From ADHD concerns to Covid vaccine side effects, Dr Zoe Williams answers your health queries

THANK you for all the questions you’ve already sent in.

It’s a real privilege to be able to help as many of you as possible get to the bottom of those burning health issues.


From ADHD to Covid jab side effects, Dr Zoe Williams answers your health queriesCredit: Olivia West

I’ve been asked about all sorts of aches, pains, lumps, bumps and worrying niggles, so keep them coming.

If you’ve been putting off seeing your doctor about something that’s bothering you, or if you’re worried about a loved one, I want to hear from you.

And if you’ve already sent in a question, keep an eye out as I’m answering as many as possible. So on that note, here’s this week’s…

Q: AFTER having a baby, should my period be twice as painful and twice as long?

A: It is quite common that periods are different when they return after having a baby.

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For some, periods return to normal, for others they get better, but unfortunately in some cases they get worse.

From a medical point of view, your period is considered normal if it lasts between two and seven days. However, if your periods are extremely heavy or very painful, to the point they are negatively impacting your quality of life, then please do not suffer in silence.

Make a routine appointment or submit an online consultation form to your GP.

There are medicines that can be prescribed to alleviate period-related symptoms and some contraceptive options, such as hormonal intrauterine devices, are excellent.

That’s if you’re not planning to have another baby just yet, of course.

Q: I THINK my son, eight, has ADHD. Where can I get help? I’m exhausted.

If you think your son has ADHD, and it is causing difficulty and distress for him and for you, then I would suggest making an appointment with your GP to discuss this further.

It would be helpful to have conversations with teachers and other family members to gather their views first of all, as this is likely to be something that your GP will ask you about.

You could even keep a diary for a few weeks and possibly ask a teacher at school to do the same to create a clearer picture of the symptoms of ADHD and how they may be affecting your son.

Your GP will not be able to formally make a diagnosis of ADHD but, depending on which services are available in your area, they may be able to refer you to a specialist.

Q: WHY do the glands in my armpits, groin area and behind my knees hurt since I had the Covid jab?

It’s normal to experience side effects after the vaccine. It shows the vaccine is teaching your body’s immune system how to protect itself from the disease. The most common side effects are tenderness at the site of the injection, headache, muscle ache, fever, chills, nausea, diarrhoea or feeling tired.

A less common side effect is swollen glands in the armpit or neck, usually on the same side as the arm where you had the vaccine.

This tends to last for around ten days, but if it lasts longer or invokes lymph nodes in other parts of the body, as in your case, you should see your doctor, as the cause may be something else entirely.

Q: I’VE had a painful stiff neck now for 15 days. It hurts if I look to the right, left, up or down and if I walk down a step a bit too hard. I’m 73, fit and in good health. I have no medical conditions and I’m not on any medication.

The most common cause of a stiff neck of this nature is a condition called torticollis, which means “twisted neck”. It is also often called “wry neck”.

Usually people describe going to bed without any pain and waking up the next morning with stiffness and pain, which tends to affect one side of the neck.

Over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen should help alleviate it somewhat, though perhaps not entirely at first.

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It’s important to try to keep moving your neck as normally as possible so the muscles don’t stiffen further. After a few days, as things improve, try to do gentle exercises to improve the range of movement.

If you have been using painkillers and doing exercises with no improvement after 15 days it is worth a trip to the GP for a full examination.

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