Doctor: I am Catholic and I was told that I have to use natural family planning methods to avoid pregnancy. What is natural family planning?
Dear Annette: It is said the Catholic Church supports the methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) because they respect God’s design for married love.
Natural Family Planning refers to certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies whereby no drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used. The methods use naturally-occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile periods of a woman’s menstrual cycle to avoid pregnancy by abstaining from sex.
The period when one is deemed not fertile and less likely to get pregnant is called a safe period. Since a woman can get pregnant anytime, even in her periods, the safe period is unreliable especially when one has irregular periods or a short menstrual cycle.
To use this successfully, one needs to calculate the fertile period and to have the will to avoid sex during this period, failure of which may result in pregnancy.
Body temperature and cervical mucus changes are some of the ways one may calculate a fertile period. In cases where women are illiterate and do not have the courage to deny their husbands (who do not participate in family planning) sex when they are fertile, it may be difficult to practice natural family planning.
In Uganda, many women use breastfeeding or lactation amenorrhea method whereby women are told to exclusively breastfeed their babies after every four hours during the day and at least after every six hours at night. This method is most effective in the first six months. Lactation amenorrhea refers to lack of periods during the said breastfeeding though some women may have periods and still be protected.
Dear Doctor: Is it true that if a baby is born with black lips called akamilo when it feeds it does not get satisfied and that it becomes a glutton?
Dear Nusula: “Akamilo” literally means a glutton. It is envisaged that a child born with black lips if not treated early, will in future turn into a glutton. Local treatment is by using burnt grass, omuyonga, which is smeared on the lips. This condition just like false teeth (ebinyo, ebiino), does not exist but is merely imagined. However, burnt grass though it tastes salty, contains almost no pharmacologically active substances to treat ailments and may not be cause for alarm even if it is not active. Burning of grass may make it sterile but the handling may lead to contamination with germs making it a health hazard.
Baby’s lips may be darker after birth because of less oxygen in the womb generally (that’s why foetuses have more blood to trap the little oxygen in the womb) or from the placenta as the womb contracts for the baby to be born. From the act of crying at birth (which is the first breath) and with breastfeeding, the lips get more blood to flow into them turning pinker. =So even without burnt grass treatment, the lip colour will change without a fuss.That said lips that remain blue or black may signify less oxygen requiring the doctor to check out lung or heart inborn abnormalities.
Dear Doctor: I went to a doctor who told me I had lip vitiligo where the lips are white instead of black. What can I do? Is it going to spread all over the body?
Dear Katunda: Normally, the colour of hair, skin and eyes is determined by a pigment called melanin. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die off in some areas leaving the skin with lighter patches. Vitiligo can affect hair, or any part of the skin including that of the mouth or even the private parts or anus but usually, it first shows on sun-exposed areas, such as the hands, feet, arms, face and lips. However, since the extent and rate of colour loss is unpredictable, it may be difficult to tell whether or when the rest of the body will be involved.
Sometimes, the patches stop forming without treatment but in most cases, pigment loss spreads and eventually involves most of the skin giving one a piano look. Even with the best treatment, rarely does the skin gets its colour back, requiring in your case, to treat it cosmetically using as varied methods such as lipstick or lip tattooing, as agreeable.
Much as it may bditary or may be triggered by stress, or exposure to the sun or industrial chemicals, vitiligo often stems from a problem in one’s immune system. The immune system may attack and destroy the pigment producing melanocytes in the skin in which case it may be associated with other immune problem disorders of the thyroid and pancreatic glands, among others.
Although you may be scared of the problem’s cosmetic effects related to white patches, the related immune issues are the ones that urgently require checking and management.
Dear Doctor: It is as if I was born circumcised. That is, my skin does not cover the penis. Do I have to circumcise to avoid catching Aids too?
Dear Katumba: Some men naturally have long foreskins while others have short ones. In fact some men’s foreskins will not cover the penis head even when it is not erect. In the latter’s circumstances, these men are thought to carry bad luck and as young men, the embarrassment of looking different from other boys forces them to do early circumcision at any cost.
It is true that circumcision protects against most STDs and HIV infection but people with short foreskins are not as protected as the circumcised and they need circumcision, abstinence, being faithful and use of condoms to help prevent Aids. Sometimes, men may have a short foreskin associated with a urethra that is underneath the penis (Hypospadias) whose correction requires the foreskin and, therefore, before you go for circumcision, you need a doctor to check this out. Referred to as enkala in Luganda or empaali in Runyakitara, a short foreskin is not a disease and should not be taken as a natural preventive method for STDs and HIVAids just as happens with circumcision. Also, circumcision should not be a license for reckless sexual behaviour because it does not offer 100 per cent protection.
“Many of us like to reward children with sweet things including ice cream, sweets, or even sodas.
This habit, apart from adding unnecessary calories to the children’s diet, which leads to obesity or tooth damage (dental caries), is likely to become a lifelong habit.”
Dr Vincent Karuhanga
SOURCE: Daily Monitor