Whenever there's a problem with your health — whether it's an infection, a hormonal imbalance, or something scarier like cancer — your body will get your attention and let you know something's up. Because it's sickly, your bod will likely reveal the issue in a relatively gross way that may include symptoms like bright green boogers, odd discharge, and pungent smells.
Instead of being disgusted with yourself, however, you should take it as a sign that you need to see a doctor. "Our bodies are constantly sending out clues and signals when something isn't right. We just need to know the language of our body so that we can parse that information," integrative women's health expert Nicole Harlow tells Bustle. "When you're sensitive to the messages from your body ... you're more likely to stop disorders, imbalances, and infections in their tracks instead of allowing them to mature into chronic diseases in the future."
That's why it's so important to pay attention and actually do something about all those boogers, discharges, and odd smells. Read on for some of the grosser ways your body may reveal an underlying condition. If anything sounds familiar, talk with your doctor about treatment options. Because you may not want to feel gross, but you certainly don't want to be sick.
1. There's Blood In Your Poop
If you ever look down and see blood in your poop, it may be because you had beets for dinner. But it could also be due to something a bit more worrying. "I recommend calling your doctor anytime you notice blood in your stool," says women's health and fertility expert Debra Gerson, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM, in an email to Bustle. "Often this is a sign of hemorrhoid ... but it can also signify a deeper digestive issue or even cancer. Your doctor should evaluate you to rule out anything dangerous."
2. Your Boogers Are Bright Green
It's perfectly fine to have clear boogers, but pay attention if they're suddenly neon green. "Green mucus spells infection to me," Gerson says. "When we get sick, our mucus can be clear, white, or even yellow. However, I recommend calling a doctor if you notice green discharge as you may need an antibiotic at that point."
3. Your Eyes Have A Sticky Discharge
Sticky eye discharge is never something you should ignore, especially if you wear contact lenses. If you have redness or goopy stuff in your eyes, it could be a sign of keratoconjunctivitis and/or corneal ulcers. "[These] symptoms are typically caused by over-wear of contacts, sleeping in contacts, not cleaning/disinfecting the contacts, and not cleaning or replacing the storage case for the contacts," says optometrist Bryan Holman, OD. Not good.
4. Your Periods Smell Kinda Bad
If you notice a pungent smell whenever you get your period, take note. As Harlow tells me, menstrual blood that is orange-red in color and has a funky smell could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis. "Typically, healthy menstrual blood ranges from light pink to cranberry red and has the usual metallic smell of blood," she says. Anything different than that might mean it's time for a trip to the gyno.
5. Your Period Blood Is Brown
Again, period blood should be red. So if it's a different color, like brown, assume your body is trying to tell you something. "Brown menstrual blood is caused by the presence of low progesterone in the body during your last menstrual cycle," Harlow says. "This could be caused by stress, poor diet or by an underlying, chronic hormonal imbalance, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome."
6. Your Skin Looks A Bit Scaly
If your skin suddenly looks like fish scales — especially on your legs — it could be caused by a plaque known as ichthyosis. As board-certified dermatologist Robin Evans, MD tells me, it could also be a sign of an underlying cancer. So best get that checked out.
7. Hair Is Popping Up In Odd Places
While hair growth certainly isn't gross, it may be shocking to see it coming out of your neck or around your boobs. "Growth of a lot of hair in women on typically male areas ... may be a sign of excess ... hormone production, which can be seen in varied conditions of the ovaries and adrenal glands, including polycystic ovaries and tumors of those organs," Evans says.
8. You've Been Struggling With Incontinence
There are several different types and causes of incontinence. One is called "stress incontinence," which causes dribbles of pee to leak out when you laugh or sneeze. Another is "urge incontinence," where it feels like you gotta go ASAP. According to an article on MayoClinic.org, these symptoms could be due to a urinary tract infection, drinking too much coffee, and even some neurological disorders — among other things.
9. Your Sweat Is Extra Stinky
The smell of your sweat can reveal various underlying health conditions. According to health writer Charlotte Hilton Andersen on SHAPE, your diet, your birth control pill, and even your stress levels can make you stinkier. If it's becoming a problem — and deodorant doesn't seem to do a damn thing — ask your doctor for some advice.
10. Your Breath Could Smell Better
If you're plagued by bad breath, it could be chalked up to poor dental hygiene. But if your dentist says everything looks fine, it may be a sign from your body that something's wrong. According to WebMD.com, bad breath may be a sign of a respiratory illness like bronchitis, post nasal drip, chronic acid reflux, sinus infections, and even kidney or liver problems.
11. You Have Chunky Vaginal Discharge
While it's normal to have some vaginal discharge, it should never be chunky and it certainly shouldn't smell bad. If it does, it could be a sign of an infection. As holistic health expert and acupuncturist Mona Dan says, "If the discharge also accompanies pain, itching, discomfort, rash or sore, you should certainly get tested because this can indicate an STD or other internal infections."
These gross symptoms are all signs from your body that something's up with your health, so make sure you listen and get yourself a check up.
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