Q: Why do women grow sparse hairs around their nipples?
Dr. Dave says: Body hair in general is something that has evolved in people over the course of time, so the primary reason to have it-and to some degree how much-is genetic. It’s perfectly normal for some women to have some hair around their areolas (not the nipple itself). The onset of growth, or changes in growth in this hair, is usually caused by hormonal changes. So if you are at a period in your life where your hormone levels are changing, this may be the reason that you have experienced nipple hair. For example, it is very common for young girls to first notice hair in this region when they begin menstruation. Women who are pregnant also may notice nipple hair for the first time, and women going through menopause may notice either the beginning or end the growth of nipple hair. Similarly, a new birth control pill can either trigger or increase amounts of nipple hair.
Keep in mind that most women will go through at least one hormonal change that will cause them to experience nipple hair at some point in their life. However, if the hair is actually on as opposed to around the nipple, or if there is lots of it and it seems to be associated with excess hair on other parts (face, chest, stomach) you should speak with your doctor.
Q: What causes bowel movements to change colour?
Dr. Dave says: As most people know, your stool colour can change a lot from day to day. The colour is generally influenced by what you eat as well as by the amount of bile (a yellow-green fluid that your body produces to digest fats) in your stool. As bile pigments travel through your gastrointestinal tract, they are chemically altered by enzymes, which change the pigments from green to brown. If the stool is making it’s way through your intestines very quickly (i.e. if you have diarrhea), the enzymes won’t have time to act on it, so the colour can be quite green. We often see this in kids, and while it causes parents a lot of concern, it’s rarely something to worry about.
So, how can you tell if there’s something wrong based on the colour? In general, any and all shades of brown are considered “normal.” Some foods, such as beets and some food colouring can produce pretty interesting hues. Even certain medications, such as Pepto-Bismol, can turn your stools quite black, so if you are concerned and are going to ask your doctor, think about what you might have eaten the day or so before-it will be helpful information for them.
Q. When should you be concerned about changes in stool colour?
Dr. Dave says: White or clay-coloured stool, especially if you notice that your urine is dark too, is worth calling your doctor about. And blood in your stool can be potentially worrisome as well. What most people don’t know is that it looks different depending where the bleeding is coming from. Black and tar-like in consistency (not just really dark brown), or blood that’s dark and mixed into the stool so that it looks “marbled,” as well as bright red blood, tend to come from higher to lower, respectively, in your gastro-intestinal tract and are always worth a call to your doctor.
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