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9 Embarrassing Health Conditions

Don't suffer from unflattering smells, sounds or, well, you get it. Solutions are available

5. Smelly Feet

Likely causes: Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), wearing socks or shoes made of certain synthetic materials, tight footwear.

DIY treatments: Apply an underarm antiperspirant on feet. Use a hair dryer (on a cool setting) between toes after showering. Change shoes when wet. Wear cotton or synthetic wick-away socks.

What a doctor may do: Examine for fungal or bacterial infection, anemia or thyroid problems; treat severe cases with Botox.

Noteworthy: Try this home remedy: Boil two to five black teabags in water and let cool. Soak feet for 20 minutes each day for a week. The tannic acid in tea helps dry feet and kill odor. If your shoes are smelly, spray them with Lysol or a similar product, air them out and don't wear them on consecutive days. (Or throw them away.)

6. Body Odor

Likely causes: Genetics, obesity, eating pungent foods that seep through skin during sweating, avoiding soap and water.

DIY treatments: Bathe daily to remove naturally occurring bacteria on skin that multiplies during sweating (sweat itself is virtually odorless). If you're obese or buxom, towel-dry or use a hair dryer in skin folds and under breasts. If commercial deodorants cause underarm irritation, use antibacterial "surgical scrub" soaps, available at pharmacies, or mix baby powder and baking soda for gentle but effective protection.

What a doctor may do: Check for diabetes; prescribe "medical-grade" antiperspirants if odor is caused by excessive sweating.

Noteworthy: Bathing more than twice daily, especially with hot water, dries skin and can increase B.O.

7. Vaginal Odor

Likely causes: Trapped moisture, yeast infection, chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases, thinning of the vaginal lining following menopause.

DIY treatments: Wear cotton underwear changed daily (and after exercise). Avoid pantyhose and douching. Use a home test to see whether the odor may be caused by a yeast infection. If so, treat with a cream or suppository. If you have more than four yeast infections a year, see your doctor to check for underlying causes.

What a doctor may do: Examine for conditions that need prescription antibiotics. In some cases, vaginal odor may indicate cervical cancer.

Noteworthy: Foods including garlic, onions and asparagus may cause vaginal odor, while "sweet-smelling" fruits such as pineapple may help prevent it.

Next page: Lapses and leaks. »

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