Take Charge of Embarrassing Body Problems
We often find ourselves at our wit’s end to deal with some of the awkward situations that our own body lets us into. Be it the incessant hiccups or the unceasing bowel movements – all as if conspire to make our important moments embarrassing. And this can be at your workplace or in a social gathering. It seems as though your body is no longer under your control.
But you are not the only victim of such controlled and awkward body problems. Experts say it afflicts many people.
Internist Marc Siegel, MD, medical director of a new NYU-Sirius Radio program, Doctor Radio says, “Many of these problems like profuse sweating and excess gas can be attributed to stress. Sometimes, our desire to be at our best puts additional pressure on us, thereby accentuating the problem.”
Psychiatrist Virginia Sadock, MD advises that it should not be given much importance as it affects everybody at some time or other. If you are of the sensitive type and can’t ignore them, the best thing to do is to accept it as such.
Frankly speaking, these problems are only minor and inconsequential, but if they remain for a longer period or worsens, then it is better to get the advice of your doctor. But some of these common problems can be kept under check to a certain extent. Let’s find out some ways and means to address five of the most common ones.
Body problem No. 1 – Involuntary bladder leaks
Urinary incontinence or stress incontinence is one of the most common problems that women have to endure. Siegel says that the occurrence of urinary incontinence is almost inevitable amongst women who have at least one issue. But the doctor should always be consulted in this regard to rule out any serious implications. The doctor can also advise you about medications for urge incontinence or the problems of overactive bladder, where you have this uncontrolled urge to pass urine.
You can also control this problem to some extent on your own. One way to do so is to indulge in Kegel exercises, in order to strengthen your pelvic muscles. This is done by breaking off the flow of urine during urination. By this, you would be able to have better control of urination. Fabienne Daguilh, MD, a family practice physician also suggests that women should empty their bladder before indulging in activities that might result in a leak like dancing or aerobics.
Daily, medical director of the Montefiore Williamsbridge Family Practice Center in New York City opines that tea, coffee, or cola acts as a diuretic and hence can accentuate urine formation. Hence, it is better to avoid them, when you do not have a bathroom facility.
Siegel also advises the use of disposing panty liners in order to control the problem. But instead of menstrual pads, it is better to use pads that are specifically meant for incontinence, as they soak it deep into the pad keeping you dry. She also cautions to wear underwear always and if necessary, to carry an extra one.
Body problem No. 2 – Belches, Growls, and Hiccups
Your stomach may produce a resounding growl or your mouth may emanate a disconcerting belch during an important meeting. Unceasing hiccups would not let you speak in an articulate manner during your speech. All these obviously put you into embarrassing discomfitures.
According to Daguilh, these symptoms are mostly formed due to the combined problems of gas and discomfort to the diaphragm. While taking too much of gassy food may result in belches and growls, hiccups can be due to any irritation to the diaphragm, which can be aggravated by gas.
Sadock reveals that the problems can in fact, be accentuated by stress. “When you are stressed, you end up swallowing a lot of air, which leads to belching and hiccupping.”
How can you control it? The first thing you should do is to cut down your intake of gassy foods like fried foods, beans, cabbage, and even dairy products before the occasion when you want to be at your best. You can eat in moderation to avert the growling of an empty stomach. Drinking plenty of water is helpful but taking too much of alcohol may prove to be counter-productive.
Body Problem No. 3 – Profuse Sweating
However hard you might try to be calm and composed, your body’s involuntary propensity to sweat profusely at the wrong time often puts you in an embarrassing situation. Although this can also be due to an overactive sweat gland, Siegel believes that the phenomenon is mostly the result of stress and anxiety. Nervous sweating is associated with stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine and can occur as a response to stress.
So, how can you prevent or control it? The best way to do it is to prepare ourselves mentally to face the situation beforehand. Gradual exposure to stressful situations makes you address it in a better way. As your body and mind get adjusted to it, you would become less tense with time and hence, your tendency to sweat excessively would also wane over time.
Daguilh advises avoiding chocolate, tea, coffee, hot and spicy foods, as they may also contribute to excessive sweating by increasing the heart rate and respiration.
Siegel also suggests the use of antiperspirant deodorant to control the sweating. She also has another piece of advice.
“Dab the perspiration from your face and hand with a hanky and hold a glass of cold water to your wrist. “ She says.
Body Problem No. 4 – Dry Mouth and Yawning
At times, your mouth is so dry that you simply can’t blurt out those all-important words to your lover, even after going to a great length to arrange the meeting. Sometimes, during an important meeting, when you are supposed to be attentive with all your ears open, you can’t prevent this dampening yawn in the middle of the conversation.
These two problems that may put a dampener during our important interactions have similar roots. Siegel reveals that people generally yawn when they are exhausted but it can also occur due to nervousness and anxiety as you do not take deep breaths during such times.
Likewise, the inability to take deep breaths and the secretion of stress hormones also decline the production of saliva in the mouth. As a result, you develop that dry-mouth feeling.
Since these symptoms have similar reasons, they can be alleviated through the same activities. “The best thing to solve yawning as well as the feeling of ‘dry mouth’ is to chew some candy. It would prevent you from yawning as swallowing and yawning can’t happen simultaneously. Moreover, it will accentuate the formation of saliva and lubricate the mouth, thereby solving the ‘dry mouth’ problems, “advises Siegel.
Sadock proscribes the use of chewing of gum. By chewing it, you would gulp down more air, which would induce more yawning as well as belching. She further suggests that drinking cold water just before speaking would help you to keep away from yawning and the feeling of ‘dry mouth’.
Body Problems No. 5 – The Sex Snafus
While all the problems like leaking urine, yawning, hiccups, belching, feeling of ‘dry mouth’ can be embarrassing, they are not big enough reasons to despair. Since it afflicts everybody at some point, people generally do not give much importance to it. But, when such problems do occur during most private and intimate relationships, they can really be distressing. And sex is one such private and intimate thing and such belching, passing of gas, leaking of urine during it, is the last thing that we want to happen.
But unfortunately, they do take place during sex. Siegel says, “The sphincter muscle activates both the urine and bowels. During sex, you effectively lose all control over this muscle. This is more so when you are in orgasm. So, if you have by any chance, gobbled up a lot of gassy foods before it and so your stomach is full, then you are bound to pass some of it during that uncontrolled state.”
So, what can you do to avoid it?
Siegel advises in this regard, “The one thing you can do to prevent it, is emptying your bladder before and after sex. By this, the chances of leaks would be lessened. That apart, you can also prevent the sex-related urinary tract infections to a certain extent.”
Siegel also advises taking only light foods that are not gassy just before engaging in sex. She further warns not to take too much water or any other drinks, especially the carbonated ones, as they contain both gas and liquid. Avoiding coffee and tea is also important since they act as diuretics.
But the problems can still occur; all your efforts to control them notwithstanding. So, what can you do about it?