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Ask Dr. Gott 11/16
Soap trick gets first negative review
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DEAR DR. GOTT: Around June 2005, I put a bar of soap under my sheet because I got cramps during the night from time to time. Nothing really bad. A few months after that, around August or September, I developed arthritis of both legs, the right more than the left. As time went on, it got worse. I could not squat down or get down on the floor with my grandchildren. Let me add that I am 72 years old. I couldn't get over the fact that it came on so fast. I socialize with people in their late 70s and early 80s. They have no arthritis. I wondered why I had it so bad. I had to brace myself before getting off a chair and steady myself before walking. My doctor took tests to see if I had rheumatoid arthritis. I didn't. Then it dawned on me that it started right after I put soap under my sheet. I took the soap out. It's been three weeks. My arthritis is gone. I still have some pain sometimes in the right knee, but nothing like I had before. It's completely gone in my left leg. I explained this to my doctor, and he had no answers for me. He said I do have extreme arthritis of my back, but I have no pain. He wanted the article on the soap under the sheet for cramps. I sent it to him.
    I know this is far out, but so is putting the soap under the sheet for cramps. I don't know if you received any other letters about this, but I thought you would be interested.
    DEAR READER: And interested I am.
    Yours is the first antisoap correspondence I have received. I am publishing it because I said I would explore every aspect of alternative therapy, and to do that I need negative feedback as well as positive feedback. Thanks for writing.

   DEAR DR. GOTT: I have experienced three attacks of gastric reflux. Each time, I was at a restaurant. Friends suggest I drink water, but I am afraid it will increase the pain to where I can't handle it. Is there any aid?
    DEAR READER: Acid reflux causes heartburn and abdominal discomfort because the condition is marked by backwash of acidic gastric juice up into the esophagus, the lining of which is unprotected.
    Acute attacks of reflux can be treated successfully with antacids. Because plain water dilutes the acid, a few gulps of fluid may also relieve the heartburn.
    Chronic management with drugs, such as Pepcid AC, is usually successful, although in severe cases, prescription medication, including Protonix, Prevacid and others, may be necessary.
    In your case, however, you've had only three attacks, so over-the-counter antacids such as Tums should be sufficient.
Check with your primary care physician and follow his or her advice.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Hiatal Hernia."
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