You’re not alone if you’ve ever found yourself ignoring or brushing off a health issue. Many women experience embarrassment, anxiety, or fear of judgement when they speak up about certain health conditions.
Numerous disorders specific to women can also be more difficult to diagnose, such as endometriosis, a crippling illness that affects 10% of women globally in the reproductive age range and requires an average of 7.5 years from the time symptoms first appear to a diagnosis.
Below is a summary of 10 health symptoms women may experience and should seek medical advice for from their medical practitioner.
1. Chronic fatigue
Although weariness is a natural human emotion, if it persists, your body might be trying to alert you to an underlying issue. There could be a variety of explanations for your exhaustion, such as:
- Lack of iron
- Deficit in vitamin D
- Heart conditions
- Insufficient sleep
One of the primary signs of hypothyroidism, an autoimmune condition primarily affecting women, is fatigue. The illness manifests as fatigue, a cold feeling, lack of focus, sadness, dry skin, brittle hair and nails, constipation, weight gain, a low heart rate, and weakness and pain in the muscles. If you’re having these symptoms, see a doctor.
A severe headache on one side of the head is the primary sign of a migraine. Three times as many women as men get migraines. This is partially caused by fluctuating oestrogen levels; many women will either experience it during perimenopause or around the same time every month during their menstrual cycle.
Increased sensitivity to light, nausea, and visual abnormalities are some of the additional symptoms of a migraine. Additionally, you can occasionally get diarrhoea, sweating, and difficulty concentrating. In extreme situations, there may be damage to your nervous system, resulting in difficulties speaking or even dizziness and unconsciousness. To rule out other illnesses, such as a tumour, it is crucial to seek medical attention.
3. Pain during intercourse
At some point in their lives, nearly three out of four women have unpleasant sex experiences. While pain during sexual activity isn’t normal, many women experience it from a young age and frequently choose not to seek help out of shame. Sex can be uncomfortable for a number of reasons, including:
- Dryness in the vagina
- The thinning and dryness of the vaginal walls, known as atrophic vaginitis, usually happens after menopause
- Ovarian cysts
- Avulval discomfort, or vulvodynia
4. Pain in the pelvic region
One in six women experience persistent pelvic pain, which is very common. Ovulation, endometriosis, urinary tract infections (UTIs), or PIDs are common causes of pelvic pain. An ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage, or an early labour can all result in pelvic pain during pregnancy. There are additional causes such as ovarian cancer, inflammatory bowel illnesses, constipation, appendicitis, IBS, and ovarian cysts. Make an appointment with a general practitioner if you experience sudden, severe, or chronic pelvic pain.
5. Changes in vaginal discharge
Most women have vaginal discharge, which is necessary to keep the vagina moist and guard against infections. Healthy discharge is either clear or white in colour and odourless. Throughout your menstrual cycle, variations in quantity and regularity are also typical.
Speak to a GP if you’re experiencing discharge that is unusual for you. An infection could also be the cause of an abnormal discharge. Over-the-counter medications are frequently effective in treating common infections like thrush. However, unusual discharge may also be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea. Untreated STIs can result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can harm reproductive organs and occasionally cause infertility.
If infections are ruled out, abnormal discharge may indicate cervical cancer, so it’s important not to ignore symptoms.
6. Prolonged low mood
It seems that women experience depression at higher rates. Be on the lookout for persistently poor mood, irritability, low energy, difficulty concentrating, and trouble sleeping, among other indications and symptoms.
It’s crucial to talk to a doctor about depression because it’s a medical disease that requires treatment. Postpartum depression is an underdiagnosed illness, and many women are embarrassed to seek treatment because of the high expectations put on new mothers.
7. Extended bloating
Although occasionally feeling bloated isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, it’s crucial to understand that one of the primary indicators of ovarian cancer is an increase in belly girth. Despite being one of the most common gynaecological diseases, ovarian cancer is unfortunately frequently identified at a late stage, and the risk factors and symptoms are generally not well known.
Ovarian cancer is a harder condition to identify. Other signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer to be aware of are as follows:
- lower abdomen discomfort
- Unusual bleeding
- Increased urgency to urinate
- back discomfort in the lower back
- appetite decline
- having a full feeling after eating
- Loss of weight
- Modifications to your bowel habits
Food intolerance, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are other major reasons of bloating.
8. Abnormal bleeding
Your menstrual cycle can be impacted by a variety of circumstances, such as stress, losing weight, and excessive exercise. However, it’s a good idea to speak with a doctor if you experience irregular bleeding and heavier-than-normal periods.
It’s critical to have irregular bleeding checked out because there may be an underlying issue that requires medical attention. Excessive bleeding is not just an annoyance but can also indicate fibroids, polyps, womb or cervical cancer, as well as anaemia.
An irregular menstrual cycle is typically linked to irregular bleeding. Unusual bleeding can be brought on by ovarian cysts, polycystic ovary syndrome, STIs, benign growths in the womb or cervix lining, and cervical or womb cancer.
If you experience postmenopausal bleeding, you should contact a doctor right away because this is not normal.
9. Chest pains
If you feel pain or discomfort in your chest, this could be a sign of a more serious issue. It might even be an indication of a heart attack if it appears out of the blue and persists.
Women experience chest pain or discomfort, dyspnoea, fatigue, and pain radiating to the arms, back, jaw, and neck as the most prevalent heart attack symptoms. You might also have pressure and heaviness in your chest. If you experience any unusual sensations in your chest, get emergency assistance right away.
Even though coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death for women globally, women are more likely to ignore symptoms and report chest pain at lower rates than men. In addition, women are 50% more likely than men to have a false first diagnosis for heart attacks.
Chest pain may also be a sign of a lung embolism, which is more common in women than in men and can be fatal. Urgent medical attention is, therefore, necessary.
10. Breast abnormalities
One crucial way to identify breast cancer is to get your breasts examined on a regular basis. It is currently the most frequent cancer in the world to be diagnosed.
Checking for changes in your breasts is crucial, and every woman should check her breasts at the same time each month during her menstrual cycle. The greatest life insurance a woman can provide herself is this one.
The most identifiable (and frequent) indicator of breast cancer is a breast lump. Thankfully, the majority of breast lumps are not malignant. Other changes in the breasts to watch out for are:
- The shape and size of your breasts
- A lump or swelling in your armpit
- Discharge from your nipples
- Thickening or dimpling of the skin
- An inverted nipple
- Red areas
- A rash
If you notice any abnormalities or changes, it is wise to have them examined by a physician.
Echelon Health and women’s health
Your health is our first priority at Echelon Health. In order for you to prioritise early treatment and take charge of your health, we offer a variety of health evaluations. We provide the Cullinan evaluation, a specific female health evaluation package that includes a full-field digital mammography.
The Cullinan Assessment is intended to be a comprehensive procedure. Our clients receive a thorough health examination along with an overnight stay at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. This includes a deep relaxation massage with CBD oil and round-trip chauffeur-driven transportation within a 100-mile radius of our Harley Street clinic.
The following tests are part of the Cullinan Assessment:
- Comprehensive blood tests, Hormonal Profile + cancer markers
- Digital mammogram
- Transvaginal Ultrasound
- CT Coronary angiogram
- CT Chest
- CT Bone Density
- Full-body Mole Check
But if you want even greater assurance, we offer the all-inclusive Platinum Assessment. With the combination of years of knowledge from our medical specialists and the greatest imaging technology from our CT, MRI, and ultrasound scans, Echelon Health can identify up to 92% and 95% of preventable causes of death in men and women, respectively, in a single thorough evaluation.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We will be delighted to answer any questions or book your health assessment.