Dear Doctor...

1) Young woman: "I have swallowed my boyfriend's sperm. Will I get pregnant?"

Medical fact: There is no risk of pregnancy associated with oral sex.

When semen is swallowed, it enters the digestive system, which is completely separate from the reproductive organs.

2) Young man: "My platoon is going for overseas training. Can I not take the antimalarial pills? I hear they will make me impotent."

Medical fact: A side effect of antimalarial drugs, such as quinine, is erectile dysfunction but there is no proof that it causes long-term impotence.

3) Expectant mother: "Is there anything I can take - any pills - to make sure my baby will be a boy?"

Medical fact: The gender of a foetus can be manipulated only through pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) during in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), but this is not allowed in Singapore.

4) Young woman: "Instead of (an) operation, can I put a clothes peg on my nose every night when I go to bed to get a sharper nose?"

Medical fact: The nose would not be thinner or sharper.

Instead, you would be inflicting trauma on it with the clothes peg.

5) Expectant mother: "I had sex with my husband last night. Has it damaged my baby?"

Medical fact: An expectant mother having sex will not hurt the foetus.

The thick mucus plug that seals the cervix helps guard against infection, and the amniotic sac and strong muscles of the womb also protect the baby.

6) Male patient after angioplasty, a procedure to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins: "When you put in the stent through my groin, did you also introduce air into my body?"

Medical fact: No doctor would deliberately introduce air into the arteries or veins.

If a large bubble of air gets lodged in the heart, it will stop blood from flowing to the lungs, causing death.

7) Executive woman in her 30s: "Now that I've fractured my toe, what's going to happen to my wardrobe full of high-heeled shoes?"

Medical fact: A woman can return to wearing heels after her toe injury has fully healed.

8) Old woman after her gall bladder has been removed: "Without it, does that mean I will be afraid all the time?"

Medical fact: In some cultures, such as Chinese, the gall bladder is believed to govern courage.

Medically, it is not proven.

9) Mother of teenage daughter: "When you perform liposuction on me, can you transfer my fats to my daughter for her breast augmentation?"

Medical fact: Fat grafting for breast augmentation requires a person to use her own fatty tissue.

It is not possible to use someone else's fat for the procedure.


This article was first published on June 14, 2015.
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