HealthSmart Q & A-2

Dear HealthSmart,

I recently found out that I’ve been suffering from what is called an ocular migraine instead of just a regular migraine. What is the difference? Are ocular migraines very serious?

HealthSmart asked Dr. Lipton, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Director of the Montefiore Headache Center. Here’s his response:

It’s very common for people to confuse a “classic” migraine and an ocular migraine even though they’re quite different. I actually prefer to use the term retinal migraine instead of ocular as it is less ambiguous. Retinal migraines cause vision loss in one eye and typically last for about an hour. The main difference between retinal and classic migraines is that the retinal migraine is caused by a problem occurring in the retina and is confined to one eye, whereas a classic headache or migraine is caused by a problem in the occipital lobe of the brain and any vision impairment will occur in both eyes. A retinal migraine affects eyesight much like a classic migraine with aura: sufferers see shimmering lights, zig zags, or spots in the vision.


Dear HealthSmart,

I continue to get what my doctor calls a yeast infection on the corners of my mouth even after treatment. Not only is it uncomfortable but it’s also embarrassing. What’s causing this, and can I successfully treat and prevent it?

HealthSmart asked Dr. Adam Friedman, M.D., Associate Professor of Dermatology at The George Washington University. Here’s his response:

What you’re suffering from is a candida infection around the mouth which is very common because the mouth creates a perfect environment for the yeast to grow. The skin along the angles of your mouth can be broken down through stretching, drooling during sleep, or loose-fitting dentures. Prevention is key if sleep behavior is contributing to the reoccurrence of this infection. I suggest applying Vaseline or zinc oxide to the affected areas before sleep to coat the opening and prevent the irritation that sets off the infection in the first place. Treatment should be done with an anti-fungal or topical steroid.


Dear HealthSmart,

What causes gas and bloating? Is it mostly poor lifestyle and diet choices?

HealthSmart asked Dr. Danielle Marino, Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology at University of Rochester School of Medicine. Here’s her response:

Intestinal gas and bloating are major issues in the US and affect the daily lives of many individuals. In general, gas and bloating are caused by increased ingestion or increased production of air. Activities like drinking carbonated beverages, smoking, and chewing gum cause us to breathe in more air than we need. Diet is a large part of gas and indigestion because certain carbs that are hard to absorb get mal-absorbed by bacteria that live in our small intestine, creating a fermentation process which leads to gas. However, these issues are not necessarily due to poor food choices. Many healthy, natural foods such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic, apples, prunes, pears, and various dairy products are some of the top causes of gas and bloating. It’s important to note that a lot of people will confuse weigh gain in their abdominal area to gas and bloating. Many patients find their gas and bloating diminishes when they cut these foods out of their diet. A great recourse for determining the good and bad foods for gas and bloating is the FODMAP Diet Guide available online.


Do you have questions on health or wellness you’d like answered by the nation’s leading medical researchers? If so, you can send to HealthSmart is a national newspaper column from the Washington News Service in DC. Due to demand, we are unable to reply to all inquiries. Responses through the column are no substitute for care from physicians or other medical professionals.

Copyright Ellen James Martin 2021



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