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The People’s Pharmacy: Raisins before bed curb bathroom visits

Q. Thank you for writing about eating raisins at bedtime to reduce bathroom visits. I am 84, and for many years I had to get up every hour or two.

Now I take two spoonfuls of raisins (I don’t count them) and get at least six hours of sleep. If I need to, I repeat the procedure and sleep another four hours. I told my doctor not to laugh. He said he doesn’t laugh at anything that works!

A. We first heard about this remedy nearly a year and a half ago. A reader wrote: “I usually get up several times during the night to urinate. I have noticed that when I eat raisins just before I go to bed, I don’t need to get up as often, if at all.” We could find no explanation, but others, like you, have found this tip helpful. It is certainly less likely to cause difficulties than prescription medicines.

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Q. I am a man, but I’ve been wearing women’s L’eggs Sheer Support Pantyhose for years for my varicose veins and bad circulation in my legs. They are far cheaper than the Jobst that the doctor initially recommended. The pantyhose are very comfortable, and my legs feel great in them. I choose the suntan color and wear them all the time with shorts, as it is very warm here in Arizona. Nobody comments.

A. When we checked prices, we could see the appeal of the pantyhose. The L’eggs brand offers several ranges of compression, and you have chosen the weakest. If it works for you, though, why not save 50 percent on the cost of pricey compression hose?

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Q. I have been on proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) for almost three decades. I still have serious gastritis and GERD. I would like to get off them since they are not working anyway. I don’t smoke and I’m not overweight. Can you give me advice on tapering off?

A. If powerful acid-suppressing drugs like esomeprazole (Nexium) and lansoprazole (Prevacid) haven’t worked, perhaps there is something else going on. Have you been tested for Helicobacter pylori infection?

Symptoms of H. pylori can include frequent stomachaches, nausea and bloating. This germ can lead to ulcers.

We are sending you our Guide to Digestive Disorders for information on H. pylori and how to eradicate it, along with strategies for getting off PPI medications. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. G-3, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: peoplespharmacy.com.

Stopping a PPI suddenly can trigger rebound hyperacidity and distressing symptoms of reflux. That is why such a medication should ideally be tapered off gradually over six weeks, with support from non-drug approaches such as fennel, ginger or persimmon tea.

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Q. I use white school glue for kitchen burns. It works great to remove almost all the pain and redness and prevent blisters. I put the glue over the burn and let it dry. I leave it in place for as long as possible – the longer the better to prevent blisters.

A. Cold water is always the first step in treating household burns. After that, soy sauce, cold mustard or white glue can provide relief. The gel from a broken aloe vera leaf also is supposed to be soothing.

The People’s Pharmacy radio broadcast airs at 2 p.m. Saturdays on WBFO-FM 88.7.