Eight health symptoms women shouldn’t ignore

It’s time to make your health a priority

painContributed by Shazia Chaudhry, MD

You work hard taking care of your family, friends, home, and work. But are you taking care of yourself? With the holidays behind you, there’s no excuse not to get that nagging symptom checked out now. And by now, I mean stop what you’re doing, pick up the phone and make an appointment to see your doctor.  It may save your life.

The top women’s health risks are heart disease, cancer and stroke. Remember, healthy lifestyle choice —such as eating healthy and adding exercise to your daily routine can go a long way toward reducing your health risks.

Here are eight symptoms you should never ignore:

  1. Extreme fatigue. Exhaustion can signal issues ranging from depression to heart failure. If you’re feeling exhausted and can’t seem to get your energy back with adequate rest, call your doctor.
  2. Chest pain. Pain or pressure in the chest should always be taken seriously. While it may not be a heart attack, it could be a symptom of cardiovascular disease.
  3. Shortness of breath. Shortness of breath can signal heart disease or even impending heart attack. If it’s accompanied by chest pain or nausea, seek immediate medical attention.
  4. Abnormal bleeding. If you experience significant changes to your cycle, are spotting in between cycles or are bleeding during intercourse or after menopause, talk with your gynecologist.
  5. Abdominal bloating or pain. Cramping and bloating from time to time is normal for most women. But constant bloating and discomfort, especially if it’s concentrated in one area or is accompanied by changes in bowels, can signal gallbladder disease or gynecologic issues.
  6. Pain during intercourse. Pain isn’t normal. It can signal a number of issues, from an infection to hormone imbalance to an ovarian cyst. Get it checked out and get back to enjoying a healthy sex life.
  7. Breast lumps. Finding a lump doesn’t always mean you have cancer—it could be a cyst or benign growth. But it’s vital you schedule an exam to rule it out or ensure the earliest treatment possible.
  8. Persistent headaches. While stress at work or home are sure to cause a headache here and there, persistent headaches can be a sign of stroke, brain tumor or aneurysm. If you’re headaches become regular, call your doctor for some peace of mind and relief.
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