Throughout history, most women have played the role of the caregiver, and continue to do so to this date. Throughout history, women have been hailed when they ignored their troubles and pains to focus on others and make their lives comfortable. Fast Forward to the 21st century and it seems that women are still ignoring their health for the comfort of everyone, most symptoms are written off as normal or are ignored till they become sinister. In their mile-long list of tasks and priorities, women tend to prioritise their health the least. We at Medlife urge women to take better care of themselves, because a healthy body and mind can achieve so much more, here are 10 symptoms that we think women should not ignore and start paying close attention to:
1. Heavy Periods/Vaginal Blood After Menopause:
Heavy bleeding during periods could be indicative of something harmless like anaemia or low blood count which can be rectified by taking the correct supplements. However, if ignored, these could lead to severe weakness, even heart failure. Furthermore, heavy bleeding among women over 45 years could also be indicative of uterine cancer.
Similarly, vaginal bleeding after menopause is strictly abnormal and should be a cause of concern. However, vaginal bleeding could be harmless or a sign of serious health issues like swelling of the uterine walls due to infection, fibroids in the uterus or uterine cancer. If these symptoms persist, consult a gynecologist on possible tests.
2. Sudden or Unexplained Weight Fluctuation:
It is a dream of most women bogged down by the double burden of work and home to lose weight without doing anything. Slight fluctuation in weight is normal, however, loss of more than 5kgs of weight without doing anything could be indicative of diabetes, heart disease, cardiac disease, cancer, AIDS or autoimmune diseases.
3. Changes in Breast Size:
It is normal for breasts to swell, become hard and hurt during periods but perpetual change in the breasts is neither normal nor harmless. It is necessary that women examine their breasts regularly for lumps, lumps in themselves could be benign and can be dissolved with the right medication or a minor operation. However, breast lumps, coupled with redness in breasts, scaling of breasts, nipples that turn inwards, skin dumpling and/or nipple discharge could be the signs of breast cancer.
4. Skin Changes:
Moles on our skin are formed when skin cells cluster together at a point on our skin. Moles can change due a lot of reasons, they could be irritated by rubbing against clothes or jewellery and become red and crusty. Pregnancy may make the moles appear darker, however, it is always good to get a changing mole checked. Experts suggest the use of the ABCD approach to detect changes in moles, before hitting the panic button.
A: Asymmetrical shape of the mole
B: A mole with uneven borders
C: Change in colour of the mole
D: Change in the diameter of the mole
5. Chest Pains:
Women tend to write off chest pains as heartburn, in worst cases as indigestion. However, chest pains shouldn’t be ignored under any circumstance. If chest pains are accompanied by shortness of breath, pain in the left arm and shoulder, hot flashes, it could be an indicator of cardiac diseases. Cardiac blockages in women are detected post their menopause, as the hormone oestrogen produced by the uterus contains lipoprotein, a good cholesterol which aids with the movement of the heart. The uterus stops producing oestrogen after menopause, putting women at risk for cardiac diseases.
6. Fatigue or Tiredness:
Despite it being the 21st century, women still carry the double burden of home and office, being tired is thus, second nature to them. The 21st century fad is also a very unhealthy competition between who is the most sleep deprived and tired. Today’s lifestyle means that it is very difficult to differentiate between occasional fatigue and constant fatigue. One trick is to look at fatigue levels after getting a good night’s rest. If you feel refreshed after 8 hours of sleep, it may not be something to worry about, but if you feel exhausted even after a good night’s sleep, it may indicate of something of serious. Constant fatigue could be indicative of depression, liver failure, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnoea, cancer, kidney failure, diabetes, anaemia, even chronic fatigue syndrome. If fatigue is a regular part of your life, it is advised that you consult a doctor, to plan for all necessary diagnostic tests.
7. Numb and Itchy Wrists and Palms:
The digital world, functions through one’s phone or laptop. If at the end of your work day you feel numbness on your palm and thumb, or between your index finger and other fingers it could be indicative of carpal tunnel syndrome. The numbness is caused by a suppressed vein in your hand, this could happen due to diabetes, obesity, thyroid and pregnancy. If left untreated, this numbness could lead to permanent nerve damage.
8. Bloating of Stomach:
Stomach bloating is normal during periods. However, bloating which lasts longer than a week, maybe indicative of ovarian cancer. Other symptoms of ovarian cancer are feeling full quickly while eating, fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty in eating, and frequent trip to the bathroom to urinate. Most women tend to ignore this bloating, till it is too late to save them.
9. Bloody Stools:
Blood flowing from any other part of the body, apart from your vagina during periods is not a good sign. Blood in stools could mean several things, if the stool is black, it means there is bleeding in the intestines, however, maroon or bloody stools could be indicative of several health issues, the most common of which is haemorrhoids. Other diseases could include colon cancer, ulcers, infection in the digestive tract, and irritable bowel syndrome.
10. Hair Growth on Chest and Face:
Facial hair growth as well as hair growth on the chest is a cause of concern for women, not just aesthetically but also because women generally have lighter or no hair on their faces or chest. Sudden hair growth combined with irregular periods, adult acne can be indicative of Polycystic Ovary Disorder, which is a very common health issue among women.
Related Read: 5 Must Health Check-ups for Working Women
This Women’s Day, we at Medlife urge you to pay a little more attention to yourself and take a pledge of prioritizing your health. If you notice any of these symptoms as a part of your everyday life, take a pledge to consult a doctor and seek appropriate medical health, remember a caretaker must be in excellent health to care for others.