Home Health Is the Covid vaccine causing my brother’s migraines? Dr. Ellie Cannon responds.

Is the Covid vaccine causing my brother’s migraines? Dr. Ellie Cannon responds.

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I don't think there's anything particularly dangerous about this injection - every medication carries risks, says Dr ELLIE CANNON

My brother, 57, has experienced regular migraines with aura since receiving his first Covid jab, leaving him blind in both eyes for 20 minutes at a time. However, no one officially recorded the symptoms of it as a side effect of the vaccine. Do you think it’s possible that there are many more people who suffered side effects from the vaccines that we don’t know about because their symptoms weren’t recorded?

Dr. Ellie Cannon responds: Any medication, from chemotherapy to antidepressants, can cause side effects. For the unlucky few, these can be catastrophic.

Earlier this month, I wrote about how, despite safety concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine, I think the vaccine was a success because it got us out of the pandemic.

However, I am aware of the fact that a very small, but not insignificant, number of people suffered debilitating side effects after taking it.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly dangerous about this injection – every medication carries risks, says Dr ELLIE CANNON

I know people personally and professionally who have had side effects from the Covid vaccines.

But I don’t think there is anything especially dangerous about this injection: every medication carries risks.

Drugs are considered safe for mass use only if the number of people experiencing side effects is small enough to balance the benefits for everyone.

Every month I deal with people who suffer side effects from medications that have saved the lives of others.

For this reason, it is important that all symptoms that occur after taking a medication be reported to health officials.

If enough serious side effects are linked to a drug, an investigation could be launched and the drug removed from the market.

In the UK, this is usually done through the Yellow Card system, an online system where patients and doctors can report side effects of medications. The scheme is led by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. However, I agree that we probably underreport the side effects of vaccines and other medications because many people – and doctors – do not record symptoms through the scheme.

To ensure patient safety, it is essential that we all report side effects of medications in a timely manner.

Since having my gallbladder removed a few years ago, I find that when I want to urinate, I also need to poop. I am generally in good health and am 77 years old. Is this a normal consequence or do I need to seek further advice?

Dr. Ellie answers: Removing the gallbladder can cause intestinal problems.

Up to a fifth of people who have their gallbladder removed are thought to develop diarrhea.

In most cases this is only a temporary symptom, but for some it can become a long-term problem.

The gallbladder is a sac that carries bile, a substance that breaks down fat in food. Without a gallbladder, bile is released directly into the intestine. The bile can then act as a laxative and soften the stool.

For people with persistent diarrhea after gallbladder surgery, there are medications called cholestyramine that remove bile acids and relieve symptoms.

Even if symptoms are mild, it may be worth making an appointment with your GP, because a change in bowel habits can sometimes be a sign of bowel cancer. This is unlikely if the change occurred at the time of an operation or has been present for many years. But it may be worth asking a GP to test your stool for bowel cancer.

I regularly wake up with severe pain in my legs that lasts for many hours. This pain is always below my knees. I walk at least 10,000 steps a day and the only medication I take is Viagra. What could be the cause of my pain?

Dr. Ellie answers: Muscle pain is a relatively common side effect of Viagra, an erectile dysfunction pill.

This side effect, also known as myalgia, could be the cause of your suffering since your lower legs have large muscles.

However, other possible causes include circulation problems. Veins and arteries function worse with age and as a result of health problems such as smoking. Leg pain due to circulation problems usually occurs at night, but can also occur while walking. Leg pain can be a sign of spinal problems, specifically spinal stenosis. This can cause irritation or crushing of the nerves that run down to the legs, causing pain, tingling, and heaviness. However, it is usually worse when walking and standing than when lying down.

Ultimately, the only way to know if a medication is causing a symptom is to stop taking it. You could do this as a test to see if things improve. If you need to switch, an alternative to Viagra is Levitra, which does not count myalgia as one of the listed side effects.

Is your hay fever going crazy this year?

Do you suffer from hay fever or do you normally suffer from it severely but have not been affected so far?

I heard these two stories from patients and friends last week. But what many people don’t know is that not all pollen is the same. Many hay fever sufferers are allergic to some types but not others.

Tree pollen season (birch is a big culprit) starts early in the year, so if your eyes have been watery for a few weeks, it’s probably you. But around May and June other types of pollen appear, such as dock, rape and pine pollen, and grass pollen will soon peak.

It’s worth keeping track of when your hay fever is at its worst so that in the future you can start taking medication a couple of weeks before you need it. In the meantime, write to me and tell me if you are suffering or surprisingly not.

ADHD is not just a thing for young people

Diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have skyrocketed over the past decade, with a seven-fold increase in medication prescriptions.

While this is partly due to increased awareness of the condition, it has meant that we GPs are seeing a stream of young adults seeking help. However, last week I was interested to hear the story of a colleague who discovered she had ADHD when she was 60 and that treatment had been a revelation.

While there is a lot of talk about young people suffering from this condition, it made me wonder about older adults and how it affects them.

Have you experienced symptoms of ADHD, such as poor concentration, impulsivity, restlessness, and feeling distracted behind the wheel of a car?

Having heard a lot about this condition, do you suspect you have it or have you been diagnosed later in life? I would like to hear from you, so please write to me at the address on this page.

Do you have a question for Dr. Ellie Cannon? Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk

Dr. Cannon cannot engage in personal correspondence and her responses should be taken in a general context.

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