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What the Yuck: A stabbing pain... down there
July 15th, 2012
08:01 AM ET

What the Yuck: A stabbing pain... down there

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: I sometimes feel a stabbing pain down there. What could be causing it?

Remember when Charlotte's vagina was "depressed" on "Sex and the City?" She had this problem - specifically, chronic vulvar pain, also known as vulvodynia.

It's characterized by soreness, burning, or itching in the vulva, and symptoms can appear or disappear without any apparent trigger (though you may feel them during sex or even long bouts of sitting).

Not much is known about the causes, but there are several treatment options: antidepressants (which can affect your perception of pain), biofeedback (to help relax the pelvic muscles), topical creams, or, in some cases, surgery (to remove tissue involved with the condition).


What the Yuck: Can I mix coffee with my meds?
June 24th, 2012
08:12 AM ET

What the Yuck: Can I mix coffee with my meds?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: Is it true that coffee doesn't mix well with some medications?

A: That's true, unless you're drinking decaf. It's best not to combine large amounts of caffeine with any drug that has stimulant effects, such as pseudoephedrine (which is found in some cold and allergy meds), because the caffeine can heighten the drug's side effects, which may include weakness, nausea, and an irregular heartbeat.

Meanwhile, certain antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), can interfere with the breakdown of caffeine in your body, extending the amount of time it stays in your system and prolonging its effects, such as insomnia or a bad case of the jitters. The herbal supplement echinacea can also do this.
FULL POST


What the Yuck: Why does my pregnant belly itch?
May 27th, 2012
08:06 AM ET

What the Yuck: Why does my pregnant belly itch?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: I’m pregnant, and my belly itches all over! How come?

A: As your skin stretches over your growing bump, it can become dry and irritated. Hormonal changes may cause itching, too.

So slather on moisturizer regularly and avoid hot showers, itchy fabrics like wool, and scratching (which makes the problem worse).

If you also start to develop small bumps, especially in your third trimester, you may have pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP). Your doctor can suggest an ointment to help relieve this harmless condition.

In rare cases, though, itching can be a sign of liver or gallbladder disease; pregnancy makes you more prone to both. So if moisturizing doesn’t help, be sure to check in with your doctor.


What the Yuck: How can I prevent cold sores?
May 6th, 2012
08:04 AM ET

What the Yuck: How can I prevent cold sores?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: I get cold sores all the time. It's so embarrassing - I don't want to go on dates or even be seen at work when I have one. Is there any way to prevent them?

Those pesky cold sores that pop up on or around your lips or nose are generally caused by a strain of the herpes simplex virus (HSV), known as HSV-1. True to the name, a cold can bring on a sore - and so can a fever, which is why they're sometimes called fever blisters.

Bolstering your immune system by eating well, getting plenty of rest and avoiding stress (that's the hard one, right?) may help you steer clear. Sun is also a common trigger, so don't ever step outside without a high-SPF lip balm.

There's no reason to suffer through embarrassing outbreaks: Ask your doctor for a prescription for an anti-viral medicine. If you fill it in advance and take it at the first hint of a sore, it makes your outbreak milder and less noticeable.


What the Yuck: Will sex make me go into labor?
April 29th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

What the Yuck: Will sex make me go into labor?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: Is it true that if my husband plays with my nipples, I'll go into labor? I'm past my due date and ready!

A: Ah, yes, the old "What got you into this can get you out of it" idea.

Breast stimulation can increase the production of oxytocin, a hormone that causes contractions. And researchers have found that some women do go into labor after their nipples are stimulated.

But - and this is a big but - the scientists were unable to confirm that labor was the result of that stimulation and not the fact that the women were nine months pregnant.

Unfortunately, there's no proven way to speed up the process.


What the Yuck: My inner thigh skin is darker
April 22nd, 2012
09:32 AM ET

What the Yuck: My inner thigh skin is darker

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: I’ve noticed that the skin on my inner thighs is darker than the skin on the rest of my legs. Why, and what can I do about it?

A: The likely culprits - genetics or the natural chafing that occurs when your thighs rub together or against your clothing.

You can’t do anything about the first cause, but there are a few things you can try to remedy the second.

First, if the skin is itchy, apply a moisturizer twice a day to lubricate it and keep it from chafing further. If you’re significantly overweight, losing weight can help cut down on the friction.

Bottom line: This condition is totally normal and most likely nothing to worry about. But if the discoloration really bothers you, talk to your dermatologist about treating it with a skin-lightening cream.


What the Yuck: Could weed affect my work?
April 15th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

What the Yuck: Could weed affect my work?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: I sometimes smoke pot on the weekend. Can this affect my work during the upcoming week?

A: It sure can. Although the immediate effects of marijuana typically last only one to three hours, frequent users can have a hard time concentrating and processing information, even days later.

Marijuana has other risks, too: It contains more carcinogens than tobacco and can cause the same respiratory issues - possibly even cancer.

Bottom line: Your weekend habit could have consequences way worse than just making you feel spaced out at work.


What the Yuck: What's wrong with my nipples?
April 8th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

What the Yuck: What's wrong with my nipples?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: My nipples point in different directions - what's wrong with them?

A: Nothing at all. Many of us have breasts that are slightly different from each other (just as our eyes or feet, say, may not be exactly the same size).

See your doctor if your bidirectional nipples are a new development or are accompanied by pain or a dramatic change in breast size; otherwise, there's no need to worry about them.


What the Yuck: Can I be allergic to sunlight?
April 1st, 2012
09:00 AM ET

What the Yuck: Can I be allergic to sunlight?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: When I’ve been in the sun for a few days, my chest and arms get itchy and break out in red splotches. Am I allergic to sunlight?

A: As weird as it may sound, it is possible. There are actually a few types of sun allergies.

The most common is polymorphic light eruption (PMLE), which often shows up - sometimes within minutes - as an itchy red rash on body parts exposed to sunlight, especially the neckline, the backs of the arms, the face and the hands.
FULL POST


What the Yuck: Is bass bad for my heart?
March 11th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

What the Yuck: Is bass bad for my heart?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: When I go to a really loud concert or movie, sometimes I can feel the bass vibrating in my chest. Is that bad for my heart?

A: Sound waves in the air cause things to vibrate - walls, chairs, glasses of water. The bones in your ear translate those vibrations into nerve signals, which your brain interprets as sounds. But other body parts can vibrate, too, including your chest.

For most of us, this is nothing to worry about. Unless you have a serious heart condition, the pounding bass shouldn’t affect your heart muscle.

But if you feel chest vibrations when you aren’t around loud sounds, this could be a sign of an abnormal heart rhythm - see your doc to get it checked out.

(And don’t forget: Repeated exposure to very loud noises can cause hearing loss.)


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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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