Destigmatising embarrassing bodies
There are certain health conditions that may draw sniggers from some, but for those suffering it’s no laughing matter. From haemorrhoids and halitosis, Dr. Laurence Gerlis is on a mission to debunk medical myths and take the stigma away from embarrassing bodies.
Dr. Gerli is behind the U.K.’s largest GP practice, samedaydoctor.org, and wants to help people manage their troublesome ailments.
Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, can be uncomfortable and painful. They are caused when blood vessels in and around the anus become swollen and inflamed, and can either remain internally but also present as external haemorrhoids.
“As soon as we start discussing problems associated with the anus, people often become embarrassed,” Dr. Gerli told Cover Media. “However, piles are a very common condition. Around 50 per cent of people experience the condition at some time in their life and reassuringly, there are a number of ways to treat the condition. This can range from lifestyle changes, to topical treatment, to oral medication and finally surgery to remove the haemorrhoid.”
The word halitosis is derived from a Latin word which means breath and a Greek suffix meaning diseased, but only became a popular term in the 1920s when mouthwash company Listerine marketed the product as a solution for “chronic halitosis”. While it still blights people today, Dr. Gerli says there is an easy solution to stop it in its track: better oral hygiene.
“By simply improving your dental routine by flossing between your teeth, cleaning your teeth and gums and cleaning your tongue regularly, halitosis can be a thing of the past,” he said. “If bad breath continues despite improving your dental heath, it may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as gum disease. Halitosis can also be caused by a stomach condition Helicobacter Pylori which can lead to ulcers or stomach cancer so it needs to be investigated.”
Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, usually occurs in the armpits, palms of their hands, soles of their feet, face and chest and groin.
“Although hyperhidrosis does not pose a physical risk to the sufferer’s health, it can very much lead to mental health problems, with the sufferer feeling anxious and depressed, as the condition constantly interferes with everyday life,” Dr. Gerli explained, adding the condition doesn’t mean the sufferer has poor personal hygiene. “It often has an unknown cause and can occur in any individual. Again, reassuringly, there are a number of treatments available for excessive sweating, including strong antiperspirants and botulinum toxin injections.”