Ask the doctor

Can diabetes cause impotence?Dear Doctor;I am a 31-year-old male suffering from diabetes. From the last couple of months, I’m getting less sex arousal, lazy erections, lack of libido, etc. I am taking human mixtard, Pinom-10 (Olmesarton Medoxomil) and Optisulin multivitamin capsule. Is it possible that diabetes can cause impotence? James.

Can diabetes cause impotence?

Dear Doctor;

I am a 31-year-old male suffering from diabetes. From the last couple of months, I’m getting less sex arousal, lazy erections, lack of libido, etc. I am taking human mixtard, Pinom-10 (Olmesarton Medoxomil) and Optisulin multivitamin capsule. Is it possible that diabetes can cause impotence? James.

Dear James,

It is unfortunate but true. Diabetes can cause impotence due to damage to the autonomic nervous system, which controls the involuntary systems of the body. Alcohol can aggravate the problem. The risk is more if diabetes is uncontrolled. In early stages it can be prevented from further aggravation.

But if advanced, it becomes irreversible. Try to keep good control of diabetes, avoid alcohol if you take it and hopefully things should be fine. Drugs like Viagra are available for improving potency, but they have side effects and one tablet used is effective only for one time. Penile prosthesis and implants are available for aid in this problem.

Can I use tattoo to conceal these patches on my skin?

Dear Doctor;

I have leucoderma. Some are on my body skin in areas that cannot be seen when I am wearing clothes, but recently, I developed a new patch on my hand, which can be easily seen. Can a tattoo camouflage the patch on the hand. Is there any treatment to camouflage these skin patches? Thierry, Kiyovu.

Dear Thierry,

Leucoderma is a condition of depletion of skin pigment causing white patches.

It may be patchy or extensive over one or multiple body parts. The exact cause for it is not known but is postulated to occur due to destruction of melanin cells by body’s own immune system, that is to say, auto-immune reaction.


It is said to run in families. Stress, alcohol are other factors which are said to cause it or precipitate it. It is different from the hypopigmentation which occurs  secondary to conditions like burns or injury. Because the cause is not known exactly, there is no definitive treatment. 


Use of ointments or tablets containing melanin can help a person. Exposure to sunlight is also helpful. Tattoo can help to camouflage the lesion. Cosmetic creams are also available which help to camouflage the skin hypo pigmentation.

Do painkillers cure or are they just for numbing pain?

Dear Doctor;

There is something enigmatic about painkillers that many consumers don’t seem to know. And I can’t say I know anything either. Over time, I have used various painkillers, especially Ibuprofen.


However, because the pain usually returns, could it be that painkillers are just there to sedate and numb the patient for some time only or do they also have curative powers? Peter Ndayonde, Kimihurura.

Dear Peter,

You have guessed correctly. Painkillers do not cure any condition; they only reduce or numb the pain through various mechanisms in the body. They are part of palliative treatment, that is to say, to provide relief in symptoms.

Total relief from pain shall be obtained only when the underlying cause is treated. For example, in case of a wound, the pain will subside completely only when the wound has healed. Moreover, long-term use of painkillers can lead to peptic ulcer, liver and kidney toxicity.

Usually musculoskeletal pains  improve with  rest and correct postural adjustments. Pain with chronic problems like cancers needs repeated painkillers.

Can recurrent constipation cause colon cancer?

Dear Doctor;

I noticed blood in my stools recently. I have a chronic problem of constipation. Sometimes I can go for up to four days without passing stool. At times, when I have it, it is too much to push. Can chronic constipation be an onset for colon cancer? Jean, 31.

Dear Jean,

You seem to be suffering from hemorrhoids. This condition develops as the veins in the rectum become engorged and rupture due to constant pressure  resulting  from straining caused by chronic constipation.

You are young and can correct constipation by correct diet and adequate intake of fluids. Include green vegetables, fiber rich fruits and papaya in the diet. Drink lots of water, especially hot water before sleeping and first thing in morning.

Gradually constipation will improve. Persistent constipation is a risk for carcinoma of the colon in later age as toxins from the bowel are not removed regularly.

How can my sinusitis problem be treated?

Dear Doctor;

I have been suffering from sinus problem for the last five years. The diagnosis shows I have some allergy but am unable to pinpoint the offending agent. My right nostril always remains blocked when I am sitting or sleeping but while standing or walking it is okay. Every morning I have cold, cough and running nose with lot of sneezing. Is there any way to find out what I am allergic to? Francine.

Dear Francine,

You seem to be suffering from I can understand your suffering but millions across the globe suffer from allergic rhinitis, that is, recurrent cold due to allergy. Persistent cold leads to congestion of air cells in the skull, which is known as sinusitis. This causes chronic headache along with nasal symptoms.

The allergy causing substances can be identified by  tests known as allergy tests. In this, subcutaneous injections of potential allergy causing substances are given and reaction noted after 24-72 hours. But this test is done only when the person is symptom free for at least 48 hours. At present, it is not available here but may come in future.

For now, along with anti-allergy medications, steam inhalation done 2-3 times every day shall help you. Breathing exercises of yoga are also very useful in providing relief in such conditions

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