Q. I was having regular nighttime leg and ankle cramps for years until I started taking magnesium glycinate. I had cramps that made me cry at night and even sometimes during the day. Something had to change, so I searched till I found magnesium.

I’m not saying it’s a cure-all, but I think it’s better to preempt cramping rather than react to it. After starting my magnesium glycinate regimen, I got immediate relief.

At first, I thought it was just a fluke. But I have been using magnesium glycinate for two months now and I’ve only had one bad cramp. Other people might want to know about this.

A. We have heard from many readers who report that magnesium supplements help prevent nighttime leg cramps. Unfortunately, a systematic review of the medical literature did not find that magnesium was more effective than placebo (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Sept. 12, 2012).

Q. My doctor says I need blood pressure medication. I’m looking for natural alternatives because I already have joint problems. Do you know anything about the efficacy of tart cherries?

A. Scientists report that 60 milliliters of Montmorency (tart) cherry concentrate daily lowers systolic blood pressure in men with early hypertension (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2016). Studies of tart cherry supplements have also found them helpful for easing arthritis pain (Nutrients, March 17, 2018).

We offer a number of other natural approaches to controlling high blood pressure in our eGuide to Blood Pressure Treatment. You will find this online resource in the Health eGuides section at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Q. I read your answer to a reader complaining about hemorrhoids. You listed lots of suggestions, but you left out one of the most important solutions for pain and itching: a bidet!

I have found long-term relief with a bidet toilet. No toilet paper aggravating the sensitive tissues and no residue to cause itch. The bidet seat has an air dryer. It won’t cure hemorrhoids, but it certainly helps relieve symptoms.

A. We have not been able to locate any scientific studies demonstrating that bidet use helps relieve hemorrhoids or anal itching (pruritus ani). That said, many of our readers are enthusiastic about the bidet. They join people in France, Japan and other countries who consider this bathroom fixture a more sanitary approach to cleansing than using toilet paper. Here is just one of the many other stories we have received from readers of this column:

“I too have pruritus ani. I am in my 30s and have had it for several years along with chronic constipation.

“I’ve tried every cream and natural remedy under the sun. Toilet paper makes it worse, as even the softest types are scratchy.

“Last year, I went on vacation and used the bidet that was in the hotel bathroom. I was amazed at the relief I got. The skin around my bum was able to heal. I purchased a travel-size hand bidet and use it daily at home and work. There are also bidet attachments for toilets.

“For my constipation, I try to drink lots of water, sprinkle ground chia seeds in my food and sometimes use milk of magnesia to soften the stool. All this helps, but it is inconsistent.”

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803

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