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Answers to your most embarrassing body-related questions

We all have embarrassing questions that we want to ask our doctors and pharmacists, but we cannot work up the courage to do so – instead, we walk around day after day feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable. Let’s address some of the more sensitive issues now and avoid further stress and anxiety.

Sweaty, smelly feet is an issue that affects a lot of people. When you take off your socks and shoes after a long and tiring day, the room is filled with a pungent and unpleasant odour coming from your feet… does this sound familiar? Our feet have more sweat glands than most parts of our bodies, and it is important to keep feet, shoes and socks clean, dry and moisture-free. Bacteria grows as feet sweat for hours in shoes, emitting isovaleric acid. Preventative measures include washing and drying feet daily with an anti-bacterial soap, keeping toenails short and clean, wearing shoes made from leather and canvas, or open-toed sandals in spring and summer, and never wearing the same pair of shoes for consecutive days.

Sweating and body odour is another common problem. Fear of a big sweat stain appearing during the day might even stop you from wearing light-coloured shirts. Sweat is released from the apocrine glands, which only causes odour once combined with the skin’s bacteria. There are many contributing factors which may cause body odour. These include alcohol consumption, spicy food, stress, and wearing footwear without socks. Remember that spicy food is broken down by the body, and in doing so, releases sulphur gas through the pores. In the case of alcohol, it is released through the bloodstream once broken down, resulting in sweat and bad breath.

If these scenarios sound familiar, try drinking water between each glass of alcohol, and avoid spicy food before important dates. Remember that using deodorant does not prevent sweat, it only helps with the odour. Most antiperspirants contain aluminium, which is the ingredient that assists in blocking the pores from releasing sweat. Use it at night before bed and apply to clean and dry skin. If there is no improvement, speak to your doctor for further advice.

Belching can be embarrassing, and is caused by swallowing too much air while eating and drinking. Mix that with body heat, the air expands and voilà… a belch! Eat and drink slowly, avoid chewing gum and swallowing air, avoid very cold fizzy drinks and beer, and cut down on the cigarettes, as a lot of air is swallowed whilst smoking. If these measures do not seem to help, acid reflux may be the cause of the problem and the doctor can help to relieve those symptoms.

Have you ever brushed or washed your hair, only to find that your scalp is itchy with white flaky pieces of skin floating around?

Dandruff has nothing to do with hygiene – it might, in fact, have various other causes. Brush your hair every day: regular brushing can prevent dandruff, as it aids natural skin shedding. Other causes are oily, irritated and dry skin, sensitivity to certain hair products and a build-up of oil and skin cells caused by irregular shampooing. If you have dandruff, buy an anti-dandruff shampoo, and soon you will be dandruff-free.

There is no need to feel embarrassed, these are common problems which affect millions of people worldwide. Pay attention to all the tips mentioned above and you will feel more comfortable – and confident – during the day!