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Ask HER: Swimmer's Ear, Checking for Skin Cancer & Can You Lift Weights without Looking Bulky?

Ask HER: Swimmer's Ear, Checking for Skin Cancer & Can You Lift Weights without Looking Bulky?
It's YOUR time on HER Radio. Be a part of the show... send your comments and ask your questions by email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . It's time to Ask HER. Today, on HER Radio you wanted to know:

What causes Swimmer's Ear?

Swimmer's ear, which doctors call otitis externa, is an inflammation of the external ear canal. It occurs when water gets into the ear—usually during swimming or bathing—and does not properly drain.

When that happens, the canal can become irritated and infected.

I have a lot of moles on my body. How often should they be checked for abnormalities and skin cancer?

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone practice monthly head-to-toe self-examinations of your skin, so that you can find any new or changing lesions that might be cancerous or precancerous. If you notice anything new or different, it's time to go see your dermatologist.

How can women build muscle without becoming too bulky?

This is a common concern among women. Most women are afraid of weightlifting because they think it will turn them into Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, this is FAR from the truth. In fact, unless you were using steroids, it would take forever to get bulky... you can thank women's hormones for that.

Women can build muscle without looking bulky by lifting weights that aren't too heavy for you (this is different for everyone). Lifting weights actually has some major benefits for women, including: aids in weight loss, improves bone density, relieves anxiety and depression, improves your joints, and decreases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

If you have a personal health question you want answered, Pam and Michelle encourage you to send them in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

RadioMD Presents:HER Radio | Original Air Date: June 11, 2015
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD

It's your time on HER Radio. Be a part of the show. Make your comments. Ask your questions by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 877.711.5211. Time to ask HER!

DR. PAM: Yeah, we have three questions.


DR. PAM: Oh, I love it. Okay and so the first one is -- oh no! I got to put on my little doctor hat and my little white coat for this one. It's, "What causes swimmer's ear?" Michelle, have you ever gotten this when you were a little girl when you went in there and you kind of got a little pain in your ear?


DR. PAM: You had to put those little drops in and everything.

MICHELLE: When I was a big girl, I had a two.

DR. PAM: Oh, yeah? Well, that's the thing. It's the grand equalizer here. So, what causes swimmer's ear? So, it's known as otitis externa and all it is, is an inflammation of your ear canal. And the reason why this takes place is well, number one, if you have been in the water and specially water in the open water--you know, the ocean or lake or something like that--where there is lot more bacteria.

A lot of that sort of thing begins to grow inside that canal causing what? It causes irritation. It causes inflammation. Now in addition to the water, there are other things that also can increase your risk for this irritation. And that is if you have some kind of dermatitis like a seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis.

Sometimes that can really do a number on you. Another one is just excessive and improper cleaning of wax from the ear. Yes. I mean, if you have little bit of compulsive issue with over cleaning your ear canal, would you do me a favor? Get an ear nose and throat person-- a professional-- to clean it out if you really have an issue with wax.

Don't be poking things in there because you are going to get yourself in all kinds of trouble. And that also includes people who take those nice little finger nails, ladies, and stick them in there in addition to hair pins and God knows what else. Here is something. Michelle, bet you didn't know, hair spray or hair color -

MICHELLE: Hair color, I read that.

DR. PAM: Yeah. Yeah, which can irritate the ear canal and lead to that outer ear infection. Now, as a physician, I have a lot of people come in and say, "Oh, my gosh. You know--do I have an inner or an outer ear infection?" Here is the easiest thing to do. I teach everyone. Take your hand and pull on that earlobe, right? You know where your earrings go -- it's called the tragus. Just pull it down.

When you pull it and you get pain, that's an absolute indication that you do have what we call otitis externa or the swimmer's ear because what you're doing is, you are pulling on the canal and if the canal's all nasty, well, then. There you have it. Right!

MICHELLE: And no ear plugs, Pam. Right? No ear plugs.

DR. PAM: No! Well, actually, you know something? If you are going to be like a swimmer, then there are special kinds of ear plugs you can actually use. They are usually ones that you can make them from just plain old wax.

MICHELLE: You mold them. Right. It's just wax. You mold them. I have seen that.

DR. PAM: Exactly! Precisely! A lot of people know how to -- it's a special wax. And the other thing, too, is, you know, most of the over-the-counter remedies really don't work that well. Most of the time you do need an actual prescription for a neomycin or polymyxin or a hydrocortisone or kind of a mix and within almost no time, you feel so much better. So, there you are. The A-Z about swimmer's ear because it is the season, isn't it? Oh boy! Alright now. Here is a question, Michelle. You and I have talked about this issue of moles forever.


DR. PAM: And that means when women are out there asking, "Oh, gosh. I have a lot of moles on my body, how often should they be checked for abnormalities and skin cancer?" Now, what did you find there, Michelle, in terms of how often they should be checked?

MICHELLE: At least once a year. And I had a hard time finding that actually. Why I knew was because I always do when I have my annual physical because I have a lot of moles on my body and I've had to have some removed. But I think it's interesting, too, that you can also do your own checks because you never know where they are going to be. Number one, they can be in your scalp for example, and it's hard to check your scalp. So, a doctor's got to be able to -- a dermatologist or your doctor, needs to be able to check you from head to toe with no clothes on.

DR. PAM: Yeah and that means you need to have -- well, you know, sometimes... like I was born with a beautiful round -- we call it congenital nevi, and that's just a normal plain mole that is just something I was born with. And so, we always take a picture of it and I have a picture -- you know those pictures dermatologists take.

And then, they keep them as part of your record so if there are any problems -- A lot of us were born with these and they occur really honestly in about one out of every hundred people. So, you have to watch these because many times they will change which brings us to the A to E about what you actually look for in any of these moles or a new kind of lesion on your body. So, let's start with the A, Michelle.

MICHELLE: Asymmetry. It's the asymmetry. Yeah, what is it?

DR. PAM: Yeah! One half of the mole doesn't match the other half.

MICHELLE: There you have it.

DR. PAM: So, in my little round one, it's round and it matches. It's a perfect round and haven't done much of anything since I was born just yesterday, right? Don't laugh too hard, Michelle.


DR. PAM: Border. So, if those borders are ragged, blurred or irregular. Watch out, that means all of these things we're telling you, ladies, out there on HER Radioland, you need to have it checked out. If one of these things that we are talking about is happening to you, then you need to rush to a dermatologist and make sure that they do a full examination. So, it's asymmetry, border, what's the next one?

MICHELLE: Color. It changes color.

DR. PAM: Yeah! It's not the same throughout or it has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white or red. Something ain't right. So, you got to know yourself well enough and look, for crying out loud. Asymmetry, border, color. What's the next one?

MICHELLE: Diameter.

DR. PAM: Okay. If it's larger than the eraser of a pencil. Now, you know to be perfectly blunt with you, mine is. I have got to goodly little sized one on my little behind.

MICHELLE: I was going to say, where is it?

DR. PAM: Okay so you are never going to see it. Oh, my god. I haven't worn my thong bikini for you?


DR. PAM: And I probably won't. So, seriously you have to watch and see whether or not this, especially if it's a larger one, if it's actually becoming large. If it started out to be the size of an eraser on a pencil and then the final one is E. What is it?

MICHELLE: Evolution.

DR. PAM: The mole is changing in size, shape or color. So, asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolution these are all terribly, terribly important. We've got to make sure that you know not to sit on it.

Now the third question of our wonderful ask HER is, what about working out with weights? Am I going to get bulky and nasty and, you know, will someone be signing me up for next Miss Olympia? What's going on with that? My answer -- you know, when I wrote Body for Life for Women, that's exactly what I was talking about. I was talking about primarily what was happening when you were working out. The answer is no, no, no for crying out loud. What you are doing -- the grand majority of women -- is you're just simply lifting weights which are fabulous for you.

Do this with a trainer, get a fitness professional but no, you are not going to hulk up. That is completely genetic and most women don't have it in them. They'll be lean and toned and wonderful.

MICHELLE: So, I can't be jelly belly, jelly body?

DR. PAM: Well, jelly body is little uglier than that one. You know, that brings up another thing, if you don't use it you'll lose it.


DR. PAM: So, there you have it! Swimmer's ear, we're talking about skin and moles and we are also saying, "No, you don't bulk up just because you lift a couple of weights." Now relax. I am Dr. Pam Peeke with Michelle King Robson.

MICHELLE: You are listening to HER Radio on Radio MD. Stay well.