Ask the Doctor: Swelling, prebiotics/probiotics, monkeypox concerns

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 1:00 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every week on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

Question #1 (from Jenn): “My left leg has been swollen for years, and my doctor prescribed compression socks. But it hasn’t done anything. Still swollen, what else can I do? I also have a problem with my ankle and foot swelling up when I sit, too.”

DR. BOB: Many different things can cause swelling. When we try to decide how to treat swelling, it is important to try to address the underlying problem.

So sometimes, we must focus on improving a heart failure condition or improving the veins in the legs. At the same time, compression stockings are a mainstay of treatment. It is also important to keep your legs elevated above your heart as much as you can.

If these interventions are not working, you could discuss whether you should see a lymphedema clinic. This is a clinic where physical therapists use wraps and massage to improve swelling.

Question #2 (from CJ): “What is the difference in prebiotics and probiotics? Should I be taking both?”

DR. BOB: Prebiotics are nutrients you eat in the diet that help healthy bacteria to grow in your digestive tract. Probiotics are good bacteria that we add to the digestive tract.

There is a lot of ongoing research into prebiotics and probiotics. There are some specific conditions which may benefit from these supplements. Some of them include allergic symptoms, antibiotic associated diarrhea, or constipation.

However, excitement and interest in these supplements has outpaced scientific research. There are many conditions with no proven benefit.

I do not recommend general use of these supplements, but I would recommend you discuss with your doctor about their use in specific conditions and see if you might benefit.

Question #3 (from Alex): “I’ve had large red bumps appear on my arms and legs within the past few weeks. They don’t itch, but they hurt, and they’re not really going away. Do you think they are just mosquito bites, or should I be concerned about Monkeypox?”

DR. BOB: Rashes are very difficult to diagnose, even when we get to look at them. So, it would be best if you see a doctor regarding your rash.

When red bumps are not itchy, that would argue against mosquito bites or other skin reactions.

Monkeypox lesions typically have white pus in them. If the bumps have pus or you have been exposed to monkeypox, I recommend notifying your doctor’s office before you go in so they can tell you what to do.

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