As women, we have a tendency to ignore most gynecological symptoms often chalking them up to PMS or stress. But there are certain symptoms that you shouldn’t be brushing off so easily. So take a breath ladies, it’s time to listen to what your body is telling you!
Abnormal vaginal bleeding… “Abnormal” can be defined as bleeding between periods or during and after intercourse. While often times abnormal bleeding in premenopausal women is diagnosed as simple breakthrough bleeding from birth control, it is also the number one symptom of women with endometrial cancer. If you’ve already gone through menopause you should be even more concerned as any type of vaginal bleeding is considered abnormal.
Vaginal discharge colored with blood… While typically bloody, dark or foul smelling discharge is a sign of an infection, it can also be an early sign of cervical cancer. Either diagnosis requires a doctor’s care and should be treated as soon as possible.
Swollen leg… Most women contribute any type of swelling to PMS or one too many potato chips. However, if one leg seems more swollen than the other and is accompanied by pain and/or discharge, this could be a sign of cervical cancer.
Unexplained weight loss…Okay now, we all know the joy that comes with stepping on a scale and seeing the numbers drop, but if you find yourself suddenly 10 or more pounds lighter without having made major changes to your diet or exercise routine, see your doctor ASAP. This type of weight loss is attributed to many types of cancer; ovarian cancer in particular.
Constant bathroom breaks… If you’re guzzling gallons of water every day then yes frequent trips to the ladies room are normal. However, if you find yourself constantly needing to use the bathroom or feel continuous bladder pressure regardless of beverage consumption amounts, this may be a sign of cancer. If you find yourself always feeling full, have abdominal pain or constant bloating, take this as a double red flag and make an appointment today.
Loss of appetite/feeling full… If you suddenly find yourself without an appetite or find that after eating very little you seem to have that full, bloated feeling, contact your doctor. These sudden changes may be symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Pelvic or abdominal pain… Regular symptoms of PMS are fine but if you find yourself with consistent abdominal pain or discomfort like gas, indigestion, pressure, bloating and cramps, these could be the warning signs of ovarian cancer. Experiencing constant pain and pressure in your pelvic area? This could be a warning sign of endometrial cancer.
Pain during intercourse… If you’re suddenly experiencing pain during intercourse followed by bloating, fatigue and occasional bleeding, you could have endometriosis. If these symptoms are accompanied by constant bloating regardless of activity and diet, it could be something even more serious.
Constant fatigue…If you find yourself exhausted all the time regardless of taking time for extra rest, this could be a warning sign of many cancers. Have swollen lymph nodes and weight loss as well? Get to the doctor ASAP for blood work.
Constant indigestion or nausea… Feeling queasy or having indigestion can be a sign of many things from poor diet choices to pregnancy. However, if your symptoms have been hanging around for longer than two weeks they could also be a sign of cancer.
Keep in mind that no symptom or even a combination of symptoms is a sure diagnosis of an issue. Many times it really is just related to stress, changes in hormones, or PMS. However, if your symptoms are persistent or beginning to interfere with your daily activities, it’s time to see the doctor. Remember, before you can take care of everyone else in your life you have to take care of yourself first!