Dear Doctor: Can a woman conceive during her monthly periods?
Brian Atwiine: Every month, a woman releases an egg on approximately day 14 of her cycle. This egg, if fertilised, is embedded into a membrane inside the womb for pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilised, the membrane is then not required being lost in form of a period 14 days after the shedding of the egg.
Women with a short cycle say of 21 days, if they had a period of seven days, are more likely to get pregnant if they had sex in the last days of their period. Sperms can survive from three to five days putting such people at risk of unwanted pregnancy.
Also some women mistake bleeding that happens at ovulation for a period. This mid-cycle bleeding confuses women because then it is difficult to know which ones are the correct periods. Women who then have sex during this type of bleeding may get pregnant.
Whereas women are less likely to get pregnant if they have sexual intercourse during vaginal bleeding, they should still carry out protection against pregnancy (and STDs) if they have sex. Bleeding is not always due to a period and even in normal periods, pregnancy may happen.
Dear Doctor: Whenever I travel in cars, I get sick. Is there a remedy? Kalemere, Kiboga
Dear Kalemere: Motion sickness is a condition in which confusion between visually perceived movement and sense of movement in the semicircular canals (organ of balance) results in fatigue, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. This can occur whether one is travelling by road, sea, or air.
The brain senses movement by getting signals from the semicircular canals, ears, eyes, muscles and joints. When it gets signals that do not match, the brain has an area that can be used to resolve confusion between what one sees and balance and is also useful in inducing vomiting when it detects poisons.
When the semicircular canals in the inner ear transmit to the brain that it senses motion, but the eyes tell the brain that everything is still, the resulting confusion makes the brain believe there must have been intake of poison hence nausea and vomiting to help expel the poison.
Looking out of the window of a moving vehicle towards the horizon in the direction of travel will tell the brain that one sees the movement that the semicircular canals are detecting, hence stopping the symptoms.
A nap (but not reading a book), closing eyes, or watching TV in the car will resolve the conflict between the eyes and the organ of balance. A nap also helps prevent psychogenic effects like fear of the problem which worsens it.
Fresh cool air, avoiding a full stomach or alcohol before or during travel and avoiding foul odors can all help. Where one sits is also important. The front seat of a car, upper deck on a boat or wing seats in a plane may reduce motion sickness.
Traditional drugs for vomiting may not be of help. Turning corners, bumpy roads or rough sea travel can worsen motion sickness.
Though anyone can suffer from motion sickness regardless of their background, children two to 12 years as well as those anxious about travel and those susceptible to vomiting (such as those in early pregnancy) are most likely to get the problem.
Dear Doctor: I have taken long without having sex since I am in South Sudan and my wife is at home. After passing urine, semen comes out even if I am not having an erection. What is this? I am worried.
Dear Opio: Any unusual penile discharge calls for checking to rule out a sexually transmitted condition especially given the fact that you are away from home and you are likely to be sexually exposed to women who are not your usual sex partners.
That said, if you are sexually starved, it is likely that the semen-like fluid is just normal prostatic fluid given a reduction in frequency of ejaculation which may have caused engorgement of the prostate with its normal fluids.
When you stop passing urine, the sphincter muscle or the tap at the bladder–urethra as it closes presses on the engorged prostate releasing prostatic fluids which will be expelled as you stop urinating or afterwards.
The discharge may be worse as you pass hard stool and urine at the same time because stool can in addition also press against an engorged prostate releasing prostatic fluid.
Semen may be released backwards into the bladder as one ejaculates if he has a urinary sphincter problem especially after surgery on the prostate. Here the main worry will be infertility but the sperms can be recovered, washed and artificial insemination done to cause pregnancy.
An inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis) may also release prostatic mucus-like fluids and this also requires investigation including doing tests to rule out prostate cancer especially if you are over 40 years old.