My otherwise healthy husband experiences severe pain in his groin after walking for about 50 minutes. It radiates down his right thigh, and although it subsides when he rests, it quickly returns. He underwent checks to see if it was due to a hernia, a spinal disc problem or even a tumor – but these found nothing. What could be the problem?
Barbara Croxen, Menston, West Yorkshire.
It resembles a condition called intermittent claudication – pain in a muscle or group of muscles, brought on by exercise and relieved by a few minutes of rest.
It can affect the buttocks, hips, or thighs, but it’s usually the calf muscles.
In most cases, this is due to narrowing of the arteries that supply the muscles in the affected area, causing pain when the muscle is deprived of blood and oxygen.
The disease is quite common and affects about 10% of adults over the age of 55. Smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all major risk factors.
Although you say in your longer letter that your husband has had tests, he may need a more specific type of checkup involving scans of the arteries in his legs to look for signs of narrowing.
This is something his GP can arrange and if, as expected, it shows restriction of blood flow, he can be treated with medication to thin the blood (such as low dose aspirin) and reduce blood pressure. accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries (such as statins).
Some patients are also offered a type of bypass surgery where a vascular surgeon redirects blood flow around the blocked area.
However, rest assured, this is only necessary in a minority of cases and, if started in time, medication alone is often enough to remedy the problem.
I have had intermittent twitching of the right eyelid and surrounding area for the past three months. Although not painful, it is quite irritating. What can I do?
Name and address provided.
Twitching of one eyelid (rather than both) is medically known as myokymia.
It is a very common and harmless condition that happens to most of us at some point.
The shaking can vary from a barely perceptible flicker to a visible movement that is apparent to others. This can be linked to excessive fatigue, excess caffeine, and stress.
Some people, much less commonly, develop persistent eyelid twitching, that is, involuntary twitching several times a day called benign essential blepharospasm, caused by uncontrolled contractions of the eyelid muscle.
A neurological disorder, it starts on one side and then progresses to involve both eyes and can become more severe. However, it is very rare.
It seems unlikely that this is what is affecting you, but if your symptoms become more frequent and your other eyelid becomes involved, then you should be referred to a neurologist.
Provided your symptom stays on one side and is intermittent, I anticipate it will settle down.
I suggest trying to get enough sleep and limiting your caffeine intake – try caffeine-free alternatives or limit yourself to a few cups of tea a day.