I’m 31 years old and two years ago I lost my sex drive completely, which led to the breakdown of my five-year relationship. I went to see my doctor, who suggested coming off the Pill, which I did for a year, but it made no difference. I’d like a relationship again one day, as well as a family, but am scared the same thing will happen. Name withheld
Quiz time. What makes good sex? Too slow, I’ll answer. The first thing that makes good sex is a partner who you have strong feelings for. Get back out on the dating scene and find someone you fancy. The second thing that makes good sex is a relaxed and carefree mind. Write down the things in your life that make you stressed, depressed or anxious – your job, family or finances – and then work out a plan to conquer them. And the third thing that makes good sex is body confidence. Get down the gym and start feeling good about yourself. If you’ve done all this and still don’t feel any va-va-voom, revisit the doc.
My boyfriend of just over a year has never met my family. He always makes excuses to avoid visiting them with me. This has upset my mother, who is very traditional. She says he is hiding something and I should end the relationship, but I feel torn between pleasing my mum and staying with the man I love. What should I do? Name withheld
You should stop focusing on what your mum and your boyfriend want, and start thinking about what you want. Judging from your letter, you want your boyfriend to meet your family, so stop accepting his excuses and tell him how much it would mean to you if he met them. Now, one of two things will happen. He’ll either smile and agree to a visit, or he’ll moan and accuse you of pressurising him. If he does the former, congrats, this guy likes you and values your feelings. And if he does the latter, commiserations, this fella couldn’t care less what you want. In which case, your mum’s right: you should end the relationship.
I would like to get a job to expand my horizons, but I don’t have any post-GCSE qualifications and, as a disabled woman, my employment opportunities are limited. What are my best options? Myleene, via email
First, I would recommend having a think about exactly what career you are interested in, so you can then do more research about what qualifications would be needed for your desired role. You can develop your qualifications by attending night classes or signing up to open learning. This means you can study from home at a time that is best for you. Sometimes there are funding programmes for these courses. For further information check out Homelearningcollege.com/courses.
Having worked as a supervisor in retail for three years, I’m now interested in changing career paths to become a midwife. I have a degree in sociology but am unsure as to what the best route is into nursing and midwifery. Do you have any advice? Janet, via email
You will need to have a degree in nursing or midwifery. You can apply directly to a university to do a full or part-time course or start as a healthcare professional first. Visit Nursing.nhscareers.nhs.uk for further information and visit your local careers office, as they will be able to advise you further on what steps you need to take.
Dear Dr Hilary
Six months ago, I started getting severe stomach pains and diarrhoea once a month. It lasts for around a week and often has mucus in it. I’m worried because both my cousin and uncle have Crohn’s disease, and I’ve heard it’s hereditary. Do you think this is the cause? Claire, via email
Crohn’s disease is a condition where there is inflammation of the lining of the intestine. This produces the symptoms you describe – namely abdominal pain, diarrhoea, with or without blood and mucus, and feeling generally unwell. It typically comes and goes, and is more common in families where other relatives are affected. Firstly, you need to get a referral to a specialist for a detailed assessment. If diagnosed, treatment with a course of steroids is likely to vastly improve your symptoms. You may also be prescribed aminosalicylate and immunosuppressant medications to help keep symptoms in check, taken with painkillers to ease discomfort. You may need to alter your diet to ensure you get enough nutrients, as Crohn’s disease can make it harder for your body to digest food efficiently.
Dear Dr Hilary
Recently, I glued on false nails, but now that I’ve removed them there’s a green stain on two of my fingernails. I think it could be a bacterial infection. What should I do? And can I still wear nail varnish? Katy, via email
Nails can become discoloured for various reasons, including staining from chemicals in glue and polish. Bacterial infections only affect the skin next to the nail, but fungal infections can discolour the nail itself. Get your GP to rule this out (or prescribe antifungal medication) – and if they do, it is safe to wear nail varnish or false nails again.
I’ve been invited on a skiing trip with people from work, all because I lied and said I’m a fantastic skier, when actually I’ve never done it before in my life. Should I fess up now and save myself further embarrassment? Colin, via email
Oh no, Colin. The truth is one of those things that seems like a good idea in theory, but never actually is. In fact, the truth is always rather boring in my experience and often gets in the way of having a good time. Here’s the perfect solution. Kit yourself out in the most expensive gear out there (it’s important to look the part), bluff your way up to the black run and launch yourself down the mountain. You may sustain serious injuries, but that will excuse you from skiing again for the rest of the trip. And, if you survive, you’ll be free to enjoy the aprés-ski (which is the only reason people go skiing anyway).
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