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Recent questions

Theoretically, could a tapeworm help you lose weight? If so, why and how much?

The tapeworm is a parasite that may use up nutrition from your diet that keeps you healthy.

Having a tape worm inside may lead to undesirable weight loss which cannot be controlled safely. As this could be very dangerous, having a tapeworm would not be advisable.

As a host to a parasite, you would not be receiving the vitamins and minerals you require to keep your body healthy and in good working order.

Is it ok to use poppers if you take an intrarectal medicine?

Poppers are a class of drug called alkyl nitrites: these are the amyl, butyl and isobutyl nitrites.  They all have the same effect.  They work on the cardiovascular (heart and blood) system by dilating blood vessels: basically making blood vessels larger so more blood gets to and from the heart.  This results in a head rush, which some people find enjoyable. 

Poppers are also said to relax the sphincter muscles in the anus, so it is unclear if the medication you mention is going to be affected by poppers.  It would depend on what the medication is for.  Taking poppers is dangerous if you have chest or heart problems, anaemia or glaucoma.  If you are on medication to lower blood pressure poppers will make blood pressure fall further, often to dangerously low levels. 

You can check likely side effects of your medication from the Patient Information Leaflet supplied with all medicines.  Using poppers with alcohol is risky and using poppers with stimulant drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine or MCAT can put considerable strain on the heart.  If any doubt it is safer not to use poppers.

Can I test someone for M-Cat myself?

I’m trying to find a drugs test to test the father of my children.

Firstly, if you have concerns that your children’s father is under the influence when he picks up or drops off the children and that there are any risks or safety concerns then I would advise that you discuss your concerns with the Department of Health and Social Care’s Initial Response Team (Isle of Man based). You can contact them on 686179.

Also, have you discussed your concerns with the children’s father? Is he receiving help from services? It could be he is experiencing a relapse and may need to access services. Depending on your relationship it may help to discuss this openly with him.

If you really suspect he is using M-cat and don’t want your children to be with him than you need to be having this discussion with him and/or a relevant agency.  Who knows, he may welcome the opportunity to prove he’s not using.

I personally would not advise you to test someone yourself. Usually, if there are concerns about such matters then testing can be done but usually as part of a care order and arranged by Social Care staff.

I would not encourage you to take this on yourself and instead would recommend contacting services who can assess the situation and provide the necessary structures to manage any risk.

Although it may feel scary it is perfectly natural to be concerned as a mother and it is great that you are seeking help. Professional organisation will help you make the right decisions and protect you and your children.


How can someone be tested for Khat?

Khat is a leafy green plant containing two main stimulant drugs which speed up your mind and body, the leaves are usually made into a small ball and chewed in the mouth over a period of time. Their main effects are similar to, but less powerful than, amphetamine (aka speed). Khat is used mostly in North East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and by expatriate communities from these regions. Khat makes people feel more alert, happy and talkative, it also suppresses the appetite. There is a risk of significant liver toxicity from excessive use, and it may cause disrupted sleep and make pre-existing mental health problems worse.

Khat became a controlled class C drug in the UK in June this year (2014) – making it illegal to have it for self-use or for someone to sell or provide anyone else with it.

Khat is usually tested for by the presence of cathinone or cathine, the main active ingredients, although other active compounds can also be tested for. Cathinone and cathine can be detected via urine testing, blood testing or hair analysis. Testing for khat is not available on the Isle of Man. However, in the UK, a commercially available biochemical test to detect khat constituents in the urine can now be used to confirm khat use. As there is a close similarity to amphetamines, samples should be sent to an appropriate laboratory for a more definitive analysis to avoid a ‘false-positive’ reading for amphetamines i.e. a positive result for amphetamine when it is not there.

Have a look at our Khat information page or Talk to Frank’s Khat page for more information.

In cases of sex without consent, will all details still be private?

In cases of sex without consent, will all details still be private?

The GUM has a strict confidentiality policy and generally all information given is not shared with any other departments.

Sometimes the terms consent and underage gets mixed up by people. Just to be clear consent means that a person didn’t give their permission or agree to have sex at that time, underage means that a person is having sex under the legal age of 16 years old. In both cases the care and advice that the person receives will be private and will only consider what’s best for you.

In cases of sex without consent the clinic will be guided by what the person chooses to do and who to inform. Sometimes people choose not to inform the Police or take any further action and the clinic respects this. This would be discussed fully when the person attends and all options explained. The clinic would support whichever choice was made. This can be a really difficult time for the person involved and the staff in the clinic would be fully supportive as they are aware that the person may be feeling upset and traumatised.

Sometimes initially after an incident like this all the person wants to do is forget that it happened and get on with their lives. This is understandable and it is very common to feel like this. It would be advisable in order to protect their health to get checked out for any STIs just in case. The GUM clinic can be contacted on 650710. Ask to speak to one of nurses who will advise regarding booking an appointment.

Please try not to put off getting help. Once a problem is shared and the right help and support is given it is surprising how much better people can feel in even in this situation.


Can tests be done to see if you have infections such as thrush etc?

Can tests be done to see if you have infections such as thrush etc?

If you suspect you have an infection and you have symptoms then the tests that will be done at the clinic can include a test for ‘thrush’. Any infections identified are treated in the clinic so you would not have to attend a pharmacy or pay for the treatment.

Can someone come into the GUM clinic with me?

Can someone come into the clinic with you?

You can always bring someone to clinic with you for support. Sometimes people bring more than one, it’s a personal choice and if it helps you attend and feel more comfortable then that’s fine. It happens regularly in the clinic so it’s not unusual.

Can herpes symptoms show up in 18 hours?

I was kissed a girl who I had just met and did not know last night. The next evening, I started to feel a small sore in the inside corner of my mouth. It’s not particularly big and I’ve probably gotten stuff like this before, but the fact I have this so soon after kissing a girl who I no nothings about has me worried. My research was telling me herpes take at least 2 days to show symptoms, and this is what I am hoping. Is it still possible, or hopefully could it be something less serious?

You are obviously very worried about your symptoms and without a professional opinion it is difficult to know what the cause is. Many conditions cause sores around the mouth, not just herpes virus.  Cold sores (herpes virus) are very common and statistically by the age 15 around 25% of UK population, by age 30 around 50% have the virus. The rates are much higher in other countries.

The nature of herpes virus infection is that it can recur from time to time. You say you have had these symptoms before so it may be possible you already had the virus?  It is not a serious condition and while it can be uncomfortable for a few days, the symptoms would go away without any treatment. Symptoms (if you are going to get any) usually develop after 4-5 days but can develop 2 days or even many months/years later so it can be really difficult to pinpoint exactly when a person became infected.

You can always go along or ring the local GUM clinic (650710) for further advice or information. The website is a useful website which gives information and support to people who have worries about herpes virus.

Please consider having a check-up if you are worried. The professional, friendly staff will be able to give you all the information, support and the tests if required.

Kids at school are taking incense, what is it?

Incense is a synthetic cannabinoid, in effect a designer drug that mimics the effects of cannabis. It is used in a similar way to real cannabis, smoked in a spliff or a bong. This is often referred to as Spice but it does get sold under different names like K2 or Incense and comes in various strengths, some of these can be very strong with unknown effects.

It shouldn’t be confused with Cannabis – it is quite different and is unpredictable. As with many drugs and legal highs in particular, you can’t be 100% certain what you are getting.

For more information on legal highs visit

Could I get kicked out of sixth form for being pregnant

Being pregnant whilst at school can be a strange time. By and large a person wouldn’t be ‘kicked out’ for being pregnant though the school and mum-to-be might want to talk about whether she wants to continue having education in school or maybe continuing studies at home. This is mainly down to practicalities, especially when the pregnancy becomes more advanced and more obvious.

As the pregnancy advances some mums-to-be can get more tired and emotional health can be unpredictable, for example the mum-to-be may feel more tearful at times and doesn’t want people looking at them. On the other hand, some mums-to-be might prefer the support of their friends and continue at school later into the pregnancy than others.

There are differences in how schools approach pregnancy. Some schools may consider that a mum-to-be in school might disrupt the other students where another school may use it as a way of supporting the pregnant student and using at as a learning time for their peer group.

If there’s a teacher you feel more comfortable talking to perhaps you and your mum or dad or someone you trust could go to school and talk to them if you are in this situation. Think about what you want to do too, your education is important for your future and that of your baby.

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