5 Essential Fixes For A Funky Body

woman frowned at man trying to kiss herBad breath, musty underarms, stinky feet…even those down-below parts. All of us have the occasional body part that smells less than sweet.

Luckily, there are lots of simple foul-odor fixes, as well as easy ways to detect if it’s time for a doctor visit…

Gas

Most fiber-rich foods, including brocoli, beans, and even greens, can make you gassy. In addition, if you’re lactose-intolerant, but couldn’t resist that glass of milk with your cookies…you know where we’re going with this.

Fix It: Take some Pepto-Bismol or other gas-reducing supplements like Beano. Be sure to take them while eating the offending food item to help control the situation ahead of time. Also, if you’re not moving your bowels regularly, the build-up can lead to excessive gas. To stay regular, be sure you’re getting more fiber and less white flour in your diet. Head to the bathroom at your first urge to go because you might get the signal to move your bowels only once a day.

See you doctor if: Gas is a persistent problem for you – it could be a sign of gallbladder disease (other signs include frequent burping and abdominal pain, especially after eating greasy foods).

Feet

When your feet sweat or get wet, bacteria build up and cause odor, says Kelly Geoghan, DPM, a podiatrist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

Fix It: Dry your feet well after every shower and be sure to wipe between your toes. If sweat’s your problem, spray your feet with an antiperspirant from the deodorant aisle of the drugstore, Dr. Geoghan suggests. Also, if you can help it, avoid wearing socks and heavy shoes in the head, if possible. If these methods don’t get rid of the stench, says Geoghan, a prescription-strength roll-on made for body odor can also help.

Underarms

Scrubbing your underarms when you shower and using an over-the-counter deodorant should keep armpit odor in check. But some people still seem to have a problem, no matter what they do.

Fix It: If stinky underarms is a problem, you may be an excessive sweater and need a prescription antiperspirant from your doctor, says Dana Simpler, MD, a physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. In extreme-sweat situations, Botox treatments under the arms can help. Dr. Simpler also tells patients who don’t want to use deodorant to soak a cosmetic pad with rubbing alcohol and apply it under their arms. Why? The alcohol kills the bacteria that lead to body odor.

Breath

The most common cause of stinky breath? Your diet, says David M. Leader, DMD, an assistant clinical professor at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. Spices, garlic, and onions are known to make your breath smell for hours after you eat them, Dr. Leader says.

Fix It: Brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. If that doesn’t stop the problem, you could have halitosis, which can be caused by bad dental hygiene (bits of food get stuck between your teeth and gums and begin to emit foul odors). Gum disease, dry mouth, and other dental health problems could also be at root, so it’s important to talk to your dentist.

Those Down-Below Parts

For the most part, those places shouldn’t have a naturally bad odor — but sweating “down there” can cause a stench (just as it does on other parts of your body).

Fix It: Wash daily with warm water and a mild non-drying soap (but skip the soap near openings). Also, keep the area dry, change your undies as needed and opt for fabrics that breathe, like cotton. If you do have persistent odor, it could mean you have a harmful infection. In addition to an unpleasant smell, infections can also cause discharge, pain, itching, or burning. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor for treatment. You may also be able to avoid some infections by keeping your blood sugar levels low, Simpler says — at the first sign of a possible infection, cut out sweets, sugar, and soda.

By following the tips above, you’ll be back to your sweet-smelling self in no time!

African Americans & Prostate Cancer

black and white picture of young african american man(BlackDoctor.org) — Prostate cancer occurs when the cells of the prostate begin to grow uncontrollably and become malignant. Prostate cancer is a significant health concern in the U.S. due to its high incidence. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death.

According to the National Cancer Institute, it was estimated in 2008 that more than 186,000 men in the United States would be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and that nearly 29,000 men would die from the disease. When caught and treated early, prostate cancer has a cure rate of more than 90 percent. African American men have a substantially higher risk of prostate cancer than white men and Hispanic men.

What are the Risk Factors?

Although the causes of prostate cancer are still not completely understood, researchers have found several factors that seem to increase a man’s risk for the disease:

• Age: More than 65 percent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65.

• Race: Incidence rates are significantly higher in African American men than in white men.

• Family History: Men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than men without a family history.

• Diet: A high-fat diet increases a man’s risk for advanced prostate cancer, including a high intake of red meat or high-fat dairy, as well as a limited intake of fruits and vegetables.

• Smoking: Middle-aged men who smoke face twice the risk of developing more aggressive forms of prostate cancer than men who have never smoked.

• Exercise: Less physically active men may be at a higher risk of prostate cancer.

To help identify individual risks, check out the American Urological Association’s Prostate Golf (http://www.auafoundation.org/prostate), an online tool assessing a man’s risk for developing prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer in African Americans

African American men have the highest incidence rates for developing prostate cancer, though the exact reasons for this link is unclear. In 2007, it was estimated that 31,870 African American men would be diagnosed with prostate cancer, accounting for 37 percent of all cancers diagnosed in this population. Currently, death rates from prostate cancer are 2.4 times higher in African Americans than in white men. Moreover, African American men tend to present with more advanced disease and have poorer overall prognoses than Caucasian or Asian men.

Reasons for the racial differences are not well understood and researchers are trying to determine why the African American community suffers more from prostate cancer. Some possibilities include:

• Genetic, environmental and social influences can affect the development and progression of prostate cancer in African American men.

• Limited access to health care, including lack of insurance, may mean that African American men do not always receive the preventive care and screening they need.

• Distrust or negative attitudes toward screening tests and regular check-ups may mean that prostate cancer is diagnosed at a more advanced stage in African American men.

Common Signs and Symptoms

In its early stages, prostate cancer usually does not cause noticeable symptoms. However, some men will experience symptoms that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer, including:

• A need to urinate frequently, especially at night

• Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine

• Weak or interrupted flow of urine

• Blood in urine or semen

• Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs

Because these symptoms can also indicate the presence of other diseases or disorders, men who experience any of these symptoms should undergo a thorough check-up to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms.

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

While most experts agree that healthy men over the age of 50 should consider screening for prostate cancer, the age at which a man should start screening is still in debate. Those who are at a higher risk of prostate cancer, such as African American men or those with a family history of prostate cancer, should consider starting annual screening at age 40.

Physicians commonly use two examinations to screen men for prostate cancer: a digital rectal examination (DRE), in which a doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for lumps in the prostate, and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, a simple test that measures a patient’s level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate and is a good indicator of activity (such as cell division) in the gland. A prostate that feels abnormal, along with an elevated PSA level, are possible indicators of the disease; however neither test alone nor in combination can provide a definitive diagnosis. If either test is abnormal, your physician may suggest a biopsy, which can provide much more information and is required before a diagnosis can be made.

Treating Prostate Cancer

Approaches for managing prostate cancer range from active surveillance (“watchful waiting”) to treatment, including surgery, radiation, hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Surgery and radiation are considered equally effective therapies for early-stage prostate cancer, while hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are often used in advanced or late-stage prostate cancer that may have spread outside the prostate. Targeted therapies are specifically designed to interfere with the way prostate cancer cells grow, interact with each other and/or with the immune system. A number of targeted therapies are being investigated for prostate cancer, but none have been approved by the FDA.

Talking to Your Treatment Team

Consultation with three types of prostate cancer specialists — a urologist, a radiation oncologist and a medical oncologist — will offer the most comprehensive assessment of the available treatments and expected outcomes. It is important to be prepared with questions when you meet these specialists. For more information about prostate cancer, including a list of questions to ask your doctor and an on-line risk assessment tool, visit http://www.auafoundation.org/prostate. Additional information is available at www.UrologyHealth.org.