Q. During the past nine years, I have tried everything I ever heard about and everything you have written on treating nail fungus. Nothing worked.
Then I read your column about the soldier who was told by his sergeant to urinate on his feet while in the shower. Well, I was desperate, so I urinated in a foam cup and soaked my finger for about five minutes every night. After soaking, I cleaned my finger with a hand sanitizer.
I know it sounds gross. I did this for about three weeks. That was three years ago, and the fungus is still gone!
A. A few years ago, we heard from both a grandmother and a World War II veteran that urinating on your feet in the shower could help control athlete's foot. This is the first we have learned that it might also work against nail fungus. Thanks for sharing your experience with this inexpensive remedy. We cannot explain how it might work.
Q. I've been dieting and exercising more than ever for the past year. This helped drop my cholesterol from 265 to 221 in nine months.
After starting to take glucosamine and chondroitin for sore joints, my cholesterol jumped back up to 244! I think there's a connection. Do you know of one? I don't want to take a cholesterol-lowering drug.
A. Although there is no research linking these supplements with elevated cholesterol, we have heard from dozens of readers that their cholesterol rose when they took glucosamine and chondroitin. You might need a different way to relieve your aching joints.
You may wish to try turmeric, grape juice with pectin (Certo), fish oil or pomegranate juice. We discuss these and many other nondrug approaches for arthritis and cholesterol control in our new book, "Best Choices From The People's Pharmacy" (Rodale Books).
Q. I had facial acne and rosacea for at least four years. I blamed medications because they were the only things that I thought I took every day. I saw a dermatologist but got no help.
One of your columns several weeks ago mentioned artificial sweeteners causing diarrhea, so I stopped using them for that reason. Once I quit drinking diet soda, my skin problems improved. Now, after six weeks, they are almost gone for the first time in four years. I have diabetes and now drink only water or unsweetened drinks. Thank you.
A. Acne rosacea is a skin condition leading to redness and sometimes blemishes. Its cause is unknown, but dermatologists recognize that individuals have different triggers that might aggravate the condition. We're glad to have helped you find yours.
Rosacea is often treated with topical medicines such as metronidazole (MetroGel) or azelaic acid (Azelex). Some studies suggest that a topical B vitamin, nicotinamide (Nicomide), might also be helpful in controlling redness and bumps.
A new antibiotic formulation of low-dose doxycycline has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for rosacea. Oracea is designed to maximize anti-inflammatory activity with minimal antibiotic action.
Q. I'd like to try coconut macaroons for controlling diarrhea, but I am trying to cut out sugar. Could I make my own macaroons using Splenda instead of sugar? Can shredded coconut be used by itself instead of eating the cookies?
A. Readers tell us that eating two coconut macaroons daily can ease chronic diarrhea. Some report that plain coconut also does the trick.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail them via their Web site: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
& copy; 2006 King Features Syndicate Inc.