Why is My Body Doing That?
Have you ever wondered why your body behaves in a certain way? The Doctors uncovers the reasons behind some of the body’s most annoying habits.
Amanda, a contestant on ABC’s hit show, The Bachelor, has had a chronic case of the hiccups for the last two years. She tells The Doctors, “I don’t get them all day, but I get them pretty much every day.” But she’s perplexed as to what brings them on. “It’s pretty annoying if you’re in a business meeting and you start meeping.” Her doctor has suggested that stress or her diet may be causing the troublesome reaction.
Dr. Travis describes what occurs when a person hiccups. “It’s an involuntary contraction of your diaphragm, which is the dome muscle that separates your abdomen from your lungs, and when that happens, it forces air up and your epiglottis closes,” he says. A noise is often heard when this occurs, and it sounds different for every person. “A lot of times, we’re not sure why it happens.”
Dr. Jim shows off a silly technique that is noted to work to alleviate the hiccups. He gets on his hands and feet in a push-up position with his head on the ground and suggests holding your breath in that stance for 10 seconds. .
Dr. Travis explains, “The idea is that by holding your breath, there’s a thought that maybe if you build up carbon dioxide in your system, that will help prevent the hiccups.” He points out that eating too much, eating too fast and swallowing air can cause this condition to worsen. “If certain fried foods trigger this, I hate to say it, but you may want to cut those out of your diet,” he tells Amanda. He warns that if hiccups occur for long periods of time -- more than a year without stopping -- get examined by your doctor to make sure you’re not suffering from a more serious condition.
Although no one knows what causes yawning, The Doctors suggest it could be an old form of communication, a way to cool or stretch the body or a reminder to breathe.
Four-year-old Beckham asks Dr. Jim, “Why does my brain hurt when I eat ice cream too fast?”
Dr. Jim describes this frosty phenomenon, “When you take a big bite of ice cream, or a milkshake or a cold drink, the top of your mouth gets really cold, and that cold gets up toward your brain. The brain starts to get cold, and it doesn’t want to get cold, so it increases the blood flow to the brain by expanding the blood vessels, and it hurts.”
Once the cold sensation goes away, the blood vessels relax and the pain eases.
Does it bug you when you’re on an airplane and your ears won’t stop popping? This irritation occurs when the pressure outside the ear becomes greater or less than the pressure inside the ear, and puts a strain on the eardrum.
To alleviate the pain, Dr. Ordon says, “What you want to do is equalize the pressure by opening up the Eustachian tube,” which links the pharynx to the middle ear and regulates ear pressure around the eardrum. A few ways to do this are plugging your nose and blowing or chewing gum.
Dr. Jim suggests that if parents are traveling with a baby, when the plane begins to descend, make sure the youngster is breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle to avoid the pain.
Hello. Can You Hear Me?
A recent study shows that people who have sudden hearing loss are potentially at greater risk of having a stroke within five years.
While Dr. Travis is skeptical of these findings, Dr. Ordon explains that the cochlea is a very tender area in the inner ear with hairs that are sensitive to loud noises, trauma, medications and change in blood flow. “I think there is something there,” he says of the study. “I think these may be mini-micro strokes that are happening that are first affecting the inner ear and not other parts of the brain.”
The Doctors agree that this is a rare condition, but if a person suffers sudden hearing loss, they should be examined by his/her physician.
Bye Bye, Chin
Women say that next to cellulite, the body part they hate most is their double chin. Caroline, 44, can relate. She recently lost 25 pounds, but still finds herself stuck with a “turkey gobble.” She paid a visit to Dr. Ordon’s office to get rid of her sagging skin once and for all. He performs a scarless neck lift on Caroline, using liposuction.
When her bandages are removed onstage, Caroline happily exclaims, “Where did my chins go?”
Read Dr. Ordon's blog about chin liposuction.
“This is a real illness where people convince themselves that they have a disease when they don’t,” Dr. Travis explains.
Dr. Jim adds that as more people have access to the Internet, Cyberchondria is on the rise. “Now you can read about your symptoms and you can see the worse-case scenarios, and it convinces you that you’ve got the worst thing possible,” he says.
Dr. Travis suggests doctors address their patients complaints directly. “You don’t say, ‘There’s nothing wrong with you. Why do you keep coming back?’ You say, ‘I haven’t found any evidence of anything wrong with you. I’m a little bit worried you may be a hypochondriac, and this is a real illness. Let’s try to treat that,’” he says.
"It can be treated,” Dr. Lisa agrees.
Ask Our Doctors
Lisa asks The Doctors, “My son and I are getting ready to take a really long road trip, and we tend to get carsick. We have tried everything from rolling down the windows, to not sitting in the back seat, but we still are plagued with carsickness. Is there anything you can suggest that can help us avoid this on this long trip?”
Dr. Jim explains that motion sickness occurs when a person’s middle ear receives a signal that the person is moving, but his/her eyes aren’t, so the brain receives different signals. Some remedies for this condition are ingesting food or beverages containing ginger, taking an antihistamine or wearing acupressure bands.
Lily in Chicago writes, “For the past six months, I have been bothered by a twitch in my right eye. Sometimes, it does not bother me at all, but then there are times when it’s very annoying. What’s causing my eye to twitch, and should I be worried?”
The uncontrollable spasm is called blepharospasm and could be due to eye strain, fatigue or stress. As a remedy, try giving your eyes a rest. Dr. Ordon adds that if the twitch is unrelenting, a Botox injection may be another solution.
Pain in the Gut
Tara sent a video message stating that she has had dire stomach problems since she gave birth to her son and then had her gallbladder removed. “I have horrible diarrhea on days, where I can’t go to work, and other problems, and then I can’t go to the bathroom for days at a time. It’s gotten so painful,” she reports.
The Doctors sent Tara to see gastroenterologist Dr. Jeffrey Sherman. He performs a sigmoidoscopy using a short scope, similar to a rubber tube, that is inserted through Tara’s rectum into her colon. He examines the left side of her colon to make sure there’s no inflammation or sign of infection.
“Her [colon] was healthy, smooth and clean,” Dr. Sherman shares, “so her discomfort isn’t coming from the inflammation. It’s coming more from what I think is spasm.” He offers that Tara may be suffering from IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is caused by spasm and inefficient digestion. As for a solution, Dr. Sherman says, “Sometimes fiber can make it worse. We also can treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome with some antibiotics, which can kill off bacteria that may be out of whack in the stomach and in the colon. Also we treat with anti-spasmodics.” These can help calm the small bowel and colon. “Thirdly, we can try to blunt the central and peripheral nervous system to decrease the patient’s sensitivity to these symptoms.”
When a woman menstruates, on which day is blood flow the heaviest? The answer: during the first few days. Dr. Lisa warns, “It’s too heavy if you go through more than a super pad an hour for about two hours a day. If you have a headache or dizziness, or if you have flooding or clotting, then you should see your doctor.”
A Cherry a Day to Keep the Doctor away?
Did you know that cherries are an excellent cure for some swollen joints? A recent study shows that certain compounds in cherries lower uric acid in the blood -- a common cause of gout arthritis pain. Just one serving of cherries every day can lower uric acid levels by 15 percent. So start munching on fresh or dried cherries, or drinking cherry juice to keep the pain -- and the doctor -- away!