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Ask Dr. Gott 1/4
To relieve itching, lay off the vitamins
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I feel that I really must write to tell you about the surprise cure to a terrible itching problem I had. The itching was all over and so severe that I was scratching off skin even though I tried to restrain myself. Several months of treatment with one cortisone cream after another was of no help, and my dermatologist was giving up. My primary care doctor said he thought it was about time I get a second opinion, to which I readily agreed.
    One visit to an allergist and I was completely cured! After checking my list of medications and supplements, he offered this advice: Eliminate the Centrum Silver and glucosamine/chondroitin and come back in two weeks. Believe it or not, in just a few days, I was completely cured. When I saw him for the second visit, he said he had had several instances of patients being allergic to the Centrum Silver, and that he, too, had experienced itching from it.
    If this can help even one person from the kind of unbearable itching problem I had, I will be so happy to have been of help.
    DEAR READER: Thank you for the tip, which I am passing on to my readers.
    After a bit of research, I learned that glucosamine/chondroitin and some of Centrum Silver's ingredients (nickel, selenium, folic acid and niacin, for example) can causing itching.
    You don't mention whether you had any testing, but I think it might be in order just to be sure that the Centrum Silver (or some component of it) was truly to blame for your itching, rather than the glucosamine/chondroitin. If you are allergic to only one or two aspects of the multivitamin, then you can safely take a different one that does not contain the offending ingredient, or you could take specific vitamin and mineral pills of your own choosing. However, if you eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet, then you should have no need for a multivitamin.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: This subject has never been covered in your column, and we were hoping it would be. Several ladies and I lunch often, and four of us are either divorced, widowed or just never married. One lady is married. She insists that women who have no sexual contact are more likely to have bladder or yeast infections. Is there any connection as far as any chemical that is present in a woman's body through being with a regular partner? If there is, what would help if none of us were interested in sexual activity? We don't believe her.
    DEAR READER: In my medical experience, the reverse is true: Women who are sexually active are far more susceptible to urinary-tract infections and vaginal yeast.
    I support your skepticism.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Vaginal Infections and Disorders."
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