Truth is, we’re pretty good at recognizing weight gain, weird moles, and new wrinkles. But sometimes even we don’t know what’s going on with our bodies. That random moment a girl stops whatever she’s doing to go to the bathroom? It’s probably because one of the questions below popped into her head. Read on for eight questions all women have thought of once in their lifetime.
1. Do I need to pee or am I horny?
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Your waiter has refilled your water glass four times: It must be pee. Your waiter looks exactly like your latest crush: You must be horny. Well, you’d be surprised to learn it can be both.
Health consultant Celeste Holbrook, PhD, told Shape magazinethat women can feel horny because they need to pee. “A full bladder can push onto some of the more sensitive and arousing parts of the genitalia, such as the clitoris and its branches.”
Feel free to use this information to heighten your pleasure, but if needing to pee becomes too distracting, take care of that before proceeding any further.
2. Is it sweat or is my body leaking?
Pregnant moms might know when they’re leaking, be it breasts or amniotic fluid. But what if you’re not a new mom, pregnant, or an 18th century wet nurse? Why is your body crying?
The easy answer is to check. If the wetness is specific to your nipple area, you might want to get that checked out by your doctor. Like so many female health issues, this one is a bit of a mystery, but possible culprits include medications, drug use, herbal supplements, and, wait for it … excessive nipple play. If you can’t determine why fluid is leaking from your nipples, go see your doctor.
3. Am I balding or just too busy to clean my hairbrush?
Does your hairbrush resemble a small woodland creature lately, or are you actually starting your journey to balding?
First of all, we’re all losing hair, all the time. The average person loses 100 strands of hair a day. In the time it took you to read this far, you might have lost one hair!
If you suspect you’re losing more than your daily allotment, it could also be stress. Increased hair loss is not uncommon during stressful times. Hair loss is also associated with inadequate protein in your diet. Eat some eggs, beans, or meat.
4. Am I pregnant or, you know, just really, really fit?
Depending on where you are in your life, a missed period can mean happy news, terrifying news, or that you’re working out like a CrossFit trainer. It’s not uncommon for female athletes to experience amenorrhea, the ceasing of menstruation. This is due to intense exercise, which lowers estrogen and progesterone levels.
If you’re working out intensely and missed a period (and not using a form of birth control during sex), it could go either way, so it’s best to take a pregnancy test.
5. Was it rough sex or is my period coming?
You know your delicate yet durable bits can stand up to long bike rides, Brazilian waxes, and being strangled in skinny jeans, but when you're spotting, the cause is up in the air. It all depends on the time of the month, what you did last night, or both.
Postcoital bleeding (spotting or bleeding after sex) can happen if you’re about to start your period because orgasms contract the uterine muscles. This may dilate the cervix and cause some menstrual blood to escape ahead of schedule.
You can also get temporary scrapes on your vaginal walls or cervix from very vigorous sex, in which case, be sure your body is really ready for penetration. Consider using or adding more lube before the bump and grind.
More serious causes such as vaginal dryness (especially in postmenopausal women), inflammation, infection, or other issues require a doctor’s attention.
6. Am I paranoid or is my doctor sexist?
Sometimes it’s good to trust your instinct and go for a second opinion. Many ailments present themselves with completely different symptoms in women than men, which is no bueno if you have a doctor who won’t recognize your concerns. For example, the symptoms of a heart attack in women are very different. It’s possible to have had a “silent one” without knowing.
If your doctor is not listening to you or taking you seriously, break up with him.
7. Am I turned off or is my vagina entering retirement?
There’s nothing more distressing than being dry as toast when you’re trying to be intimate with someone. But before you place blame, ask yourself: Is it the lack of foreplay? The weird poster on their wall? Or maybe you’re just plain tired.
If you’re close to the age of menopause, you may recognize a collection of symptoms, such as vaginal dryness, tissue thinning, and pain during sex. This is known as vaginal atrophy. Thankfully, the condition responds well to home remedies, topical hormone treatment, and believe it or not, tofu.
8. Am I hungry or is this just PMS?
People say your body is good at telling you what it needs, but clearly they haven’t experienced PMS. Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: If you find yourself eating stale popcorn because you skipped lunch, it’s hunger. If you knock over someone offering you free Beyonce floor seats to get to the junk food, it’s PMS.
Bottom line is, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. Being aware of what your body is doing or not doing is not only smart, but also your job as its owner. Talk to your doctor if you ever feel your body is doing something out of the norm or getting in your way of enjoying the day to day.
If you’ve asked yourself one of these questions, or anything equally perplexing, share them in the comments below! You may find your kin, as another woman has likely asked herself the same question before.
Dara Nai is a Los Angeles-based humor writer whose credits include scripted television, entertainment and pop culture journalism, celebrity interviews, and cultural commentary. She’s also appeared in her own show for LOGO TV, written two independent sitcoms and, inexplicably, served as a judge at an international film festival.