DEAR DR. ROACH: My friend has been struggling with almost never-ending hiccups since she was young. There seems to be no apparent trigger for them. They happen all hours of the day and even wake her up in the middle of the night. She will hiccup until it starts to become very painful for her, and she cannot make them stop. She's tried every ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Our mother passed away at 91, after decades of medical problems. She had complained over the years to many doctors of chest pains, difficulty breathing and difficulty swallowing. After she passed, we saw in her medical records the diagnoses of "Kommerell diverticulum" and "excavatum deformity." Can you explain these? Are these ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Alcoholism runs in my family. I do not drink. For years I've read studies showing how good a glass of red wine is for you. Just recently something came out on the local news that "wine is good for your gut."
On a far less frequent basis, news appears that grape juice is also good for you. Is it the alcohol that makes wine good ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Could you please explain in layman terms the difference between an X-ray, CT scan, MRI and PET scan? -- C.D.B.
ANSWER: All four of these tests provide images of the body, which your doctor can use to evaluate symptoms or search for a specific anatomical condition. Some conditions, such as depression, have no visible changes on ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: With the current popularity of CBD and hemp products, I wonder your thoughts on Kratom, another plant-derived product. It is sold nearby. Is it an effective way to treat anxiety? -- D.H.A.
ANSWER: Kratom is an herb (Mitragyna speciosa) often used as treatment for opioid withdrawal, as a stimulant or sedative (depending on dose),...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: After reading your recent column regarding psilocybin for depression, I looked online and found information on transcranial magnetic stimulation. I had three rounds of electroconvulsive therapy, and had to stop the last two because the amnesia and reactions to anesthesia were so bad. Can you give me your input on TMS as a ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. After radiation and chemotherapy my chest CT scan is now clear. My radiologist recommended prophylactic brain radiation even though my head CT scan is clear. When I asked how much this would decrease my chances of brain metastasis, he couldn't give me an answer. He did say that I could...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I talked to a person who said they'd eaten a cigarette and it cured all of their symptoms of parasite infection, because tobacco is an "ancient cure" or something like that. I looked up the topic on poison control and was shocked to see cases of children who've been hospitalized, etc., for this. Is tobacco actually effective for ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: For the past two years, my husband has been taking Eliquis twice a day as prescribed by his cardiologist for atrial fibrillation. He's having serious problems with bleeding, especially on his legs when he bumps into furniture or corners. The skin tears so easily, along with a lot of bruising around the tear. The bleeding takes ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a severe vitamin D deficiency. My blood test indicates a level of 21. I have severe cramps in my hands, feet and legs caused by this deficiency. I know because when it is normal, I don't have the cramps. These numbers are after I have been taking megadose vitamin D2 (50,000 IU). At my last appointment, my doctor said, "...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed with stage 1 bladder cancer in April. My urologist advised me to have BCG therapy for it. I just completed six weeks of the therapy.
I also have macular degeneration in both eyes and have had Avastin injections in my left eye for almost two years. I have had a couple of injections into my right eye, too, the last...Read more
DEAR DR ROACH: My 35-year-old son recently complained of some chest pain. He went to his doctor, and it was determined that he strained himself exercising. However, the doctor recommended he go for a stress test. By the time he got to a cardiologist, his chest pain was gone, but he underwent a stress test anyhow. His cardiologist wrote: "Your ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 60 years old and generally healthy, but my vitamin D is low (below 20). I took 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 for six weeks, then 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily for the past two years. Recently, I started magnesium glycinate, because I read in a journal that it helps D3 get absorbed better in our body and that otherwise, 90% of D3 is...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is there a way to determine the average cost for certain medical procedures in a specific location? For instance, a colonoscopy? I know some health insurance policies cover it, but when your policy doesn't, what is the best way to see what the costs would be? Is it something someone should shop around for? -- K.
ANSWER: If ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Any suggestions for hemorrhoids? -- D.K.
ANSWER: Hemorrhoids are normal veins located in the lower rectum. They are only a problem when they get dilated. Internal hemorrhoidal veins have no pain fibers and are therefore painless, but external hemorrhoids have lots of pain receptors and can be exquisitely painful in some ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 85-year-old woman in very good health. I have had a mammogram done every year for the past 45 years, each scan being excellent, with no problems. I have stipulated in my living will that I do not want chemotherapy or radiation treatments should any kind of cancer develop. Do I really need to continue with the procedure of...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am hoping you can clarify a lot of conflicting information regarding shingles. I know it is contagious, but can you actually catch shingles from a person? If you never had chickenpox or the vaccine, would you catch shingles or chickenpox?
During an outbreak, how does a caregiver protect him- or herself from catching the virus?...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you please speak about the BCG vaccine? My daughter was born in Bolivia and received it as an infant. Now she always tests positive for tuberculosis, and people in the medical field never seem to know or understand when we explain about the vaccine. It's such a hassle to get straightened out. -- M.P.A.
ANSWER: Bacille ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My friends and I are athletic seniors with no health conditions. We take no medications and eat a plant-based diet. When we put our similar (all in range) test scores in the CVD risk calculator, we made an interesting discovery.
Our numbers consistently fell above the 7.5% 10-year risk until we entered in a younger age. For ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been reading and hearing that alcohol is now suspect in causing breast cancer. As a stage 1 survivor (lumpectomy and tamoxifen), should I completely give up all alcoholic beverages? I may have between one and three drinks per week. All of my medical team say that is fine. Daily heavy consumption is the problem. What are ...Read more