DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband and I are both 35, successful in our fields and lead a comfortable life. We are expecting our first child in six months. We drink wine with dinner. My gynecologist has told me to forgo all alcohol during pregnancy. I drink only two glasses of wine at dinner. Is this too much alcohol? My husband doesn’t think so. – R.R.

ANSWER:
You and your husband are successful people. You want your child to be successful. Stay away from any alcohol during your pregnancy, including the two glasses of wine at dinner.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a preventable disaster inflicted on an innocent third party – a baby – by the thoughtlessness of its mother. Sometimes it’s done out of ignorance, but you’ve been warned, so you have no excuse.

Alcohol passing from the mother to her fetus can lower IQ, sometimes to the point of profound mental retardation.

It can stunt the baby’s growth throughout life.

It’s responsible for several malformations. The eyes are small and spaced widely apart. The upper lip is extremely thin. The head is undersized. The jaw isn’t fully developed. The heart can have holes in it.

Children born with the syndrome often suffer from emotional disorders during life.

There are more examples of what alcohol does to a developing fetus, but these are enough examples to make any pregnant woman not take a drop during pregnancy.

Your husband might have a point. The degree of damage depends on the amount of alcohol drunk. However, no expert can state what constitutes a safe amount. In light of that, all say that no alcohol is the safe rule for pregnant women to follow.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have a large prostate gland, with all the troubles it brings. The doctor put me on Flomax, which worked like a charm for me but made my nose drip. It wasn’t just a little drip; it was more like Niagara Falls. I stopped and my nose stopped dripping, but my symptoms came back. Is there something else I could take? I don’t want any surgery. – G.L.

ANSWER:
You could try Uroxatral. It belongs to the same drug family as Flomax, so it might have the same side effect. The only way to know is to give it a try.

Avodart and Proscar are drugs of a different family that work in a different way. They shrink the gland, but they can take months before you see improvement. They won’t make your nose run.

The booklet on the prostate gland describes gland enlargement and its treatment, as well as gland cancer. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue — No. 1001, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6.75 Can. with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: In the past two years, I swear my tongue has gotten bigger. I have mentioned this to several people, and they laughed at me. I even mentioned it to my doctor, and he laughed at me. Am I imagining this? What can cause tongue growth? – B.M.

ANSWER:
Is there any pain, color changes or sores along with the tongue enlargement? If the answer is no, then there are at least two explanations for an enlarging tongue.

One is acromegaly. It’s due to an excessive production of growth hormone from a tumor of the pituitary gland. Other things enlarge too. The hands and feet widen, and facial features coarsen.

Amyloidosis is another condition in which the tongue enlarges. Amyloid is an abnormal protein that infiltrates many organs, the tongue being one of them.

The next time you see your doctor, ask about these. The possibility of either is far-out, but you are the best judge of your tongue’s increasing size.

Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Readers may also order health newsletters from www.rbmamall.com.


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