We all have a few interesting
things we do when we're alone, that we might not want to readily admit. You might, for example, stand in front of the mirror and pick at your pimples. Or you might get ready for work in the morning, and pull on a dirty pair of underwear. And you know what? While these things might seem gross, they're also things many of us have done at one point or another.
And thus, aren't that big of a deal. "We tend not to discuss [these things] with other people because of a fear that we won’t be liked, or
that it’s taboo and will put people off us," wellness coach and yoga teacher Helen Sian India tells Bustle. But in reality, we're all pretty interesting beings, and "the more we talk about it, the less [of] a ‘big deal’ it is."
Of course, you don't have to share anything if you truly don't want to. But knowing that you're not alone in your "bad" habits, or the mysterious goings on of your body, can serve as a bit of a comfort. And, it can make it easier to discuss any health changes with your doctor — who, by the very nature of their profession, has likely seen and heard it all.
Here are a few habits many women have, and a few bodily functions that happen to the best of us, that are nothing to be ashamed of, if you find yourself experiencing them.
Picking At Ingrown Hairs
If you've ever spotted
an ingrown hair lurking beneath your skin, then you've likely also had the urge to free it by picking and tweezing and squeezing. It can seem a bit strange to go through so much effort, all in the name of pulling out a single hair. But it's an incredibly common habit.
"We as humans have an obsession with using our fingers to get at the problem spots on our bodies,"
health expert Jaya Jaya Myra tells Bustle. "And an ingrown hair is no exception."
The thing is, if you're going to squeeze and tweeze, it's important to go about it carefully so you don't cause an infection. "I don't recommend this, but if you insist on doing it this way, at least
use the hot washcloth trick to open up the follicle more before you start," Myra says. By applying warmth to the buried hair, it may be easier and safer to remove.
Dermatologists hate it when we
pick at pimples and squeeze out our blackheads. But just like ingrown hairs, skin picking can feel so satisfying, which is why so many people do it.
"They’ve done scientific studies that
a successful pimple popping session (or even just one) activates the reward centers in your brain, encouraging us to continue this ... habit," Sheina Schochet, a mental health counselor in NYC, tells Bustle. "So ... we don’t stop, because it gives us a little high, a sense of accomplishment when we see the stuff inside coming to a head, and we’re not quite willing to give up this feeling we can get so easily."
Of course, if you have a particularly stubborn pimple, you may want a dermatologist to take a look. And if you can't stop picking your skin — as in, it's turning into an obsession that you do for hours on end — it may be a good idea to let a therapist know as well, since Schochet says it can be a sign of
issues like obsessive compulsive disorder.
Rewearing The Same Bra or Underwear
If you've ever shimmied back into a pair of old underwear, or worn a bra for the fifth (or 15th) day in a row without washing it first, you're in good company.
"There is a good chance that the [underwear] and/or bra you are wearing at this very moment have not seen a washing machine in a good while. [And] that’s OK," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at
Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. Not everyone has enough time to wash their clothes regularly. So when you're in a pinch, there's nothing wrong with wearing yesterday's bra.
It is, however, recommended that you
wash your bra after every fifth wearing, at the very least, and your underwear after each use. But don't be ashamed if you don't always get to it, since this happens to many people.
Having Diarrhea During Your Period
While not everyone talks about this openly, plenty of women experience what's often referred to as "period diarrhea" during their menstrual cycle, Backe says. And there's nothing wrong with that.
According to Everyday Health, if someone notices bowel changes during their period, it's likely due to
prostaglandins, which are chemicals released that allow the uterus, and thus the intestines, to contract.
It explains why you might feel constipated in the lead up to your period, and then experience an overwhelming urge to go once your period begins.
Passing Gas While You're Asleep
While not everyone might feel comfortable admitting this, we all pass gas when we sleep. "The fact is that our body relaxes, including the muscles in your sphincter," Chris Brantner, sleep expert and founder of
SleepZoo, tells Bustle. "As a result, it’s more easy for gas to pass." So even if you feel like it's polite to hold gas in during the day, all hope is lost once you're asleep. And that's just a fact of life.
Bleeding Through Your Underwear
Every woman is different when it comes to
how heavy her period flow is. So don't be ashamed if you occasionally (or frequently) bleed through your tampon or pad, and onto your underwear.
"When women bleed through their clothing during their periods, that is entirely normal," Dr. David Greuner, of
NYC Surgical Associates, tells Bustle. "Some people just have heavier bleeding patterns than others, or if you don’t know your period started you might have worn thinner clothing on that day." And sometimes, that even means the blood can leak through onto your chair.
Since many women experience this at some point in life, Dr. Greuner says "it’s good to always take precaution such as wearing a pad," when you think your period is due. And of course, to speak with your doctor if you feel like a super heavy flow is becoming a problem.
While you should point out any changes in your skin to your doctor, don't be alarmed if your epidermis seems particularly flaky one day, to the point where you can brush your hand down your arm and watch as skin flakes fall like snow. (And you're not alone, either, if you do this just for fun behind closed doors.)
"Skin flaking is something that people often try to hide, but is actually good for you as that means your body is replacing old, dirtier skin with new, fresh skin," Dr. Greuner says. "It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and if some skin comes off in front of people, just move on because it has probably happened to them as well."
As with diarrhea, you might not be too keen to talk about various other bodily discharges, such
as vaginal discharge. And yet, many women experience it — especially during ovulation.
"You may have noticed you get more discharge during your ovulation time, and this is completely normal," Myra says. "The consistency is a bit thinner than normal and can pull into strings between a thumb and index finger (which is a trick to know you're ovulating). This is actually cervical mucus that changes during the course of each month, and the increase in it, and its egg-white like consistency, can be a sign you're ovulating."
While we all have a few gross habits we do behind closed doors, and a few bodily experiences we may not want to talk about in public, these things are usually fairly common, and thus nothing to be ashamed of. Do, however,
point out any health changes to your doctor, just to be safe.