Editor: Ambreen Asim
Mar 26 - Apr 01, 2011
Mag The Weekly
difficult daughters

EXPERT ADVICEQ: Over the last four years, my boyfriend has become increasingly possessive and distrustful. Talking about the problem, or indulging his insecurities, gets me nowhere. I don't know how to make things better as we are soon going to be married. Saira, Lahore
This sounds like a very tough situation for both of you, but you are not responsible for your boyfriend's low self-esteem. A relationship without trust is never going to be a happy one, and clearly both of you are stressed and anxious. You can't reassure him by staying in touch every time you're apart. Calling it quits will hurt him (and you too), but would he feel less hurt a year or more down the line? The longer you stay with him, the more you'll feel you can't leave. This kind of stifling relationship is no good for either of you.

Q: I have a 14-year-old son. I've never allowed him to play 18-plus video games at our house, despite him badgering me constantly. Lately he has stepped up the pressure by complaining that he is left out at school because all his friends talk about these games and he can't join in. I've stayed firm, but a part of me can't bear the nagging and the arguments. What should I do? Rizwana, Karachi
In this kind of a situation there are three responses you can give your son: yes, no or yes with conditions. Let's look at how these responses might play out. If you say 'yes' to an 18-plus game, the arguments will stop, but the likelihood is that within a few weeks your son will want to go somewhere, do something or buy something else that you don't feel comfortable with, even though 'all his friends are doing it'. Secondly if you say no, your son will keep pestering you. He will insist you are ruining his social life. You may feel bad (about the arguments) but great about the fact your son isn't spending his free time massacring 'virtual' strangers. If you take this option, steel yourself with the knowledge that if you never say 'no', your yes becomes worthless. Negotiate. What if you said to your son, 'I'm not willing to let you have this, but let's talk about something else you want and maybe I can give you a "yes" on that?' This way you both may get a break from nagging!

Q: I've been divorced from my wife for two years, with whom I had two children, a daughter who is 7 and a son who is 5 years old. My ex-wife is getting remarried in July and I'm worried about losing my kids. Recently, my daughter called her soon to be stepdad her 'second daddy'. It broke my heart. I don't want my kids to think of anyone else this way. Zaidi, Karachi
Some dads in your situation become so consumed with anger they rarely manage to put their kids' needs above their own. But you're connecting with your kids and that's an incredible achievement. Just like parents have room in their hearts for more than one child, children also have room for more than one parental figure. There is not much that you can do here, except for staying in touch and taking care of their needs.

Q: I recently met my friend's husband whom she ran away with six months ago. Apart from having no sense of humour, he was a real penny-pincher and was unhappy about us going for shopping. My friend seemed very down and tense for a newlywed. She stopped short of saying she wanted out, but she said enough to make me think she's in a bad place. I am really worried for her, what advice should I give? Hira
I can understand that you're concerned, but I'm not sure she'd appreciate you telling her what you think unless she asks you. My feeling is she needs a friend who will listen, ask tactful questions and help her understand how to repair her happiness. So let her know you are there for her and aren't prepared to let her be 'in her bad place' by herself.

Dr Shah Hussain

EXPERT ADVICEQ: I am 39 years old and am suffering from acne. What could be the problem? Ayesha Junaid, Karachi
You seem to have adult acne, usually caused by a hormonal imbalance. Avoid excessive use of cosmetics and oil-based creams as they could aggravate the acne. Do not pick or squeeze; use a mild face wash with salicylic acid; it will prevent clogging of the pores and reduce blackheads and whiteheads. Use a cream containing 2.5 per cent benzoyl peroxide once a day. You must also get a hormonal test done to rule out polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD), which is also one of the causes of adult acne.

Q: My underarms sweat a lot, even when the temperature is normal, sometimes even in an air conditioned room. I cannot wear light-coloured clothes due to this. What could be the reason? Fayyaz, Lahore
Excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, may be caused by certain diseases, metabolic disorders, fever or certain medications. Underarm sweating usually increases with stress, anxiety or heat. You must use an antiperspirant containing 20 per cent aluminium chloride hexahydrate. You may also try iontophoresis. Botox injections will stop the sweating completely, but you have to take the shots every six months.

Q: I have an oily scalp and dry hair. Due to this, I have to wash my hair every day, which is making my hair dull. What can I do to balance the oil? Samina Khwaja, Islamabad
Since you have an oily scalp, you could wash your scalp daily with a mild or baby shampoo. Use a good conditioner to provide moisture to your hair and prevent dryness. If your hair continues to be dry, use a leave-in conditioner or a hair serum from mid-length to the tips. Do not blow-dry your hair as this will cause more dryness. Frequent colouring, perming and straightening can make the hair dry, lustreless and brittle, so avoid these treatments frequently.

Q: My skin is affected by heat and sun a lot. It turns red and gets sunburnt if exposed to the sun for even a little while. What should I do to take care of my skin? Maria, Nawabshah
You must avoid the sun; always wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 at least 15 minutes before you step out in the sun. Reapply, if you are out for more than three hours. Wear long sleeved clothes if you are going to spend a lot of time outdoors. Even on cloudy days, don't forget your sunscreen. Eat lots of brightly coloured, antioxidant-rich fruits daily. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine, aerated drinks and chocolates as much as possible. At bedtime, you may use a metronidazole cream to soothe your skin.

General Physician
Dr Sadqa Gul
Q: I've been told that I may have polycystic ovaries, because I have erratic periods. I'm overweight and my doctor has told me to lose weight. What should I do? Haniya
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common disorder in which the body releases higher levels of male hormone than normal, leading to problems with periods, increased hair growth and fertility problems. There is also an increase in insulin production, which is the hormone important for breaking down sugar. However, in women with PCOs who are also overweight, the body is not as responsive to insulin. These women are at risk of developing diabetes and high cholesterol, and worsening of the symptoms linked to high levels of male hormones. If women lose weight, many of these problems can improve. Try to increase your activity levels as this will reduce the chances of insulin resistance and help you lose weight.

Q: My husband keeps getting an itchy ear, sometimes with a discharge, for which he uses ear drops. What should we do? Nargis
Your husband is getting otitis externa, an infection of the ear canal. It's more common in people who have skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema and can be made worse by the use of earplugs and damage from cotton buds, which should never be used. It's also important to keep the ear canal dry. Your husband can remove large amounts of wax with olive oil or sodium bicarbonate ear drops as, if the ear canal is blocked, it can increase the chance of infection. However, some wax is needed as it acts as a barrier to moisture and infection.

If you want to discuss problems related to skin, hair and nails or if you have any health related queries that need to be answered, or if an onerous emotional problem is weighing you down, share it with us at askexpert@magtheweekly.com. Kindly mention your age and the column you have the question for in the subject line.

Mag The Weekly

facebook join us
Pakistan’s Largest Circulated Weekly Magazine.