Does It Itch?

Sorted!'s medical marvel, Dr. Evangeline P. Spottiford M.D Ph.D N.E.R.D responds sensitively to your most intimate health questions.

Dear Dr. Spottiford,
Some of the boys at school have been teasing me, saying that I smell odd. Now I can't concentrate in class for sniffing the air around me. I can't decide whether it's my breath, my armpits, or somewhere lower down. Could you advise what I should do?
Worried of Worthing

Dear Worried of Worthing,
The first thing to do is to check that you haven't left a piece of rotting food at the bottom of your schoolbag and it is that, rather than your body, that is causing the stink. I once forgot I'd put a kipper in my briefcase and had some very strange looks on the bus, I can tell you!

Assuming you're not carrying around something harbouring maggots, you have three options.
  1. Wash regularly, everywhere, using a good unscented soap and then squirt a big blast of deodorant under your arms, between your boobs, even under them if you're a big girl and sweat a lot.
  2. Consider the possibility that these boys are winding you up and that really you smell perfectly normal, if a little ripe after netball practice.
  3. Lock yourself in your bedroom and never go out.
I prescribe a combination of choices 1 and 2, 3 being ill-advised because if you really do smell, you'll be overcome by your own noxious fumes and eventually die.

Good luck and good health!
Dr. Spottiford

Dear Dr. Spottiford,
I have so many zits, I can hardly see any clear skin on my face. It's like a lunar landscape with pus-filled volcanoes. The doc says I'll just grow out of it and sent me away to buy a stick of cover-up from the chemist, but when I got home I wanted to put the bag over my head and the cover up in the bin. I don't like going out especially as boys have started calling me Spotty Muldoon. Do you have any advice Dr. Spottiford?
Spotty Muldoon from Troon, Scotland

Dear Scotty Muldoon,
I am deliberately not addressing you as Spotty Muldoon as I know only too well the pain that adolescent acne can cause. I myself was teased mercilessly at school with one person calling me Miss Spottybotty for an entire term. It eventually only stopped when my mother went to the school and told the games mistress that she shouldn't have been looking at my backside in the showers and to stop calling me names. So my dear, I do understand.

Go back to your doctor, with a parent, guardian or friend (if you have one) and sit in the doctor's surgery until he or she takes you seriously. Demand effective treatment! Cry! Scream! Scribble on their message pad! In other words, make your doctor really understand that acne is not a self-inflicted dermatological disaster such as an infected body piercing or unwanted tattoo (I will deal with these in a later column), but something that requires prompt medical intervention. In the meantime, consider investing in a really good computer programme to airbrush your blemishes out of any family photos which will live on long after your spots have gone.

Good luck and good skin.
Dr. Spottiford

Dear Doctor Spottiford,
I'm thirteen and my periods are Driving me nuts! Sometimes I get one every thirty days, sometimes every fifteen and then last month, I didn't get one at all.

Is this normal?
Irregular of Ireland

Dear Irregular of Ireland,
It's certainly annoying when those red dots in your diary and on your pants don't follow a pattern, isn't it? I remember the days when I never knew whether it was safe to go horse riding in a pair of white shorts, or if I should stay at home near the toilet wearing a pair of big black pants and clutching a packet of paracetamol.

Irregular cycles in teenage girls are very common, as are missed periods if you haven't been eating properly, do lots of sport, are under stress or are pregnant, in which case if you weren't before, you'll be now under stress and unable to eat for the worry of how to tell your parents you weren't playing Snap! behind the shed with the sixth former from next door.

If you are at all concerned, do go and see your doctor. In the meantime, and until things settle down, to prevent the walk of shame due to an embarrassing stain, avoid pale jeans, sitting on cream sofas and always carry some form of protection with you for those sudden emergencies such as a tampon, a sanitary towel or a very thick cork.

Good luck and clean pants!
Dr. Spottiford

Remember readers—this is just for fun and does not replace proper medical advice from people with proper qualifications and a decent stethoscope.