Silent No More
From frequent urination to gas, experts pull the cover off the six most embarrassing women's health problems.
Frequent urination is not normal, but it is common in the perimenopausal
years, says Jacqueline Thielen, MD, a consultant at the women's health clinic
at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. Medications, certain
dietary changes, and Kegel exercises to strengthen some of the muscles that
control the flow of urine may help, she says.
Frequent urination can also be a sign of an underlying illness and requires
evaluation, she tells WebMD. It may also be a side-effect of a medication you
Gas. Everybody has it, but most people don’t want to own up
to it. "Tell your doctor because gas is very usually dietary-related and can
also be treated with dietary modification and over-the-counter products like
Gas-X or Beano," Moore says.
Mayo's Thielen says that "there are more things that can cause gas than just
eating beans, and I think people are somewhat surprised that drinking through
straws can introduce air in the gut and cruciferous vegetables can also cause
Irritable bowel syndrome
(IBS). This disorder is marked by abdominal pain or discomfort
and a change in bowel patterns, such as loose or more frequent bowel movements,
diarrhea, and/or constipation. It affects 10%-15% or more of the
general population, according to the International Foundation for Functional
Gastrointestinal Disorders, based in Milwaukee, Wis.
"People may be slightly embarrassed because they feel so different than
everyone else, but it is extremely common in women, especially, and there is a
lot of information out there that can help make life more tolerable," Thielen
says. "A lot of women suffer in silence and think they are by themselves when a
large population is affected in the same way."
Excessive sweating. Many women feel ashamed about excessive
sweating, whether it's their palms or their underarms. "This needs to be
evaluated by a doctor," Moore says. "There are prescription antiperspirants
and, in extreme cases, Botox injections can also be a solution to sweaty palms, soles of
the feet, and underarms."
Thielen adds: "If you do see a difference in your sweating, or if it's
problematic and you don’t do certain activities because of the excessive
sweating, or it causes distress in daily living, there are treatment