Journalism in the service of society

Fat in my belly

MY abdomen has started protruding so much so that people usually think that I am fat. I will be grateful if you can let me know how to reduce the fat in my belly.

—Fatima (by SMS)

The best way to lose any excess or unwanted body fat is to reduce your calorie intake or increase your exercise levels to burn additional calories. Look carefully at your diet and in particular the sugar, fat and carbohydrate content of food. Also reduce alcohol. It is always best to maintain a healthy balanced diet and aim to lose weight gradually. Crash diets rarely give long-term results.

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My problem with bedwetting

I am a 14-year old lady and I am still bedwetting. Kindly let me know what to do about this.

— Iyabo (by SMS)

Bedwetting (Nocturnal enuresis) is defined as nighttime bedwetting beyond age 5, affects many school-age children and even some teens. It’s not a serious health problem, and children usually outgrow it. Still, bedwetting can be upsetting for children and parents. Around 20% of children have some problems with bedwetting at age 5, and up to 10% still do at age 7. By the late teens, the estimated rate of bedwetting is between 1% and 3% of children. Nocturnal enuresis is 2 to 3 times more common in boys than girls. Bedwetting at your age could be a sign of a urinary tract infection or other health problems, neurological issues (related to the brain), stress, or other issues. To curtail the problem, it is advisable for you to; limit intake of food or drinks with caffeine and avoid salty snacks and sugary drinks, especially during the evening, try and go to the bathroom regularly during the day (every two to three hours) and just before going to bed and wake up during the night to urinate, if necessary.

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How to reduce my salt intake

I am a 70-year-old man. I have been finding it difficult to reduce my salt intake for some time. Kindly let me know how much salt is good for me and how I can reduce my salt intake.

— Irabor (by SMS)

On average, you should aim to keep your salt intake to less than 6g per day (about 2.4g of sodium).  If you’re buying processed foods, remember to check the information given on the labels to choose those with less salt. Try replacing salt with pepper, herbs and spices to add flavour to your favourite dishes.

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My poor erection

I am over 73 years old. At times, when I feel like having sex with my wife, my erection will be too poor to successfully carry out the assignment. I was told that my problem could be due to the drugs I am currently taking for Hypertension and Diabetes. Kindly help me.

— Suleiman (by E Mail)

Poor Erection (Erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur for many reasons, ranging from simple to complex. ED may result from anxiety, stress, vascular disease, neurological disease, diabetes, or fatigue. In your case, it is important to make sure that your Diabetes and Hypertension are well controlled.  In addition, it is also important to check with your doctor if any of the drugs you are currently using can cause poor erection. If so, the drugs can be changed. If all the above does not improve your condition, your doctor may give you some sexual stimulants.

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My regular urge for sex

I am a 20-year-old student. My problem is that anytime I see a woman, I always have an urge for sex. I want to know if this is normal and if not, what to do about it.

— Skido (by SMS)

Testosterone, a hormone men need for sexual arousal, is typically high in the 20s. Because of this, men in your age group usually have a very high sex drive. Be this as it may, it will be important for you to control your emotions as much as possible. In addition, having female friends whom you relate with in a healthy manner will go a long way to curb your urges.

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My love for sugary things

I am a 57-year-old lady. My problem is that I love to eat sweet things which I know are not good for my health. Kindly let me know what to do about this.

—Chioma (by SMS)

Adults should eat no more than 30g of sugar per day, roughly equal to seven sugar cubes. If you’ve found that munching sugary snacks just makes you crave more of them, you’re not alone. There are many reasons why we go for sweet things. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Sugar is a carbohydrate, but carbohydrates come in other forms, too, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which have fiber and nutrients your body needs. If you’re craving sugar, here are some ways to tame those cravings; Give in a little. Eat a bit of what you’re craving, maybe a small cookie or a fun-size candy bar. You can also combine foods. For example, you can mix some almonds with chocolate chips. Research has also shown that chewing gum can reduce food cravings while fruits will do the same. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep fruit handy for when sugar cravings hit. You’ll get fiber and nutrients along with some sweetness. And stock up on foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Eating regularly can also help since waiting too long between meals may set you up to choose sugary, fatty foods that cut your hunger. Eating every 3 to 5 hours can help keep blood sugar stable and help you.

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What is the normal urine colour?

My urine color sometimes fluctuates between yellow and white. I want to know the best urine color. I am a 30-year-old actor.

    — Escape (by SMS)

What is important is for your urine to be as clear as possible – it’s not so much the colour and more how clear it is. The more fluids you drink the clearer will be your urine. However, any colours other than yellow such as red, green or blue among others should be very suspect and must need to be investigated. You want to avoid dark coloured urine because that means you’re not drinking enough. You should be drinking 2 litres of water – or around eight mid-sized glasses – a day.

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My poor toilet habit

I noticed that I only go to the toilet to excrete three times a week. I am worried in case this is abnormal because some of my friends usually go to the toilet three times a day.

— Sule (by SMS)

 The normal frequency for bowel movements can range from once a week to three times a day. What matters is if your habit changes, because everybody is different. In my personal view it’s not how often you’re going, but how long it takes you to go. If you can’t empty your bowels in about 10 seconds, then the consistency of your poo is not as it should be. It should be soft enough and formed enough that it should come out quite easily without straining. Straining causes piles and tears. You want to have a formed, smooth stool that’s easy to pass.

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