Time to break out the paper towels, tissues and soap as The Doctors get down and dirty to help you clean up your stickiest, runniest and mushiest body problems!
“Whether you admit it or not, I think most of us have probably picked our nose at one point or another,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. Chances are whatever you fished out while “digging for gold” was nowhere near the size of this!
Mucus protects and moistens the lining of the body’s respiratory tract and organs, and essentially acts as “fly paper,” trapping dust particles, bacteria and other irritants that are inhaled.
But have you ever wondered what mucus is actually composed of, and what the color could indicate about your health?
“Mucus, first of all, is composed of a lot of different things,” Dr. Travis says. “It’s got some water in it, carbs, proteins, lipids. It can vary from very clear to white, even grey, greenish, brownish or black.”
Watch as two brave audience volunteers help The Doctors diagnose sticky situations in the nose and throat.
Sperm-Enhancing Food Sources
Having trouble conceiving? A semen analysis can help determine the quality, quantity and motility of a man’s sperm; however, there are also certain foods containing high levels of zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin A that may help give his “little swimmers” an added boost. Check out which foods can help!
Sticky Film on Teeth
Chad in Omaha, Nebraska writes:
I’m usually pretty good at brushing my teeth at least twice a day but there’s still a sticky film on my teeth. What is the best way to remove it and how do I prevent it?
Cosmetic dentist Dr. Bill Dorfman explains three oral health tips that can keep your teeth pearly white and film-free.
Irritable Bedroom Syndrome?
Feel like you're spending more time in the bathroom than in the bedroom? Gastroenterologist and author of the best-selling books What’s Your Poo Telling You? and What’s My Pee Telling Me? Dr. Anish Sheth joins the show to explain how the color and caliber of your bowel movements can be the first sign of detecting a serious illness, such as colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can often affect people at the most inopportune times.
“I think people who don’t suffer from [IBS] don’t realize how debilitating it can truly be for certain individuals,” Dr. Travis says.
IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine and can cause bloating, cramping, abdominal pains, diarrhea and/or constipation. The condition is usually chronic, typically affects women more than men, and can require a variety of treatment options, depending on the cause. Probiotics, supplements, dietary and lifestyle changes, over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications, antibiotics, intestinal desensitizers and even antidepressants may be prescribed to help restore proper hormone secretions, relieve inflammation and regulate bacteria levels inside the bowels.
“Only 50 percent of people being treated actually get better, almost regardless of what you do,” Dr. Sheth explains. “We still have a lot of work to do, and I think understanding that there’s a very complex nervous system in our GI tract called the enteric nervous system and understanding the neurotransmitters that are involved there are really going to lead to better therapies down the road,” he adds.
Triggers for IBS include certain high-fiber fruits and vegetables, milk-based and alcoholic beverages, as well as high stress amounts; in addition, a surge of hormones during menstrual cycles and abnormal hormone levels also have been shown to exacerbate the condition.
“I think IBS gets kind of chalked up to being a complete psychological issue, and I think that’s one thing we have to dispel here,” Dr. Sheth says. “There’s no blood test for IBS. You can’t see it on a colonoscopy, you can’t see it on an endoscopy or a CAT scan, which makes the diagnosis hard, and I think it’s what has lead folks to say, ‘well, it’s all in their head,’ and that’s clearly not the case.
“I think the management of IBS starts with diet [and] stress management, in part, but I think the other thing that gets lost in IBS treatment is the importance of the bacteria we have in our intestinal tract. We have more bacteria in our GI tract than we have cells in the body,” Dr. Sheth explains.
“Using things like probiotics, healthy yogurts, things like that to rebalance the bacteria can be a good treatment. It’s a low-risk, high-reward proposition. There’s really no downside. About 40 to 50 percent of people, just after a month or two of probiotics, will at least have some improvement in their quality of life.”
• More tips to relieve symptoms of IBS.
• Learn how fecal transplants are being used to cure serious bacterial infections.
How Hemorrhoids Affect Bowel Movements
John in Atlanta, Georgia writes:
I’m having a difficult time going to the bathroom and I’m wondering if my hemorrhoids are blocking my poop from coming out properly?
“Hemorrhoids are basically enlarged, engorged veins at the end of the anal canal,” Dr. Sheth explains. “The issue of whether [hemorrhoids] can impede the evacuation of stool – that’s kind of an extreme situation.”
Learn how thrombosis of veins in the anus can create prolapsed hemorrhoids, but should not prevent a bowel movement from passing.
“The better hydrated you are [and] the more fiber you have in your diet, the softer your stools may end up being, so the less painful it is,” Dr. Travis says.
“That’s the key,” Dr. Sheth concurs. “Otherwise, you get into this vicious cycle where the pain from the hemorrhoids results in hard stool, constipation, worsening hemorrhoids and then it goes on from there.”
Excising an Epidermoid Cyst
Ernie has been living with a painful facial cyst that makes him feel uncomfortable and self-conscious to the point where it’s affecting his social life. An epidermoid cyst such as Ernie’s is slow-growing and usually painless, unless it becomes inflamed. This type of cyst typically develops under the skin on the face or neck, but may also form on almost any other part of the body.
“Sometimes people try to squeeze it out – not really a good idea,” explains board-certified dermatologist and facial surgeon Dr. Sandra Lee. “It can get inflamed, it can get infected and that’s when there are a lot of problems. They’re really painful, they can become multiloculated so that they’re even more difficult to remove.”
An epidermoid cyst can arise when surface skin cells that are usually shed burrow into the epidermis and multiply. The condition is more common in areas with larger oil glands or more hair follicles. Cysts that don’t pose functional problems or that are located in an inconspicuous area are usually left alone; however, for cosmetic reasons, many are removed even if they are benign.
Watch as Dr. Lee safely removes Ernie’s facial cyst.
“You have to remove the whole sac – that’s the difficulty,” Dr. Lee adds. “If you ever leave just a small little area, they can regenerate.”