QUESTION: I had my gall bladder removed six years ago and have been watching grease intake since. They told me my bladder was loaded with stones. I feel great now. However, can you tell me where the grease goes now? Was the bladder a necessary grease trap? There must be some kind of reaction here. - E.H.S.

ANSWER: The gall bladder is not a grease trap. It is a storage place for bile, which is needed for digestion of fat. When a person eats a greasy meal, the gall bladder gets a signal and empties its bile into the intestinal tract. The only change with the gall bladder gone is that the bile is not sent out in a gush but in a slow trickle from the liver, where it is produced.About the only reaction you can expect from gall bladder removal is loss of the pain from the stones that were in it.

QUESTION: I was told I had herpes a couple of years back when I went in to have a genital rash checked out. The doctor looked at it and said it was herpes. I am a middle-aged married woman who has never had outside sex. Ditto my husband. And neither of us had cold sores. He never got the rash and never has had herpes. Mine disappeared and hasn't come back. Please use my initials in answering. - H.T.L.

ANSWER: I don't like to contradict a diagnosis, but frankly, I don't think you had herpes.

Am I correct? You had a genital rash that was diagnosed as herpes, I'm presuming, after visual inspection. The rash never recurred, and your husband was never infected despite, and I'm presuming again, unprotected sex. Neither of you had cold sores.

Genital herpes (from the type 2 virus) usually occurs in sexually active young adults, and 85 percent have recurrences. In the active stage, herpes is highly infectious, so a partner would likely contract it. Cold sores (from type 1 virus) can be transferred to the genital area. But if neither of you had cold sores, that is ruled out.

There are too many missing links here to arrive at a herpes conclusion. If the rash does come back, you will need to use precautions and be checked out again.

A reader with a similar story asks about tests. The only 100 percent sure herpes test is done when the rash appears. Viruses are grown from swab material. Another test involves staining cells scraped from the rash area. Blood tests can verify infections but only at the time of infection.

FOR D.K. - Try the physical therapy department of your local hospital. They should be able to direct you to treatment with TENS (transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation). TENS is therapy for relief of pain.

C) 1989 North America Syndicate Inc.