Many women strive daily to be the best student, mother, employee or grandmother; often placing their health on the back burner. So, when aches, pain or fatigue strike, they get passed off as a result of something they did that day. Women tend to make excuses: maybe it was something I ate, maybe I exercised too long, or maybe I’m under too much stress.
All women should be aware that symptoms don’t have to be intense for our bodies to warn us that something is wrong. This guide will help you understand that even vague symptoms are worrisome and when it may be time to see your doctor.
Unexpected Weight Loss or Gain
Your body weight can fluctuate between 2 and 4 pounds each day. But, fluctuations of 10 pounds or more within a few months, without a change in your daily routine or diet, may be a sign of:
· Cancer ·
· Thyroid disorder
· Celiac disease
· Digestive problems
· Fluid retention
· Nutritional deficiencies
Severe or Frequent Headaches
After a stressful day, it’s not uncommon to have an occasional headache. Yet, it is uncommon to experience a sudden and persistent headache.
Severe headaches shouldn’t be ignored as they can indicate high blood pressure, a brain tumor, or be a sign of stroke.
Abdominal Pain or Bloating
Abdominal pain or bloating is often attributed to your menstrual cycle or a type of food you ate. Symptoms become concerning when they last more than a week.
Persistent abdominal pain or bloating, as well as these other symptoms, can be a sign of ovarian cancer:
· Frequent urination
· Feeling full early when eating
· Difficulty eating
A New or Changing Mole
Having a mole isn’t a cause for concern. But, if you notice a new mole or a mole that has changed shape or is bleeding, it may be a warning sign of possible melanoma. You should look for specific changes in your moles:
A lack in energy at the end of a busy day is common but constant fatigue is a warning sign of a possible medical condition, which may be:
· Thyroid disease
· Sleep apnea
· Chronic fatigue syndrome
Vision changes as we age are common. But, a medical exam should be sought if you experience symptoms such as:
· Vision changes affecting only one eye
· A sudden onset of double vision
· An inability to see the center of what you’re looking at
Seek immediate medical attention to rule out stoke if you also experience:
· Difficulty speaking
· Numbness or weakness on one side of your body
· Difficulty walking
· Confusion or dizziness
Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Abnormal vaginal bleeding occurs between periods or after menopause. Heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding during sexual intercourse, or long menstrual cycles are also concerning.
Abnormal bleeding can be a sign of an endometrial polyp (a growth in the inner lining of your uterus), cervical cancer or endometrial cancer.
Chest Pain or Discomfort
As heart disease is one of the main causes of death in all women, ignoring chest pain or discomfort, even if it resolves on its own, is risky.
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms with chest pain:
· Shortness of breath
· Hot flashes
· Pain in your left arm or shoulder
· Cold sweats
Many of these symptoms seem mild and common. But, if any of them persist, it is prudent to make an appointment with your doctor. Making your health a priority is essential. Prevention through healthy life choices is the best medicine. That said, awareness of notable changes in your body, and your willingness to discuss it with your doctor is your best defense.