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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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Avoid 6 Health Woes That Ruin a Date

Experts offer tips on preventing embarrassing problems that can derail a promising relationship.

Dealing With Sweat

You'll never get a goodnight kiss if your shirt's soaked with sweat and you smell like a locker room. That's bad news for those who start dripping with sweat the minute their anxiety level shoots up. The good news is this: There are a lot of effective ways to prevent an onslaught of sweat from turning you into a stink bomb.

What works, and what doesn't? "Showering lowers bacteria temporarily. Deodorants lower bacterial counts for up to a day," says Gabe Mirkin, MD, a practicing physician in the Washington, D.C. area. The role of diet remains an area of controversy. "Greasy, fried foods are thought by some to promote body odor, but the results have proven inconclusive."

For those who sweat excessively (a condition called hyperhidrosis), new treatments have emerged. Botulinum toxin, known for its ability to reduce wrinkles, also reduces sweat by interfering with nerve endings that control sweat. Antiperspirants with up to 20% aluminum chloride block pores so sweat has nowhere to go. There is even a medicine, taken orally, that can prevent sweat glands from stimulating sweat. Called anticholinergics and used to treat depressiondepression and other mental illnesses, they can cause a number of side effects and are used rarely.

Because, sweating plays an important role in cooling the body and ridding it of impurities, measures to halt this natural function of the body should be approached with caution and under the guidance of a dermatologist, Mirkin says.

Gastrointestinal Woes

Getting a dose of your dinner after you've eaten, doubling over with gas pains, or, worse yet, expelling gas -- none of these gastrointestinal nightmares will win you a second date.

To tame the storm you've got to coat it with a layer of antacids. Preferably, use one that contains alginic acid, urges Patricia Raymond, MD, a gastroenterologist. "When you take a big slug of it by mouth, it sits on top of whatever you've eaten, so the stuff coming up is not acidic," she says.

While you can shrug off occasional acid refluxacid reflux, regular bouts can signal something more serious. "If you're going through a fair amount of antacids -- more than a couple times a week -- see your gastroenterologist to make sure you don't have something more serious," Raymond suggests.

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