Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 65, Tuesday April 28, 2009



My scalp is very dry. I put oil and then shampoo thoroughly but the dryness remains. It is also very itchy, especially when exposed to the sun. And lastly, flakes of dry skin come off whenever I scratch my scalp. What to do? Please help.
- Neela
Rub lemon rind on your scalp. Then shampoo off with Selsun-blue anti-dandruff shampoo. Use twice a week.

Although its summer, I suffer from dryness of skin. My lips get chapped, and there is roughness around my laugh lines and also in the area above the eyelid. Is there any herbal solution to this problem?
- Atiq
Your skin needs moisture. Use Johnsons baby lotion on your face every morning and every night. Apply petroleum jelly on the lips several times a day.

I have the habit of reading books lying on my bed, resting on my elbows. This is causing roughness around the region. The same is the case with my knees. How can I make the skin smooth?
- Cynthia
Make a mixture of Uptan (2 tbs), lemon juice (1/2 lemon), salt (1tsp), yoghurt (1 tbsp). Apply on joints, semi dry. Massage off. Use 2/3 times a week.

I am allergic to sunscreen. What is a suitable alternative?
- Mahir
Protect your skin by wearing a cap or using an umbrella when the sun is at its strongest.

Dear Doctor,
A few years ago I was diagnosed with having a deviated nasal septum and surgery was prescribed. As I was not feeling any discomfort I did not go through with the procedure. However, I now face breathing problems and there is also pain. Can you please suggest if there are any alternatives to surgery?
- Saima Ahmed

Dear Saima,
Thank you for the question. Deviated septum is sometimes diagnosed by chance while the nose is examined for some other complications. In most cases that I have seen, patients remain symptom free for many years and then as the days go by, complain of obstruction, pain and sometimes even nasal bleeding.
This can happen for several reasons like growth in the nasal tissue that causes obstruction of the deviated side and also due to friction between the tissues of the nose and the septum.
There is no alternative to surgery. This is a relatively safe procedure and can be performed here successfully. Bone cannot be straightened with medication. So get the surgery done as soon as possible as an obstructed breathing passage can cause further problems in the future.

Dear Doctor,
Can you please elaborate on middle ear infections and how we can prevent it?
- Zakia Rahman

Middle ear infection is a very important subject and I believe there should be widespread awareness on this topic. So thank you Zakia, for the question.
I work in an NGO and if I see, say 20 patients in a day, at least 10 suffer from middle ear infection.
The sad thing is, people take this to be a very normal condition and most often do not take the condition seriously.
Our ear is divided into three parts by the eardrum and the bones. The external ear is outside of the eardrum. The portion behind the drum is the middle ear and usually cannot be seen by the naked eye. This middle ear has bones, which help hearing. Also there is a tube connecting the middle ear to the pharynx behind the nose. The function of this tube is to drain the middle ear.
Middle ear infection can be of two types- acute and chronic.
In acute condition the patient goes through severe pain in the ear with a history of common cold, or entry of water in the ear or infection due to some other reasons. Observed by physicians, the eardrum in this case is found reddish. This is because, after catching a cold the tissues inside and around the nose get inflamed and swollen. The tube connecting the middle ear with the respiratory passage gets blocked and the middle ear cannot drain itself. There is accumulation of fluid, which causes the pain.
In some cases there may be a discharge from the ear. This happens if too much fluid accumulates causing a small perforation in the drum and the fluid comes out of the ear.
All of the above are curable if treated properly and in time. Along with making sure that there is no entry of water inside the ear.
If this condition is not treated properly and the perforation persists, infection can become chronic. Ear plugs should be used while bathing. An ENT surgeon should be consulted who will examine the ear and suggest on the course of treatment.
These days, the drum can be repaired very easily by tympanoplasty. I hope all the information will help you to understand this condition better. It should be remembered that repeated infections of the middle ear will cause deafness. Take care.

Dear Doctor,
What is adenoid? Is adenoid infection something serious?
- Rahat Abdullah

This is an important topic especially for parents as the sufferers are mostly children.
The Adenoid gland is a lymphoid tissue, which is located in the nasal part of the pharynx behind the nose. It is similar to the tonsils in our throat.
This gland is usually active till the child is 10 12 years old. Repeated cold infections in children cause enlargement of the gland. As I have explained before, there is a tube connecting the middle ear to back of the nose. The enlarged gland may block the opening of the tube and the child will complain of ear pain and there be also a discharge from the ear. Besides, if the gland gets too big it blocks the nose and so the child has difficulty breathing.
In such cases, the child will breathe by mouth and so may develop throat infections, teeth infections and mouth ulcers. Also there will be a runny nose.
The child usually does not eat well if the nose is blocked, as there is a difficulty in swallowing.
These children sleep with their mouth open and often snore.
If your child suffers from frequent colds consult an ENT specialist and they will advice an X-ray for diagnosis. If your child does have enlarged adenoids and it blocks more than1/2 to 2/3rd of the airway the choice of treatment is surgery. If not treated properly the child will have recurrent ear infection, which may cause deafness. Also, breathing by mouth causes oral infection and in the long run the child will develop deformed teeth.

News flash


I met a girl named Shundori today. On my rooftop. April evening was welcoming rain; to make amends with the wild breeze I found a corner on my roof. Looking over Dhaka and all her lights, Westin's red and Badda's blue, I wanted to dive into the night sky, which showed no stars but a hazy half moon. That's when Shundori appeared.

She was about 8, wore a frock that had been over-worn by someone else before her, probably inherited from the household she was a help of. There were two others with her, both men in their 20s. Shundori came to me with a mission. She started her conversation with all curiosity asking if I lived in this building, what my name was, she commented on the breeze, she asked what I do. I answered only half her questions.

Shundori then brought one of her friends over. From the corner of my eyes I could sense his stares following my every curve, he coughed and cleared his throat and asked the same set of questions as Shundori. He added that he was very lonely and would love some company, he finished with a wink.

At this point I turned around and looked straight at him. In my most stern voice I told him to leave me alone. He asked, smiling meaningfully, “Why?” I told him because I wanted to be alone. After a moment they walked away. And I saw him grab Shundori's lower back, while he cupped her bottom with his hands, they both giggled. And I felt a depression along with some sickness.

And this was my own rooftop. The roof that is over my head because I pay for it. A place where I should be able to roam freely if I want. But I can't. So why do I expect it outside, on the roads that scream at me for stepping on it with my womanly sandals or high heels.

The roads that wrap me around and try to suffocate me for trying to run. The roads that taught me how to identify men before their hands advance to grope me, to squeeze my breast or my bottom.

I still remember the first time I could successfully push a hand away that was about to grab my breast and I felt a certain liberation, I wanted to tell my mother who was next to me what I had done.

But then I remembered I couldn't tell her because maybe in her perfect world her daughter was still untouched, she hoped for a better world for me after all, I wanted her to believe that I had one.

Today I walk the streets with my head high, while paying attention to the pot holes, puddles and unforgiving traffic. I look up sometimes too, to find Shundoris watching me from rooftops, Shundoris who are getting abused somewhere near us between enclosed walls, open rooftops and winding roads.

Shundori and I don't have much in common… but still… once in a while, we do meet on rooftops, under the same sky that covers the streets, under the same glances, same advancing hands, obscene gestures.

Yet Shundori and I never connect, we breeze through life, and during some pre-rain Dhaka nights we exchange tears and giggles, some harsh words, a wink or two and many grabbing hands.

By Iffat Nawaz

by the way

PMS woes

All women have both female and male hormones within the natural balance of the body. However, increased levels of male hormones as well as increased levels of prolactin (which is responsible for the production of breast milk) can result in a delayed ovulation and low levels of progesterone, leading to PMS. PMS is the result of "a less than perfect ovulation." The condition resulting in a "less than perfect ovulation" stems from a hormone imbalance.



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