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Ask Dr. Gott 6/2

Placebo effect works wonders

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DEAR DR. GOTT: I have read several letters over the past couple of years confirming that placing a bar of soap in your bed or between your legs is great therapy for leg cramps. And I do believe that this works. However, this is another therapy for leg cramps during the night, one that I find useful, and it really works!
    Take off your shoes or house slippers at the moment you are going to bed, turn your shoes upside down at the foot of your bed or next to your bed where you sleep. The soles of your shoes will be facing the ceiling; the side of your shoes are facing the floor.
    Sounds crazy? Believe me, it is effective. It does work!
    DEAR READER: If ever there were a placebo effect, this takes the cake. Thanks for giving me a laugh.
    DEAR DR. GOTT: My wife snores — loudly! I have tried earplugs, but they are only partly effective. She says nothing can be done about snoring. Is she correct?
    DEAR READER: No, she isn't. Some forms of snoring are the result of problems with a floppy soft palate that can be cured with a simple operation.
    Snoring may also be associated with sleep apnea. During deep sleep, a patient stops breathing; this is treatable using a special face mask and supplemental oxygen. Finally, snoring is common in overweight people, for whom a weight-loss diet is appropriate. I suggest that your wife start with an ear, nose and throat specialist, progress to a diet (if indicated) and consider a sleep laboratory as a next step.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Sleep/Wake 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.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: Our problem is a little too embarrassing to talk about. After 30-plus years of marriage and good sex, we can no longer have intercourse. My husband's penis is bent up when he has an erection. A severe bend, not just a slant. It is almost "L" shaped. It's been 1-1/2 years and no change. Once he asked his doctor and was told it should eventually straighten out. Can you give us any hope of a normal sex life again? We are in our 50s, and there was no injury that we know of that could have caused this.
    DEAR READER: Your husband probably has Peyronie's disease, for which he should be examined by a urologist. This common condition is caused by a build up of scar tissue and does not improve with time. Surgery that could return your husband's anatomy to normal.
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