Women's Cancers

8 Sexual Health Symptoms Women Shouldn’t Ignore

Eileen Bailey Mar 18th, 2013 (updated Sep 20th, 2016)
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As mothers, wives, employees, caregivers, and friends, women lead busy lives. Unfortunately, with all this running around, we sometimes ignore medical symptoms with the excuse that we just don’t have the time to get to the doctor. But here are eight symptoms women can't afford to ignore.

 

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A lump or changes in your breasts
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 make an appointment. While no one wants a diagnosis of cancer, early detection is important. 

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Bloating
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.

Ovarian cancer doesn’t have any symptoms, so if you notice constant bloating, feel full after eating only a little food, or experience frequent urination, a change in bowel habits, sudden and unexplained weight loss or gain or low back or pelvic pain, it could be an indicator of a much more serious problem.

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Irregular bleeding
Irregular bleeding

Menstrual cycles don’t always follow the “normal” 28-day cycle and the amount of bleeding may vary from month to month. But you probably know your cycle pretty well 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. 

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Discharge
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. 

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Pain during sex
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. 

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Fatigue
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. 

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Itchy rash
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, 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
Burning or frequent urination

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