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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Week of May 15, 2000

    Question:   I'm 21 and I have severe nodular acne. I have been experiencing outbreaks since 13, and until last year was diagnosed with an allergy to Accutane. My dermatologist put me on a seven-month course of this medication, in conjunction with Celestone treatments. I have experienced about a 50% improvement, but still suffer frequent and lasting outbreaks. Two of the cysts, which have been injected, are still full of fluid and some scar tissue. I was told that I should not seek excising surgery until a year after taking Accutane. In public, I am treated with hostility, and my self-esteem is beginning to falter. I consider myself otherwise a very attractive, intelligent, and worthwhile young woman, but I feel that I have no other options. If you can suggest any other available treatments, I would be happy.    Dr. Shiller's Answer

    Question:   It seems that younger and younger patients are getting cancer. Is it advisable to request a mammogram for patients in their early 20s who have a family history of breast cancer? Would you recommend this for all patients or just those with a family history?    Dr. Shiller's Answer

    Question:   Six years ago my doctor prescribed me sleeping pills for my insomnia. Now, he suggests over-the-counter medication. Will they affect my health? Are there any problems associated with prolonged use of over-the-counter sleep aids?    Dr. Shiller's Answer

    Question:   Where can I get information on the quality of nursing homes? I have a relative that may need to be placed, but I want to be sure the facility is a good one.    Dr. Shiller's Answer

    Question:   For years, I have been suffering from bowel problems. I use enemas daily. After I eat, I get a lower abdomen pain. It feels like diarrhea, constipation as well as a block, in which I cannot pass anything without use of an enema. My stool is loose and dark. The pain feels like labor contractions and my legs ache. I find myself tiptoeing and breathing deeply. I eat carefully with plenty of fiber and water. Four years ago, a doctor performed a test and found I have a large bowel. I am active and would appreciate any information you could give me.    Dr. Shiller's Answer