Embarrassing Health Questions Answered

You may not want to ask your doc about what is causing your vaginal odor, but you should, plus any other health questions

From the LifeMinute.TV Team

December 28, 2023


Are you too anxious to ask out loud about cold sores or how to treat those goosebumps on the back of your arms? Here are possible answers to those awkward health questions and more.

Why does coffee make me poop? 
Coffee contains acids that increase levels of the hormone gastrin, which stimulates involuntary muscle contractions in your stomach to get your bowels moving. These wave-like contractions (peristalsis) move food and fluids through the intestines. It occurs with both regular and decaffeinated coffee, so not just caffeine.


What are those tiny, red bumps on my upper arms that look like chicken skin, and how can I get rid of them? 
Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common, harmless skin condition that causes dry, rough patches and tiny bumps, often on the upper arms, thighs, cheeks, or buttocks. KP develops when tiny holes in the skin get clogged with dead skin cells and a protein called keratin. Symptoms can often be managed using keratolytics (chemical exfoliants) utilizing ingredients such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, or urea. Consult a dermatologist to determine the best course of treatment.

I have a vaginal odor. Is that normal? 
The vagina and the area around it contain healthy bacteria that produce normal odors in most cases and ones that vary in people. A strong, unpleasant, unfamiliar odor, especially if it continues for days, usually is not normal. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an overgrowth of normal bacteria in the vagina and is responsible for the smell commonly associated with foul odors. Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, also can lead to vaginal odor. Odors may also be related to changes in diet or hygiene. Less commonly, odor may be a symptom of rectovaginal fistulas, vaginal or cervical cancer. See your health provider for guidance. In the interim, avoid douching and using scented products in the vaginal area, which can worsen the situation.

How do I treat hemorrhoids? 
Hemorrhoids are swollen or bulging veins that develop around the anus or inside the rectum. They are often harmless but can cause itching, pain, or bleeding, especially during bowel movements. Treatment options may include using topical meds or wipes with ingredients like lidocaine or hydrocortisone, soaking in a warm bath, using laxatives, consuming at least 20-35 grams of fiber daily, or surgery. Consult with your doctor to determine a treatment plan.

When I exercise or laugh, at times, I pee a little. What’s causing it? 
Stress incontinence happens with sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body), causing the sphincter muscle inside the urethra to open briefly, letting urine leak out. Pressure may be from sudden, forceful activities like exercising, coughing, laughing, sneezing, or having sex. Stress incontinence is more common in women. The leaking can be a few drops or enough to soak through clothes. Pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) can strengthen muscles and reduce symptoms. Other treatments may include creams, pessaries, or slings. Talk to your healthcare provider if your symptoms are bothersome or interfere with your daily activities.


Does a cold sore mean I have a sexually transmitted disease? 
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), which forms on or near the mouth. HSV-1 is typically transmitted by oral-oral contact to cause oral herpes but can also cause genital herpes through oral-genital contact. Most cases of genital herpes are caused by a different strain of the herpes simplex virus called herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2). If you develop a cold sore, see your doctor. You may need a prescription antiviral medication. They are highly contagious, so avoid sharing items or activities that come in contact with the affected area until it’s completely healed. Docosanol 10% cream (Abreva) is the only non-prescription ingredient approved by the FDA to shorten the healing time and duration of the symptoms of cold sores.

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