Q. I read about olive oil improving a woman’s sex life. Vaginal dryness is the only symptom I have ever suffered due to menopause. My gynecologist has recommended almost everything, including the topical application of Vitamin E oil, but it left a distinctive residue after intercourse, which I found to be very undesirable.
I love olive oil and use it in my daily cooking. It has a distinctive smell, though, and I don’t care to smell like an antipasto salad for any length of time.
The vaginal dryness is playing havoc with our love life, because intercourse is painful. I try not to let my husband know that. I love sex, but it’s difficult to enjoy anything that hurts. I am willing to try olive oil, but just how do you get rid of the residue?
A. We’ve heard from several readers that olive oil can be a good natural lubricant. One woman reported that just five drops for her and five for her husband worked. Such a small quantity should not leave much “antipasto” residue.
Another couple found that almond oil was helpful. It has relatively little aroma.
Some people report that a kiwi-based vaginal lubricant from New Zealand called SYLK is effective. You can find it in the U.S. by calling 602-957-7955.
Q. Do you have any home remedies for heartburn? I have tried several acid controllers but they are very expensive and have unwanted side effects.
A. There are so many heartburn remedies on the market it can be difficult to choose. Non-prescription products include Prilosec OTC, Pepcid Complete, Tagamet HB 200, Zantac 75, and, of course, old standbys like Maalox and Mylanta. Prescription products like Nexium and Prevacid are pricey.
Home remedies for heartburn may work by increasing saliva production so it can buffer acid and wash it back into the stomach. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy stimulates salivation and has been shown to be helpful in scientific studies.
Chamomile or ginger tea can also wash acid down and ease symptoms. Angostura bitters contains gentian, another herb traditionally used for heartburn.
To cut through some of the confusion, we offer our Guide to Digestive Disorders, with information on the pros and cons of various approaches to heartburn. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. G-3, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.
Q. I hate skin tags and now I’ve found a way to get rid of them. BandAid makes a product called Clear Spots: 50 tiny square pads with adhesive around all 4 sides. I cover the skin tag tightly with a Clear Spot and after a week to 10 days, it shrivels up and falls off. I’ve tried this on many skin tags, and it works every time.
A. Thanks for sharing your success. We don’t know why these adhesive bandages would work. Skin tags are small, benign fleshy growths. Normally they require no treatment, but dermatologists can remove them surgically or with an electric needle.
Q. I had terrible leg cramps for years until someone told me to take a vitamin B12 supplement. Since starting, I have not had another cramp.
A. Studies have shown that B vitamins can help prevent nighttime leg cramps. Your experience is impressive.

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