10 symptoms women often ignore but shouldn't

March 01, 2022 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

Most women know that diet and exercise, along with regular Pap tests, mammograms and check-ups are vital to good health. But when faced with symptoms like a frequent sore throat or fatigue, many women chalk it up to a common cold or virus when, in reality, it could be a warning sign of a serious health issue.

Make your health a priority; don’t ignore what your body is trying to tell you. Visit a doctor if you notice: 

  1. Breast changes. Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of your breast should be examined by a doctor. Normal breast tissue should have a bumpy texture throughout and feel almost identical to your other breast. Learn more about breast lumps

  2. Bloating. Most women feel bloated after eating or drinking too much and around their period. See a doctor if you notice yourself feeling bloated more often than not, or if you have difficulty eating or feel full quickly after eating. Learn symptoms of ovarian cancer.

  3. Frequent fatigue. We usually blame lack of sleep for being tired, but if your tiredness does not get better after one or two night’s sleep, see a doctor. Frequent fatigue that interferes with your personal or professional life may be a sign of some cancers.

  4. Pain or discomfort in the chest or a cough that won’t quit. Lung cancer may produce pain in the chest, shoulders or back, or a stubborn cough that won’t go away. If you notice any type of chest pain, whether it is sharp, dull or constant, or if you have a cough that lingers, tell your doctor. Learn about lung screenings.

  5. Trouble swallowing or feeling like there is food stuck in your throat or chest. These problems associated with swallowing may get worse over time and result in a change in eating habits without you even noticing. Learn warning signs of esophageal cancer.

  6. A new spot on your skin or a spot that looks different from others. New spots that have changed in size, shape and color may be a sign of skin cancer. During a self-exam, look for moles by following the ABCDE rule and check for asymmetry, border color, diameter and evolvement of the mole.

  7. Irregular or abnormal bleeding. Abnormal bleeding is the most common symptom of invasive cervical cancer. If you notice bleeding between menstrual periods or after intercourse, schedule a visit with your physician. 

  8. Unexplained weight loss. Unexplained weight loss means you are losing weight without trying or with no explained reason. Unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be the first sign of cancer.

  9. Blood in your urine. Blood in the urine is often one of the first signs of bladder cancer, although it can also be caused by an infection or kidney stones. According to the American Cancer Society, sometimes blood in the urine is enough to change the color of urine to orange, pink or a darker red. It may be present one day and absent the next. Your doctor will be able to help figure out the cause and treat it. Learn how to keep your bladder healthy.

  10. Shortness of breath. If your breathing is uncomfortable or if you find it hard to catch your breath, you may be suffering from dyspnea. Dyspnea may be caused by a tumor or another condition related to cancer. It can also be caused by anxiety, stress, a blood clot or pneumonia. 

When your body is speaking to you, don’t ignore the signs and symptoms. Contact your doctor to detect a health problem early, before it becomes a more serious issue.

Read 10 symptoms men often ignore but shouldn’t. 

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