A woman's body goes through a lot of changes throughout her lifetime, so it is natural to expect some new developments. Many changes are entirely normal, even if they do not appear to be the same as the changes another woman is going through. Thus, women typically do not need to worry about every little change or symptom their body exhibits.
With that said, however, there are some crucial warning signs no woman should ever ignore. Any unusual symptom that persists without reason should be checked out as it may be a sign of something more serious. What follows are some of the major unexpected symptoms women should pay attention to if they keep occurring.
Unexplained Excessive Weight Loss
Most women are not likely to complain about weight loss, but when it happens unexpectedly or without effort, it is something they should be concerned about. One of the reasons for this is because unexplained weight loss of over ten pounds is a common symptom of many medical conditions, including many forms of cancer, type 1 diabetes, and Crohn's disease. Women should bring it up with a doctor if ten or more pounds were lost within six to twelve months, even if no other symptoms are present. The amount of weight is important, because just a couple pounds of weight loss, even if it is unexpected, isn't usually something to worry about, since everyone's weight tends to fluctuate.
Diarrhea at any time of the day is unwelcome, but it is especially annoying and concerning at night when rest is needed. Anyone suffering from diarrhea during the middle of the night may have just eaten something bad, or it could be a sign of something more serious, such as irritable bowel disease. Nocturnal diarrhea is especially concerning because the intestines should be calm while any individual sleeps, including women. Women should seek treatment if nocturnal diarrhea occurs for more than several nights in a row as this may be a sign of ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. In any case, it is far better to be safe than to be sorry!
Dizziness Upon Standing Up
Everyone has experienced dizziness when they stand up a little bit too quickly at least once throughout their life. But if the problem is recurring, it is worth checking out as this may be a sign of a serious medical condition such as orthostatic hypotension, which occurs when the body is having trouble controlling its blood pressure levels. Dizziness upon standing could also be triggered by certain medications, such as antidepressants and high blood pressure medication. Anemia due to an iron deficiency and dehydration can also bring on a dizzy spell. Even if the issue is a mild one and can be solved quite easily, it is crucial for women to get an accurate diagnosis and treat the cause, since dizzy spells can be dangerous if they cause falls and fainting in dangerous locations.
Vision changes tend to come on slowly, which, unfortunately, makes them easy to overlook, as the eyes always try to adapt as much as they can. If cell phones or computer screens suddenly become harder to read, it might be time to see the eye doctor. Vision loss may also be a symptom of a more serious condition. The sudden and painless loss of vision is a common symptom of a stroke. Women must pay attention to large floaters that occur more than once or twice a week, as this can be a sign of retinal detachment.
While sweating during exercise or sustained exertion is normal, a woman finding herself soaking through tee shirts while sitting on the couch is not normal. Excessive sweating can be an indicator of several underlying issues including heart disease, hormonal imbalances, and even several forms of cancer. All of these conditions are best treated when spotted early, which is why women who find themselves sweating without cause are urged to go see a doctor. Likewise, if the excessive sweating is paired with a noticeable change in body odor, an underlying condition may be at fault, and should be assessed by a doctor immediately.
A Heavy Period Flow
For the most part, no two periods are alike, and some women experience heavier flows than others. Thus, what might be considered a normal flow for one woman may be a cause for concern for another. Thus, it's important for women to consider what a heavy flow means for them, particularly when it becomes abnormal. But women who have to change their tampons every hour might want to talk to a doctor about it. Periods that are regular but very heavy may be caused by tumors that grow in the uterus wall called uterine fibroids. The condition affects approximately twenty to eighty percent of women under fifty years old. Although they are not cancerous, uterine fibroids may lead to anemia, fatigue, or a complicated pregnancy.
Back Or Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is often associated with gastrointestinal distress, such as constipation or excessive gas. Unfortunately, pain in the abdomen and back are also common signs of a heart attack in women. The stereotypical tightening or clenching of the heart muscle during a heart attack may not be present, since heart attacks often present differently in women than they do in men. It is because of these differences in symptoms that heart attacks in women are often missed until it's too late, since everyone knows the classic signs! More often, women will experience pain in their abdomen or lower back, often causing them to ignore the impending heart failure.
Like abdominal pain on the previous slide, indigestion is a commonly overlooked sign of an impending heart attack in women. Because most individuals do not associate the digestive tract with heart health, ignoring indigestion or heartburn along with other symptoms often leads to heart attacks that go unnoticed until it is too late. If indigestion presents with dizziness, back or abdominal pain, excessive sweating, loss of vision, shortness of breath, or fatigue, it is wise to see a doctor immediately. Prolonged indigestion could also indicate issues within the digestive tract, including irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease, ulcers, and even gallbladder diseases.
Lightheaded After Working Out
When individuals, including women, push their bodies too hard when working out, they will often experience dizziness or feel lightheaded. For the most part, all women have to do is cool their body down and take a break, remembering to not push as hard the next time they work out. However, if this issue is severe and recurring, it might be an inner ear problem or sinus congestion. Furthermore, if lightheadedness occurs despite working out in comfortable temperatures and drinking enough water, it could be a heart issue, such as an irregular heartbeat or a blood value problem. Lightheadedness occurs when the heart is not able to pump enough blood to the brain. If each workout session causes lightheadedness and there is no other possible explanation, women should talk to a doctor about it.
Changes In Bathroom Habits
Different individuals tend to have different bowel habits, including the consistency and frequency of them. Most women have a fairly good sense of their typical bathroom habits. If any of these habits become different for more than a day, it could be a sign of potentially serious illness. Some changes in bowel movements are indicative of temporary infections, but others might indicate a serious or potentially life-threatening condition. Some chronic conditions that can change a woman's bathroom habits include Crohn's disease, celiac disease, diverticulosis, thyroid disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.
Some medications might also alter bowel habits, and changes in diet can change stool as well. Spinal cord injuries, nerve damage related to stroke, and cancers can all impact a woman's control over her bowel movements. Women should seek emergency medical help if there's blood or mucus or pus in their stool, if they pass watery diarrhea for over twenty-four hours, if they develop an inability to pass gas, or if they have severe abdominal pain.
Persistent nausea can be a sign of multiple physical conditions. Nausea is even associated with mental health disorders like generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder. One of the most common causes of persistent nausea in women is pregnancy. If a woman is certain she is not pregnant, though, constant nausea can be more cause for concern. Nausea might be caused by gallstones, which women are twice as likely to develop than men. Some stones don't cause symptoms, but others can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, back pain, and shoulder pain.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease can also cause nausea. This disease causes the contents of the stomach to re-enter the esophagus. Migraines may cause headaches during the episode or directly before the head pain occurs. Nausea might be related to a peptic ulcer, which occurs when sores develop in the esophagus, small intestine, or stomach. Other causes of persistent nausea include inflammatory bowel disease, an obstruction of the intestine, pancreatitis, a hernia, hepatitis, and serious diseases of the central nervous system.
Chronic fatigue can be a sign of a serious condition. In fact, there's a disorder called chronic fatigue syndrome in which the main symptom is prolonged fatigue. Sometimes doctors will write off persistent fatigue as a natural sign of aging, but chronic fatigue isn't a normal part of getting older. It's important to see as many health professionals as necessary to get a diagnosis. Fatigue may make women feel like they're sleep deprived or have the flu, even if they've gotten enough sleep and are generally healthy otherwise.
Anemia, a disorder that causes inadequate blood cell production, can also cause fatigue. Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety can lead to fatigue as well. A disorder related to chronic fatigue syndrome that causes fatigue is fibromyalgia, though fibromyalgia also tends to come with pain. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis can all cause fatigue. If the thyroid doesn't produce enough hormones, individuals will develop a condition called hypothyroidism, which can lead to fatigue and depression. Food intolerances and allergies are also related to fatigue. Sleep apnea, a condition that causes interrupted breathing in sleep, leads to decreased sleep quality and tiredness as well.
Changes In The Skin
Changes in the skin should be monitored closely, and some may be a sign of a medical condition that requires emergency treatment. Many rashes have common causes and will go away on their own, but it's important to know what warning signs to look for. If women develop a rash after starting a new medication or increasing their dose, they should call a doctor to make sure it's not a sign of a serious side effect. Another change that may occur is discoloration of the skin, which often happens in patches.
Skin color changes may be caused by inflammation, injury, or illness. There may also be discoloration between different parts of the body because of different melanin levels. Conditions that cause skin changes include rosacea, candida, sunburns, vitiligo, tinea versicolor, strawberry nevus, contact dermatitis, eczema, bleeding, stasis ulcers, squamous cell carcinoma, actinic keratosis, and melanoma.
Bloody Urine Or Stool
When a woman is on her period, a little blood in the urine is typically normal. But otherwise, it can indicate a serious medical condition, so women should never ignore bloody urine. The blood may come from the kidneys, urethra, bladder, or ureters. Urine might be tea-colored, brownish-red, red, or pink-tinged if there is blood in it. This condition, medically referred to as hematuria, might be caused by kidney diseases, kidney stones, kidney infections, bladder infections, inherited diseases, medications, tumors, kidney injuries, or overexercising.
Bloody stool may be caused by mild conditions like anal tears and hemorrhoids. However, other serious conditions can cause it, such as cancer. Rectal bleeding might occur when there's bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. This is a condition that often requires emergency treatment. Common causes of rectal bleeding and bloody stool are ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, Crohn's disease, rectal prolapse, rectal ulcers, anal and colon cancer, rectal injuries, and ischemic colitis. It may also be a side effect of radiation therapy.