Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we're scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don't have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list. ~ Michelle Obama
A woman's body is definitely more complicated than a man's. A small sneeze will get a man running to the doctor, perhaps for a complete checkup. But a woman will sleep or rest through her worst illness at times. Yes, we know women are more tolerant, and also have a higher threshold for pain, and in most areas, both physical and mental.
So, small issues like headaches, slight pain or discomfort in any part of the body, is usually brushed off by most women. They reason it with their hectic and busy lives. But did you know that a pain or discomfort or any other sign is perhaps a signal from your body that something is not right? Sleeping off a small cold is understandable, but there are other symptoms that women should never ignore. Women are simply designed that way – they do not have the time to get to the root of these things. There are plenty of 'other' issues their lives are stacked with. But is it OK to take your body and health for granted? Definitely not. Beneath that minor ache or pain may be lying a serious, or in rare cases, a potentially life-threatening condition. It is, therefore advisable to notice any symptoms which do not seem regular. It is your body, and you will know when it tells you something is just not right.
Symptoms Never to Be Ignored
Unusual bleeding between periods/Unusual vaginal discharge
Bleeding between periods can indicate many underlying health issues, though not all of these are serious concerns. There may be less-serious causes like, Polycystic ovary syndrome, hormonal imbalances, and endometriosis. If bleeding takes place after menopause, during sex, and is accompanied with pelvic pain and bloating, it may be indicative of gynecological cancers. It is always advised to immediately take medical help and undergo tests in case of any of the above symptoms. Excessive vaginal discharge, foul-smelling or changes in color of the discharge, are also symptoms of health issues, like BV (Bacterial vaginosis), and in rare cases, even cervical cancer.
Heavy bleeding is a common condition for most women, the cause of which can vary. Sometimes, heavy bleeding is due to minor issues like a thick uterine lining. However, other serious issues like fibroid tumors, ectopic pregnancy, and ovarian cysts, can also cause heavy bleeding. Not all these conditions are serious, but some tumors may be the cause of infertility. Do get a checkup done in any case.
Lump or pain in the chest
This one is perhaps the most important and serious symptom women should never ignore. A sharp or even mild pain in the chest should not be ignored. However, this may not always indicate a heart attack. But, it can definitely be a sign of other heart diseases and issues. Even with the slightest pain, and irrespective of the frequency, seek medical help.
Most women make it a point to keep a tab on the health of their skin. Keeping aside the beautification aspect, it is also important to observe any major changes in the skin, like excess pigmentation, scaly and dry skin, changes on moles, and even bleeding of the skin. In very rare cases, these indicate cancer. So a proper medical test is advised, before concluding anything.
Blood in stool or urine
Cancer of the rectum is the third-most common cancer in women. That being said, any unusual bleeding, like rectal bleeding or blood in the stools should be immediately reported to the doctor. All cases, however, may not be indicative of cancer. Hemorrhoids may also be a major cause of rectal bleeding. Nevertheless, blood in the urine calls for an immediate medical checkup.
Feeling stressed or tired at the end of the day is a normal sign for most women. Handling a job and family may also add to the stress. But feeling tired more often than not (persistent for two weeks or more), is surely a sign of concern. It may indicate a major diet deficiency, like that of iron. Excess fatigue may also be indicative of a number of health issues, like diabetes, thyroid conditions, and even depression.
Breathlessness/Difficulty in breathing
Feeling breathless after a workout or climbing stairs once in a while is normal. When you feel breathless with minor activities, it is more often a common symptom of an underlying heart disease. Most women ignore this symptom, as they think it is too common and minor. But if you also have other symptoms like breathlessness, coupled with fatigue, dizziness, and nausea, get medical help. Sometimes, congestive heart failure, lung cancer, or emphysema, could be the underlying reason for shortness of breath.
Bloating and stomach discomfort
Pain and bloating in the abdomen is usually caused by indigestion. If this condition is persistent, and there is pain in one specific region of your abdomen, get a checkup done immediately. In conditions where there is frequent bloating and cramping, appendicitis, gallbladder issues, or ulcers could be the cause. It is better to get a checkup done and be wise, rather than ignore and stay worried.
It is alright if your heart flutters with a romantic song, movie, or with your loved one. But in all the other cases, fluttering of the heart is definitely not a healthy sign. A major reason for heart palpitations is lack of oxygen. Excess caffeine may also be the cause. In case of the former, heart fluttering may also indicate issues with the valves of the heart or hyperthyroidism. So, wait for no more fluttering, get a heart test and checkup done immediately.
Here again, women blame their busy schedule to stress and lack of sleep, which is true to a certain extent. The quality of sleep too is important. If you find it difficult to sleep even after a busy day, on most days, there may be a health issue preventing you from getting good, quality sleep. It is observed that women who enter menopause are often affected by sleeplessness at night. If you also have breathing difficulties with trouble falling asleep, chances are, there is a heart condition, or even asthma that needs to be treated.
Pain during sex
Most women are ashamed to bring up issues related to sex. They feel this problem is with them, and feel embarrassed to discuss the same even with their partner. A woman's gynac and sexual health is very important. Ignoring issues like painful and discomforting sex may invite many health risks. Pain during intercourse can have many reasons, like hormonal changes, infections, and other gynecological problems. So, do not ignore or self-treat this issue, and take medical help.
Most women would not consider something as casual as a headache to be a problem or potential health risk. We agree that most headaches are caused by stress, exertion, and hectic lifestyles. But if the headache happens almost everyday (except in case of migraines), and is severe, you might want to ditch the paracetamol and get a checkup done. Though in rare cases, there is a possibility of the headache being a sign of some underlying health issue, like a tumor, infection, or even a stroke.
Unexplained sudden weight loss
It may sound like good news to women, but unexplained weight loss, though a pleasant surprise, is not healthy. If you have lost a considerable amount of weight without intending to do so, make sure you schedule an appointment with a health expert. It may indicate an underlying endocrine disorder, if the weight loss is accompanied by difficulty in concentration, sweating, and increased appetite. Diabetes, gastrointestinal conditions, and also depression, may be causing you to lose weight.
Changes in the breast/Lump or pain in the breast
Women know how crucial it is to be screened for breast cancer regularly. If you find a lump, thickening of the skin around the breast, or if the breasts are sore and painful, get a checkup done immediately. It is, however, important to know that not all cases of pain and lumps in the breasts indicate breast cancer. However, it is advisable to get tests done regularly.
The above was the list of the symptoms that you need to be careful about. There are many things that we overlook, and this includes our health too. But, make sure that in the whole mad world of a career and balancing relationships, your health does not get affected. Take care!