriasis, a common inflammatory skin condition that causes the skin to become itchy and flaky, resembling bad dandruff. You may also have a fungal infection such as ringworm. You need to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis so you can be prescribed the right treatment – guesswork from a pharmacist can actually make things worse. Time to make that appointment!
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