Burps and flatulence are both caused by gas, but they occur for different reasons.
Bubbles created by bacteria in the gut cause the average person to pass gas approximately 10 times a day.
"It's actually healthy," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "After you have surgery, if you don't pass gas, you can have really painful gas pains. That's why we get you up and have you walk around."
Passing gas is a natural bodily function, but when smells are emitted, it can be embarrassing. E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork explains that compounds in the gut, such as hydrogen sulfide, can give off an unpleasant odor.
"These are gasses produced by bacteria that usually live in the colon," Dr. Ordon says.
If you have excessive flatulence, take a look at your diet. Eating foods high in fiber, such as beans and broccoli, can cause problems for some people.
Burping, on the other hand, is normal after a meal. Belches result from swallowing air when you eat, drink or chew with your mouth open, or when you drink carbonated beverages.
If you experience chest pains, difficulty swallowing or other symptoms when you burp, it could be a sign of something more serious and you should talk with your doctor.
Carly from Gainesville, Florida is in her early 30s and has two children. She e-mails The Doctors about a urinary problem she suffers from that her husband calls "pee dribble." She asks: What causes it, and how can I fix it?
Urologist Dr. Aaron Spitz says that Carly's dribble problem is also known as urinary incontinence and is a common condition that affects both men and women. For many women, urinary incontinence often occurs after childbirth, because the pelvis becomes weakened. In men, the most common cause is an enlarged prostate that blocks the flow of urine out of the bladder.
Dr. Spitz explains other causes of urinary incontinence and how to treat it.
Menstrual blood is an important vital sign for women. "It basically tells us you're healthy," Dr. Lisa says, but it could also be a warning sign of more serious conditions. "If you're going through more than a pad or a tampon an hour, or you're having clots, then this can be life-threatening to a women," Dr. Lisa says.
Using the menstruation color wheel, Dr. Lisa explains that the color of a woman's menstrual blood can reveal information about her health, as well. A constant bright red flow can indicate flooding, which is heavy bleeding that occurs when the blood doesn't clot. This can be caused by liver problems.
"Usually, it's your regular sort of brownish-to-red color," Dr. Lisa says. "What you want to do with these colors is think about the fact that menstrual blood isn't just blood. Actually, very little of it is blood." Much of it is made up of components such as endometrial cells, cervical mucus and vaginal secretions. Dr. Lisa displays the different sizes of menstrual blood clots and what they mean.
Arousal During Menstruation
Dr. Lisa explains that a woman's sex drive is directly linked to her hormone levels. The hormone estrogen is the driving force behind carnal cravings, and estrogen levels are highest during ovulation. During menstruation, women produce higher levels of testosterone, which can stimulate sexual arousal.
Some women will have a higher libido during their menstrual cycle and some will find that arousal peaks during ovulation.
In addition, estrogen produced during a woman's period increases genital sensitivity. "Orgasms can actually help with cramps," Dr. Lisa adds. "It can be a fantastic time."
Don't Sweat It
Millions of sweat glands in the human body work in unison to keep us cool. However, sometimes those glands get a little too active, and the result is hyperhydrosis, or excessive sweating. The Doctors explain why you perspire and why sweat leaves stains on clothes.
• Learn how to prevent problem perspiration!
Cosmetic dentist Dr. Bill Dorfman performs a procedure that can banish bad breath for good!
• Tips for eliminating bad breath.
Jock itch can be irritating, especially if you are an athlete. Players from the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears baseball team ask The Doctors how they can both treat and avoid the problem.
Jock itch is a rash that affects the skin around the groin and can cause a painful, burning sensation. The rash is caused by either a fungal or bacterial infection. "Typically, it is common in athletes, and it's all about two things: sweating or moisture, and constrictive clothing," Dr. Ordon says. "The key is, when you're playing any sports, wash your undergarments. Don't use bleach and don't use harsh detergents.
"If you do get jock itch, don't put on harsh soaps, antibacterial soaps [to the affected area]," Dr. Ordon adds. "It's going to hurt,and it's going to make it worse."
Jock itch isn't just a problem for athletes. "People who have too much weight on them and have extra folds [in the groin area] will get very bad fungal infections down there," pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. "Or if you have a compromised immune system."
Wearing boxers instead of tight briefs will allow the skin to breathe, and anti-fungal creams and powders can help relieve the burning and pain. A word of caution: Avoid baby powder, because it can make the condition worse.
From babies to adults, acne can be a problem for people of all ages. Sixty million Americans have active acne and 20 million have permanent acne scars. The Doctors offer tips for maintaining blemish-free skin.
• Dr. Ordon explains the causes of acne and how to treat a breakout.
Why We Sneeze
Dr. Ordon explains what causes a sneeze and why it's dangerous to hold it in.
• See the faces we make and the germs we emit from the beginning of a sneeze to the end. Footage courtesy of a public service announcement from the Department of Health in South Australia.
Dr. Sears shows parents how to tell the difference between an eye infection and harmless goop in their child's eye.
• Learn how to treat pink eye, or conjunctivitis.