You Wanted to Know: Prenatal Vitamins for Hair


Prenatal vitamins are a must for pregnant women who need higher amounts of vitamins and minerals like folic acid and iron to keep their growing babies healthy. Taking these vitamins can also be a good idea for women who are trying to conceive, since certain developmental problems may develop very early on in a pregnancy, possibly even before a woman knows she is pregnant, and can often be prevented by sufficient amounts of folic acid. However, some women who aren’t pregnant or even trying to get pregnant choose to take prenatal vitamins for other, more cosmetic reasons – but is this a good idea and is there any evidence to back it up? That’s what Teresita wants to know: 



You Wanted to Know: Pancreatitis

Young woman in pain

Acute pancreatitis is usually hard to miss, with severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and often a fever. It’s also important not to miss it, since leaving it untreated could lead to dangerous complications and even death. Plus, in some people, pancreatitis may cause inflammation that does not heal or that may worsen over time, leading to chronic pancreatitis. One of my viewers asked me about ways to avoid this painful disease: 



You Wanted to Know: Calcium


Today I want to talk about one of the body’s most important (and one of my favorite) minerals: Calcium.  Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and serves many crucial functions, including building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, making muscles and nerves work, clotting blood and keeping your heart beating regularly. Without calcium, we wouldn’t be able to live. One of our viewers, Jade, asked me about this important mineral on Twitter



You Wanted to Know: Colon Cancer Screening Options

Rare Diseases Are Hard to Overcome

Though none of the screening options to detect colon cancer are particularly fun, they are some of the most important and scientifically proven things you can do to safeguard yourself from this second-leading cause of cancer-related death. There are several different options for colon cancer screening, including colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy and fecal occult blood tests (FOBTs). One of our viewers asked me on Twitter about the best way to choose between these screening tests.



You Wanted to Know: Muscle Cramps


Whether it’s the excruciating pain of a charley horse or a dull, achy pain in your neck, nearly everyone has had or will experience a muscle cramp at some point. These sudden, involuntary muscle contractions usually only last a few seconds to 15 minutes, but they can be temporarily debilitating. One of our viewers, Alex, is looking for solutions:



You Wanted to Know: Hemorrhoids

White toilet bowl in a bathroom

For a problem that’s so common, hemorrhoids are not often talked about (perhaps because they don’t make for very good dinner conversation). But the fact is that by age 50, nearly half of Americans will deal with one or more symptoms of hemorrhoids, including itching, discomfort and bleeding. Chio asked me about solutions for this uncomfortable problem on Twitter:



You Wanted to Know: Fibromyalgia


Widespread aches and pains and severe fatigue are the hallmarks of fibromyalgia, a painful disease that affects nearly 2% of people. Fibromyalgia is a frustrating diagnosis for the many people who suffer from it, particularly because its causes are unknown and it often does not yield obvious signs on either physical exam or imaging tests. One of our viewers asked me to talk more about this debilitating condition:



You Wanted to Know: Atherosclerosis


Atherosclerosis is one of my greatest enemies as a heart surgeon. Over the course of a lifetime, atherosclerosis, or hardening and clogging of the arteries, affects nearly all Americans to some degree. Though it can start as early as childhood, it doesn’t usually cause serious problems until later in life, when it can result in heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, strokes and other potentially fatal conditions.

So what gets this deadly process going? That’s what one of our viewers asked me on Twitter:








You Wanted to Know: Kidney Stones

White toilet bowl in a bathroom

There are few medical problems more painful than a kidney stone – in fact, some have likened it to the pain of childbirth. While kidney stones usually don’t cause lasting damage, I guarantee you don’t want to get one. One of our viewers, Steven, asked me what he can do to minimize his chances of getting a kidney stone.