Ask the Doctor

How can I help dad stop smoking weed? Dear Doctor; I am a 15-year-old. I have noticed that my dad smokes week (marijuana) and it often makes him angry and aggressive. How can I help him stop the habit before he commits crime? Anton, Kacyiru, 69.

Dear Doctor;

I am a 15-year-old. I have noticed that my dad smokes week (marijuana) and it often makes him angry and aggressive. How can I help him stop the habit before he commits crime? Anton, Kacyiru, 69.

Dear Anton;

I am happy that you are concerned about your Dad’s health. Marijuana is highly addictive and has nothing positive. Marijuana leads to poor concentration, impaired intellect, hallucinations, sleep disorders, altered appetite, depression and suicide. It has a greater potential than tobacco in causing  lung cancer. It can also cause infertility and sexual impotence. If he does not have a criminal mindset, there is no risk of him committing a crime, but risk of self harm is there. He can quit this habit with help of professional counsellors and doctors.

Why do I experience regular stomach aches?

Dear Doctor;

I am a 17-year-old boy experiencing regular stomach aches for the last three years. I usually get the pain when I either do not get a proper diet or eat well. I feel like vomiting too. What kind of illness is this and how can it be treated? M. Tarou

Dear M. Tarou, you have not specified the type of pain you experience and what you mean by, “proper diet”. Usually young adults experience pain when the stomach is empty due to inflammation or ulceration of the duodenum(proximal part of small intestine, connected to stomach).

Relief is obtained after eating something. Flatulence and dyspepsia can also cause discomfort and pain  in the stomach. This occurs if one takes fried or junk food. If constipation is present, the problem is aggravated.

Stomach ache can also occur if one eats at irregular times or takes heavy meal at some time.

Recurrent abdominal pain  could also be due to chronic protozoal and worm infestations which needs treatment. You need to get a stool sample tested to exclude infection. Take  frequent small  meals containing fresh green vegetables and fruits. Papaya is a very useful fruit to improve digestion. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day. It is also important to maintain very good hygiene in the preparation, serving and eating of food. If the pain persists after adopting these measures, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is necessary to check for swelling or ulceration over  duodenum.

By- Dr. Rachna Pande.

Will I conceive in future?

Dear doctor;

I have been having irregular periods for the last 11 years. The doctor prescribed Primolut. I started taking this tablet but I get my periods only after swallowing the tablet. Won’t  this affect my health? Will I be able to conceive in future? Will it affect my ovaries in any way? Nancy, 28.

Dear Nancy, Primolut contains the hormone progesterone used in various combinations with estrogen to treat amenorrhoea, menstrual disturbances and other uterine disorders.It can cause flushing of face, nausea and vomiting, fluid retention with swelling over feet, pain over breasts, mild rise of blood pressure and visual disturbances. But these side effects usually subside over time. The irregular periods you get are likely to cause problems in conception than primolut tablet. This is because conception  needs  correct hormonal balance which leads to ovulation and subsequent fertilisation. Primolut will not cause infertility, it may just delay conception as the hormonal balance takes time to restore, after stopping the treatment.

What can I do to gain some weight?

Dear Doctor;

My body size is annoying. I feel too small for my age. At 32, I weigh just 51 kilogrammes. Is there a way I can increase my body weight? Jean Kiyovu.

Dear Jean, you have not mentioned your height. Age and weight alone are not the criteria for determining whether somebody is under or overweight. Body mass index(BMI) is one of the criteria, and it is calculated using weight and height. A person is also considered underweight when their weight is 15-20% less than the expected body weight for age and height.

One can be underweight due to  hormonal disorders like diabetes and  hypothyroidism. Protein, calorie malnutrition causes weight loss and weakness as well. Infections like  tuberculosis, chronic worm infestation, cancers, liver and kidney diseases make one underweight. But in this case, one would have other manifestations of the disease. Apart from these causes, genetic factors also contribute to the average weight of a person.

Get blood glucose tested to exclude diabetes.

Eating more of carbohydrates and proteins helps one to put on weight. Regular exercises specially the weight building ones, lead to muscle hypertrophy and increase in weight.

If you feel energetic enough to carry on your routine work, do not fall sick often, have a good appetite and sleep, then there is nothing to worry about.

Is there any remedy for grey hair?

Dear Doctor;

My 16-years-old son has gray hair. I have noticed some strands all over his head. Is there any remedy? None of my relatives has the problem. Joseph.

Dear Joseph,

I can understand your anxiety. Grey hair is normally considered a sign of aging, but these days, many people have grey hair at tender ages. Graying occurs due to depletion of  naturally occurring colouring pigment, i.e. melanin in the  hair.


Chronic cold, sinusitis, excess dryness and  chronic infections of the scalp, nutrient deficiencies particularly that of vitamin B. 12, iron, copper and iodine are some of the reasons. Role of stress in graying of hair is controversial. Use of warm water for head wash, electric hair driers can also induce early graying of hair.  Pituitary and thyroid disorders, any chronic debilitating illness can cause graying of hair along with other manifestations.

Hair colours and dyes can be used selectively over the grey hair, but unfortunately the hydrogen per oxide present can induce graying in other hair strands by bleaching effect. Home remedies like applying  juice of curry leaves, henna, crushed fenugreek seeds, dried powdered amla, amaranthus and leaves help to conceal gray hair. Eating more fresh fruits, green leafy  vegetables and yoghurt also prevents prematue white hair and retards its progress.


Regular oil massage of the scalp with natural oils like coconut oil  is said to prevent dryness and also premature graying. For hair wash it is recommended to use natural herbal products instead of chemical ones.


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