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Ask Dr. Gott 3/9

Is blood in semen harmless?

DEAR DR. GOTT: I am 62 years old. I need your opinion and advice on my two medical conditions.
1.) I noticed blood in my semen. I mentioned this to my regular doctor, and he said 99 percent of the time this condition is harmless.
2.) X-rays of my spine shows extensive arthritis of the discs and lumbar spine.
    DEAR READER: Blood in the semen should be investigated by a urologist because it can be the result of undiagnosed urinary-tract malignancies. You need tests of your prostate gland and, perhaps, a cystoscopy (visualization of the urinary tract). Ask your primary-care physician for a referral to an appropriate specialist.
    There is little you can do about your spinal arthritis, except to have physical therapy with or without acupuncture or spinal injections (epidural steroids), coupled with analgesic medication. Whether or not you will require surgery is an issue that can be addressed by an orthopedic back specialist (or a neurosurgeon).
    To give you related information, I am sending you copies of my Health Reports "Understanding Osteoarthritis" and "The Prostate Gland." Other readers who would like copies should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 for each report to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title(s).

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am puzzled about something that has happened to me in the past year. My left leg from the knee down to my ankle has become larger than my right leg. It almost looks deformed. It is puffed out, and it goes straight down all the way to my ankle. My right foot is still a little bit larger than my left, which has been that way as long as I can remember, so the left foot is the same as always. I did have knee replacements in 1998, and since then they have given me no trouble. I am 74 years old, and, if you can enlighten me as to why this has happened, I would appreciate it.
    DEAR READER: The situation you describe could be due to fluid accumulation, called edema, that is secondary to venous or lymph-node blockage. I urge you to be examined by your primary-care physician who will, I am certain, order a scan of your leg and groin in an attempt to identify a blockage, such as a clot, that needs to be addressed. Since your edema is painless, I believe that infection is not to blame, but I worry that your lymph system (or your venous circulation) is the cause of your leg swelling.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Blood: Donations and Disorders." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

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