Dr Bernadette Carr answers your questions on short-term memory and nappy rash

I am going through the menopause and it seems to be affecting my short-term memory. I keep forgetting where I’ve put my keys, purse or phone. It’s very frustrating for me and my family. Will it pass?

Dr Bernadette Carr answers your questions on short-term memory and nappy rash

The menopause has a number of symptoms, physical and psychological, related to the hormonal changes that are taking place in your body. It literally means the last menstrual period.

Short-term memory loss can be upsetting and annoying but it is unlikely to be long term and many women do find that it passes after the menopause. This might be related to hormonal fluctuation affecting moods, disrupted sleep from night sweats and thus causing irritability, fatigue and poor concentration during the day.

Your frustration is understandable — here are some practical tips to consider:

* Decide on one place for your purse and keys and put them there as soon as you come in. If you park in a car park, always put the ticket in the same place — habit is reassuring.

* Use a wall calendar to remind you to do things or use the calendar on your mobile phone and set reminders.

* Write a list before you go shopping and leave it somewhere visible — the centre of the kitchen or secured to the fridge with a magnet.

* Avoid getting stressed about this — easier said than done.

It is important to keep your mind active. If you don’t already, start doing a crossword or puzzle every day. Make a point of reading a newspaper every day, either a paper copy or online. If you have the opportunity, look at some of the quiz programmes on television — you may discover a talent you did not know you had.

A healthy balanced diet and exercise are important in how you manage your menopause and any symptoms that you have. A positive attitude will make a difference to your quality of life and this is an ideal opportunity to review your diet and exercise.

However, if you are at all concerned about any symptoms, or indeed to talk generally about how you are managing, do make an appointment to see your GP, who will be able to advise and reassure you.

My nine-month-old daughter recently had nappy rash. How can I prevent a recurrence?

Nappy rash is a very common condition and can be a cause of distress for both babies and their parents. Most babies will suffer from it at some point and most nappy rashes are either mild or moderate. It is an inflammation that is often caused by a reaction of the skin to moisture, either urine or faeces. In some babies nappy rash can worsen when they are teething.

To prevent and to help clear your baby’s nappy rash there are a number of steps you can take:

* Try to leave the nappy off for some time each day to let fresh air get to the skin.

* Change the nappy often so that her skin is not left in contact with a wet or soiled nappy for any length of time.

* Wash your baby’s bottom with warm water only as soap may irritate the skin. After washing ensure that you dry your baby’s bottom thoroughly before you put on a new nappy.

* Avoid using tight-fitting plastic or rubber pants over a nappy as they retain moisture and may make the rash worse.

* Use disposable nappy liners.

* Use a topical cream, your pharmacist can advise you.

There are over-the-counter barrier creams or ointments which you can buy from your pharmacy and these may help in protecting the skin from moisture, your pharmacist can advise you. Apply in a thin layer before putting on a clean nappy.

However if the rash becomes worse or your baby is getting distressed, then you need to immediately see your GP, who can examine your baby to see if there is any other reason for the nappy rash. Your GP will be able to reassure you and suggest appropriate treatment.

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