Physician's Weekly
August 5, 2022
Unusual (and Interesting) Medical Conditions

Q: My wife lives in the States and was diagnosed with persistent sexual arousal syndrome. What is this? And what are some conditions that people in SVG may have that they do not realize are actually medical illnesses?

Most if not all of us are familiar with the more common medical conditions such as asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, and hypertension, however, there are some very unusual medical conditions that even the most experienced of doctors, including myself, may never have heard of.
In today’s column, I will touch on a handful of very uncommon medical conditions.

Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) – PGAD used to be known as persistent sexual arousal syndrome, it occurs in up to 0.5-1% of females. There is extended sexual arousal in the absence of any sexual desire, stimulation, or activity. Symptoms may include clitoral pressure, irritation, tingling, pain, or throbbing, labial swelling, vaginal contractions, and unpleasant orgasms experienced over a period of days, and even weeks. No specific cause has been identified. There have been pharmacological, vascular, neurological, and psychological associations made. PGAD is difficult to successfully treat but psychological counseling, numbing gels, electroconvulsive therapy, and TENS have been tried with varying degrees of success.

Prosopagnosia – Also known as “face blindness”. People with this condition are unable to recognize faces because of a defect in their brain. Such people often don’t recognize their own faces in a mirror, places, and objects, They are incapable of interpreting others’ facial expressions. Such people, often self-isolate, have difficulty forming relationships, and keeping a job, and are likely to suffer from social anxiety disorder and depression. They are often mislabeled as rude when they fail to acknowledge others. While most who have prosopagnosia are born with the condition, some develop it in later life as a result of a head injury or stroke. Up to 2% of some populations may suffer from prosopagnosia. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for prosopagnosia.

Auto-Brewery Syndrome – This is also known as gut fermentation syndrome. Such persons have an overgrowth of yeast in their intestine which in turn breaks down ingested sugars and carbohydrates to form alcohol. This alcohol is in turn absorbed into the bloodstream sometimes resulting in intoxication. While uncommon, anyone can suffer from this condition, it is more common in persons with liver disease, Chron’s disease, diabetes, HIV, autoimmune disease, and those on long-term antibiotics. It is underdiagnosed; the diagnosis is made clinically and by measuring blood alcohol levels. Restricting the intake of sugar and carbohydrates along with the use of antifungal medications can reverse the symptoms.

Fish Odor Syndrome – Persons who suffer from this uncommon genetic syndrome may give off an odor akin to rotting fish, rotting eggs, and/ or garbage. This is because there is a build-up of a compound (trimethylamine) that the body normally produces. While the intensity of this odor can vary over time it can interfere with the sufferer’s social life, career, and relationships. Social isolation and depression are common. There is no specific treatment.

Author’s Contact Information: Dr. C. Malcolm Grant – Family Physician, c/o Family Care Clinic, Arnos Vale, [email protected], 1(784)570-9300 (Office), 1(784)455-0376 (WhatsApp)
Disclaimer: The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Dr. C. Malcolm Grant, Family Care Clinic or The Searchlight Newspaper or their associates, respectively, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information provided