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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Week of July 3, 2000

    Question:   I am experiencing a shortened menstrual cycle - bleeding approximately every 10 to 20 days, for the full 4-5 days each time, as well as experiencing some spotting in between these periods. The spotting is very light. I am currently taking a continuous use pill without estrogens, and have been on it for the last 5 months. I also, experienced this about 10 months ago, but I wasn't using any form of oral contraceptive then. At that time, it lasted for 8 weeks (ie, 4 periods) and then stopped, or had my cycle lengthened again. I did see a health care professional about this the first time, but he was of the opinion that as long as it was regular, there was no cause for alarm about frequent periods. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.    Dr. Ganiat's Answer

    Question:   I have small brown patches on my knees and my ankles. My local dermatologist said that people with diabeties get these dark spots on their legs. I have had my sugar tested numerous of times and the results are always normal(19). Is there anything I can do about this? Are there any medications that will help fade these patches?    Dr. Ganiat's Answer

    Question:   How accurate is "waiting" as opposed to a biopsy? My doctor told me to wait and see if my lump goes away. He feels that if it does, it probably isn't cancerous. "Probably" isn't good enough for me. Is there a danger of a cancerous lump disappearing? Do they ever become undetectable by touch, once you've found one? We have already determined that it is not a fluid mass with a needle.    Dr. Ganiat's Answer

    Question:   I am a 25-year-old female, who works on a computer all day. For the last three months I have been experiencing pain in the joints of my right hand, especially in that of the fifth digit. On many occasions it has gotten to the point where I couldn't bend the finger because the pain was too severe. I went to my doctor who ran blood tests, which did not uncover a problem. The strange thing is that I do not always experience this problem, it seems to be random. Also, I am now having problems with the third finger joint. It appears to be swollen and is very tender to the touch. My doctor said that she was puzzled as to the cause and said not to worry about it too much. However the pain is increasing. Since the blood test did not turn up anything, should I see another doctor? Or should I see a hand surgeon? I'm a little lost right now and in a lot of pain.    Dr. Ganiat's Answer

    Question:   I am 38-year-old RN, in medical sales for the last 2 years. Lately, I have been feeling like work isn't fun anymore. I feel fatigued, and mentally and emotionally down. At first I loved my job, but for some reason I don't anymore. I am constantly on the phone, voice mail, faxes, etc. It always feels like there are loose ends and the work never gets done. The money and benefits are great, but I don't know if I should quit or if I am just burned out. There are personal aggravators in my life that aren't helping. If you have any ideas or suggestions that may help me out I would appreciate it.    Dr. Ganiat's Answer