The Discomfort Zone

Get solutions for the most irritating, embarrassing and uncomfortable body problems.


 • Get homemade remedies here!

Silent But Violent
Ever wonder why silent gas is often the stinkiest? E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork explains how bacterial fermentation in the body forms small, concentrated bubbles with traces of hydrogen sulfide — a gas that smells like rotten eggs.

Gas is also caused by swallowed air, which forms large bubbles in the body. Though this type of gas is usually odorless, it often makes noise as it's released from your body.

If smelly flatulence is a problem for you, avoid sulfur-rich foods, such as meat, eggs, peppers and cauliflower. Eating more fiber and drinking more water has been shown to decrease the frequency of foul-smelling gas.

Try the Flatulence-Free Dip!

Armpit Acne
Plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon demonstrates how the buildup of flaky skin, stubble, deodorant, dirt, sweat, as well as friction from shaving, can clog pores and cause armpit acne. Just like the skin on our faces, cleansing the armpit skin with an astringent will help prevent clogged pores.

Health Information Technology (HIT)

Dr. Travis and CVS pharmacist Usheema Thomas discuss how people can utilize HIT to improve healthcare management, allow physicians and pharmacists to provide the best treatment possible and promote medication safety.

"Medication safety is so important," Dr. Travis says. "[With HIT], we can coordinate drug to drug interactions that people might not be aware of. It's unbelievable how often we find that it's a drug to drug interaction that's been causing [health] problems all along."

Learn more about HIT and the new CVS smart phone app that allows patients to view and fill prescriptions, access medical history and more!

Give yourself an armpit facial with a homemade astringent:
• 1 to 2 tsp lime juice
• 1 to 2 tsp lemon juice
• 1/2 cup alcohol

After a shower, spray the mixture onto your armpit to kill bacteria and close pores. This remedy can also help to lighten discoloration of the armpit skin caused by shaving.

While most people can manage their underarm acne with thorough cleansing and scrubbing, some are prone to a more serious condition called hidradenitis suppurativa (HS); recurrent, painful boils that develop when sebaceous glands and hair follicle openings in the armpit, groin or buttocks become blocked with fluid, dead skin cells and other matter released from surrounding apocrine sweat glands.

Tara, 25, suffers from HS in her underarms, and dermatologist Dr. Tess Mauricio performs a procedure to lance and drain the painful cysts. Though this provides Tara with relief, it is not a cure for the condition.

Irritated Eyes
Thirty million Americans wear contact lenses, and 40 percent do not take care of them correctly. People who wear contact lenses are more prone to eye infections, as the lenses block the normal amount of oxygen from reaching the eye, which is meant to cleanse it of airborne dirt and debris. These irritants can also get trapped between the lense and the eye, and lead to abrasions, infections and possible blindness.

Vital Tips for Contact Wearers:
• You can get away with wearing contact lenses 12 to 14 hours per day, but be sure to give your eyes a break once a week.
• Always wash your hands before handling contact lenses.
• Store lenses in the proper lens storage case, and replace the case every three months at minimum.
• Clean the case after each use, and keep it open and dry between cleanings.
• Saline solution and rewetting drops are not designed to disinfect lenses.
• Only fresh solution should be used to clean and store contact lenses; never re-use old solution.
• Remove contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.
• Don't wear lenses that have been sitting in a solution for several months, as the disinfecting agents expire after certain number of days or weeks.
• Never remove your contacts, place them in your mouth to moisten, then put back in your eyes. The mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria, which can easily cause infection.
• Do not sleep in your lenses, as it increases the risk of contracting a painful infection of the cornea called microbial keratitis.
• Always change contacts according to the schedule recommended by your doctor.

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Two-thirds of contact users are women. Expectant mothers should consult their eye doctors since vision often changes during pregnancy.

Most Uncomfortable Women Problems
OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson shares her tips for embarassing problems women face.

Tampon Terrors
It's a given — sometimes tampons falter under the flow of a woman's menstrual cycle, causing embarrassing leakage and stained undergarments. Dr. Lisa demonstrates why this happens, and explains that sometimes the tampon isn't the right fit, or it wasn't placed correctly. Experiment with different size tampons and absorbency levels to cater to your changing flow, and use a panty liner as backup on heavy days. If your clothes are soiled, scrub them with window cleaner containing ammonia and use salt as an abrasive to remove blood stains.

Sex During Pregnancy
Many expecting couples worry about having sexual intercourse during pregnancy for fear of injuring the baby, and because the mother's protruding belly makes it physically difficult. Dr. Lisa stresses that sex during pregnancy is important for maintaining your relationship with your spouse, and encourages it throughout pregnancy. 

"As long as things are going well during pregnancy, you can have sex," Dr. Lisa says. "You just have to practice with different positions."

The Throatsicle
Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears shares a home remedy for sore throats that doubles as a cool summer treat.

• 1 cup water
• Splash of lemon juice: An antioxidant
• 1 tbsp honey: Fights infection
• Cayenne pepper to taste: Capsaicin blocks pain signals

Mix ingredients together thoroughly, making sure that cayenne pepper spreads evenly throughout the mixture. Pour into a popsicle mold and place in the freezer. Remove when fully frozen and enjoy. This recipe may be modified to fit the size of your popsicle mold.

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OAD 4/28/11