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25 Feb - 02 Mar , 2012
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EXPERT ADVICE
expertadviceHeart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.

Q: I am a 60-year-old woman with two sons. Both of them are married and I have two wonderful daughters-in-law. I am talkative and frank by nature and so I talk freely to both my daughters-in-law. Now I find that they are not as polite to me as I would like. I am not complaining because both of them are very affectionate and caring, but they are just a little more casual with me than I like. My husband says that this is my fault and that I should maintain a little distance and not crack jokes at my own expense as I often do. Is he right? Shaheen Khar, Lahore
A:
It is good to be frank and it is wonderful to be able to laugh, but it requires maturity for people to be able to appreciate these qualities in a person. Immature people may take them to mean innocence bordering on foolishness. Perhaps your young daughters-in-law are still not mature enough to appreciate these qualities in you. People who are too talkative are also often not taken seriously. So your husband is right. Talk freely and frankly, but only up to a point. Do not be too open about personal matters and do EXPERT ADVICEnot ask your daughters-in-law for advice and help. In other words, try to be self-reliant. Such behaviour should set the balance right between you and your daughters-in-law who are basically very good.

Q: I have been best friends with a school classmate since primary school. We shared everything and helped each other all through school and college and even afterwards when we both got jobs in the same organisation. I always felt blessed that I had such a good friend.
Last year, I fell in love with a colleague and when it turned out that he loved me too, we got engaged. We were planning to get married but about six months ago, my friend began to tell me about a man she had fallen in love with and with whom she was having an affair. She said that she couldn't marry that man (who also loved her deeply) but that she would continue to have an affair with him because she couldn't live without him. But I found out to my horror a few weeks ago that the man she was having the affair with was my fiancé! When I confronted her, she said that it was because of her love for me that she was just having an affair and not marrying my fiancé. She says that we can go on like this sharing the man we both love, but her suggestion disgusts me and I don't know what to do. Please advise. Tanya, Karachi
A:
Your friend's suggestion is sick and such an arrangement will surely lead to trouble in the future. It is unfortunate that you two friends have fallen in love with the same man, but the man does not seem to have any morals because he is happily having an affair with one friend while planning to marry the other. So it will be no loss to you to break up with him. Initially, the break-up may cause you some heart ache, but you will be better off ultimately. As for the friend, you will be better off without her too.

Q: I am 32 years old and am living in America with my husband. When I had my first child, I employed our Pakistani housemaid as the nanny, to help me with the baby. I had to pay her at the American rate which was very high. Now my child is two years old and is in much better health and we have decided to go back to Pakistan. The nanny is also keen to come back with me, but I would like to pay her according to Pakistani rates. Would it be ungrateful of me to reduce her salary? After all, she helped me when my child needed help. I am confused. Please help. Rida Batool, Virginia
A:
Though you should certainly be grateful to your nanny, she is a person whom you employed and paid to do a job. Her salary was fixed according to the conditions of the place in which you employed her. Now matters have changed and it is not unreasonable for you to think that it would be appropriate to change her salary. Talk to your nanny and explain to her that Pakistan is a much cheaper place to live in and that as salaries are lower there, you would like to pay her accordingly. If she finds this unacceptable, you need not bring her back with you. You will certainly be able to find a suitable person here.
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Dermatologist
Dr Shah Hussain
EXPERT ADVICE
Q: I am in my late 20s but my hair, that used to be thick before, has reduced to half its volume. Large clumps come off on my brush every day. Please suggest something. Soha Karim, Lahore
A:
Women do become bald in rare cases but normally their hormones ensure that they have hair on their heads. Your hair-fall could be due to several reasons: stress, age, medication, illness, poor low-protein diet, etc. If yours is a hormonal cause due to an increase in male androgens, a drug minoxidil can help. Also limit heat-using hair treatments in the salon, treat wet hair gently without rubbing harshly with a towel. Check whether any medication you take is the cause. Increase protein and zinc in your diet. If nothing works, visit a dermatologist for help.

Q: I am a 30-year-old woman with hairy nostrils. Although I get my upper-lips threaded to remove superfluous hair, the inner nostrils are ugly. What do I do? Yasmeen, Karachi
A:
Many women have your problem. If hairs are bristling out of your nostrils, you can ask your beautician to thread them out, or even pluck them out. Never ever use a hair-removing cream inside your nose. It could be dangerous. There is a tiny special nostril hair-remover available in special stores which have a gentle rotary movement to clip off hairs. You should learn to use it the right way so that you do not get nicks.

Q: Although my face is smooth and unlined, the skin under my chin and upper chest is patchy. What can I do for this problem? Nida Amin, Lahore
A:
The neck is the first to reveal the passing of years! With lack of sebaceous glands and collagen in the thin neck skin, it soon becomes wrinkled. Dry massage this area with circular movements to increase circulation. And then do not neglect to apply any rich emollient creams right down your neck and chest. You will soon find your neck is as smooth as your face.

Q: I have beautiful hands but often a nail splits and I am forced to wear an artificial one on top of it. Why does this happen? Ruqaiya Shahid, Islamabad
A:
Nails split if subject to trauma, like too much use of abrasive polish removers, gardening, carpentry etc. Diet could also be a reason for this condition. Vitamin C, selenium, zinc and iron will give you strong nails. Also, keep your nails regularly nourished with rich hand and nail cream.
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General Physician
Dr Sadqa Gul

Q: I am a man in my late forties and have been suffering from constipation for several months. I have had to use laxatives on a number of occasions but the constipation always returns. What should I do? Tahir, Karachi
EXPERT ADVICEA:
I would advise that you consult with your GP on this matter. A recent persistent change in bowel habit is something that needs to be medically assessed. Perhaps there is an innocent explanation for this change such as an alteration in your diet. If you recently changed to a lower level of roughage in your diet this could account for the change however, I would still stick to the advice that the matter needs to be assessed. There are also inherent dangers in using certain laxatives on a continuing basis. Some laxatives can cause damage to the nerve plexuses in the gut that are involved in the act of defecation. This can then create a scenario where the treatment that used to give relief has now become part of the problem. I have come across several people over the years that developed serious difficulties as a result of overuse of laxatives. Don't delay any further on this matter. See your GP.

Q: Can you tell me what is the amount of calories a man and woman should consume per day? The man weighs 85kg and is almost 6 feet tall and the woman is 5' 3 tall and weighs 61kg. Saeed, Karachi
A:
The average daily calorie intake for the data you have given is approximately 2,500 calories for the male and 2,000 calories for the female. However, these are very crude figures. If the male you refer to had a very sedentary job his daily calorie intake would be considerably less than the intake for a man who had a very active physical job. For example, a farm labourer would require more calories per day than a desk-bound man working in an office. Also age can be a factor. As people get older they tend to be less active and consequently don't need to consume as many calories as they did in the past.

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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