Health

Could You Have Lyme Disease and Not Even Know It?

The scary truth about this sneaky illness.

After you get home from a glorious summer hike, you probably do a few things: post photos of the great outdoors to Instagram, take a quick shower, and chow down on some post-workout snacks. But if checking yourself for ticks isn't a part of that routine, you might be leaving yourself open to Lyme disease. "It happens frequently that people have Lyme disease and don't know it," says Andrea Gaito, M.D., a rheumatologist with a private practice in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by tick bites, especially those from deer ticks. Approximately 70 percent of deer ticks are infected, says Gaito. And those of you in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania should be on high-alert: Your states have the highest rates of Lyme disease, which is much more manageable when caught early on, says Gaito.

Lyme disease can easily go undiagnosed, mainly because the symptoms are diverse and easily misattributed. When this happens, you can develop what Gaito calls "late-stage or chronic" Lyme disease, which is less likely to respond to antibiotics, resulting in ongoing, potentially debilitating symptoms.  "The effects of Lyme [disease] can last a lifetime if permanent damage has occurred before the diagnosis is made," says Gaito. "It's hard to treat after a certain point because the bacteria move deeper into the body to places where antibiotics have a hard time reaching, like the brain and joint spaces." Doctors try to treat the actual infection until patients plateau or no longer respond to antibiotics, at which point they use anti-inflammatory medication to deal with lasting symptoms like permanent joint damage, cognitive issues, and heart problems.

It sounds pretty scary, but there are ways to figure out if you've got Lyme disease before it really has its hooks in you—or even prevent it in the first place. Here's what to look out for.

RELATED: Why Did It Take Doctors Months to Diagnose Avril Lavigne with Lyme Disease?

What Are the Symptoms?
Lyme disease symptoms generally fall into three camps: neurological, arthritic, and cardiac. "The most common symptoms patients have are fatigue, headache, joint pain, and heart palpitations," says Gaito. "A lot of people have different variations of neurological Lyme disease, so they can't think straight, experience memory loss, or even [have] psychological issues, like depression and anxiety." The symptoms vary a lot from person to person, though. "One person may be tired and have headaches, while someone else might have it and feel great except for a swollen knee,” says Gaito. “There are a lot of different strains, so symptoms depend on what the tick was carrying when it bit you.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 to 80 percent of people infected develop a bullseye-shaped rash three to 30 days after being bit. The rash is created when the tick bites, then secretes a chemical that thins your blood so it's easier for the tick to feed (ick). That creates inflammation, which leads to the rash. But you could easily have Lyme disease and never get that exact rash. “There are so many manifestations of the rash itself because ticks have different levels of spirochetes, which are the bacteria that cause Lyme [disease]," says Gaito. If you do see a bulleye, it's a major hint you might have Lyme disease, but you might also get something that looks more like hives or a spider bite.

How to Protect Yourself
While wearing long pants and socks make it harder for ticks to get access to your skin, those guidelines are hard to follow in the hot late-spring and summer months, when Lyme disease contraction rates are higher. Before you head into a wooded or grassy area, apply a natural tick repellent, says Gaito. If you don't have any on hand, ticks don't like lemon or lavender scents, so using a moisturizer or perfume with those is better than nothing. And if you've got long hair, make sure to tie it up and wear a hat. "It's hard to check every inch of your scalp," says Gaito.

RELATED: 'Real Housewife' Yolanda Foster Reveals Serious Lyme Disease Complications

The real prevention comes when you get home. Check yourself for ticks, especially in the warm, moist areas they love: behind your knees, your groin, and even underneath your breasts. "I've had women who go in for mammograms and see a spot that turned out to be a tick," says Gaito. Even better than just looking for ticks is running your hands over those spots; deer ticks are often very tiny and easier to feel than see. "Right now, at the start of the season, they're nymphs—babies,” says Gaito. “They're like a little speck of dust, and they're not always black. Females have an almost reddish-orange color to them."

Sometimes a tick will bite you, then hitch a ride to your home, where it will fall off in your bed or shower. If that happens, or if you find a tick on yourself, you can put it in a baggy and take it to a doctor. He or she can send it off to get tested and put you on medicine as a preventative strategy. 

While Lyme disease can mask itself through its wide-ranging symptoms, you don't need to worry that you have it every time your head starts pounding. "If you have multiple symptoms for seven to 10 days, you should include a Lyme disease test in the evaluation of that problem," says Gaito. This is especially true if you've been taking some sort of medication for your symptoms but they still haven't gotten better. After you raise your concerns, your doctor will likely give you a blood test to detect an antibody reaction to Lyme-related proteins called antigens. The doctor will also watch out for things like anemia and Lyme-induced inflammation in your blood stream.

RELATED: This Inspiring Woman Refused to Let Lyme Disease Stop Her From Making it to the Olympic Games

If you suspect you have Lyme disease, make sure to ask how up-to-date the office's testing system is. "People are told, 'No, you don't have it, we don't know what's wrong with you,' but sometimes that's based on Lyme technology from 1982 that has 55 percent accuracy," says Gaito. "Women are often told it's menopause, PMS, or depression." If you get that kind of brush-off but still feel something may be wrong, get a second opinion. "The earlier you get treated for Lyme disease, the better," says Gaito. 

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The 5 Healthiest Green Juices You Can Buy, According to a Nutritionist

The best options when you feel like drinking your veggies

Store-bought juices can be a great way to squeeze in some extra produce between meals. But they can also be a great way to take in a ton of sugar and calories along with little to no fiber. To make sure the juices you’re downing are of the former camp, we chatted with nutritionist and diet coach Alexandra Caspero, R.D., owner of Delicious Knowledge. Here are her picks of the healthiest grab-n-go juices money can buy.

Jamba Juice

Jamba Juice: Great Greens
“Whenever I look for a juice, I look straight the greens,” says Caspero. “The more greens, the better.” This smoothie (opt for a small) contains three servings of veggies—including cucumber, kale, and spinach—along with half a serving of fruit to guarantee you’re taking in the most phytonutrients and the lowest amount of sugar possible, she says. Plus, it also contains three grams of protein and two grams of fiber—way more than many juices. Thank you, chia seeds.

RELATED: 3 Amazing Juices for Weight Loss

Starbucks

Starbucks: Green Devotion Evolution Juices
With the lowest amount of sugar—just eight grams in an 11-ounce bottle—this is the clear winner of all of the cold-pressed Evolution Juices lining Starbucks’ counter, says Caspero. It’s also packed with greens, including celery, cucumber, spinach, romaine lettuce, and kale, and is finished with lemon and parsley, providing tons of potassium and vitamin K. 

Juice Press

Juice Press: South of the Border
“This juice is like a meal in a glass,” says Caspero. “It feels more like a creamy, cold gazpacho than a juice.” A combination of cucumber, onion, bell pepper, and avocado, it contains a generous helping of protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats. Don’t live in the NYC area? Juice Press ships nationwide.

RELATED: 4 Juicing Mistakes You Might Be Making (and How to Fix Them!)

Tropical Smoothie

Tropical Smoothie Café: Detox Island Green
Okay, it’s not technically a juice, but it’s a perfect pick if you're craving greens, says Caspero. “This smoothie contains only 182 calories in a whopping 24-ounce serving and is packed with healthy greens, like spinach and kale,” she says. Plus, since it’s naturally sweetened with (not too much!) mango, pineapple, banana, and ginger, you won’t find any added sugar floating in this smoothie.

RELATED: 7 Drinking Habits That Are Making You Gain Weight

Naked

Coffee Shops, Convenience Stores, and Cafés: Green Machine Naked Juice
You’ll be hard-pressed not to walk past a Naked Juice display at some point during your day, making them one of the most popular packaged juices out there. While they all contain a lot of fruit, this one also packs spirulina, barley grass, broccoli, spinach, blue green algae, and other veggie boosters, making it a solid option wherever you go, says Caspero.

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7 Women on Getting Oral Sex from Guys with Facial Hair

Oh, the beard-burn struggle

There's something about facial hair that can push a man from "eh, he's cute" territory into the "someone call 911 because there's a fire in my pants" arena. The only, well, hairy aspect arises when a he goes down on you. As you'll see from the following quotes, sometimes facial hair can introduce you to a whole new world of pleasure—or pain.

"My current boyfriend shaves every day for work, but on his off days he lets it grow. While giving me head, the stubbles prickle my clitoris and increase sensation, which makes me release a little bit quicker. It was so foreign the first time that I screamed, but now can't have it any other way." —Danielle J.

"My boyfriend has gone through phases of beard or no beard, although I'm thinking the beard will stick around for a long time now. I honestly don't know if I can tell a difference. Maybe a little, but just kind of what you'd expect. There's a little more scratching and tickling, but if he's doing it right, the beard doesn't matter." —Beth D.

RELATED: 9 Reasons Guys Love Giving You Oral

 

 

"My boyfriend right now has something in between scruff and a beard at all times. I've noticed when he lets it grow a little longer that I feel it a little more down there, and it can be a little scratchy. Most times, he trims before we hang out, though. However, he has pretty awesome technique where, when I'm about to come, he starts doing this tongue flicking thing that feels more like a vibrator than anything. At that point, the beard is far enough away I don't feel it all, besides the occasional tickle." —Sarah L.

"I have dated men with different types of facial hair—mustache, beard, scruff—and I would say the person and their skill level determined more of my experience than the existence of facial hair did. However, facial hair enhanced it by providing an added sensation to the overall experience. It built up anticipation and foreplay, but I wouldn't say it made it easier to orgasm because that is more dependent for me on actual stimulation and pressure than the feeling of stubble rubbing against me. Too heavy of a beard can negatively affect the experience because it hurts down there! I would also say I am characteristically way more attracted to men with facial hair than not, and physical attraction has always made a big difference for me in feeling comfortable with a partner sexually and allowing me to relax and enjoy the experience of going down on me more. So I guess there's a psychological and a physical component to why bearded men do it better for me. I talked to my boyfriend about this, and he thinks bearded men do it better because there must be a 'high correlation between facial hair, athletic ability, and cunnilingus skills.' Ha!" —Kaitlyn T.

RELATED: Oral Sex on Your Period: Men and Women Weigh In

 

 

A photo posted by Calypso (@dirgeofcalypso) on Feb 24, 2015 at 10:47am PST

 

"My boyfriend has always has somewhat of a beard, but the first time ever was when he had a pretty full beard. Not like Rick Ross or James Harden level, but a solid beard that can be grabbed onto and stroked, for lack of a better word. In terms of how that affects sexual experiences, I say it enhances it! It tickles, to be honest, but there's something so sexy about a guy who isn't afraid to just own it down there and who loves incorporating a beard into it. He was very proud of his beard—and his skills—and incorporated his beard into dirty talking, which I swear is such a turn on. He even buries himself, face and beard, in my entire lap. It's less of beard-on-clitoris and more of just all over everything. He's into rubbing his beard all over me in general. Beards just add another texture for your thighs to rub on to and for you to bury yourself in." —Viv C.

RELATED: Can You Get an STD From Your Guy's Facial Hair?

"I honestly don't notice any difference in the moment when a guy has facial hair, but I think that it makes his face retain a certain odor, if you know what I mean. I feel a bit embarrassed and worried that someone might smell it." —Jules C.

"My boyfriend is a hairy dude. When he has a full beard, it doesn't affect him going down on me. But if he shaves one morning, the next few days can get painful if we're not careful. His hair is so sharp as it grows in that, one time, I had to put my hands on either sides of his face as he went at it because it felt like sandpaper wearing away at my skin. Another time, I was a little too inebriated to notice, I guess, and the next morning I had a rash. Later that day, when we were walking around, I kept ducking out of sight on the street so I could subtly apply lotion. It was not fun." —Kimberly W.

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Gwyneth Paltrow on Love Post-Conscious Uncoupling

"A long-term relationship serves as a meditation on what's wrong with you."

Gwyneth Paltrow has it all: a highly successful acting career, her own popular wellness brand (Goop), two beautiful children, a seriously killer bod. One thing she's very open about not having, though? All of the answers when it comes to love. Just take a look at what she had to say in her exclusive interview with Women's Health for this month's issue:

"If I'm in a relationship at this point in my life, it's got to be a relationship worth sustaining, you know what I mean? I don't have the time or inclination." (At press time, she was rumored to be dating Glee cocreator Brad Falchuk.)

RELATED: Gwyneth Paltrow Sports SICK Abs in New Issue of Women's Health

The actress is respectfully quiet on the subject of her former marriage to Chris Martin (she reportedly filed for divorce in April). But true to character, she has lessons she wants to share with anyone who is interested. "A long-term relationship serves as a meditation on what's wrong with you. You will never be in another situation that will tell you more about where you need to grow than a long-term relationship," she says. "It's a mirror. We pick the people who are going to trigger us so that we have an opportunity to heal. It's about having the courage to turn inward. The devil's biggest weapon is to make you feel like a victim, because then you don't see your part in it."

RELATED: What is Conscious Uncoupling?

Gwyneth recalls when a friend divorced a bunch of years ago. "She sent around one of those e-mails—'Men come and go, but you always have your sisters.' And at the time I was like, 'Men come and go? That's not right.' But of course now I understand."

Pals are clearly paramount to Gwyneth, and when your stomping ground is a red carpet, regular civilian friendships take on even greater importance. "My female friendships have always been the cornerstones of my life," she says. It's her core group of buds that help see her through tough times, but not by placating her, and certainly not by kissing her (very taut) ass. "They challenge me and ask tough questions," she says. "They aren't just like, 'Yeah, what an asshole [he was].' They'll say, 'Well, what about you?' It makes a big difference."

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For more about what keeps Gwyneth grounded, pick up the June 2015 issue of Women's Health, on newsstands today.

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8 Men Share the Most Over-the-Top Things They’ve Ever Done in the Name of Love

A love-fueled scavenger hunt is just the beginning.

Way back in 2006, I had a crush. Like any self-respecting high school senior, I knew that there was no other course of action than to express this crush in a semi-public way that would be embarrassing not only to myself, but also to my crush.

This girl was the second-best triple-jumper in the state, so right before the Maryland state high school track and field championships, I stole my best friend’s dartboard and pasted on a heavily-pixelated picture of Crush’s rival, the other contender for triple-jump state champion. I left it in her locker and waited for the outpouring of gratitude she was sure to shower me with upon receiving her gift.

But it never came. As it turns out, planting what looks like a slasher film prop in someone’s locker is not a cool way to show you’re into them.

While 2006 Julian went too crazy, plenty of guys have toed the line between “crazy in love” and “just plain crazy” to show a girl that they care. Here are some of their stories.

“My girlfriend has two roommates who also have boyfriends. I coordinated with the other boyfriends on a night we could all sleep over at their place to cook them breakfast in the morning as a surprise. It took us over a month to make that happen, but after a heavy night of all going out separately, we woke up at 6:30 to pick up groceries and cook breakfast. My girlfriend’s face when she woke up was very much worth the early wake up.” —Adrian D.

RELATED: 4 Guys Share the Mushy Stuff They Would Write in Love Letters to Their Ladies

“I was dating a girl who liked The Bachelor and found out the finale was coming up, so I bought her a single red rose and some of her favorite candy and left it on her doorstep so she would have it there when she got home from work.” —Nick E.

“For a Valentine's Day, I set-up a scavenger hunt for a girlfriend that spanned all across her school, to a park, and ended at a reservoir where we had a picnic. My friend lived by her school, so I had him plant most of the clues.” —Jordan C.

RELATED: 6 Times You Acted Drunk on Love—Even Though You Were Stone-Cold Sober

“My girlfriend had a really traumatic event happen while I was on vacation. When I got back in town, I took a day off of work and cleaned her apartment—like, deep clean, mopped, scrubbed the tub—and filled it with flowers. I left right before I knew she would get home so she could find it all herself, then showed up a half hour later with pizza for dinner." —Tom E.

“To ask my high school crush to prom, I used hundreds of red cups to write “PROM?” in the tennis court fence right before our P.E. class. It worked.” —Steven P.

RELATED: 10 Adorable Prom Photos That Will Make You Miss Being Young and in Love

“I really wanted to impress this girl, so I took her to the movies. But instead of buying two tickets like a rational human being, I bought out the whole theater so it was just her and myself. In the end, it didn't work out that well. The movie was The English Patient, which kind of killed the mood.” —Henry V.

“I woke up my girlfriend at 4 a.m. and surprised her with a hike up Georgia’s Stone Mountain to watch the sunrise.” —Mike B.

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The Craziest Sh*t People Have Gotten Stuck in Their Eyes

Each of these stories is basically its own real-life horror movie.

You know how annoying it is to get a piece of dirt stuck in your eye. You blink and you blink, but it just doesn't go away. But if you think that's bad, you haven't seen anything. Seriously. A select unlucky group of people have gotten everything from pencils to fish hooks to feathers stuck in their peepers. We're shuddering just thinking about it. And as it turns out, these situations are more common than you'd think.

"Anything you can think of can get into the eye and cause irritation and discomfort," says Philip R. Rizzuto, M.D., an ophthalmologist who specializes in oculofacial plastic surgery and a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology

For example, in 2013, Olivia Smith, a then-20-month-old toddler in New Boston, New Hampshire, impaled her eye on a colored pencil. It entered through her right eye (and luckily avoided almost every important artery and nerve), then lodged itself in her brain. She had a small stroke as a result. Doctors were able to remove the pencil, but they expected she'd have a bit of weakness on the right side of her body.

Then there was the guy who wound up with a nail embedded in his eye after a DIY project went wrong. Jeff Aubol of Crookston, Minnesota, was using a screwdriver in November 2014 to work on a window. At one point a nail went airborne, then wedged itself into his eye. He had surgery the next day and was back on the job a few days after that.

In terms of more easily avoidable injuries, Nicola Cavanagh, a then-42-year-old from Dundee, Scotland, recently found herself with Halloween contact lenses fused onto her eyes. She and her partner managed to extract them after an hour and a half of pain she describes as "excruciating" and "absolutely horrific," but in the process she damaged her cornea.

RELATED: The Right Way to Apply—and Remove—Eye Makeup if You Wear Contacts

Unfortunately, that's not all. Here's a list of things Rizzuto has seen stuck in people's eyes throughout his career, ranging from "okay, that makes sense" to "OMG, I'm going to have nightmares tonight." 

Shutterstock

Tree bark
Nails via a nail gun
A bit of metal, catapulted through the air on a construction site
Bullets
Bullet fragments
Pencils
A piece of paper
Acid
Tire debris from a passing car
Wood that a chainsaw loosened
Tree branches
Colored contact lenses
Leaves
Feathers
Fishhooks

RELATED: 8 Major Mistakes That Can Mess with Your Eyes

All together now: ouch. So what's the first thing you should do when something gets in your eye? Actually, says Rizzuto, you should try to start by not getting anything in there to begin with. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he says. “I got a call [recently] from a gentleman who got hit with a hockey puck in his eye. He was using a glass shield, so his eye was fine even though he broke one of the bones surrounding it." If you're playing tennis, hammering some nails, mowing the lawn, or doing anything where something can fly around and hit your eye, your best bet is to wear some kind of eye protection. Rizzuto recommends goggles or a shield made of polycarbonate—a strong, clear polymer that's effective in protecting the eyes from projectile-induced injuries.

Don't have a pair of goggles on hand? Any prescription glasses made with plastic lenses are going to be shatter-proof. So while they're not as good as goggles, they're definitely better than not wearing anything to protect your eyes. 

Okay, so let's say you've already got something in your eye. If it’s a small object and irritating but isn't full-on painful, you can let your body do its job. "Most times, your tears will wash things away," says Rizzuto. Try not to rub your eyes or wet them, even though that feels like the natural thing to do. "You don't want to move something around that could potentially be damaging," says Rizzuto. If you want to be extra safe and you can tell it's still in there, contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist or go to an emergency room. "If you feel like it's bad, it likely is,” he says. “I would err on the side of caution and have it examined, even if you think it really might be okay. I don't know an ophthalmologist who will look at a patient and say, 'I can't believe you're here,' but I can guarantee every one I know has looked at a patient and thought, 'Why didn't you come sooner?'"

RELATED: Would You Have Laser Surgery to Change Your Eye Color?

If you get something big in your eye, like a pencil or a piece of metal, don't yank it out in a panic. Because you're going through a trauma, your first instinct may very well be to get whatever it is out ASAP. But shifting its position could just further damage the eye. So as counter-intuitive as it may seem, leaving it in there is the best course of action. Then hightail it to a doctor so a professional can figure out the best way to remove it with minimal harm.

Gif courtesy of giphy.com 

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Workouts You Can Do in 5 Minutes or Less That Are Actually Effective

We've got awesome moves for when you have very little time to exercise.

Best news ever: Even quickie workouts have plenty of benefits. (Science says so!) Knock out one—or all—of these drills faster than you can think of an excuse not to.

RELATED: This 5-Minute Workout Video Will Make You Burn Calories Like Crazy

For more quick workouts, check out our Shape-Up Shortcuts videos. And for even more workouts and fitness tips, pick up the May 2015 issue of Women's Health, on newsstands now.

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The Money You Lose from Not Flossing Your Teeth Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Plus, other harmful habits that hurt your wallet

Bad health habits, like not flossing, hurt your physical and mental mojo—and pummel your wallet. Stay far ahead of these big-time money and wellness suckers. Note: All costs are average.

Yup, if lax brushing (and flossing) leads to tooth decay, you may need a root canal, which can cost you $1,500. What's more, people with gum disease have higher chances of developing heart disorders—and coronary bypass surgery can cost up to $48,500. Your move: Floss daily in an up-and-down motion between your teeth; the common back-and-forth sawing tactic can abrade enamel. And wait to brush 30 minutes after swallowing something acidic (wine, coffee, citrus fruits) to avoid pushing acid into your teeth. 

RELATED: The Health Tests You Need to Get in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s

For more ways to take control of your health and well-being, pick up the May 2015 issue of Women's Health, on newsstands now.

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A Guy Explains Why Men Touch Their Junk So Much

Mystery solved!

I walk around with my junk cupped in my hand fairly often. Frequently enough that I don’t always notice I’m doing so, and sometimes my female roommate will express concern about whether everything is all right down there. This makes me worry that I’m, like, unconsciously rearranging my sack at work while I’m talking to my boss about important business stuff. Or while I’m out on a first date.

I’m not alone in this. For ages, women have been asking men why they can’t leave their peckers alone for five minutes. Growing up, my mom—who raised three boys—said something like, “Hey! Why can’t you quit touching yourself!” more often than she said, “No, of course you can’t do that,” which she said rather often.

Here are a few reasons why we’re constantly rooting around down there:

1. We’re Itchy
Your junk gets itchy just like any other part of your body—and when it itches, it’s every bit as excruciating. (Even worse if you have jock itch, which is athlete’s foot on the groinal region.) It’s just a more noticeable area to scratch. I could have my eyes locked with a colleague talking about project deliverables while absent-mindedly itching my forearm, and she wouldn’t think anything of it. But substitute the forearm for my balls, and all of a sudden I’m an HR nightmare.

RELATED: Everything That’s Ever Baffled You About Guys and Urinals—Explained

2. Our Penises Get Out of Place
I started wearing boxer-briefs around puberty to keep my junk in place, but that was only like plugging a hole in a dam with a handkerchief in that it only fleetingly solves the problem. Sometimes, it’ll be slung awkwardly to the right or the left, and it especially needs some adjusting anytime you move to cross your legs. If you cross your legs and your testicles aren’t in the right position, you’re liable to tweak something or downright crush it. I actually have this interesting situation where my balls go up into my pubic region pretty often, so I’ll have to slide my hand down my pants to push them back down from my gut. (I should probably ask a doctor about that. It seems abnormal.)

3. We're Sweaty Down There
Look: Your groin/taint area in underwear and jeans is subject to what is essentially a greenhouse effect. The groin and armpits are the warmest-running areas of the body, and when they're encased in layers of cloth that don’t breathe very well, it perspires freely. And to try and find some modicum of comfort, we’ll shift things around down there. I call that the “Swamp Swap.”

RELATED: What to Do About Crotch Sweat

4. We Have an Erection
When you get a boner in public and you’re standing up, you really only have two options: You can stand there with your tent pitched for everyone to see, which I would say is a bad move in about 98 percent of situations, or you can do the boner tuck. That’s when you tuck your erect member up into the waistband of your underwear and jeans so that others can’t tell that you’re hard as a rock. It’s super uncomfortable but a necessity.

RELATED: 6 Embarrassing Secrets Men Don’t Tell You About Their Boners

5. Force of Habit
Sometimes, there’s no reason at all for us to grab our jewels, but we do it because we’re used to doing it. (It’s like when I have a beard, I can’t help but stroke it incessantly. Or how if I meet a terrible person, I will try to date them. I do it without even noticing.) One of my friends sits around with his hand down his pants almost all the time. He says it’s just his go-to way to bask in leisure, that he knows it’s there and that it’s fine, but that he just likes to have his hand on or around it. It’s like a security blanket, I guess. Except it’s a penis.

6. We’re Just Checking It's Still There
Our junk is very important to us. Sometimes it’s nice to just give it a grasp so we know it’s still present and in good standing.

--

Scott Muska is a writer in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter @scottmuska or e-mail him at [email protected].

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You Can Tell What’s Causing Your Acne By Where You Break Out

Use our pimple GPS to locate the reason behind your zits—and more importantly, the fix.

We're not going to name names, but in a recent poll, 56 percent of Women's Health readers admitted they always seem to have a zit or two. If you ask us, that's one or two zits too many. When you're prone to acne (and studies show so many of us are), anything can set it off and make it even gnarlier: your diet, your workout, and—we wish we were joking about this—even your city. So no matter how on-point your skin-care routine may be, you can't be truly free of breakouts until you get a handle on those sly culprits. We uncovered five of the most surprising triggers, mapping out precisely where they lurk on your face and how to remedy them fast. So if you've got zits, your confessions are safe with us. The only thing getting outed here are pimples.

If you have: Cystic acne on the chin and jawline
Possible cause #1:
Stress
Let us explain: The S word stimulates androgen hormones, which then mess with the oil glands, causing hormonal acne on your chin. And we're not helping ourselves: "Stressed people are tense and often can't leave pimples alone," says NYC dermatologist and psychiatrist Amy Wechsler, M.D.
How to nix 'em: To relieve stress, Wechsler uses this technique: "Breathe in slowly through the nose and out the mouth. Focusing on the breath lowers anxiety and heart rate." 

Possible cause #2: Diet (especially if you also have red itchy bumps all over)
Let us explain: Sugar and refined carbs are partners in crime, and they aim straight for your chin. If you've got red, itchy bumps all over, the culinary culprit is likely yeast. It's a condition called acne rosacea that may be related to a reaction of yeast in the hair follicles, says Dennis Gross, M.D., a NYC dermatologist.
How to nix 'em: Food triggers can be hard to isolate, so dermatologists suggest you cut out one suspected food you regularly eat (such as yogurt, pasta, protein shakes with whey, or white bread) at a time to see if there's any relief within one to three weeks.

RELATED: 4 Bizarre Places You Always Get Zits—and How to Prevent Them

If you have: A mix of red zits and whiteheads along your T-zone
Possible cause #1: 
Pollution
Let us explain: Particle matter—teensy-tiny soot and liquid particles suspended in air—penetrates the complexion, plugging pores and triggering red zits. But wait, there's more: Noxious gases called ground-level ozone cause a chemical reaction with your skin's natural oils, changing their consistency from a liquid to a wax, which, in turn, ushers in whiteheads.
How to nix 'em: Find out the pollution level of your zip code on StateOfTheAir.org, a site run by the American Lung Association that rates cities with letter grades. If yours scored below a B, cleanse like you mean it—particle matter is microscopic, so fingers alone won't cut it. "A cleansing brush removes more soot and debris," says Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., a dermatologist in Washington, D.C. Try Pulsaderm Buddy, ($69, pulsaderm.com) with a 2 percent salicylic acid wash, like Garnier Clean+ Shine Control Cleansing Gel ($8, at drugstores). 

Possible cause #2: Climate
Let us explain: Hot, muggy climes (summers on the East Coast, and all year round in the South) spur the production of oil, which is a breeding ground for P. acnes bacteria. But dry-climate dwellers (if you live in the Southwest, or spend winters in the Northeast) aren't in the clear. That air sucks out moisture, causing dry cells to flake and gunk up the pore walls, "so you'll see little whiteheads," says aesthetician Renee Rouleau. 
How to nix 'em: If humidity is your trigger, use an oil-free moisturizer, says Gross—don't give bacteria more slickness to munch on. Dry climate? Get a humidifier.

RELATED4 Reasons You're Still Struggling with Acne

If you have: Any kind of acne on the forehead and around the hairline
Possible cause: 
Workouts
Let us explain: One sneaky foe that leads to a case of the pimps, says NYC dermatologist Jeremy Fenton, M.D., is wiping your forehead with your hands or a towel. "A dirty one can transfer bacteria to your face, but the friction of using even a clean towel can cause inflammation," he says. The result? Tiny bumps that can morph into cystic and pustular acne. Lovely.
How to nix 'em: "Change out of your gym clothes and shower immediately after a workout," says Fenton. That means washing your face (21 percent of you admit to being too beat post-exercise to do that—eek!). Exfoliating regularly with alpha and beta hydroxy acids keeps pores clear; try Neutrogena Pore Refining Exfoliating Cleanser ($8, at drugstores). Working out with makeup on? Shouldn't be a problem if you're wearing the noncomedogenic kind, says Fenton. 

RELATED: 5 Essential Steps to Treating Adult Acne

For an even more in-depth explanation about your acne, plus more ways to get rid of it, pick up the May 2015 issue of Women's Health, on newsstands now.

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