Metabolism and Aging
After age 24, the body's metabolism starts to slow, and, on average, people put on .4 to 1.7 pounds every year. But you don’t have to follow suit! The Doctors say that a surefire way to boost your metabolic rate is to increase muscle mass, which burns fat. Incorporate some form of weight training or muscle resistance into your daily routine, as well as at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular training, and you have a good chance of beating Father Time at his own game.
“The studies have shown that what you’re losing is your muscle mass,” Dr. Ordon explains.
After age 40, you can expect to lose 5 percent of your muscle mass every decade. “That’s why it’s so hard to lose that last little bit as you get older, because you need to first build up that muscle mass to keep it off,” Dr. Ordon says.
“It’s more important to be in shape than look like a supermodel,” Dr. Travis reiterates.
Digging for Gold
Jackie sends a video question to Dr. Jim, imploring him to help with her 6-year-old daughter, who picks her nose incessantly. Dr. Jim assures Jackie that many children pick their nose, but too much picking can cause staph infections in the mucosal lining, as well as transmitting other germs into their system. Therefore, it’s a good idea that Jackie keeps her daughter’s nails trimmed and clean.
In addition, swabbing the inside of her nose with lanolin gel or KY jelly once or twice a day will increase the moisture in her nasal cavity and reduce her need to pick. He cautions against using Vaseline, which can actually dry the nose. A humidifier in her daughter’s bedroom can help to moisten the ambient air as well.
Stacey, from Prescott Valley, Arizona says her 2-year-old daughter has been vomiting violently for the last six months. Understandably worried, Stacey turns to The Doctors for help.
Dr. Jim explains that vomiting is the body’s way of ridding itself of something agitating, be it a virus, food poisoning, or a food intolerance. If it’s clearly not a virus, keeping a food journal of what her daughter ate before she started vomiting, Stacey may start to see a pattern. For example, cow’s milk can cause vomiting in many young children.
He suggests having Stacey’s doctors run tests to rule out any anatomical problems or imperfections. He posits that it could be a reflux issue, or perhaps something called cyclic vomiting, which has been likened to a migraine of the stomach. Cyclic vomiting is when the stomach spasms, and is triggered by similar causes of migraines: chocolate, cheese, allergies and viruses.
If left untreated, chronic vomiting can tear the lower part of the esophagus. However, if properly diagnosed, the condition can be treated with medication.
Alycia, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin says that her 15-year-old niece has started to grow hair on her nipples and is terribly embarrassed by it. Dr. Lisa assures that hairy nipples are a common complaint with girls going through puberty. Often, their bodies must adjust to the hormonal fluctuations and usually the symptom will go away on its own.
The OB-GYN notes that hairy nipples can also be a symptom of hirsutism, which is the excessive growth of bodily hair, especially on the nipples, back, inner thighs, or face. The cause of the hair growth is an increased level of androgens and testosterone, which is essentially a high does of male hormones present in the female body.
Dr. Lisa suggests that Alycia’s niece should have her hormones checked by her physician, and in the meantime, she can tweeze, wax or seek laser treatments to remove the unwanted hair.
Kara, from Los Angeles, California gave birth via Cesarean section, but says her scar is keloid, which is essentially an abnormal growth of scar tissue. She would like to get a breast augmentation but is worried that she may develop keloloids on her chest.
Dr. Ordon looks at the picture of the C-section scar that Kara sent in, and determines that, in fact, she does not have a keloid scar. Instead, he believes she has a hypertrophic scar, which is a thickened, raised and enlarged scar. A keloid scar, on the other hand, is a scar that turns into a growth that spreads beyond the boundaries of the original scar site.
Dr. Ordon explains, “Experts are unclear what causes a keloid to develop, but an increase in growth factors, healing factors – it’s sort of the body over-healing.”
Certain people, i.e. those with darker skin, are more disposed to develop keloids, and the chest and earlobes are common sites for keloids.
However, the surgeon assures Kara, there are many ways to avoid keloid scars. “If you can catch it early,” Dr. Ordon assures, “you can prevent the keloid.”
Doctors can apply hypoallergenic tape, silicone sheeting, or cortisone to the scar as it heals, as well as treat it with lasers.
Amy, from Drake, North Dakota says that she stopped breastfeeding her 13-month-old son, Frank, five months ago. However, her breasts are still producing milk, and Amy turns to Dr. Lisa for help.
The OB-GYN recommends that Amy make an appointment with her doctor to check for a hormone imbalance. A medication like bromocriptine will block the release of the hormone prolactin, which affects the menstrual cycle and milk production. In the meantime, Dr. Lisa suggests that Amy bind her breasts tightly with an ACE bandage and refrain from any nipple stimulation.
Put Your Head on My Shoulder
Tony calls in about his persistent dandruff. He explains that his father has had dandruff for years and both of them have tried dandruff shampoos, to no avail. Dermatologist Dr. Will Kirby is on hand to help. He explains that dandruff is a hypersensitivity to a commonly-occurring skin yeast. More often than not, dandruff is caused by an oily scalp, not a dry scalp.
Dr. Kirby instructs Tony to leave the dandruff shampoo in for at least an hour before rinsing it out. The scalp yeast feeds off of oil in the scalp, so make sure that the shampoo contains tar, zinc pyrithione and salicylic acid, as these ingredients will break up the oil.
Dr. Kirby notes that many skin conditions are tied to stress, so reducing the stress in your life can often alleviate the troubled dermis.
Blackheads form as a result of clogged sebaceous glands, which are found all over the body. The clog itself consists of dead skin cells and oil, and is difficult to remove with normal cleansing practices. Blackheads are a form of acne, and commonly crop up after puberty or as a result of excessive, sweaty exercise.
Dermatologist Dr. Will Kirby removes blackheads from Sheri’s, an audience member’s, back. He mentions that a dermatologist will use sterile instruments and cautions people against performing extractions at home. However, he concedes, “People love to pick!” and recommends that if you are going to squeeze a blackhead, make sure to cleanse with salicylic acid, because it dries the oil and breaks up the dead skin cells.
He cautions, “When you extract a blackhead by hand, you’re getting some [of the clogged debris] out of there, but you’re also pushing more in and causing more inflammation, which just starts a vicious cycle.”
The Nose Knows
Do pore-refining nose strips really work? Dr. Kirby says that nose-strips are fine for the nose, which has a lot of oil, but used elsewhere, they can irritate dry skin. If you go with the nose-strip, make sure to apply salicylic acid after removing it.
Kristen Chenoweth, star of the Broadway show Wicked, as well as television’s The West Wing and Pushing Daisies, confesses that every time she takes a sip of water, she has to run to the restroom. She asks The Doctors if they think she has a small bladder or if they have an explanation for the phenomenon.
Dr. Travis notes that when the bladder is 50 percent full, the body relays an urge to urinate. When the bladder is 75 percent full, the urge intensifies.
“I mean, you’ve got to go!” Dr. Travis exclaims.
He says that everyone has a different threshold for when they feel the urge to urinate and offers that Kristen may just have a lower urination threshold. He adds that caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics, substances that push fluids through your system more quickly, and drinking copious amounts of them will have you running to the loo.
Dr. Lisa adds that many women suffer from stress or urge incontinence. “If it’s interfering with your quality of life, you should get a work-up done. There are potential medications available.”
Danny, from Boulder, Colorado e-mails that he struggles with premature ejaculation, and it’s a source of great embarrassment to him. Dr. Travis explains that premature ejaculation is essentially an overstimulation of the penile nerves that causes a man to ejaculate sometimes within seconds of being intimate with his partner.
Dr. Travis says that Danny can do pelvic exercises that will increase the strength of the male pelvic floor and allow him to hold his erection for longer as well as improve his bladder control.
Dr. Ordon explains, “It’s basically the sensation of urinating, and if you tried to stop urinating mid-stream.”
“Contract for a few seconds, then release. Contract, release,” Dr. Jim instructs.
Dr. Travis assures Danny that if he does a set of 15 pelvic floor exercises per day, holding each contraction for 10 to 15 seconds, he should see a marked improvement in his sexual performance within six to eight weeks. However, if there’s no improvement after eight weeks, that’s a sign that other issues may be at play, so he should consult his doctor.
Dr. Lisa says that vaginal discharge is normal and healthy, and that it says a lot about a woman’s health.
White: indicates the beginning/ end of ovulation cycle. If itchy, could indicate a yeast infection
Clear: common after heavy exercise
Yellow/green: indicates infection, especially if accompanied by a foul odor
Brown: indicates old blood at the end of menstruation
Gooey: indicates ovulation, the peak of fertility
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, excessive sweating.
Dr. Travis suggests several home remedies to counter the offending odor that often accompanies sweat: soak the offending body parts in a mixture of equal parts baking soda and corn starch; soak in tea infused with mint, sage or rosemary. For those with a severe sweating problem, doctors can inject Botox into the trouble spots.