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Fast unto health

But do it only after consulting your physician

Dr Gita Mathai   |   Published 10.11.21, 01:49 AM

I am diabetic and on medication. I want to start fasting on alternate days. Can I skip my tablets on those days?

It depends on how high your fasting sugars and your overall health are. Check your blood sugar on both fast and non-fast days so that you have a clear idea of how your body functions and how to adjust your medication. Do not start fasting without consulting your physician.

Abdominal ache

I have pulling pain in my abdomen. I also have constipation and urine  leakage when I cough or laugh too much. My gynaecologist says I have an early prolapse of the uterus. Do I need surgery?

Self-care measures such as losing weight, preventing constipation and doing Kegel exercises may be all you need. Surgery will be required only if the prolapse progresses.

Single kidney

When I recently took an ultrasound scan of my abdomen, I found that I have only one kidney. I am scared.

It may be because of renal agenesis where only one kidney is present from birth. A kidney can be removed through surgery too. One kidney is enough for survival. However, you need to monitor your blood pressure and renal functions every six months or so. You should also be wary of blunt abdominal injuries.

Whitening teeth

I drink a lot of tea and coffee, so my teeth are brown. How can I whiten them at home?

The cheapest way is to add one millilitre hydrogen peroxide solution to 10ml water and swish it around in your mouth morning and evening after food. 

Covid-19 vaccine

I caught a Covid-19 infection, was very ill but have fortunately recovered. Do I need the vaccine?

Naturally acquired immunity lasts only around three months. After that, you can develop another infection with the same strain of coronavirus or a different one. Please opt for immunisation — it protects against reinfection and also the different strains.

Sugar check

How often should I check my blood sugar?

Start checking for diabetes or prediabetes once a year after turning 45. Check sooner and more often (every six months) if you have a family history of diabetes, had gestational diabetes or are obese and have a sedentary lifestyle. 

Painful joints

I have pain in all my joints. My doctor seems to have prescribed antidepressants for that. 

Pain is usually treated stepwise: first with local gels, ice and warmth, then mild pain relievers. If this doesn’t work, a small dose of antidepressants is advised. It can slow the transmission of the sensation of pain along nerves. It is effective and usually less than the dose used for depression.

The writer is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore and the author of Staying Healthy in Modern India. If you have any questions on health issues, please write to

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