There are approximately 26 fluids in the human body. The Doctors reveal the health secrets behind some of the most vital, and explain what the colors of bodily fluids can indicate.
Besides hearing, the function of the inner ear also helps to regulate balance. It is normal for wax to accumulate in ears, and it often ranges in color from yellow to light or dark brown, to orange-brown.
"We all need it," pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. "It helps protect the ear canal."
Washing the outside of your ears with a washcloth is important for good hygiene, but you should never attempt to clean the wax inside your ears with cotton swabs or small or sharp objects. "Ideally, it's going to kind of ball up and fall out on its own," Dr. Sears says. "If you need to get it cleaned out, go to the doctor and let [him or her] use the special tools and the special drops."
To clean ear wax on your own, Dr. Sears recommends putting a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in the ear to soften the wax so it can fall out.
Plastic surgeon and board certified ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Andrew Ordon demonstrates how ear infections develop.
If a child has a high-grade fever, higher than 104 degrees Fahrenheit, accompanied by ear discharge, seek a doctor's care immediately. "If behind the ear it's red, or swollen or tender, that's often a sign that the infection has spread from the ear into the bone," Dr. Sears explains. "That's very serious because the next step after the bone is the brain."
Additionally, if a child or an adult suffers a head trauma and clear fluid is leaking from the ear, seek immediate medical attention. The liquid may be cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds the brain.
As OB-GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson explains time and again, "The vagina is a self-cleaning oven." But how do you know what's considered natural discharge from abnormal discharge?
Dr. Lisa describes how different types of vaginal discharge indicate the state of a woman’s health and where she is in her menstrual cycle. Bacterial vaginosis, an infection of the vaginal tissue, can also cause discharge. The color of vaginal discharge can help identify the type of infection, or determine if it's a normal secretion.
• White: indicates the beginning and/or end of menstrual cycle. If accompanied with itchiness, it could signal 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
Even if you aren't lactating, you can experience milky discharge from your breasts, as well as other colors. "You can have [nipple discharge] from bloody, clear or yellowish-green," Dr. Lisa explains. "It all needs to be checked out. Your doctor needs to evaluate it to see if it's just an infection. If it's associated with pain, it's more likely to be an infection or [an obstruction] of the duct."
Nipple discharge can also be indicative of more serious conditions like fibrocystic breasts and brain tumors.
"Most of the time, it's benign, especially if [the discharge] is from both breasts," Dr. Lisa adds. "But you've got to get it checked out."
• Learn more about breast cysts
• Breast cancer prevention and treatment tips
Menstrual blood is made up of components such as endometrial cells, cervical mucus and vaginal secretions, and is an important vital sign for women. "It basically tells us you're healthy," Dr. Lisa says. Or it could be a warning sign of a more serious condition. "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 woman," Dr. Lisa says. This can be a sign of anemia or occur after a hysterectomy and necessitate a blood transfusion.
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, often signaling a liver problem.
Consult with your physician or OB-GYN for information on medications and other helpful treatments for heavy periods.
Using a menstruation color wheel, Dr. Lisa explains what the colors of your menstrual blood indicate about your health.
• Dr. Lisa displays the different sizes of menstrual blood clots and what they mean.
Another type of fluid that women should be aware of is amniotic fluid, which surrounds and protects a baby in the womb. The fluid serves many functions: It helps the baby's lungs develop properly, maintains a constant temperature in the womb and is used to determine if the fetus has any genetic defects.
"[Amniotic fluid] is very important," Dr. Lisa says. "It's one of the things we [measure] in ultrasounds. It's very important that it remains at a constant level."
After giving birth, women experience lochia, which is vaginal discharge and/or bleeding expelled by the uterus after delivery. Women generally have to wear a pad for a number of weeks after pregnancy.
"The uterus is trying to shrink and expel all the mucus and the blood, and the placental things that are coming out," Dr. Lisa explains. "It's kind of like menstrual fluid, but a little different. As long as it's not clotting and doesn't have a foul odor, then you're OK," she adds. "It's an absolutely normal thing."
What is your mucus telling you? The Doctors explain what the thickness of your mucus means for your health.
• Is it healthy to swallow your phlegm?
Both the color and consistency of semen can reveal a lot about your well-being. Although it varies from man to man, semen should generally be clear to pearly white. If you experience any sudden onset changes in the color or viscosity of ejaculate, it's important to consult with your general practitioner or urologist. Similar to urine, dehydration can be an underlying cause of abnormal color and consistency of semen, but other conditions can be attributed, as well.
Semen with a yellowish tinge can indicate prostatitis, which occurs when bacteria causes swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland, resulting in pain or difficulty during urination and ejaculation. Semen with a greenish hue can be a sign of sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, which are also usually accompanied with an itching or burning sensation.
Do you know what the color of your urine means? The Doctors show you which colors are healthy and which are not.
Solutions for Sweating
Bacteria on your skin can actually turn perspiration into different colors. Although this is usually harmless, excessive sweating and yellow underarm stains on shirts can be embarrassing conditions. The Doctors demonstrates methods and procedures to eliminate excessive sweating and keep your t-shirts stain-free.
• Why we sweat
• Sweat glands explained
• Anti-perspirant vs. deodorant
• Burning sweat
• Dr. Sears' sweating problem
• Bath to minimize sweating
• AxiLase procedure for sweating
• MiraDry procedure for sweat glands
• Accusculpt procedure for sweating
• Surgery for excessive sweating
• Botox for sweating
• Why sweat smells
• Breast sweat
• Groin sweat
• What causes sweat plugs?
• Hyperhidrosis explained