Can you feel a pain in your back if you’re dehydrated? I had a sharp pain on my left side and I knew I hadn’t had a lot of water but I was outside a lot. Is that related?

There is no way to know if this pain you felt was related to dehydration. Pain on one side of your back could be any number of things. Early signs of dehydration typically include lack of energy, increased thirst, muscle cramps and dizziness with position changes.

How do you determine if a baby is premature? Is it just based on weeks? Or do you use things like size and weight to make that determination? How common are premature births…and why do they happen?

By definition, a preterm birth is one that occurs before 37 weeks of gestation. You may also hear the term “late preterm” which generally refers to a baby born from 35-37 weeks' gestation. According to the CDC, in 2015, about one out of 10 babies was born prematurely. There are many risk factors for preterm birth including multiple gestation (i.e. twins, triplets, etc.), polyhydramnios (having too much amniotic fluid around the baby), a uterine anomaly, preterm premature rupture of membranes (water breaking before 37 weeks), history of cervical surgery, short cervical length, STIs, systemic infections, history of a preterm birth, substance abuse, smoking, anemia, inadequate prenatal care, and maternal age less than 18 years old or older than 40, to name a few.

And just because a pregnant woman has one or more risk factors does not mean that she will have a preterm delivery. Sometimes patients that deliver prematurely have no risk factors. This is one of the many reasons adequate prenatal care is so important. If you are seeing your doctor for regular prenatal visits, he or she can be looking for signs of preterm labor, among many other things, that can affect your pregnancy and its outcome.

Can you really use duct tape to remove a wart?

The typical first-line treatments for wart removal are salicylic acid applied to the skin or cryotherapy (freezing the wart) with liquid nitrogen. These two options have been shown to have the best success rates. Removal with duct tape has actually been studied as a method of removal and there is conflicting evidence as to whether it works. In one small study of only 61 children, the duct tape method was shown to be better than cryotherapy. But two larger studies (one with 103 children and the other with 90 adults) showed no benefit to the duct tape method.

So the jury is still out on whether the duct tape method actually works.

Does wearing makeup harm your skin? Can it cause you to look older sooner?

Some people can have an allergic reaction to makeup, usually to a fragrance or preservative component in it. Symptoms of this would include itching, burning, swelling, and/or blisters. Makeup can also cause acne, which can be minimized or eliminated if you are diligent about removing your makeup at the end of the day and after exercise. There is no evidence that makeup actually damages your skin. And makeup has also not been proven to speed up the aging process. But scrubbing your skin repetitively does speed up aging by causing irritation. So gently washing to remove your makeup is a better option.

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