Symptoms are your body’s way of trying to communicate important information about what’s going on in your inner world – what’s working and what’s not serving you well.
Pain, headache, bloating, and frequent urination, for instance, are some of the common symptoms you might have always experienced on and off. However, at any point in your life, some symptoms you commonly experience might also persist for a longer period.
If this happens, don’t simply ignore what your body tries to tell you via the symptoms. The longer you ignore the worse the condition of the diseases that cause the symptoms will become.
Here is a brief guide that will help you to understand 10 symptoms so that when you experience them you will not take them lightly.
Breast Swelling, Dimpling, Discoloration, or Other Changes
Breast swelling which occurs before women periods or during pregnancy can be a normal physiological change. However, other breast changes can signal cancer.
If you notice the skin of your breast not only swelling but becoming dimpled, a nipple inverting, tenderness, or slight discoloration of the skin to a deeper red or pink, it should trigger your attention.
What is dimpling? Dimpling, also known as peau d’orange, causes the breast skin to look like the pitting and uneven skin of an orange. It is a common sign of inflammatory breast cancer, a rare form of stage III or stage IV.
Breast infections can also have very similar symptoms. So, if you see skin or other changes in your breast, don’t delay to make an appointment with your doctor.
Abdominal bloating is a common menstrual symptom or can also be caused by food sensitivities. Some food sensitivities make you feel bloated for a day or two, and the worse, for several days. However, abdominal bloating that lasts more than a week can be an early sign of ovarian cancer.
Many women often attribute its symptoms to other conditions, such as premenstrual syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, or a temporary bladder issue.
Besides abdominal bloating, other early ovarian cancer symptoms may include feeling full quickly after eating, difficulty eating, needing to urinate frequently, a persistent lack of energy, pain during sexual intercourse, changes in bowel habits (such as constipation), indigestion or heartburn, pain in the lower stomach, pain in the lower side of the body, and pain in the pelvis.
These symptoms are indistinct and easy to overlook. Talk your gynecologist if you have unusual or persistent bloating.
Abnormal Periods or Pelvic Pain
Irregular periods are common in some women. But if you find your period suddenly becomes significantly heavier month after month and start bleeding between periods, or have pelvic pain, ask your doctor for an ultrasound (transvaginal) to check for possible ovarian, uterine, or other lower reproductive organ cancers.
Bloody or Black Stools
Stool color can change from day to day that depends on the foods you eat and the herbal medicines or dietary supplements you take. For instance, iron supplements and may turn your stool black or tarry.
Black stool or bloody stool is rarely OK especially if it happens frequently. Black stool suggests your upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract bleeds, whereas maroon-colored or bloody stool suggests your lower GI tract bleeds. These are signs you should see your doctor to checking for bleeding.
There are many possible causes of intestinal bleeding. They may include hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcers, cancer, or other GI conditions.
Change in Bowel Habits
Many people experience changes in the timing, amount, or the size of their bowel movement. These changes are usually caused by certain foods or medication. If it happens regularly over time and shows symptoms as the followings, it could be a sign of colon cancer.
Symptoms of colon cancer may include going to the toilet more often, diarrhea, constipation, a feeling that the bowel does not empty properly after a bowel movement, blood in feces (stools), pains in the abdomen, bloating in the abdomen, a feeling of fullness in the abdomen (maybe even after not eating for a while), and vomiting.
Other symptoms include fatigue (tiredness), inexplicable weight loss, a lump in the tummy or a lump in the back passage felt by your doctor, and unexplained iron deficiency in men, or in women after the menopause.
Vaginal Bleeding after Menopause
Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not considered normal. It can be harmless (as occurs in some women in the early stage menopause which refers to after not having a period for one year), but it could also be a sign of a serious health issue, including endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or cancer.
Stomach Pain or Nausea
An upset stomach or stomach ache is so common which rarely means you have cancer. But if you experience unusual stomach cramps or are nauseous all the time that’s not getting better, see a doctor.
It can be something as simple as an ulcer, but it can also be a symptom of liver, pancreatic, esophageal, or colorectal cancer. Leukemia has similar symptom as well.
Modern life causes you to experience sleep deprivation and increased fatigue. However, a feeling of fatigue that persists over time could be a sign of a medical issue.
Possible causes of fatigue include congested liver, liver failure, chronic inflammation, sleep apnea, depression, thyroid disease, kidney failure, anemia, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, cardiovascular disease, or undernourishment.
Hypothyroidism, a condition in which your thyroid becomes underactive, is often an unrecognized source of fatigue.
Other hypothyroid symptoms include depression, lacking focus, constipation, cold intolerance, heavy periods, decreased sweating, weight gain, muscle weakness, joint and muscle pain, slowed heart rate, and pale, dry skin. High cholesterol; thin, brittle hair or fingernails; and puffy face, feet, and hands are also symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss is one of the first signs of many problems, including cancer. Consult your doctor if you find your weight plummets for no apparent reason.
Possible causes of unexplained weight loss include HIV/AIDS (presumably, as chronic emotional stress normally experienced by many people contracted this disease are said to be having a prolonged stress; some scholars such as professor Peter Duesberg believe HIV/AIDS does not exist as it’s merely a modern medicine invention), cancer, heart disease, celiac disease, diabetes, and thyroid disease.
Unexplained weight loss is also a symptom of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Transient Ischemic Attack
Many people are familiar with the term stroke but not many people know what a transient ischemic attack (TIA) refers to.
TIAs, known as “mini-strokes,” is a stroke that lasts only a few minutes that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is briefly blocked.
Symptoms of a TIA are like other stroke symptoms, but as the blood supply to the brain is temporarily blocked, they do not last as long. The symptoms appear suddenly, and include numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body, confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, difficulty walking, dizziness, and loss of balance or coordination. And most symptoms of a TIA disappear within an hour,
Because you cannot tell if these symptoms are from a TIA or a stroke, you should go to the hospital right away.
More than one-third of people who have had a TIA may possibly experience a stroke later in life.
Chronic Intestinal Issues
Occasional intestinal issues (many people call it stomach issues) shouldn’t worry you much. However, chronic intestinal issues could be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea, and constipation. Other related symptoms include bloating, belching, and reduced appetite.
IBS is more common in women than men and easy to ignore or dismiss as the symptoms are always mistakenly thought as an upset stomach, a bad meal, or due to food sensitivities.
IBS is treatable with dietary and lifestyle changes, and stress management. IBS that occur for a long period may result in other serious diseases such as cancer and hepatitis (due to leaky guts where food macromolecules are absorbed into the blood and over time burdens the liver).
Pain, bloating and belching can sometimes be signs of other serious health problems as well.
Take Home Message
Some symptoms that you think are common, however, when ignored without you having tried to talk to your doctor about them might cost you in many ways – psychologically, physically, and financially.
Early detection of any illness/disease may help you prepare next course of actions as what type of intervention you could take that can range from making dietary and lifestyle changes, taking suitable supplements/herbs or going for any other necessary steps.