embarrassing health question

What’s Your Most Embarrassing Health Question?

You don’t want to talk about it. You just can’t discuss it with family or friends. But you’re anxious to find out…in private. We’ve all had an embarrassing health question we needed an answer to but couldn’t face asking. Well, you’re in luck. Below Whitaker Wellness offers answers to several embarrassing health questions—without leaving the comfort, or anonymity, of your home.

Embarrassing Health Question #1: How Do You Banish Bad Breath?

Bad breath is usually transient, caused by a particularly pungent food or a night of sleep (“morning breath”), and can be resolved with a good brushing or a mint or stick of gum. Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, on the other hand, may be more than just an embarrassing health question. It can be caused by a variety of factors from stomach problems, to food particles caught in the crevices of the tonsils, to sinus issues.

However, up to 90 percent of halitosis originates in the mouth, from bacteria lodged on the teeth, gums, or tongue. As the bacteria putrefy, volatile gases containing sulfur and other smelly compounds are released. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits are good preventive measures, and daily tongue scraping removes the white coating of bacteria-containing plaque that can accumulate over time. One final trick to freshen breath? Drink a cup of tea. Tea contains compounds proven to combat offending odors.

Embarrassing Health Question #2: Can You Ditch Jock Itch?

Itching—especially in the groin area—is an embarrassing health question most people don’t want to address. One of my Health & Healing subscribers recently told me that nothing he’d tried, including expensive prescription and over-the-counter creams, had worked—but coconut oil did the trick.

Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo, which contains the antifungal agent selenium sulfide, is also effective for fungal infections. Apply a small amount to the area, leave on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing, and repeat every couple of days until it resolves. Other natural solutions for this embarrassing health question include hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, or Milk of Magnesia applied to the affected area, For prevention, cornstarch and medicated powders such as Gold Bond help keep problematic areas dry and discourage fungal growth.

Embarrassing Health Question #3: The Best Way to Eliminate Body Odor?

A while back, I receive this tip from a reader: For years, I suffered with the embarrassing problem of body odor. No matter what deodorant I tried, I still seemed to, well, stink. Then I read about the many benefits of tea tree oil and decided to see if it could help me. After I showered, I dabbed a little tea tree oil under my arms, waited for it to dry, and then applied my regular deodorant over the top. It worked from day one—even my spouse commented on it. I’d prefer you don’t print my name, but I really hope anyone with problematic body odor gives this a try. 

When you sweat, the apocrine glands in the armpits release an odorless oily fluid that interacts with bacteria on your skin and produces body odor. Tea tree oil, which has demonstrated antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, kills the offending bacteria, resolving the unpleasant odor. If you have allergies or other skin sensitivities, I suggest testing tea tree oil on a small area 24 hours prior to widespread application, just to be on the safe side. 

Other safe, natural solutions for body odor include coconut oil, baking soda mixed with a little water, and products that contain natural ingredients such as baking soda, zinc oxide, activated charcoal, essential oils, and coconut oil. You’ll find several good options in health food stores and online.

Embarrassing Health Question #4: Tips for Getting Rid of Gas?

This is one embarrassing health question that plagues everyone from time to time. In fact, we all produce gas, one to four pints and 14 “episodes” a day, on average. It’s primarily caused by the human body’s inability to completely digest certain carbohydrates—we simply lack the enzymes to break them down. When these carbs arrive in the intestinal tract they are metabolized by the trillions of bacteria that reside there, which break them down in a fermentation process that releases hydrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases. (The odor is caused by sulfur compounds.)

Cutting back on carbohydrates should be your first step. This may require a little trial and error because not everyone has the same “triggers.” The most common are starches (grains, bread, pasta, potatoes, etc.), fiber, and some sugars (raffinose in beans, cruciferous vegetables, and whole grains; sorbitol and other sugar alcohols; and, for some, lactose in milk products). Eating fewer starches and sugars provides multiple benefits, but don’t completely eliminate healthy fiber-rich beans and vegetables, even if they make you gassy. Instead, take digestive enzymes with meals. I also recommend probiotic supplements, which help establish beneficial bacteria in the gut. Digestive enzymes and probiotics are available in health food stores, online, or by calling 800-810-6655.

Embarrassing Health Question #5: Help for Hemorrhoids?

Another embarrassing health question that comes up regularly is what to do about hemorrhoids. They are a very common health concern. Roughly 75 percent of people will experience them at some point in their lives. If you’re among the unlucky many, I recommend a multifaceted approach, including topical, circulatory, and digestive therapies. 

To start with, you can use medicated pads, ointments, and creams for symptomatic relief. In addition to the products sold in drugstores, I recommend emu oil, which helps relieve pain and heal swollen, tender tissues. Supplementing with flavonoids will improve blood vessel tone and capillary permeability. Try rutin (500 mg twice a day), pycnogenol (150 mg twice a day for five days, then once a day), or diosmin (1,000 mg three times a day for four days, tapering down to 1,000 mg twice a day for three days, then 500 mg twice a day). Finally, adding supplemental fiber to your daily diet (psyllium, 2–3 teaspoons, or ground flaxseed, ¼ cup) will help alleviate constipation, prevent recurrences, and improve your health on multiple fronts—and backs. These products can be ordered by calling 800-810-6655.

Embarrassing Health Question #6: Natural Ways to Tame Toenail Fungus?

When fungus invades the nails, they become thick, discolored, misshapen, or brittle—not a pretty sight. Beyond appearance, onychomycosis, as it’s officially called, may be painful and, in rare cases, cause more serious problems. I wish I could tell you there’s a quick and easy answer to this embarrassing health question, but there isn’t. No matter what therapy you use, you’re going to have to wait until the affected nail grows out for complete resolution—and for your big toenail, that can take a whole year.

I do have a couple of suggestions that might help, providing that you stick with them. One is Vicks VapoRub. This old-time remedy for coughs and congestion, which contains several antifungal ingredients (camphor, menthol, eucalyptus, and thymol), was tested by a group of physicians who had their patients rub it into infected nails daily. After 48 weeks, 83 percent had marked improvements in their nails’ appearance, texture, and color, and the fungus was eradicated in 28 percent. Another treatment that gets good reviews is tea tree oil, applied to nails daily.

Even More Embarrassing Health Questions Answered

For even more answers to popular embarrassing health questions, visit my blog again soon. Up next: urinary incontinence, excessive sweating, acne, and more.

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