Removing Excess Mucus
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. When the body is suffering from a cold, however, overproduction of mucus by the immune system feels like a nuisance, albeit a necessary one.
The Doctors discuss whether it’s harmful to swallow mucus and how post-nasal drip can irritate the airway and cause coughing.
“Saline nasal sprays or Neti pots can help clear out some of that mucus buildup in your sinuses,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
“But find what the source is, too,” plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon adds. “Look for allergies, look for other irritants that are starting in the back of your nasal passageway and working their way down your throat.”
Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears explains how nose-blowing does not come naturally to babies and small children.
“I’ve had a lot of parents on the phone [who say], ‘My baby’s having a hard time breathing. Do I go to the ER or not?’” he says. “I usually have them clear out the nose first, because if that fixes the problem then you know it’s not in their lungs. It was all up in their nose.”
Bulb syringes can assist in sucking out excess mucus but they can be difficult to clean thoroughly and often require multiple compressions to efficiently clear congestion.
A new nasal aspirator called the BabyComfyNose is another option, where the parent inhales through a tube to produce suction, and tissue paper is used as an absorbent and effective filter. The device also comes with a mesh storage pouch to keep parts together in the dishwasher and can be hang-dried after cleaning.
• Diagnosing different mucus colors and consistencies.
• More information on BabyComfyNose.
New Treatment for Removing Keloids
When Stephanie was in high school, she had gauges in her ears. When she took them out and the holes closed up, she developed lumpy growths on the back of her earlobes. These so-called keloids are an unsightly and frustrating body issue and form as a result of rampant scar tissue.
“I have to hide it from people,” Stephanie says. “When I wear scarves, I try to put them up as high as I can.”
A keloid is a firm, rubbery growth that usually arises after a trauma, such as a cut or burn, but can also result from acne. The body’s natural healing cells get revved up and reproduce excessively, producing keloids that are often itchy, tender and studded with blood vessels. People of African-American or Latin-American descent tend to have a genetic predisposition for developing keloid scars.
“It’s not only a thickened scar, but it’s like a mass that’s grown, and it’s just the body overproducing scar tissue, primarily collagen, in that area, but it’s tough to treat,” Dr. Ordon explains.
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee demonstrates CryoShape, the newest cryosurgical instrument for removing keloids. Under local anesthesia, a sub-zero probe is inserted into the center of the keloid and it essentially freezes the keloid from the inside out.
Dr. Lee explains how the procedure is relatively painless and only requires one treatment. In test trials, 97 percent of patients had no recurrence at 18 months, which is groundbreaking, considering keloids often have a high regeneration rate.
“What usually happens is either it will turn black and fall off over the next couple weeks or it will shrivel up, like from a grape to a raisin,” Dr. Lee says.
Silicone scar sheets and steroid injections, often in combination with lasers and excisions, are other common methods for treating keloids.
The eyes are commonly-viewed as the most expressive part of the face, and for certain people who have sagging eyelids, they tend to appear tired all the time.
“When people want to start thinking about getting a more youthful look, typically, they look at their eyelids first and start with that,” Dr. Ordon says.
Drooping eyelids, medically referred to as ptosis, can be attributed to weakness of the muscles that raise eyelids, nerve damage, genetics and the natural aging process. In more extreme cases, the condition can be a result of a brain tumor or other cancer that affects nerve or muscle control, as well as diabetes and stroke.
Dr. Ordon explains how prevention, first and foremost, is crucial to avoid aging of delicate eyelid skin. Wearing UV-protective sunglasses while outdoors, applying sunscreen daily and treating allergies can help maintain taut eyelids.
• Eyebrow specialist Kristie Streicher of Warren-Tricomi Salon reveals her top makeup tips to give tired, drooping eyes an instant lift.
Botox injections can also help mask fine lines and crow’s feet, and provide a subtle brow lift to open up the eyes. For more definitive results, a surgical procedure called a blepharoplasty is the best option.
Elizabeth was previously featured on the show and had questions about how a blepharoplasty works. Dr. Ordon surprised her by agreeing to perform her surgery for free!
Elizabeth is pleased with her subtle yet noticeable results.
“That’s the way plastic surgery should be,” explains Dr. Ordon. “You shouldn’t really be able to tell that she had it done. If anything, she just looks more refreshed.”
• Nonsurgical brow lift.
Kitchen Cabinet or Medicine Cabinet?
From canker sores and warts to upset stomachs, see both medicinal and home remedies for common body complaints.
Combating Canker Sores
Canker sores are small, shallow ulcers that form inside the mouth and typically make eating and talking uncomfortable. These painful ulcerations are usually white or yellow in color and surrounded by a bright red area. Unlike extremely contagious cold sores, or fever blisters, which are caused by a virus, canker sores are not viral in nature.
The exact causes of canker sores are unknown but they are believed to be triggered by emotional stress, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, acidic foods or food allergies, hormonal changes and even menstruation. Though anyone can develop canker sores, women are more likely to get them than men due to monthly hormone fluctuations related to menstrual cycles.
Although there is no cure for canker sores, you can reduce their severity and frequency with salt water rinses, baking soda paste and oral numbing gels.
Waging War on Warts
A wart is a skin growth caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Not to be confused with genital warts, which are caused by other strains of HPV, common skin warts typically develop on the hands, fingers and feet, and are not a STD; however, they can still be spread from person to person by sharing towels, razors or other personal items.
Approximately half of all warts will spontaneously resolve on their own within a period of roughly 18 months. Doctors can also freeze them off with liquid nitrogen, which is also available in over-the-counter forms, or prescribe salicylic acid-based topical creams as a means for removal. Lasers and excising them with a scalpel are other treatments for stubborn warts that tend to consistently grow back.
The acidity in onions, pineapple juice or lemon juice may serve as home remedies to eradicate warts in early stages of development.
Taming a Tummy Ache
Dr. Sears explains the safest and most effective way to treat a minor stomachache in children.
“I love the kitchen cabinet for this type of thing, when it’s a run-of-the-mill, mild tummy ache that’s probably going to go away in a few hours, anyways,” he says.
Dr. Sears explains how the carbonation in ginger ale can help a child burp to relieve pressure, and ginger is a natural soother and anti-inflammatory. Although children’s antacids can also work, there is often a rebound effect where the stomach will produce more acid and it can turn into a cyclical problem.
• How to determine if a stomachache could be appendicitis.
Researchers are beginning to experiment with medications, from pain relievers to antidepressants, as more and more studies verify that men and women react differently to prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Dr. Lisa explains how many studies, particularly those on cardiovascular medicines, were conducted primarily in men.
“The other thing about women, again, we’re hormonal beings, and [the] one time women are really, really, really hormonal is when they’re pregnant,” Dr. Lisa says. “Pregnancy doesn’t exclude you from other disorders, like depression. In pregnancy, it’s very difficult to treat depression because you’re not sure if the medications are going to affect the baby, and there has been a lot of controversy over certain antidepressants,” she adds.
“You really have to weigh the risk of the medications versus the benefit to the pregnancy. There are some that are extremely safe, so don’t stop taking your antidepressants without talking to your doctor when you’re pregnant,” Dr. Lisa states.
“There are so many medicines out there, if you’ve ever looked at a pharmaceutical manual,” Dr. Travis adds. “Certainly, if you’re taking a medicine and you’re getting either bad side effects or you feel like it’s too strong or too weak, talk that over with your doctor because every single patient should have an individualized plan when it comes to their medication.”
Flossing Tips and Tricks
“Good dental hygiene doesn’t just help your breath; it has implications for your overall health,” Dr. Travis says. “But with all the flossing options out there, which one should we use?”
The Doctors are joined by dentist and co-host of The Doctors in Portugal, Dr. Miguel Stanley, who gives his expertise on oral care.
“To choose the right kind of floss, you have to figure out what kind of teeth you have,” Dr. Stanley explains. “Almost 90 percent of dental cavities start in between the contact point between teeth.”
Watch as Dr. Stanley demonstrates flossing tips and tricks.
The Doctors’ Personal Protein Choices
Protein is one of the key nutritional needs for the human body to function properly. Ideally, ingesting 25 grams at every meal is the best way to maintain strength and functionality of muscles and internal organs.
The Doctors discuss their personal favorite sources of obtaining protein in their diets.
“Just like working out, I don’t like doing the same workout, the same activity, so I like to mix it up,” Dr. Ordon says. “I want to consciously think about getting some protein, maybe fish one day, chicken, red meat, maybe once a week, and some dairy.”
“I like to make sure I get protein with every meal,” Dr. Sears says. “Otherwise, it’s just all carbs, but I like eggs and fish.”
Dr. Lisa says, “Fish is my number one. I actually have to be careful of eating so much fish because of the mercury. I eat fish almost every day, so you have to be careful with portions.”
“For me, in the morning, it might be having an egg. In the evening, you will almost always, always see me with some beans on my plate,” Dr. Travis says. “Incorporate these into your diet. Those are my doctor’s orders because when you look at people who eat a Mediterranean diet, lots of fish and beans and lean proteins and fruits and vegetables, you know what happens? They live longer.”
• Get the recipe for Dr. Ordon's Morning Protein Shake.
Surgical Solution for Chubby Cheeks
Maria recently shed weight but has struggled to lose the fullness in her face, particularly in her cheeks. She asks The Doctors what her options are for slimming down her chubby cheeks.
Dr. Ordon explains how this condition is brought on by excess buccal fat on the fat pad located between the muscles you use for chewing.
“No amount of exercise, no amount of diet – that buccal fat is not going to go away. The only way to get rid of it is to surgically excise it,” he says.