Have you ever wondered why you have earwax or why you fart?
Although these bodily functions may seem gross, they are actually beneficial for maintaining your overall health. So whether they’re smelly, unsightly or a huge nuisance – you need them for optimal functioning.
To provide more insight on the most common disgust-inducing body mechanisms, we talked to a few doctors about what you might notice and why they happen. Here’s what to know:
If you’ve got a clogged feeling in your ears, it could be due to a build-up of earwax, also known as cerumen. However, when it isn’t causing harm and discomfort, earwax is actually good for you.
“Not only is earwax normal, it is necessary. Earwax protects the ear from things that can injure the eardrum, such as dust, hair or small insects,” said Dr Jacqueline Railbackan internal medicine doctor Cleveland Clinic Florida Weston Hospital,
Some factors that can affect the amount of wax in the ear include previous ear surgery or trauma, frequent ear infections, or wearing hearing aids or deep earplugs.
“Unless there is a serious condition, such as hearing loss or infection, in most cases it is best to leave earwax alone,” Railback said.
2. Leaky Nipples
Not everyone has leaky nipples, however, those who have just had a baby are more likely to experience this phenomenon.
“Your body would rather produce too much milk than not enough in the early stages of breastfeeding,” said Dr. Whitney CaceresFounder and CEO of Modern Mamas Club, “All that extra milk can get messy as your body works to balance supply and demand between you and your baby and you could end up with leaky nipples and a wet shirt.”
Leaky nipples are a normal part of the breastfeeding process and a clear sign of heavy milk production for those who are nursing. That said, if other discharge leaks from the nipple, or if there is pain, you may want to consult your doctor to rule out any underlying conditions.
While passing gas can be embarrassing and gross, it is a natural result of the digestive process.
“It’s a way for your body to expel both swallowed air as well as the fermented byproducts of undigested food,” said Dr. Brett MendelA gastroenterologist and Everlevel consultant.
The amount and frequency of flatulence can vary greatly between individuals and can be affected by diet, activity level, antibiotic use, and even altitude.
Additionally, farting may indicate that your diet is high in fiber which may indicate gut health and better health of the microbiome. Plus, it can help prevent unwanted abdominal pain and bloating that are commonly caused by “keeping it in.”
While farting is normal, too much farting may not be a good thing. “Bloating and abdominal pain due to excessive gas can be signs of serious medical conditions that you should share with your doctor,” Mendel said.
According to healthlineExcessive flatulence is classified as farting more than 20 times per day. While this is often due to a diet high in fiber, in some rare cases it can be a sign of other issues, such as Crohn’s disease or dumping syndrome.
You’ve probably been told not to burp at the dinner table, but sometimes you have to call it quits for your health.
“Berling is the body’s way of expelling excess gas from your stomach, and although it sounds gross, it’s a normal bodily function,” Railsback said. “When we swallow food or drink, it travels down the esophagus and into the stomach where stomach acid and digestive enzymes work to break down the food into nutrients that we use for energy which creates gas during the process. “
If you always hold back your burps because you’re embarrassed or they’re not something you like to do, you may experience bloating and excessive abdominal bloating that can cause discomfort.
While occasional belching isn’t a cause for concern, if it persists, you may want to make a trip to the doctor’s office. “Although belching is a normal act, it can be linked to certain conditions such as GERD, indigestion, gastritis, ulcers and IBS,” Railsbach said.
5. Vaginal discharge
When using the toilet, you may notice some discharge when you wipe. While this clear jelly-like substance may sound gross, it is actually a sign of a healthy reproductive system.
“Vaginal discharge is one way your body flushes away dead cells and bacteria, keeping the vagina clean and preventing infection,” Casares said.
While discharge is normal, Casares notes that if your discharge has a foul odor, itches or changes color, you may want to get examined by a medical professional to rule out any underlying conditions or infection.
After blowing your nose, you will most likely see mucus in a tissue. Mucus is naturally produced by cells in your mouth, throat, nose and sinuses.
“Mucus plays an important role in lubricating and protecting your upper and lower airways,” Railback said. “Its slippery consistency helps ward off potential irritation because it contains special antibodies and proteins to help fight off harmful germs that may be introduced into your respiratory tract.”
Railsbach notes that healthy mucus is thin and clear, but if you’re sick or have another lung disease, the mucus can become thick, colored, and potentially cause breathing difficulties.
As the popular saying goes, “everybody hunts.” While it may not be pleasant, “bowel movements are mechanisms for our bodies to get rid of materials that cannot be digested,” Mendel said. “It is generally accepted that normal bowel movements range from three times a day to three times a week.”
according to bristol stool chart, a “sausage-like” poop with cracks or a “greasy soft sausage or snake-like” type of stool is the norm (types 3 and 4). Anything that strays too far from the descriptions above should be flagged to a professional for evaluation.
While bowel movements are healthy, changes in bowel movements can be an indicator of overall health. For example, if you have chronic constipation, diarrhea, or blood in your stool, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
When you have an infection, such as staphylococcus (a bacterial infection) or folliculitis (an infection of the hair follicle), you may notice pus developing. Although it may look bad, pus is actually a good thing.
“The white material that comes out of an infection – known as pus – is a collection of defensive white blood cells that are attacking bacteria to trap and kill them,” said Dr. William Leea physician and author ofeat to ward off disease,
Soon after the appearance of the lesion – usually about a day or two later – it is normal for some pus to be present. This means that white blood cells have come to the open wound and are working to fight off germs and bacteria. If the wound is healing, it will usually be odorless and show no signs of discoloration.
When you do get an infection, however, the pus may smell and the wound may be hot to the touch, so you’ll want to be sure to see a doctor for treatment and prescribed medication to clear it up as soon as possible.
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