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Am I Normal? 6 Body Issues Explained

If you’ve gained a little weight or your hair is a bit thinner, check out some common problems and what they may mean for your health.

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By Jordan Lawson

Ever wake up and notice that your body feels or looks just a bit different? Maybe your hair is a little thinner, your breath is especially smelly or your waistline is bigger than usual. In most cases, these aren’t serious health concerns, but they still may make you wonder, “Am I normal?” 

Click through to see some common problems and what they may mean for your health.

Bad Breath

2 / 7 Bad Breath

Feel like you need endless supply of Tic-Tacs? Consider these likely reasons:

  1. Poor oral hygiene: Brush twice a day and floss once a day.
  2. What you eat: Think onions and garlic. These go through your bloodstream and are carried to your lungs -- causing that unfortunate stench.
  3. Dry mouth: Saliva cleans the mouth, and without enough of it, bacteria and debris build up. 

But it could be:

Kidney disease: If you have kidney problems, your kidneys may not take out urea from your blood, which then breaks down to form the foul-smelling ammonia.

Diabetes: If your bad breath has a somewhat fruity smell, it may be caused from a serious complication from diabetes called ketoacidosis.

Heavy Periods

3 / 7 Heavy Periods

There’s a wide range for what’s “normal” here. But if you have to change your tampon or pad every hour, and/or if your period lasts more than 7 days, see your doctor. Your menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding) could be caused by a number of factors, but often the cause is a hormone imbalance, which is easily treatable.

But it could be:

Growths in the uterus: Fibroids or polyps are a common cause of heavy bleeding.

Cancer: Both uterine and cervical cancer may be a factor, though less often than growths in the uterus.

Bleeding disorders: Von Willebrand disease, in which the blood doesn’t clot normally, can also cause heavy menstrual bleeding.

Female Facial Hair

4 / 7 Female Facial Hair

Women produce a low level of male hormones, also known as androgens. That can result in unwanted hair growth—including on your face—which can be totally normal.

But it could be:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This hormonal disorder can result in an overproduction of androgens.

Cancer: Both cancers of the ovaries or adrenal glands are known to cause excess hair growth.

Cushing’s syndrome: This potentially dangerous condition causes unwanted hair in women and occurs when your body is exposed to high levels of cortisol. 

Weight Gain

5 / 7 Weight Gain

Step on the scale and see a number you don’t recognize? It’s probably one of the causes you already know:

Poor eating habits: Make healthy swaps, eat more fruits and veggies and cut back on the fattening foods.

Lack of exercise: Sure, skipping the gym every once in a while isn’t going to cause your belt to pop off but it might if you consistently trade the elliptical for your couch.

But it could be:

Stress: Too much anxiety and worry means possible stress eating to cope, and cortisol levels rise when you are stressed, which can affect your appetite and cravings.

Hypothyroidism: This condition, where your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, is known to cause weight gain.

Brittle and Discolored Nails

6 / 7 Brittle and Discolored Nails

You look down and see your nails have a yellowish color, or maybe you’ve noticed they’re breaking more often. It may be one of these not-so-serious problems:

Nail fungus: The same fungus that causes athlete’s foot may make its way to your nailbed, which can cause discoloration and breakage.

Aging: It’s common for nails to become brittle with age. (Here are some ways you can strengthen them.)

But it could be:

Psoriasis: This skin condition can turn your nails a yellow-brown color, cause “pitting” (small dents) in the nail and cause the nail to lift from the skin.

Anemia: An iron deficiency can lead to brittle nails and also cause “spoon nails” – when your nail edges raise and curve inward.

Hair Loss

7 / 7 Hair Loss

That bald patch or thinning hair may just be genetics at play: Hair loss is usually hereditary. Other common causes include:

Stress: Serious physical and mental stress—such as a loved one’s death or major surgery—can lead to shedding.

Medications: Some prescriptions for depression, blood thinners, heart disease and more can cause it. Also, starting or stopping birth control pills may mean hair loss.

But it could be:

Ringworm: Tinea captitis can cause round patches of skin on the scalp. While it’s very contagious, it’s also a very treatable infection.

Medical conditions: Thyroid disease and iron deficiency may be to blame.  

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