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Insane explanations for strange body reactions

There are common, yet baffling things that the body does every day such as yawning, hiccups, among others. You may have probably questioned these oddities. Turns out, there is a scientific explanation to these body reactions, writes Evelyn Makena

1. Fingers wrinkling under water

Wrinkly fingers are common, especially after spending prolonged periods washing, bathing or in the pool. Constriction of blood vessels is responsible for the shrivelled appearance. Water starts seeping into the skin causing the upper layers to swell. The nerves on the skin activate chemicals that lead to blood vessels constriction. This causes negative pressure on the constricted blood vessels; that is pressure less than that of the atmosphere. Wrinkles are formed when the narrowed blood vessels pull down the outer layers of the skin. A person with nerve damage on fingers does not experience similar reaction.

2. Bad taste of saliva just before vomiting

Heavy salivating and a weird salty taste in the mouth before vomiting is the body’s way of preparing for the stomach acids about to get to the mouth. Prior to food coming back to the mouth on throwing up, the body responds by producing excess saliva to neutralise the acidity of vomit. Consistently experiencing this taste even when not about to vomit could be an indication that one suffers from a reflux condition where acidic contents in the stomach come up the esophagus.

3. Burning sensation in the nose when water goes up

If you have ever sniffed water into your nose during a shower or in a swimming pool then you know the feeling is plain nasty. Fresh cold water causes discomfort to the nose since inside is a salty environment owing to mucus. Cells in the body have a degree of salinity. The sudden change of temperature is also uncomfortable. The inside of the nose is lined with nerve endings. They react to the foreign liquid through the burning sensation as mucus dispels water to restore its saline environment.

4. Motion sickness

Being in an airplane, car or boat in motion can suddenly make one sick. Dizziness, headaches and nausea experienced when one is aboard a moving vessel is as a result of confusion between some of the senses. The body uses eyes, ears, feet or hands in the case of a crawling baby to maintain balance in motion. Canals within the inner ear contain fluid that helps keep balance. When the body senses one thing and the eyes see something different for example, the eyes give the impression that one is seating still in an airplane while the ear senses turbulence, the conflicting information stirs sickness.

5. Cracking sound after sitting for long

Motion enables the body lubricate itself. When one is inactive, the fluid in joints does not move meaning they are less lubricated thus causing the cracking sound. The sound also occurs when gas between the joints is being released. Worn out cartilage due to old age and friction between muscles and tendons during workout are other causes of the snappy sound.

6. Tearing up when pooping

It is actually normal for some people to cry when they poop. Going to the bathroom happens naturally. Your brain sends a message to your colon, but the same parasympathetic system controls your tears, and so the signal can get crossed. Some people only figure out that this does not happen to everyone by comparing themselves to what their friends say.  Also, some people can sweat or have blood pressure changes when they poop! 

7. Getting dizzy after standing up too fast

Feeling lightheaded may signal a big problem in the body. Experiencing the same after immediately waking up is not something to worry about. Dizziness occurs due to drop in blood pressure. When one stands gravity pulls blood towards the feet. The nervous system quickly increases the heart rate and constricts blood vessels to maintain the blood pressure. If the process of restoring the blood pressure takes a while, it causes dizziness. Lying down too long and being dehydrated are other causes of lightheadedness.

8. Eyes tearing up after yawning

Besides being contagious, yawning brings tears to the eyes, quite literally. The eyes are surrounded by facial muscles. When one yawns, the muscles are pulled tight pressure on lacrimal glands (produce tears) hidden beneath the upper eyelid. The glands work throughout to produce tear, which coat the surface of the eye at all times. Tension on the glands causes them to produce a small amount of tears during yawning.

9. Feet getting numb after prolonged sitting

The tingling sensation as if one is being injected by a dozen pins and needles after sitting for long is a result of compression of nerve endings. Sitting or standing in an incorrect posture for an extended period, exerts pressure on the nerves and hinders blood flow to the limbs. Interestingly, the thinner one is, the higher the chances of experiencing the sensation since there is no adequate body fat to cushion blood vessels from compression when sitting or standing.

10. Goosebumps when excited or scared

During scary situations, the body releases adrenaline, a stress hormone to increase your alertness and reaction time to the perceived threat. Adrenaline causes muscles attached to hair follicles to contract causing hair to stand and goose bumps to form. Goosebumps involuntarily form when one overly excited or is anticipating pleasure, for example, when listening to good music. This is due to release of dopamine, a pleasure hormone that causes chills through the body.

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