The arthritis booklet discusses rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and lupus. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Roach — No. 301, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Can. with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have read that two 140-mg capsules of magnesium help eliminate nighttime leg cramps. What is your opinion or suggestion? — J.V.
ANSWER: Well-done studies found that magnesium is no better than a placebo at stopping leg cramps. The most effective treatment in studies is stretching the muscles during the day and again at nighttime. Many readers have written with various home remedies, some of which I have mentioned in previous columns. The Food and Drug Administration has recommended against prescription quinine due to side-effect risk, but many readers have recommended tonic water, which contains a small amount of quinine, before bed. Vitamin B complex, including B-6 (30 mg), has been shown to be helpful as well.
DEAR DR. ROACH: Please comment on the use of Vaseline as a vaginal lubricant. Thank you. — G.B.
ANSWER: Petrolatum (Vaseline and many others) is not recommended as a vaginal lubricant for two reasons. First, it is said to increase the risk of vaginal infection, and second, for couples using condoms, the petrolatum can damage the latex, causing failure of the condom. There are many water-based lubricants, such as K-Y or Astroglide. Some women find glycerine and parabens to be irritating,