DEAR SuperModelMD®…

Do you have a health question pertaining to a topic that is beauty, fashion, and wellness related? …well you can now #AskSuperModelMD…check out my Q&As on Bella Naija!

SuperModelMD: Does Vaginal Steaming Really Work?

Published August 29, 2019

Dear SuperModelMD,

I was recently at one of my favourite spas, and noticed they started offering a new treatment called restorative vaginal steaming. They described it as a rejuvenating therapy that involves the entry of a potent herbal steam into the vagina to help tighten up the muscles. I was told that it could help also reduce my risk of vaginal infections and reproductive issues since the steam can really cleanse out the vagina. I’ve had two children in the past three years and my vagina is definitely not as tight as it used to be since having my kids.

Nonetheless, I decided to try out one treatment while I was at the spa, since they had a great discounted rate for the first session. I’ll be honest though, I didn’t really feel any difference in my vagina afterwards. The steam was just excruciatingly hot and uncomfortable. The spa staff explained that no one gets results after just one treatment, and I will be needing a few more steaming sessions before I start experiencing the full health benefits. More treatments will be pricey, but I’m willing to pay the price as long as I’m guaranteed results eventually. I’m optimistic that more sessions will help. SuperModelMD, do you think that if I continue with the vaginal steaming treatments my vagina will tighten back up? Does this practice really work? There is a lot of money at stake here!

~Feening for Vaginal Steaming

***

Dear Feening for Vaginal Steaming,

There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support any claims that vaginal steaming can “rejuvenate the vagina,” tighten any vaginal or pelvic muscles, or lower your risk of reproductive problems in the future. Additionally, it simply cannot “cleanse out” the vagina. Always remember that the vagina is already a “self cleaning oven” that produces secretions to help keep the organ healthy. Any time you partake in any procedures or treatments, you must realise that there are some dangers associated with it, and your health is also ultimately at stake. If you continue with those vaginal steaming sessions, that hot steam actually has the potential to cause some severe burns to the vagina. Additionally, it may alter the natural pH of your vagina, and promote the proliferation of certain bacteria that can lead to infection.

If childbirth has led to the weakening of your pelvic muscles, you do have some options available to help strengthen those weakened muscles. Have you heard of kegel exercises? They are exercises that help improve the strength of the muscles of your pelvic floor. Best of all, kegels are free and pose no risk to your health. Here is the takeaway: Herbal steam entering your vagina is not a solution for any gynecological problems, and can ultimately cause more harm to your health. Furthermore, before trying out any other treatments or procedures in the future, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor first to determine both the safety and efficacy of the practice.


SuperModelMD: My Haemorrhoids Keep Me From Doing My Job

Published July 4, 2019

Dear SuperModelMD ,

I have a great career and enjoy my line of work. However, I have a health issue that makes getting through a day at the office quite difficult. I’ve been suffering from giant painful hemorrhoids that are now dangling out of my anal region. My job requires me to sit at a desk all day long, and I’ve noticed that the longer I have to sit, the more pain I experience. I’m not sure what more to do about my hemorrhoids. I’ve actually even tried pushing the hemorrhoids back in myself a few times, and they just pop right out again. Sometimes they even bleed a bit when I am using the bathroom. I can’t deal with this level of pain and discomfort anymore, and I don’t want this health problem to compromise my work performance. What options are available to treat my hemorrhoids once and for all?

~Hemorrhoid Hell

***

Dear Hemorrhoid Hell,

First you need to understand that hemorrhoids (also known as piles) are enlarged veins in the rectum and anus that swell up. When a hemorrhoid now protrudes out of the anal region, it is referred to as a prolapsed hemorrhoid. Prolapsed hemorrhoids can cause a great amount of pain while in a seated position. The intensity of the pain may also increase if the hemorrhoid becomes thrombosed (meaning blood clot formation occurs in the hemorrhoid) or if the hemorrhoid blood supply is compromised and becomes strangulated. If you are dealing with painful prolapsed hemorrhoids that are affecting your quality of life, you should seek evaluation and treatment from your doctor immediately.

Conservative management may include increasing your dietary fiber intake to promote softer stools and lessen any pressure placed on the hemorrhoids with defecation. There are also topical creams and suppositories with analgesic and anti inflammatory properties available to help relieve the pain and irritation associated with hemorrhoids. Soaking the area via a sitz bath is another option that may alleviate discomfort.

When conservative treatment modalities fail, then you may have to seek consultation with a surgeon to determine if you are a candidate for procedures such as hemorrhoid banding or even hemorrhoidectomy. Hemorrhoid banding (also known as rubber band ligation) is a minimally invasive procedure involving the use of tight bands to help the hemorrhoid fall off. Hemorrhoidectomy is a surgery performed to excise hemorrhoids. The bottom line is that if your hemorrhoids are causing you such a heightened degree of pain and distress, then you should not be embarrassed to discuss the problem with your doctor and explore which treatment options may work best for you.

*** Disclaimer: Information on this Q&A column is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information to self diagnose or treat a health problem/disease, or prescribe any medication, or other treatment. If you suspect you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider immediately.***


SuperModelMD: My Pimples are Causing a Rift Between my Wife & Mother

Published June 10, 2019

Dear SuperModelMD,

I’m a 41-year-old man dealing with ongoing acne problems. I’m very surprised that I still even get these huge pimples all over my face and back, especially at this age. My wife often helps to pop my pimples whenever they appear, and this has been part of our morning routine for as long as I can remember. It really seems like the fastest way to help get rid of my pimples.

My mom was recently visiting us and witnessed my wife popping a huge pimple on my nose. She immediately started making a fuss and shouting that my wife needs to stop ruining my handsome face. It turned into yet another unnecessary argument between both of them. I’d like to know if there is actually any truth to my mom’s concern. Is there any real harm being done to my skin when my pimples are popped open?

-Pimple Popping Drama

***

Dear Pimple Popping Drama,

Don’t underestimate the amount of damage that can be done to the skin when you pop any pimple. This bad habit may actually harm your skin more than you realize.

First, you should understand that pimples can form when dead skin cells, excess oil, and bacteria (e.g., Propionibacterium acnes) clog the pores of the skin. This process is not exclusive to your adolescent years, and may still occur later in adulthood.

If you squeeze or pop open a pimple, then there is a good chance that an increased amount of bacteria may actually be inadvertently pushed far down into the pores of your skin. This can lead to the pimple remaining on your face much longer than anticipated, and even cause heightened irritation of the skin. Popping pimples can ultimately exacerbate your acne, since the bacteria may spread to other regions of the skin and cause even more pimples.

Remember, any manipulation of the skin in the form of pimple picking, squeezing, or popping may lead to other long term problems such as skin scarring, pit formation, and even hyperpigmentation of the affected area. You also mentioned that your wife popped a pimple on your nose. Well, this region of the face is part of what is referred to as the “danger triangle.” It’s an area including the bridge of the nose and extending toward the sides of the mouth. It contains certain blood supply that connects to the cavernous sinus region of the brain. Whenever you pop open a pimple, you essentially break open the skin and create an entry point for more bacteria and possible infection. A popped pimple in the “danger triangle” may potentially cause an infection that has the ability to extend to certain areas of the brain. Though the occurrence is quite rare, it is a very serious complication to keep in mind.

Nonetheless, if you have ongoing acne problems, picking at your pimples is not the solution; it’s really best for you to seek out treatment from a doctor.

***
Information on this Q&A column is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information to self diagnose or treat a health problem/disease, or prescribe any medication, or other treatment. If you suspect you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider immediately.


SuperModelMD: My Moustache is Getting in the Way of Potential Relationships

Published 05/20/19


Dear SuperModelMD,

I recently went out on a date with this hot guy from my uni that I’ve had my eyes on for some time now. The date was a lot of fun and our chemistry seemed great! Toward the end of the night, we started to have a really intense make out session. It was amazing. As in, I felt like I was in heaven.

After some time, he seemed to keep pulling away from me, and the kissing ended abruptly. I immediately asked him if my breath was offensive, since we literally had just finished eating a really spicy dinner. He stated that my breath wasn’t an issue. I then asked if he was just not attracted to me, because the entire night it seemed to me like we really connected. He replied that physical attraction wasn’t the problem either, and he felt we had great chemistry earlier. So, I insisted he tell me the reason he was pulling away from our passionate kiss. He reluctantly revealed that there was hair on my upper lip that kept scratching and irritating his skin while we kissed, and it really bothered him. He pretty much was saying that I had a mustache that was getting in the way of our being intimate.

I admit, yes, I’m a generally hairy woman. But I don’t think that I have excessive facial hair that qualifies as a full blown moustache. This has never been a problem or complaint that any man I dated in the past brought up.

Anyways, I don’t want my “moustache” to get in the way of a potential future relationship. SuperModelMD, I really need to know the best way to remove my facial hair!

-Whisker Woes

***

Dear Whisker Woes,

Many women actually have some degree of hair on their face and body, which can be totally normal. You stated that you are a generally hairy woman, well, it’s important to really get a better sense of the extent of your facial and body hair distribution pattern. This is key because some women may exhibit excess hair growth in regions more commonplace for men, such as the chest and face, and not even realise they have a condition known as hirsutism. Such patterns of excess hair growth may range from mild, moderate, to severe and the hair tends to be much darker and coarser.

Hirsutism may arise as a result of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), adrenal tumors, menopause induced hormonal changes, and obesity. PCOS is one of the more common causes of hirsutism, and those with the condition often have accompanying symptoms of irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, and infertility. Sometimes the problem of hirsutism occurs for unknown reasons. Sometimes genetics and certain hormones may play a major role in the development of hirsutism. For example, when a woman has very high levels of circulating androgens in the body, then it can lead not only to hirsutism, but also eventually to a virilization whereby the woman’s voice becomes deep. Acne may form, and the clitoris may become extremely enlarged.

Nonetheless, if you do have excessive facial hair, in conjunction with other health symptoms, you should definitely be evaluated by a doctor. If diagnosed with hirsutism due to an underlying medical condition, treatment may potentially involve anti-androgen medications, oral contraceptive pills, special prescription facial creams, and adjunctive hair removal techniques. Weight loss would also be encouraged in those with hirsutism who are overweight, since shedding extra weight may also help reduce androgen levels.

If you don’t have hirsutism or an underlying medical condition, and you simply have facial hair that you want removed, there are both temporary and longer term options to eliminate the hair. Temporary options may require frequent ongoing maintenance, and include practices like tweezing, shaving, waxing, or threading; but for some women, they may experience skin irritation and even folliculitis after using these techniques. Other short term removal treatments include depilatory creams, which contain chemicals that can help dissolve and remove hair quickly. Again, the down side is that some women experience skin irritation when they use these creams.

Longer lasting treatments for hair removal include laser therapy or electrolysis. Laser therapy uses light beams to help eliminate hair, while electrolysis utilizes electric current to destroy hair follicles in areas of unwanted hair. Both treatment modalities are much more expensive than the hair removal options of waxing, tweezing, and shaving.

Here is the bottom line: When it comes to female facial hair, if there may be the slightest suspicion of an underlying medical problem at play, see your doctor for evaluation and treatment. If your facial hair really bothers you, remember there are plenty of available removal options to choose from, but always weigh the pros and cons of each.


Disclaimer: Information on this Q&A column is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information to self diagnose or treat a health problem/disease, or prescribe any medication, or other treatment. If you suspect you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Published 05/12/19

SuperModelMD: How Do I Snap Back & Lose My Baby Weight?

Dear SuperModelMD,

I had a baby last year and gained so much weight during my pregnancy. Since then, my body just hasn’t been the same. I can’t fit into any of my clothes from before, and it makes me upset and a bit down at times. I really miss my pre-baby body and wardrobe! I heard that a waist trainer can help you slim down if you wear it daily, so I bought one a few months ago and keep mine on for at least eight hours a day. Unfortunately, I haven’t lost any weight yet. To make things worse, I get really uncomfortable whenever I have it on, and sometimes I even feel like I can’t breathe well. Why isn’t my waist trainer helping me lose weight? I want my body back!
-Snapback struggle so so real

***

Dear Snapback struggle so so real,

Anyone who has been on a weight loss journey knows that it can be the ultimate challenge to shed those excess pounds. What is key to recognize is that there are simply no shortcuts when it comes to losing weight. Moreover, in regards to “waist training,” there is no scientific evidence demonstrating that waist trainers may lead to weight loss or fat burning. Wearing a waist trainer may perhaps create the illusion of having a smaller waistline when you have it on, but, once you take it off, your waistline remains unchanged.

Additionally, the longer the duration of time the waist trainer is worn and the tighter you wear it, the higher the risk of health problems. Due to the tight constrictive nature of the garment, keeping it on for extended time periods may cause organ damage, breathing problems, fainting episodes, acid reflux, skin rash, and more.

From what you’ve described, your waist trainer is taking a toll on your respiratory status and ultimately affecting your well being. So it is time to stop the waist training and focus on making certain healthy lifestyle modifications. Re-evaluate the kind of foods you consume daily and make sure you’re actually eating healthy. A consistent exercise regimen must also be a part of the equation, and it should include exercises that help to strengthen your core. Avoid the fads you hear about along the way and get back to the basics of healthy eating and exercise. Consistency is key and you will be back on the path to shedding those pounds.


Published 05/02/19

SuperModelMD: What Do I Do About My Sweat Problem?

Dear SuperModelMD,
I have an embarrassing problem — I sweat like crazy all the time. Even when it’s not hot, I sweat. When I’m not exercising or moving around too much, I sweat. What is most embarrassing is that I sweat so much in my armpits and even around my crotch that it soaks through my clothing in those areas, and really just all over my body. The problem even sometimes occurs overnight while I’m sleeping. I feel like I’ve tried everything to control it, but it’s only getting worse. It has gotten to the point that others are starting to notice too. I recently overheard a co-worker make a very rude comment about my “pit stains” and hygiene to another colleague. I’m sooo mortified! Since then, I’ve been wearing mainly black to work, so that when I do sweat, the stains are less visible. What may be causing me to sweat so much?
-Mortifying Sweat Situation

Dear Mortifying Sweat Situation,
Everyone sweats, and some people may sweat a bit more than others. But it seems that you are sweating quite excessively to the point that it is really bothering your daily life. Excessive sweating, known as hyperhidrosis, may sometimes occur secondary to an underlying medical condition. Meaning there may possibly be a health problem in the picture that is yet to be addressed contributing to all of the sweating.

Some conditions like hyperthyroidism may lead to the overproduction of thyroid hormone in the body, and these may cause one to sweat excessively. Other conditions such as menopause, diabetes, and even certain cancers like lymphoma may cause heavy sweating. Sometimes the culprit may even be lurking right in your medicine cabinet. There are some medications (for example, certain blood pressure and antidepressant medications) with the side effect profile of causing increased sweating.

Make sure your doctor is always aware of all the medications you are taking. There are actually quite a number of health problems that may potentially cause someone to sweat a lot. So your doctor will need to get a detailed history from you, complete with a physical examination, and possibly do some blood work and other tests. The evaluation is necessary to determine if there is indeed a medical cause for all the sweating, so that the condition may be treated and managed accordingly.


Published 04/27/19

SuperModelMD: Help! I’m Losing My Edges


Dear SuperModelMD,

I heard that braids and weaves are great protective styles that help with hair growth, so I started wearing box braids for about two years now. But, I’ve started to notice that I’m actually losing a lot of hair around my edges. There is even a bald patch I noticed recently that is really freaking me out. What do you think may be going on?
-Losing My Edges

***

Dear Losing My Edges,
It sounds like you may possibly be dealing with a condition called traction alopecia.

What does that mean? Your braids are likely way too tight, and the tension is tugging on the hair follicles, leading to damage and hair loss. When that kind of repeated tension occurs for a period of time, it increases your risk of traction alopecia. This form of hair loss may arise after wearing certain hairstyles like tight braids, tight pony tails, sew in extensions, and really any other styles that may pull a lot at the scalp, for prolonged periods.

First thing to do: hold off on wearing your current braided style for some time. You should also seek evaluation from a healthcare professional to determine the severity of damage, and if you are a candidate for certain treatments, e.g. minoxidil or steroid creams/injections.

Please ensure that you really give your hair some rest and alternate between various styles that don’t put further stress on the scalp. Your hairline will definitely thank you later. What you don’t want to happen is progression to the stage of scarring alopecia in which there is permanent irreversible hair loss.

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