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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Week of December 25, 2000

    Question:   I am a 17- year-old girl. Recently, I realized that there is quite a lot of hair growing at my chin and around my nipples. The hair is rather thick and dark. Is this normal? I also have a thicker moustache than the rest of the other girls. Could I be suffering from hirsutism? Please let me know what can be done.    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:   My mother is in her 80th year and had her spleen removed at age 57. As a child she had pneumonia once or twice and last Christmas was seriously ill with a chest infection. Her last pneumovax shot was 5 years ago. The surgeon who removed the spleen had told her to have a shot every 5 years. This surgeon is now retired. Her family doctor of 3 years feels she does not need one. Why would the surgeon recommend every 5 years and the family doctor now says 10 years. Is there any consensus on this? Also, what about flu shots?   Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:   My 1-year-old daughter has recently had a confirmation that the birth defect on her head is an aplasia cutis congenita. Could you please provide me with information on this condition? Also, at what stage in development in utero would this occur? I had some trauma during my pregnancy at 10 weeks and would like to know if this had anything to do with this condition.    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer