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Ask Dr. Gott 10/16
Lesions persistent but harmless
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have a small but annoying problem. Last summer, I experienced a particularly sensitive tick-bite season. I have two bites which have not healed. One occurred in June, the other in September.
    Although the lesions are small, they exhibit cycles in which they appear to be healing (become flat, less red, itch less), but then begin to itch intensely, and become reddened and raised with the clear-fluid centers. I have visited my doctor twice. He said it was just a bad allergic reaction.
    At his suggestion, I have used Benadryl and even a prescribed topical steroid gel. Do these lesions need to be removed surgically? (One tick was a deer tick, and one was the bigger, brown dog tick. I have been tested for Lyme disease and the results were negative.) I do not scratch them.
    DEAR READER: The small, round, red, slightly raised area of an acute tick bite may take months to heal. It has nothing to do with Lyme disease.
    Rather, it is an allergic reaction to the anticoagulant that the tick injects prior to having its meal. You need not have your lesions removed surgically.
    DEAR DR. GOTT: I was pleased to see your column about fecal incontinence. My sister and I have suffered from this for years. The word embarrassment doesn’t begin to cover it. May I add what seems to be a different twist to this problem?
    I am an 88-year-old woman. When I go the bathroom, I find I have a small chunk of fecal matter. So I wipe it off, more appears, I wipe it off — this goes on for an hour or more. It does not come unless I wipe it away. I have had a whole bowel movement this way. Sometimes it will come by itself and then, despite the fact that the first part was moderately firm, the second part is a diarrhea type. Please help.
    DEAR READER: As we age, many organs function less efficiently. The colon is no exception. In your case, the issue appears to be an inability to control your expulsion of waste material.
    Although you should have a colon study to rule out a growth, I am certain that your primary care physician will be able to help you regain control of your evacuations using dietary alterations, regular doses of fiber and an increase in your fluid intake. Should he or she be stumped or if what I have suggested is ineffective, you will need a referral to a gastroenterologist (or a colorectal surgeon) for further testing and therapy.
    In most cases, problems such as yours are treatable.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Constipation and Diarrhea.”
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