From HRT issues to self-care, Dr. Zoe answers your health questions
BEING a parent is an emotional rollercoaster – it’s exciting, inspiring, confusing and disturbing all at the same time.
One of the things that many parents find difficult is weaning – it’s such a minefield with so much conflicting advice.
This is why I always refer patients to Better Health Start For Life.
This is an NHS campaign that shares reliable, evidence-based and data-driven advice.
If you’re having trouble, check it out and send us any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer as many as possible.
A reader emailed concerned about introducing nuts to her baby’s diet, and it’s something that comes up often.
So here are my tips on how best to tackle this problem and how to deal with other common health concerns, from HRT issues to personal grooming worries.
As always, no health issue is too big or small, so reach out to us no matter what’s bothering you.
Q: HOW to introduce nuts to a baby with eczema, if a parent has eczema, hay fever or asthma?
A: Weaning your baby can be the most exciting experience, but can also cause a lot of anxiety.
Most children won’t have food allergies, but allergies will become more and more common.
Foods most likely to cause a reaction (allergens) include nuts, fish, eggs and soy, so they should be introduced with caution. Introduce one allergen at a time and initially in small amounts.
Wait at least three days before trying another, as some allergies can take that long to show up and it’s important to know what food caused the allergy.
They can be introduced from around six months, alongside other foods – there is no need to wait any longer.
In fact, research shows that delaying the introduction of peanuts or eggs may actually increase allergy risk.
If your baby already has a food allergy or diagnosed eczema, or if you have a family history of food allergies, eczema, asthma or hay fever, you may need to be extra careful when introduction of foods, so it may be a good idea to speak to your GP or health visitor first and have
some antihistamine medications at hand.
There are wonderful resources available on the withdrawal pages of the start4life website. See nhs.uk/start4life.
Q: I am currently on HRT but I feel really depressed. Do I need antidepressants or should I try another form of HRT?
If taking HRT has not alleviated your depressive symptoms, return to your GP as there are a number of other options that may help, including antidepressants, which can be prescribed in addition to HRT.
Other things that can also help include talking therapies and lifestyle factors.
People often underestimate how important lifestyle changes are for our mental health.
Evidence shows, for example, that regular group exercise can be as effective as antidepressants or cognitive behavioral therapy when it comes to treating mild to moderate depression.
I always advise my patients to do their best to incorporate even small amounts of exercise into their routine, if they can, because in addition to their other treatments, it can make a big difference.
Q: I have ingrown hairs, chafing and swelling on my bikini line, what can I do to relieve it?
A: If shaving and waxing prove to be very problematic, there are two alternative options that I would recommend.
First, leaving your pubic hair alone would likely solve the problem, and there are no proven health benefits to removing pubic hair.
However, if this is not something you wish to do, for cosmetic purposes, it may be worth considering laser treatment.
It is not available on the NHS. However, a course of laser treatment has the huge advantage of being a more permanent solution and therefore a good investment.