Let’s face it, some health conditions are more embarrassing than others. No one minds telling friends or colleagues about the ankle they sprained on their weekend run or the cough they picked up from the school playground. But your haemorrhoids or your adult acne? Not really the kind of thing you want to discuss around the water cooler. So, here are the five most embarrassing conditions and what to do about them. 

Hair loss...

Hair loss...

Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids are a common condition affecting around half of the population at some point in their lifetime. Haemorrhoids are dilated blood vessels in and around the lower rectum and anus and have many causes, including: Pregnancy, childbirth, lifting heavy weights, straining during a bowel movement, going to the toilet too little or too often.

Mr West, Consultant General Surgeon at The Private Clinic of Harley Street says: “Haemorrhoids are common in people who go to the toilet too infrequently, or too frequently and in those whose abdominal pressure is constantly raised.

“In suitable patients, The Rafaelo procedure can be completed in 15 minutes allowing patients to continue with their daily lives just a few hours after the procedure. Recovery time varies depending on the severity of the condition, but this is much improved on the protracted recovery that was associated with traditional haemorrhoid surgery.”

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are swollen, enlarged veins which have become widened, lumpy and twisted. They typically occur under the skin of the legs and are said to affect roughly one in four people.

Genetics are the biggest contributing factor, with other common risk factors including: Pregnancy, age and diet.

Mr Constantinos Kyriakides, Consultant Vascular Surgeon at The Private Clinic of Harley Street says: “Varicose veins are often seen as a problem that only the elderly suffer from, so young women can feel particularly embarrassed if they are effected, but varicose veins can appear at any age.

“Unfortunately, treatment options on the NHS are limited, as the NHS will only treat those patients who are suffering from very severe discomfort or other health complications as a result of their veins.

“There is, however, a very effective treatment available privately, called Endovenus Laser Ablation (EVLA) therapy; performed under local anaesthetic and is a walk-in walk-out procedure. EVLA involves delivering laser energy in to the vein to seal it off from the surrounding blood supply. With the blood supply cut off, the vein is simply reabsorbed by the body and disappears.”

Hair Loss

Hair loss can be a confidence knocking condition for anyone who suffers with it, particularly in the case of female sufferers. However, it is actually fairly common, particularly for women going through major hormonal changes, e.g. during or after pregnancy and during or after the menopause.

Dr Thomy Kouremada-Zioga, Hair Loss Specialist and Transplant Surgeon at The Private Clinic of Harley Street says: “With female hair loss, an underlying medical condition can often be the cause and if you treat the underlying problem, the hair loss you experience can often reduce. Underactive Thyroid, anaemia, hormonal disorders including oestrogen, polycystic ovaries or even lupus are all conditions that can cause hair loss.

“If you have ruled out an underlying condition, here are some tips to mitigate against hair loss:

  • Wash hair regularly with a SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) free shampoo.
  • Avoid over styling and extensions which can contribute towards traction alopecia because of how the hair is being pulled and weighed down. If you wear hair extensions, try not to do so on a frequent basis.
  • Topical Minoxidil (Regaine) is the only clinically proven product to effectively reduce hair loss in certain cases. There is a special formula designed for women, too, although it’s important to seek the advice from a specialist before using any form of product like this.

Adult Acne

Adult acne is extremely common and is the result of various factors that lead to increased sebum production, blockage of the hair follicle, bacterial growth and inflammation.

Dr Noor Almaani, Consultant Dermatologist at The Private Clinic of Harley Street says: “Genes, hormones, smoking, diet, certain medications, environment and stress can all influence acne. Your make-up and skincare regime may also be having an impact. Many of my patients use very heavy makeups that can actually make the skin worse. I recommend that patients change to mineral makeups and clean their brushes more regularly.

“To help manage the condition it is best to avoid humid environments, stop smoking and eat a healthy diet – avoiding increased sugar, protein or carbohydrates.

“Topical acid treatments can be used such as Azelaic acid and mild Salicylic acid as well as topical and oral antibiotics. Another treatment method commonly used is a non-invasive laser acne treatment known as N-Lite.”

Snoring

Whilst many women do indeed snore, it is something they often feel embarrassed about admitting.

Professor Yves Kamami, ENT Consultant at The Private Clinic of Harley Street says: “There are a number of things you can do to help your snoring, including:

  • Dropping a few pounds. Being overweight is one of the most common causes of snoring. 
  • Lay off alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol relaxes the tongue muscles, which can lead to the narrowing of the airways and smoking can enlarge tissue in the nose which makes breathing more difficult.
  • Keep dust to a minimum because particles can block the nasal passages. 

 “If those lifestyle changes fail, then you would be wise to see a specialist so that they can help diagnose the specific cause of your snoring. It could be an issue with your nose, throat, palate or a combination of two or three of these things.

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