9 Health Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask Your Doctor
Weird sights, smells, feels — we all have health questions we’re too embarrassed or self-conscious to ask our doctors! Here are a few common ones that our doctors have already answered:
1. Why do my veins pop out of my hands?
Wondering why your blood vessels seem to stand out? Phlebologist (vein specialist) Dr. Albert Malvehy says it’s because over the years, the subcutaneous fat in our body naturally atrophies. “Think of the difference between the cheeks of a chubby baby and a 90 year old man. This is also true in the hands. Some physicians can perform sclerotherapy or ablation of hand veins to make them less noticeable — make sure to go to a vein specialist or phlebologist.”
2. How do I deal with body odor?
It’s not just an adolescent, post-puberty problem. Dr. Maureen Mays, a specialist in Clinical Lipidology, recommends the following:
- Bathe or shower daily
- Use an antiperspirant/deodorant combo on your underarms every time after you bathe
- Wash and dry your clothes regularly so they don’t hold onto body odors
- Don’t smoke
If the plan above isn’t enough, try eating a low-fat diet and avoiding raw onions and garlic. If all of that doesn’t work, see a dermatologist or your primary care doctor.
3. Can you completely eliminate bad breath?
Unfortunately, no. “Bad breath is caused by oral bacteria, billions of them,” says dentist Dr. Greg Rubin. “When you brush for 2 min, floss for 2 min, rinse for 1 min, you remove may be 5 % of those bacteria and even this is only temporary. So unless you completely eliminate those odor producing bacteria from our mouth … Nothing will help.” The best thing you can do is practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly.
4. Why do I keep getting yeast infections?
If you wear tight underwear or stockings made from synthetic materials that don’t “breathe” well, psychiatrist Dr. Heidi Fowler says the combination of prolonged heat and moisture in the vaginal area can make for an optimum environment for yeast to grow. Dr. Diane Minich, a specialist in Family Medicine, suggests wearing cotton underwear and changing frequently if you’re sweaty — and avoid wearing a wet swimsuit all day!
5. My tampon is stuck! What do I do?
Ladies, you are not alone! Family medicine specialist Dr. Barbara Hummel says, “When I worked in the emergency room, I removed many a lost tampon. I suggest that you see your physician and have it removed as soon as possible because it can be a cause of toxic shock syndrome if left in place too long.”
6. I think I have hemorrhoids. What do I do?
Pediatrician Dr. Holly Maes says, “First, these are very common at any age as an adult, but they usually have a cause.” For example, one common cause is straining at hard, constipated stools. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids and eating plenty of fiber. There are a number of helpful remedies that you can privately buy over the counter, and also just sitting in cool bath water can help with pain and itching.
7. Why are my bowel movements a weird color? Sometimes it floats too.
In short, stool can vary with diet. Dr. John Munshower, a specialist in Family Medicine, says, “Certainly eating different foods, especially colored vegetables and fruits, can affect the color and consistency of your stools, and some may even make your urine or semen smell odd.” However, Dr. William Haehl notes, “There are some rare diseases that cause stools to float consistently, so if it persists, then see your doctor.”
8. Is it really that bad if I stick a Q-tip in my ear?
Yes, it’s dangerous! Dr. Harold Kim, a specialist in ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) as well as Head and Neck Surgery says inserting a Q-tip (also called a cotton swab or a cotton bud) into your ear canal can lead to injuries, such as rupturing your ear drum. It can also scratch the skin of your ear canal, leading to the development of a swimmer’s ear bacterial infection. That’s why most Q-tip manufacturers warn you against inserting the swab into your ears.
9. Does coffee make you short?
If your parents told you not to drink coffee because it would stunt your growth, it’s false! Dr. Peter Kurzweil, a specialist in Internal Medicine, says coffee may make you short-tempered, but it won’t make you short. He notes that consumption among teens has been increasing for years without any noticeable impact on height. Caffeine is a chemical that quickly crosses the blood brain barrier, stimulates nerves, increases pulse and blood pressure, stimulates mind activity, maintains alertness, and can cause sleep problems if consumed to excess. It can also cause withdrawal symptoms, so stick to a moderate level of consumption.