The 10 Most Embarrassing Health Questions: Part 1
A: Nope. These are also caused by a fungus, and as we mentioned when discussing the white patches, these things really are everywhere. This variety starts in the matrix of the nail, which is behind the cuticle, and grows out from the base of the nail. "It's very difficult for topical ointments to get deep enough to kill this, so you'd be better off trying oral antifungal pills that can be prescribed by your doctor," says Neuhaus. As for the newer laser treatments, he says that he's still not convinced. "The evidence isn't there yet." If you do nothing and leave the nail alone, it will continue to look bad, but there aren't usually any long-term negative effects on your feet (unless you have diabetes or nerve problems in your feet—in that case, a doctor may want you to take next steps).
Q: Should I pluck the tiny hairs on my breasts?
A: Many women do, says Carusi. But that doesn't mean that she would recommend it. Plucking occasionally leads to ingrown hairs and blocked hair follicles. If you must, use tweezers, pull in the same direction as hair growth, and avoid depilatories, wax and lasers that could irritate the sensitive skin in that area.
Q: I've noticed a tiny bit of white discharge from my nipples, but I don't have a baby. Does this mean I'm pregnant?
A: You could be. Some women notice clear discharge in the beginning of a pregnancy, and a watery, milky fluid during later stages. If you've never had kids and there's no reason to think you're pregnant, Carusi says that it wouldn't be a bad idea to have your gynecologist take a look, especially if it becomes colored or bloody (which could be related to breast disease). "New discharge is always worth checking out. This could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, excessive stimulation or, in some cases, a small, often benign tumor in the pituitary gland in the brain. Your doctor can schedule tests to see what's causing this and how to treat it," she says.
Q: Are large or lopsided labia more prone to bacterial infections?
A: Carusi and her colleagues have a message for the many young women they see who are self-conscious about their labia to the point of obsession: "Labia come in all shapes and sizes, and none of those sizes have been proven to cause infection or other medical issues," Carusi says. "There are no negative medical implications to having enlarged or asymmetrical labia."
Next: When is a bump just a bump, and when is it an STD?