DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 63-year-old man. A visit to my urologist did not answer some questions I have. I was told by my regular doctor that aging is a factor in men losing leg hair. Is that true?

I am losing pubic hair, and even hair up to the navel. Why is that? Years ago, I found that I had lost the hair between my legs. A medication I was prescribed (Lexapro/Celexa) had bad side effects for me. I could not get a decent erection, and had loss of perineum hair. Could there be a connection?

It is funny that I have only slight chest hair reduction and little back hair loss. Maybe the urologist brushed me off, but it is important to me. I had been under a lot of stress during the summer. — T.K.

ANSWER: When I see leg hair being lost, the first thing I worry about is the circulation in the legs. This can be an early sign of peripheral vascular disease, which is important to recognize because it is treatable and also predicts greater risk of heart attack and stroke. If you have any risk factors for vascular disease, I would talk to your doctor about getting this tested, which is easy and noninvasive.

However, the loss of pubic hair makes me concerned about a drop in testosterone. This can cause sexual troubles as well, but it sounds like your sexual issues were related to the medication, which is not uncommon with both Lexapro and Celexa. That’s a simple blood test.

Severe stress can rarely cause loss of all body hair, alopecia universalis, but that is really ALL hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes, which is not what you have.

DEAR DR. ROACH: Your recent column about the 58-year-old woman who felt like she had oil in her eye reminded me of having a very similar situation.

I described it to my optometrist, and he also diagnosed ocular migraine. I wanted another opinion, because the only symptom I had was the oil, no headache or visual disturbances. The ophthalmologist diagnosed blepharitis, or clogged oil glands at the base of my eyelashes. She recommended placing a warm pack of rice in a sock over my eye and then washing the eye area with baby shampoo on a washcloth. I did this for a week or two, and on my visit with her to recheck the eyes, the problem was gone.

I was grateful the condition was fixable because vision problems are scary. — J.P.

ANSWER: Thank you for writing. Blepharitis is caused by changes in the meibomian glands, oil glands that are present in both eyelids, often associated with changes in bacteria. I usually see people with this condition noticing red eyes and a gritty sensation. However, you are quite right that it includes blurry vision, and the eye-care professional sometimes can see an oily or foamy film over the eye.

The treatment the ophthalmologist recommended works for most people. Gentle lid massage may help get additional oily material out of the glands. However, occasionally antibiotics or other treatments are necessary.

READERS: The booklet on vertigo explains this disruptive condition in detail and outlines its treatment. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Roach Book No. 801, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. 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 [email protected] or request an order form of available health newsletters at 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. Health newsletters may be ordered from www.rbmamall.com.


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