8 Sexual Health Symptoms Women Shouldn’t Ignore

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • As mothers, wives, employees, caregivers, friends we lead busy lives. For many women, there is rarely a day when some family, work or other obligation has her running here or there. Unfortunately, with all this running around, we sometimes ignore medical symptoms saying we just don’t have the time to get to the doctor.

    Fear can also cause you to procrastinate. After all, who wants to hear bad news. You may think a symptom means the worse and so, instead, you minimize it or ignore it. You say it can wait because you want to put off the chance of your greatest fears coming true.

    But symptoms and warning signs don’t necessarily mean you have cancer or some other terrible illness. They may be nothing and may indeed go away on their own. Or they may need some simple medical care. But we should take the time to take care of ourselves and that means seeing a doctor if you fear something is wrong. The following are 8 symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.

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    A lump or changes in your breasts. The best chance to beat any cancer is early detection and treatment. That means, as soon as you notice changes, such as a lump, unevenness, scaliness or flaking on your nipple, discharge from your nipple or dimpling of the skin, you should contact your doctor and set an appointment. While no one wants a diagnosis of cancer, early detection is important.

    Bloating. We all occasionally feel bloated but if this occurs daily and continues for one to two weeks, it is time to see your doctor. Despite the idea that ovarian cancer doesn’t have any symptoms, many women have bloating, feeling full after eating only a little food (and quicker than you normally feel full), urinating more frequently, a change in bowel habits, sudden and unexplained weight loss or gain and low back or pelvic pain. If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

    Irregular bleeding. Menstrual cycles don’t always follow the “normal” 28 day cycle and you may vary with the amount of bleeding from month to month, but overall, you probably know your cycle and can tell when something is different. If you have changes to your cycle, are spotting in between or bleeding after menopause, talk with your doctor.

    Discharge. Foul smelling discharge from your vagina may signify an infection that needs to be treated or can be a warning sign of something more serious. While some discharge is considered normal, if you notice changes, it is time to make an appointment with your doctor.

    Pain during sex. It is not normal to experience pain during sex so if you are, check with your doctor to find out why. It could be an infection, a hormone imbalance, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis or an ovarian cyst. Whatever it is, it is best to get checked out so you can enjoy the intimacy of sex with your partner.

    Fatigue. Fatigue is more than just being tired. It is a chronic feeling of being worn down. Getting a good night’s sleep should be enough to make you feel better, but if it doesn’t and the feeling continues or begins to interfere with your activities, it is time to see a doctor.

  • Itchy Rash. Red, inflamed or itchy rashes often indicate that you have come in contact with something that caused an allergic reaction. It could be a new soap, your underwear or, if it occurred after sex you could be allergic to latex condoms or a lubricant or spermicide you used. But rashes can also indicate STDs so it is best to get it checked out.

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    Burning or frequent urination. This usually indicates a urinary tract infection that, when not treated, could lead to more serious conditions, such as cystitis. Urinary tract infections are  usually treated with antibiotics.

    While you don’t want to go into a panic every time you notice a little change in your body, you do want to be aware of differences in your body and cycle. Talking with your doctor may put your mind at ease and free you from less serious symptoms.


    “8 Symptoms Women Over 40 Shouldn’t Ignore,” 2009, March 13, Ginny Graves, More Magazine, TodayHealth.com

    “10 Gynecologic Cancer Symptoms Women Shouldn’t Ignore,” 2012, Jan. 5, Staff Writer, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas

    “10 Symptoms Not to Ignore,” 2012, Stacey Colino, Self Magazine, NBCNews.com

Published On: March 13, 2013