This week we saw a wide variety of questions come into our community. Women asked about sexual health, driving with a fractured bone and what to do about an over-dosage. Our moderators provided resources and answers to these health questions as well as many others. Do you have a health question you need an answer for? Post it to our community, and we promise to respond within 24 hours.
Here are some of our top ASKs in the EmpowHER community this week.
1. What causes a black line in a fingernail?
A: If you have dark skin, it's fairly common to find dark stripes running down your nails. This is called linear melanonychia. This occurs in more than 77% of black people over the age of 20, and in most cases is perfectly normal.
However, dark lines under the nail can be a signal of a serious health issue and should not be ignored. Dark stripes may sometimes be a form of skin cancer that affects the nail bed, called subungual melanoma. It's important that your doctor checks it to rule out melanoma. Read the full answer here.
2. I have a problem with nighttime heartburn. What might be the cause?
A: Heartburn is form of indigestion felt as a burning sensation in the chest, caused by acid regurgitation into the esophagus. The pain is often worse when lying down or bending over.
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, which is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.
Normally when you swallow, a band of muscle around the bottom of your esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter, relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach. Then the muscle tightens again. Read the full answer here.
3. My hair is thinning and I am gaining weight. I think this is connected to my birth control pills, but I am not sure.
A: Studies have shown that the effect of the birth control pill on weight is small, if it exists at all. Instead, you may be retaining more fluid, which can make you feel as if you've put on weight, particularly in your breasts, hips and thighs. The estrogen in birth control pills does affect fat cells, making them larger but not more numerous.
Talk with your gynecologist about all available birth control options, and ask if your thyroid levels could be checked. Read the full answer here.
4. What causes ringing in the ear and is it a condition that can be cured?
A: Tinnitus or commonly referred to as ringing in the ear is a common problem. It is not a condition, but rather the symptom of an underlying condition. Though it can be bothersome, usually it is not a sign of something serious. There are two types - subjective and objective tinnitus
Subjective tinnitus is tinnitus only you can hear. This is the most common type of tinnitus. It can be caused by ear problems in your outer, middle or inner ear. It also can be caused by problems with the auditory nerves or the part of your brain that interprets nerve signals as sound. Read the full answer here.