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11 Feb - 17 Feb , 2012
expertadviceHeart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.

Q: I am a 60-year-old widower. I lost my wife 20 years ago, but I never felt lonely in the years that followed since I remained busy bringing up my three daughters. But now, my daughters are all settled and involved with their own lives and while they are very caring towards me, they are not able to give me much time. I have also begun to worry about being alone in my old age. A year ago I joined a club where I met a spinster a few years younger than I am who had spent her life caring for her parents and two aunts. Now, she too is alone and lonely. Now, this lady and I have decided to get married, but my children are shocked and angry. They say that they will be embarrassed. What should I do? Arif, Karachi
You should go ahead and marry your lady-friend! This is what is best for both you and her. But talk to your girls and try and make them understand your feelings and fears. Talk to your sons-in-law too since EXPERT ADVICEtheir support will be of great help in winning over your daughters.
But also talk to your friend and make sure that besides loneliness, you have interests in common.

Q: I am 22 years old and work in the same company as my best friend. I have the better job and earn the better salary and so my friend expects me to pay for everything whenever we go out together. This is nothing new since when we were in school and college, I got more pocket money than she did and then too she expected me to pay for everything. But now it has begun to bug me because she takes it for granted that I will always shell out and doesn't even offer to pay occasionally. What should I do? Break up with her? Zehra Salman, Lahore
The ease with which you say that you will break up with her makes it seems that either she is not really a very good friend or that you are really annoyed with her! But to some extent the present situation is your fault. You have allowed you friend to take advantage of you for so long that she now takes it for granted that she'll always get a free ride. But it isn't too late. Tell her casually and jokingly that you both should share expenses when you go out and that you don't want to pay all the time. If she's a true friend she will get the message. If she isn't, she will sulk and drift away. But then you are ready for that, aren't you?

Q: I am 25 and I live in a joint family and am expecting my first child soon. My husband's sister lost her first baby in childbirth in a private hospital and so my in-laws are against my having my first delivery in that hospital. They want me to give birth at another local and small clinic where I am not comfortable, but I am terrified by the very thought of this, especially since my doctor has told me that since I have narrow pelvic bones, I should be prepared to have a Caesarean. My husband and parents too are against it but do not have the courage of speaking to my in-laws. What should I do? Tehmina, Karachi
You and your husband can put the blame on your doctor and tell your in-laws that she recommends a hospital delivery since you will probably have a Caesarean. But speak to her first in case your in-laws ask her about home births. She'll definitely advise a hospital delivery.
Women in small towns where medical services are not easily available still give birth at such places, but when good medical facilities are available, one should use them, especially when there is the possibility of an operation.

Dr Shah Hussain

EXPERT ADVICEQ: I hate waxing and hair removing creams which is why I always shave my legs. I have a worrisome problem though. A couple of days after shaving, the skin on my legs become itchy with several small bumps. Why does this happen? Naveen Shah, Karachi
Shaving is a good alternative to waxing and creaming off superfluous hair. It's less painful, less messy, although re-growth can be quicker. Itchy bumps on shaved skin are caused by ingrown hairs. Razors often cut off hair ends at a sharp or jagged edge making it grow back into the skin instead of out of it, causing bumps and itching. And this occurs after a day or two when the cut hair begins to grow. Follow this routine to avoid the problem: Soak your legs in warm water (bath or shower) for at least half an hour before shaving. This will soften the hair and make it pliable. Never do dry shaving and shave downwards, along hair growth and not against it to get softer angle edges and minimise in growth. Finish with a shooting antiseptic toner to soothe the skin.

Q: After the birth of my first baby six months ago, I have regained my pre-pregnancy figure but there are ugly lines on my lower abdomen and thighs. These look ugly, please tell me how to deal with this? Aneesa Ali, Lahore
You have stretch marks which are caused by weight gain, and then a sudden loss – as in a pregnancy when skin elasticity is lost and there is a breakdown of connective tissue. This can occur even when plump adolescents lose weight or there is a sudden growth spurt. Moisturise your skin with a very heavy cream. A collagen-boosting cream which contains retinol, a vitamin-A derivative, can also prove effective in lightening the ugly marks if used morning and evening. Laser treatment can remove the stretch marks but will require many sittings with a cosmetic surgeon. It can also be costly, for the present, you can use a concealer to hide the marks.

Q: I simply cannot get over my habit of chewing my nails. I have such ugly hands because of this. Please help me to have beautiful smooth hands and elegant nails. Rufina, Karachi
Obviously, the perfect solution is to stop this nervous habit. Chew gum to keep your jaws busy and away from your fingers. You can also apply neem oil on your nails; the bitter taste will wean you away from your habit! A quick-fix solution is to use artificial nails which can overlap your nails with the help of special glue. This will not only stop your nail-chewing but will look good too. You can visit a nail clinic for the first application, and, from then on, do it yourself at home.

General Physician
Q: I am 28 years old and the mother of a kid. My problem is that my haemoglobin levels have gone down and my doctor has prescribed certain tablets. What more can I do? Somiya, Karachi
Apparently you are suffering from anaemia. I presume your diet is really good and nutritious and does not contain junk food. Anaemia in women is also common because of menstrual blood loss. I presume you are not suffering from excessive blood loss. Besides the drugs, you should increase your consumption of GYOR (green, yellow, orange and red) fruits and vegetables. Also take a good quantity of first-class proteins (cheese, milk and its products, eggs, lean meat), leafy vegetables and groundnuts.

Q: I am 25 years old and had been suffering from irregular menses. Ultrasonography has shown a fibroid in the uterus. I am worried whether I shall be able to get pregnant or not? Will it interfere with my married life? Please advise. Anam Tareen, Lahore
The very fact that there is a fibroid in the uterus, what further course it takes depends on whether it grows rapidly or remains small. All these factors will govern whether your pregnancy is going to be affected. A fibroid is no bar to leading a happy married life. So relax.

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.

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