"Gary" and I were married two months ago. For our honeymoon, we took a cruise to the eastern Caribbean.
One week after our return, I came down with a yeast infection that I treated with an over-the-counter medication. A few days later, Gary got what we thought was a urinary tract infection, which we treated with lots of water and cranberry juice. When neither of our conditions improved, we went to the doctor, who diagnosed us both with chlamydia.
We were shocked! Gary and I had both tested negative for all STDs before we were married. The nurse asked if we had been in a hot tub recently, and we replied that we'd spent many hours in hot tubs on the cruise ship. The nurse then informed us that chlamydia is a bacteria, and bacteria love warm, moist environments -- like hot tubs. She said it was the most likely source of this disease in our case.
We contacted the cruise line and told them that their hot tubs were not clean and asked them to reimburse us for the cost of our prescriptions. The man I spoke to refused and accused me of lying.
I know you can't help me with the cruise line, Abby, but I want to warn your readers about public hot tubs. Perhaps it will save others from contracting a disease like we did.
Contaminated in Ohio
Thank you for wanting to spare others your unfortunate experience.
After reading your letter, I contacted the Centers for Disease Control National STD and AIDS Hotline (1-800-342- 2437). I was told that chlamydia is NOT transmitted by sitting in or on the rim of a hot tub, nor by any other inanimate object. It is transmitted through genital contact.
Two diseases that "potentially" can be spread in and around swimming pools and hot tubs -- although it has NOT been well-documented -- are trichomoniasis (a parasite) and molluscum contagiosum (a virus), which can also be transmitted from unclean towels or bathing suits.
The most important thing your letter illustrates to me is how important it is for people to be properly diagnosed, rather than treating themselves with over-the-counter remedies.
My boyfriend wets the bed every night. Don't tell me to have him see a doctor; he won't. He just says he can't help it. What is your advice? I can't take it anymore.
Can't Stand It in N.J.
It's sad that your boyfriend refuses to consult a urologist about his bed-wetting, because there are medications and devices that could solve the problem. He may simply be unaware that there is help for his problem. If he still refuses to see a doctor, there is nothing you or I can do, and because you can no longer tolerate it, it may be time to tell him goodbye.
I have a boyfriend I like a lot. The problem is my mother won't let me have him over even when they are here. I am very responsible and wouldn't do anything dumb with him. I'm 13, so it would only be to spend some quality time together. Have you any ideas how to convince my mom?
Totally Crushed in Colfax, Wis.
Clip this letter and show it to your mom. She may think that you are too young to be interested in boys and believe that if she "just says no," your interest will lessen. Big mistake. Parents who are inflexible force their children to sneak around. They have forgotten that the safest environment is the one that's most closely supervised, and that is at home with an adult present.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate