What can’t our bodies do? They convert food into energy. They move us around. They give us lots of enjoyment (as well as a little frustration, probably). We live with our bodies every day, and do our best to make them look presentable.
But there’s only so much one can do to disguise the fact that the body is, in fact, pretty amazingly gross. Don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with you. These things are normal and natural, even if they weird you out.
Get to know yourself better:
1.) Eyelash mites
They feel pretty when you put on mascara, too! Eyelash mites, or Demodex folliculorum, are tiny guys camping out at the base of your eyelashes, with as many as 25 to a follicle. That sounds like a lot, but they’re tiny and harmless, only causing allergic reactions in people with sensitivities. Wave hello when you look in the mirror.
Mucus is just a fancy word for snot. While snot is usually associated with noses and sinuses, it’s found in the mouth, throat, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. There’s more mucus present when you have a cold, but it’s always there; your body produces up to 2 liters of the stuff on a daily basis.
And for good reason. Mucus is a lubricant. Without it, your mouth, nose, throat, and organs would dry out. You know how awful it is when your throat and nose feel dry? Thank mucus for helping you not feel like that all the time. Mucus also catches dust, pollen, dirt, or whatever else gets into your body through breathing. Mucus keeps these foreign substances from irritating the lungs and other organs. Hooray for mucus!
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Your stomach produces hydrogen to digest food, which mixes with the chloride in there and creates hydrochloric acid (HCl). This acid is found in commercial fertilizers, dyes, and the process known as fracking. It’s strong enough to dissolve metal, so how come it’s nice and contained in your stomach? Thank your pal mucus for that. Mucus coats the stomach’s lining and protects it from breaking down by the acid.
When you think about it, vomit is just undigested food when it’s not inside your body anymore. The average stomach holds about three quarters of a gallon of food and beverages, and you know when you’ve reached your limit because you feel queasy. There’s a “vomit center” in your brain that flips the switch and makes you toss your cookies. Food-borne illness, regular illness, pregnancy, and medical treatments like chemotherapy all induce vomiting. And, you know, too much partying. In the cases of food-borne illness and partying, vomiting is a defensive reaction, meant to get harmful substances out of your body as soon as possible. If you don’t have to vomit, the food passes through your digestive system and becomes…
Everybody poops! Your body takes the nutrients it needs from the food you eat. It gets rid of whatever it doesn’t need. Your intestines are at a combined 25 feet long, about the length of an average garden hose, and full of poo. Aside from unneeded food, stool is also made of other waste from our body, including mucus, dead cells, bacteria, and water. Normal poop is about 75% water. Most people get rid of 3 to 8 ounces every day.
6.) Tonsil stones
Your tonsils have pockets, provided you still have them. These pockets collect dead cells, mucus, and bacteria, forming a charming substance that hardens and become tonsil stones, or tonsilloliths. People with chronic tonsil issues have a higher chance of getting these. They also seem to appear more in people who have chronic dry mouth. Some people won’t notice them, and some may feel discomfort. They can also cause bad breath. You can easily remove them with a swab or by rinsing the mouth, and prevent them by keeping your mouth clean and hydrated.
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Yes, farts. The average person burps or farts 14 to 23 times a day. Human gas is composed of carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen, as well as methane and sulfur. Our “natural gas” is mostly caused by swallowing air, although gassiness can also occur after eating certain foods. Known gas-inducing culprits include sugary and high-fiber foods (as well as beans and broccoli, as you probably know). Food allergies and digestive sensitivities also contribute to gas.
Don’t dig around in your ears too much because it’s gross. Also, ear wax (or cerumen) is your friend. This waxy substance secreted by glands in your ear prevents dust and sometimes bugs from getting in your ears. Ear wax also keeps the ear canal lubricated and contains antibacterial properties. Look, if it didn’t have a purpose, it wouldn’t be there, okay? Get your fingers out of there.
The average human body is home to about 10 times as many microbial cells as it is human cells. A study shows that nearly three pounds of you, on average, isn’t you, but your own population of bacteria. Your body is its own ecosystem, and home to lots of friendly little guys. About 100 trillion little guys, to be specific. You’re a universe! Many of your inhabitants are quite helpful, too, providing you with aid in digesting food and fighting off the 1% of bodily bacteria that can cause disease or infection. So love your microbes! They love you. At least 99% of them do, but that’s a pretty good approval rating.
10.) Fatty deposits
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Also known as lipomas, fatty deposits are simply deposits of fat. They are fat cells growing and storing fat in a weird place. They’re usually painless and harmless, and always kind of squishy.
If this makes you feel like a terrifying beast of grossness, don’t worry! This is happening to everyone on the planet right now. Your boss, your crush, and the celebrities you idolize experience these bodily happenings. They’re just like you: icky and full of critters. Doesn’t that make you feel better?