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7 February 2011
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Dr Jonty conducts an open surgery in Southampton

Our four GPs hit the streets of Southampton for an urban open surgery to offer their skills and expertise to anyone they meet.

Dr Ayan is at the city bus station where one of the bus drivers has a potentially serious worry. Martin has a lump on one of his testicles.

Dr Ayan finds a private place to look at it and reassures Martin that it is not a lump inside the testicle at all but simply a spot on the skin. It's a condition called folliculitis caused by a little pocket of infection and will respond to an antiseptic cream that can be bought over the counter and is definitely not cancer.

For all men it's important to examine for lumps on the testicles on a regular basis. After a warm bath or shower, check each testicle individually and compare them. Feel each testicle between the thumb and the finger. If you find a new lump, see your GP.

Dr George takes to the New Forest and meets biker Buff's who has been suffering with tinnitus for 15 years. Tinnitus is a sound that's heard in one or both ears when there's no external source for this sound. The sounds heard originate within the ear and people with tinnitus describe them as ringing, buzzing, roaring, hissing, or whistling.

Buff's blood pressure isn't high which would be an indicator of tinnitus and Dr George admits it is a very difficult condition to treat. He suggests that surrounding noise will mask the tinnitus and will more than likely be the best way forward.

At West Quay shopping centre, Dr Jonty sees Cheryl, who keeps getting a pain in the side of her stomach which gets worse when she is stressed. Cheryl leads a busy life, eats irregularly and drinks a lot of caffeine. Dr Jonty thinks the pain is due to an inflammation of the stomach lining or gastritis, usually caused by increased acidity in the stomach. One thing that can contribute to this is a type of bacteria called helicobacter pylori, by taking a blood sample and sending it off to the lab, Dr Jonty hopes to find if it is present in Cheryl's stomach. She now needs to simply wait for the results.

At one of Southampton's music venues Dr Ayan meets a guy with clicking in his joints. Dr Ayan reassures him that it's completely normal and the thing that triggers the clicking noise is nitrogen that just snaps; it is totally harmless and is nothing to do with arthritis, or poor health.

Dr Barbara checks the health of a local five a side football team where forty year old defender Maria is far from full fitness. For the past few months she has been developing pains in her chest and down the side of her arms.

Maria is a 15 a day smoker and Dr Barbara points out that the first thing she has to do is stop. However, her blood pressure is really good and Dr Barbara thinks Maria's problem is likely to be exercise induced chest pain going down her left arm. A treadmill test will establish if angina, which runs in her family, is an issue.

In the city shopping centre, Dr Jonty meets up once more with Cheryl to give her the results of her blood test. Her kidneys and liver are normal but the test does reveal the presence of the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria that is linked to gastritis. Two types of tablet, one to reduce the acidity in the stomach, the other an antibiotic, taken regularly for a week should resolve the problem. However, Dr Jonty emphasises that Cheryl must look at her lifestyle issues as well to ensure the pains don't return. This means less caffeine and avoiding stressful situations.

The trigger factors that can cause gastritis are smoking, drinking alcohol, eating spicy food, taking anti inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or aspirin, and stress.

Dr Barbara is down on the farm with Jayne who has an unusual skin complaint. Dr Barbara thinks it is Pompholyx Eczema, a sort of blistering eczema that can be stress related. Sometimes it can be so severe that it only responds to systemic antibiotics. If these are taken by mouth for a week it should clear it up completely.

Back on the streets of Southampton Dr Ayan meets a man with a bad back. Dr Ayan diagnoses irritation in the sciatic nerve and advises that he see a physiotherapist who will offer specific exercises to strengthen his back.

Meanwhile Dr Jonty and Maria are meeting cardiologist Dr Tom Farrell for a treadmill test. Maria gets the all clear, but Dr Jonty recommendes she gives up smoking.

You're at higher risk of developing angina if you smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or if there's a family history of it. If this applies to you and you get chest pain, seek medical advice immediately.

On board the Isle of Wight ferry Dr Barbara meets three year old Declan who has some eczema behind his ear which is infected. She recommends his mother use an antibiotic ointment twice a day for a couple of weeks and the problem should clear.

Dr Jonty has crossed the Solent for the White Air Extreme Sports Festival on the Isle of Wight. There he meets a surfer who has stubbed his toe during a kite surfing competition 24 hours earlier. Dr Jonty looks at the toe and recommends neighbour strapping where you literally strap the toes to one another just to splint it. The bruising will gradually settle down and it should heal up.

Back in Southampton Dr George reassures a mother and daughter on a common childhood complaint - young Tara has a wart on her finger.

Dr George explains warts are caused by a virus; as Tara grows older her immune system will simply make the warts disappear.

Dr Barbara meets Chris, a young man who picked up an injury on his inner thigh a few weeks ago playing football. The injury is showing no sign of getting better.

Meanwhile Dr Barbara diagnoses Gilmore's Groin, a common injury in footballers. An immediate course of physiotherapy should sort it out.

On the mainland, Dr Ayan meets Angela who ate mussels when abroad and started developing blotches all over her arms. Dr Ayan recommends an antihistamine as histamine is the chemical that causes redness, itching and blotchiness.

Back on the beach Dr Jonty is struggling to keep up with his last patient of the day, Juliet who fell over while wake boarding. Dr Jonty asks Juliet to move her shoulders around and lift her arms. It hurts when she lifts her arms above her head. Dr Jonty thinks Juliet has not done any kind of injury to the bones or the joint and thinks it is likely that she has dislocated the shoulder. He recommends its treated as a sprain. Anti inflammatory tablets will help the soreness but Juliet should steer clear of wake boarding for some time.

Related Links

Everyman - Action Against Male Cancer
Highlights the issue of ignorance surrounding cancer affecting the male genitals, with diagrams showing how to check for key symptoms.
Spine Universe
This US site covers an astonishing range of back conditions and diseases, surgical and non-surgical treatments, pain management and recovery advice.
Article on gastritis provided by the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House, a service of the National Institute of Diabetes.
British Tinnitus Association
A charity providing support, advice and information about tinnitus.
Pompholyx Eczema
Article on this unusual type of eczema on the Talk Eczema website, specialising in care, treatment and support for eczema sufferers.

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Dr George

Health Tips

from Dr George

  • Don't smoke.
  • Take up an exercise you'll enjoy - swimming, jogging, running.
  • Keep your intake of alcohol down - 14 units per week for women, 22 units for men.
  • Get your blood pressure checked every 3-5 years.

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