There are hygiene habits you secretly do or maybe don’t do that you wouldn't want your friends or family to find out about. Let alone the person you’re crushing on. But what if I told you these seemingly dirty activities could actually benefit your health? Yep, today we are discussing and breaking down all your gross and eccentric “behind closed door” type of activities that may actually be surprisingly good for you!
Call it flatulence, passing gas, fizzling, tooting, whatever you want to name it, Farting is actually good for your health. I know it may not be proper social etiquette, at least out loud, at the dinner table or on a first date, but farting is totally healthy.
When you eat, you don't swallow just your food. You also swallow air, which contains gasses like nitrogen and oxygen. Small amounts of these gasses travel through your digestive system as you digest your food. Other gasses like hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane are made when food is broken down in the large intestine. All of these gasses in the digestive system have to escape somehow, so guess what, they come out as farts!
In fact, a typical healthy person might pass wind between 5 and 20 times a day. Or depending on what type of foods you are eating, you could be creating the equivalent of 1 liter of gas every single day in your body.
And it also helps with creating a diverse microbiome which is super important to your health in many ways. On the other hand, farts are also a great indicator of your health on the opposite end as well. Conversely, if you are letting them rip way too often, more than the average, this could indicate that you have a food allergy or some sort of gastrointestinal issue like IBS, chrons, Celiac disease, etc.
And for those who are watching this and are a little shy about the whole whoopie cushion sounding process, just know that holding in your gas can limit the motility of the bowels leading to things like constipation and bloat. I don't know how many times people come to see me in the ER for this. Thinking it's something far worse when it is really just stored up gasses in the digestive tract, believe it shows up on X-rays, and See this more than you could ever know. So verdict about farting: in the right social setting let er’ rip. I promise it's a bodily process for a reason and it is keeping you healthy.
2. Not Cleaning Out Your Ears
You’ve heard the phrase mind your own beeswax, well if you believe the experts you may not even want to mind your own. I’ll explain. Ears actually have their very own internal cleaning mechanism and when people use a cotton swab or Qtip as it’s sort of widely known, to remove ear wax, oftentimes this can cause damage to the ears. In fact, if you check closely on the packaging it usually will warn against actually sticking the little cotton swabs in your ear. And believe me, I have seen a lot of ear injuries in the Emergency department caused by just that. Sticking cleaning utensils into ears when they really just don’t belong there. I see things like wax impaction, perforated eardrums, lost tips of cotton swabs, or other cleaner objects that fall off and cause further complications… So just don't do it.
Oh and here's the other part that's super important to realize. Having earwax is not actually a sign of poor hygiene. In fact, quite the opposite, Earwax or the medical term cerumen is there for good reasons. For starters it’s a natural moisturizer, preventing the skin inside the ear from becoming too dry, and it also traps dirt and dust before it goes too deep into the canal. Earwax also absorbs things like dead skin cells, and other debris like bacteria or say creepy crawlies or infectious organisms from reaching your inner ear.
Now if you fear you may have an excessive buildup of earwax that is causing hearing issues or say problems with your equilibrium or whatever is the case, definitely have a healthcare provider look inside your ear and have them use instruments specifically designed to remove earwax. Sometimes they can recommend drops to help this overproduction situation. But all in all, earwax is not a reflection of uncleanliness, it is typically a sign of normal healthy ears. Now if you want to wipe around the outside that’s fine, but don’t stick random things into your ears.
3. Pubic Hair
To remove or not to remove that is the question. This may all boil down to preference when it comes to the hair design of your nether regions but from a health standpoint, not removing one’s pubic hair may actually come with some health benefits believe it or not.
Now, of course, there are some people who prefer to work with a clean slate if you will, and have their pubic hair partially or fully removed or even say bedazzled, by all means, have at it, do what makes you happy. But did you know that having some hair in that region can actually offer a degree of protection against certain pathogens? Yes, sir, there was a small study done put of that correlated pubic hair grooming with a higher incidence of STIs. In other words, they concluded that hair down there may act like nose hairs for your nostrails in that it traps dirt, debris, and other potentially harmful microorganisms or things that can cause infection or bacteria from entering.
Furthermore when one does not remove their hair down below via waxing, plucking or whatever your removal agent of choice is, you obviously then reduce your risk of injury in the form of cuts, burns, boils, inflamed hair glands, etc. I think we can all attest that these things just don’t sound pretty or feel that great. And believe me, I do not like treating them in the ER. So regardless of whether you have 1 hair, all the hairs, or no hair at all make sure you are keeping your nether regions clean as you would the rest of your body.
4. Touching Dirt
Although some may view touching dirt well as just that, dirty. It may actually have super impressive health benefits. Now they may not seem to have a correlation from afar but the soil-based organisms that are found in dirt do in fact support your immune response and microbiome. And according to experts, these good bacteria help to crowd out harmful pathogens and fight off bad bacteria that bind to your gut wall.
Additionally, in 2004 one such study out of London found an oncologist injecting lung cancer patients with a common soil bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae to see if it could prolong her patient’s lives. She found that the patients studied reportedly were happier, expressed more vitality, and had better cognitive functioning.
In another study, a neuroscientist at the University of Bristol injected M. vaccae into mice and subjected them to a series of stress tests. The ones who had the soil bacteria showed far less stressed behavior than their untreated counterparts—in fact, they acted as if they were on antidepressants. He concluded that the bacteria activated groups of neurons in the mouse brains responsible for producing serotonin. So no I'm not telling you by any means to go inject this weird soil bacteria into your body. No way. But you could start by just going outside and sticking your bare hands or feet in your garden. Although it may feel weird at first or you may have to fight the urge to run inside and wash your hands with antibacterial soap. There is a lot of research out there that suggests an intimate connection between the immune system, emotional health, and this type of soil bacteria.
5. Hocking Loogies
I know, I know, gross, but what exactly does it mean to hock a loogie, and is it good for you? Or what can it at the very least tell you about your health?
In a nutshell, mucus is sort of like a gel-like watery substance that you’ll find in your nose and sinuses. Phlegm on the other hand is a thicker secretion made in say your, mouth, throat, and lungs. But these types of gross bodily secretions actually serve an important role in keeping certain parts of your body hydrated and protected. In fact, I've heard it described as if your body was a nightclub, mucus would be the bouncer, located at the door and ready to kick out anything causing trouble. Soooo when a sickness-causing agent like say a virus or bacteria enters your body, cells in the body that produce mucus kick into overdrive and beef up the goo in order to sequester those germs. Now typically this type of mucus will see itself to the door and clear out of the body on its own, but sometimes it needs a little extra push out of the body. Like, say as coughing, spitting, or even blowing your nose.
So in the proper social setting maybe it's not okay to just hock one up but from the comforts of say your home, or away from the crowd you may just want to get that mucus out of you because you never know what type of bacteria or germs is binding to and trying to expel from your body.
And your flem, it can also tell you a lot about what else is going on inside your body. For instance, if you notice that your normal clear or pearly white flem or mucus starts to change consistency or color, drama might be going down inside your body.
And if you have excess flem or you know a guy that is always's hocking one up, this could be a sign of a food issue, allergy, acid reflux, smoking irritant, or have something more serious like a bacterial or viral infection. And if your flem starts to take on more of a yellowish color, it could be because you're dehydrated. So do yourself a favor, expel it out of your body, pay attention to it because it may just truly be telling you what’s going on with your health. On the other hand, please do be courteous and don't just spit anywhere and everywhere.