3 Bathroom Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask
Like snowflakes, everyone's bowel habits are unique. Some of us may go several times a day, and some just a couple of times a week, says gastroenterologist Rebekah Gross, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. That said, if you often feel bloated when it's not time for your period or notice a change in your regular pattern, it's a good idea to get checked out.
"Why do I feel like I have to pee but can't?"
Before you pee, your brain has to "grant permission" to your bladder, says Neil Grafstein, MD, assistant professor of urology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. Typically, that's when the bladder is full and you're in an appropriate place (i.e., the bathroom). Then the bladder squeezes, the pelvic floor muscles relax and the urine comes out. You may have an overactive bladder that's squeezing before it's full, or you may be tensing your muscles because you're anxious or stressed. If your unfulfilled urges are an ongoing problem, you can try dietary changes (stay away from caffeine, alcohol, anything acidic or spicy), pelvic floor exercises, or even bladder retraining (a behavioral therapy that involves a regimented bathroom schedule). But consult your doctor first, advises Grafstein.
"Why do I have gas all the time—except when I drink wine?
Actually, most people pass gas 13 to 21 times a day. Sometimes flatulence occurs when the body is having trouble digesting, and it expels gas as a by-product; the usual dietary culprits are fiber, artificial sweeteners or lactose if you're intolerant, according to Gross. Your mighty wind could also be the result of aerophagia (the technical term for swallowing air), which happens when we eat too fast, talk while eating or chew gum. As for not cutting cheese to go with your wine, "I am surprised," says Gross, who adds that wine usually makes us gassier because the sugar can be fermented by the bacteria in our gut. Is it possible that after a glass or two, you're too tipsy to notice?