DEAR DR. ROACH: In one of Dr. Donohue’s columns years ago, he wrote about pain in the rectum that he said was caused by “trapped gas” (as well as I can recall), and he recommended sitting on a baseball (or some kind of ball) for a bit and that would relieve it. It worked! I have been using that method for years now, and wish I had thanked him for that advice! I actually keep a baseball handy just in case I need it!
Now my 39-year-old son has complained of rectal pain, and though I am aware that there can be many causes, I would like for him to try this “magic treatment” before he gets any more worried.
He is going to try to see a doctor, and I can just imagine that this simple solution will not even be known and that the doctor immediately will recommend a battery of tests. Maybe they will be necessary; I don’t know, but I would like him to try this first. My son appears not to take my suggestion seriously, so I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of this or if there is any way to find Dr. D’s column in which he addresses this issue. — R.A.
ANSWER: Sadly, I must lack some of Dr. Donohue’s wisdom, experience or expertise, since I don’t know what he was getting at there. I am pretty good about finding old columns, but I couldn’t find the one you are referring to. If any of Dr. Donohue’s faithful readers has the column or remembers it, write me and I will write a follow-up.
If your son came to me with his complaint, I would start by taking a complete history and performing an exam and perhaps an anoscopy, done in the office — not a whole battery of tests.
DEAR DR. ROACH: When I bought fresh plums yesterday, I was reminded of your column about “white stuff” on fresh fruit, the white stuff being mold. Very fresh blueberries, grapes, plums and certain other fresh fruit have what is called a “bloom” when picked. The bloom goes away the older the fruit is. Bloom is pretty uniform; mold is not. Bloom on fresh fruit is a very good sign. Other than your lack of farming skills, I really like your column. — C.K.
ANSWER: I didn’t know that the waxy material on some fresh fruits is called “bloom,” but I have seen that phenomenon at local farmer’s markets. However, I do know from living in major cities that moldy blueberries are a fact of urban life. Fresh fruit might not get to the grocer for days or weeks, and can then sit there for who knows how long until they become, frankly, moldy. (I also enlisted the help of a professional mycologist from Michigan State University, who helped me identify the mold, described as one that is not harmful). Despite my lack of farming skills, I am sure we can agree that it is better to have bloom on your berries than mold.
READERS: Diabetes has become epidemic in North America. The booklet on it provides insight on its diagnosis and treatment. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Roach — No. 402, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Can. with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Health newsletters may be ordered from www.rbmamall.com.
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