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17 Mar - 23 Mar , 2012
expertadviceHeart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.

Q: My best friend is marrying a guy I don't like. She doesn't know how I feel. If she asks, should I lie to spare her feelings? Zara, Karachi
First, ask yourself why you don't like a guy that is making your best friend so happy. Is it jealousy? If you have concrete reasons about your dislike, for example, a character flaw, infidelity, bad attitude etc then it's fine. However, if it's only a general dislike, you perhaps stand to only lose your best friend by making your displeasure known.

Q: I am 26 years old and have been in a relationship with a wonderful man for three years. Neither of us wants to get married because a piece of paper doesn't need to define our relationship. But I am having a tough time convincing my parents about it. I don't want to hurt them, but I can't compromise on my beliefs either. What should I do? Anita, Karachi
Tell your parents living together is a necessary test patch to see if the marriage is workable and that while living in, both of you will analyse the problems that crop up with day-to-day living and whether EXPERT ADVICEfamiliarity breeds contempt or contentment. It's crucial to determine if a lifetime together is a good idea. Tell them you'd rather have a relationship collapse than a marriage. That will hopefully quell parental resistance, as they will assume it is a stop closer to marriage. Once they are accustomed to it, it will be easier to push the marriage date indefinitely.

Q: I'm 34 and really want to find a husband, but I have a huge crush on a 23-year-old. Should I pursue him, even though he's so young? I am pretty sure he's not looking to get married anytime soon. Would I be wasting my time? Midlife Crisis
If you will fill your life with clutter, there will be no space for the right man when he chooses to walk in. The need for a husband versus a non-committal guy is taking you in two polar directions. You need to prioritise and be mentally and emotionally ready for something as serious as marriage if you were to go for the guy.

Q: I am 30 years old. My ex and I were together for three years. But we broke up last year because she wanted to marry me and I wasn't ready at that time. Now I know she's the love of my life, but she's marrying someone else. Do I tell her how I feel, or did I miss my chance? Tariq, Karachi
Of course, you must tell her. There is absolutely no harm in doing so and it will be a life-long regret if you don't at least try to make your marriage to her a reality. Just be sure that the reason you now want to marry her isn't just because she's marrying someone else.

Q: I got married (it was an arranged marriage) a year ago and I now live in a joint family with my in-laws and husband. I think that my brother-in-law who is year younger than my husband has got into bad habits. I don't want to tell my husband or in-laws about this as he will then get into trouble with the family. Should I talk to him? Sadia Jawad, Karachi
You have been married for just a year and your brother-in-law is only a year younger than your husband. This means that he is probably older than you are and that you really don't have the experience to advise him. So it is better that you tell your husband about your suspicions and let him deal with his brother. You should also tell your husband to find out for himself to check what you suspect is true or not and not involve you in the matter.

Dr Shah Hussain

Q: I want to make my thin lips look plumper. Would you suggest fillers? Asna, Karachi
Filler injections can make the lips look plumper and even out the wrinkled appearance. You should go in for semi-permanent fillers like hyaluronic acid. The filler substance is injected beneath the surface of the lip, thus plumping and defining the margins. The effect lasts for six to eight months. There is some swelling and redness immediately after the injection, which subsides after a day. It is completely safe EXPERT ADVICEand there is no downtime or surgery involved. The results are seen in just 48 hours.

Q: Since the past few months I have been experiencing severe itching on my hands, with swelling and tiny red bumps. This is not permanent, but comes and goes. I have tried a variety of OTC topical creams, without results. What could this condition be? Please advice. Nadia, Lahore
You seem to be suffering from an allergic condition called pompholyx. External factors such as excessive contact with solvents, detergents, water, soap and other irritating chemicals damage the barrier layer of the skin by denaturing keratin protein that our skin is made of. This removes the skin's natural moisturisers. Usually, repeated and prolonged exposure to the external chemical factors will cause the damage. You must try and avoid contact with detergents. Use pH-balanced hand washes instead of soaps. Always moisturise your hands. Especially after washing them. You may apply cooking oil or ghee on your hands before cutting vegetables or fruits, as some of these are acidic and could irritate the skin further. Oil would form a good protective barrier on your skin. At bedtime, you must apply a generous coat of a thick moisturiser which has cocoa butter or shea butter in it. A mild hydrocortisone cream will also help.

Q: My skin used to react every time I wore jewellery, turning red, itching and swelling. I guess I am allergic to metal, but I love accessories! Is there a way I can wear jewellery, but avoid the allergy from flaring up? Tamanna Iqbal, Karachi
If you are allergic to metal, you are bound to get a rash and other reactions whenever you wear something metallic. There is no way to prevent it. However, it is possible to reduce the intensity of the rashes or redness by using a steroid cream on the area of contact. Taking an antihistaminic table such as cetirizine will also help in soothing the rash. Avoid wearing artificial jewellery. If you have to wear accessories, gold jewellery with a less amount of nickel in it is the safest, when it comes to preventing or reducing the changes of allergic contact dermatitis.

General Physician
Dr Sadqa Gul

EXPERT ADVICEQ: My doctor recently diagnosed that I had a bladder infection, for which she prescribed antibiotics. She also suggested that I get screened for chlamydia, as she said it was also a possibility that I could have this infection. I have made an appointment to have this done. If I did have chlamydia, would it take long before it caused me serious complications? I have finished the antibiotics and the symptoms are still present. Sidra Junaid, Karachi
It is unlikely that you would develop complications from chlamydia while you are waiting to be tested however; the real question is how long you have had it, if at all, up to this point in time. You mention that you still have symptoms despite having been treated by your GP for a bladder infection, which would warrant a return visit to be re-assessed. You may have persistent bladder infection, which may require further antibiotic treatment. If you do have chlamydia and it was left untreated it could spread through the womb and into the fallopian tubes. This could give rise to a painful condition known as salpingitis, which means an infection in the fallopian tubes. Pelvic inflammatory disease is another painful complication of chlamydia infection and this involves inflammation throughout the reproductive system. Both of these complications can result in infertility so it is very wise for you to be screened for chlamydia infection. Salpingitis can also lead to ectopic pregnancy because of the adhesions that can result from that infection. The adhesions can trap the fertilised egg in the fallopian tube and prevent its migration into the womb where it would normally implant.

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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