A few tips on how to detect and possibly avoid the condition
Ovarian cancer is a deadly disease of the female reproductive system. The symptoms of the condition can be hard to detect in its earliest stages but if you are awareness of the changes your body is undergoing, you might just catch it at an early stage. The early signs are often misconstrued as symptoms of other less severe conditions like pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The best way to actually know if something is wrong is by tracking the symptoms and going to your gynecologist to discuss the issue. Ovarian cancer is rare in women who are under the age of 40 so the older you get, the more aware you have to be about how your body functions. The signs of the condition usually appear only when it has spread to the ovaries but there have been cases of earlier detection.
Women who have ovarian cancer might experience only a few of the early signs or might not experience any at all also. If any of the following signs persist for more than 10 times in a period of a month, go to your gynecologist and get the matter checked up.
Bloating can be commonly misconstrued as a sign of an upset stomach or irritable bowel syndrome. Women who are still menstruating also think of it as a sign of PMS. While it is nothing to panic about, if the feeling persists for more than a few times in a month and you are over 40 years of age, then it is recommended that you consult your gynecologist to find out if something might be wrong. Bloating makes you feel heavy and might even expand your waist to make your clothes fit snugly. Don’t think you may have put on some weight if you are following your usual diet and exercise routines. Constipation is another common sign that occurs if you have ovarian cancer. The feeling of not being able to pass stools properly persists for a long time and makes one very uncomfortable and weary about eating. Keeping aware of any major changes in bowel movement is also helpful in detecting ovarian cancer.
Lower back pain can be an indicator of several things, ovarian cancer being one. It is common to have lower back pain when one if menstruating and if they are stressed out. But, if the pain fails to subside over the course of a month or two, then it might be a trigger to go get it checked. Lower back pain that radiates to the pelvis area is particularly dangerous.
Pelvic pain is common during that time of the month but if the pain persists even after your period, it might be way of your body communicating that something is wrong and needs to be checked. Persistent pain is an important sign that should not be ignored. Persistent pain translates to the pain rearing its head on and off over the course of a few month or if the pain continues to develop and remain for more than a month. Pelvic pain is also a sign of an ovarian cyst which is another matter that shouldn’t be ignored because of how uncomfortable it can make life. The symptoms of ovarian cysts are common to those of ovarian cancer but the cancer hardly strikes when a women is in her childbearing years. Women over the age of 40 are at a major risk of developing the cancer.
Decreased bladder control can be a sign of weak pelvic floor muscles which often happens as a woman ages. Performing Kegel exercises are a great way to counter this problem and maintain good bladder control. However, if you find that you are heading to the loo too often without an increased consumption of liquid or if you are barely able to control the flow before you reach the toilet, you have to go and get yourself checked. Decreased bladder control can also be a symptom of a urinary tract infection, which also needs to be treated to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. However, if the bladder control situation persists, it might be sign that something more dangerous like ovarian cancer is on the horizon.
Be aware of your appetite and of losing it for no apparent reason. Some women also experience a feeling of being full too quickly when they eat. If you find that you are losing weight without any extra workout routine, it is also a trigger for ovarian cancer. Women who experience this kind of rapid weight loss tend to get excited with it because losing a few pounds is usually most women’s goal. But, if it is a trigger of something as dangerous as ovarian cancer, they should beware and take precautions to ensure that nothing is drastically wrong with the body.
If you experience pain during sex for no apparent reason, it is a trigger for your body conveying something more serious. Any pain that comes with sexual activity needs to be checked immediately by a gynecologist. Most women refrain from doing this because they find it embarrassing to explain but ignoring the signs can lead to late detection of something as deadly as ovarian cancer.
Unusual fatigue without any extra activities or drastic lifestyle changes is also a sign of ovarian cancer. Since the condition usually occurs in women over the age of 40-50, many treat it as a part of perimenopause and menopause and ignore the triggers. If you find that you are overtly tired along with several of the other symptoms, then consulting your gynecologist is advisable. Prolonged tiredness is your body’s way of communicating that something is wrong.
Researchers are yet to identify the exact reason for ovarian cancer, but in their studies, they have concluded some of the risk factors that are worth considering.
Your chances of developing ovarian cancer is higher if ovarian, breast or colon cancer runs in the family. According to the Mayo clinic, two genes called breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2) are inherited by patients who suffer from breast cancer and the same gene is likely to cause ovarian cancer as well. So, if you have a history of these cancers in the family, keeping a look out for the early signs mentioned in this page is advisable.
The number of periods you have in your lifetime seem to have a link to developing ovarian cancer. Studies show that women who do not procreate children have a higher risk of developing the condition. Also, women who hit puberty early i.e. if they start their periods before the age of 12, or who reach menopause after the age of 50, have a higher risk of developing the condition. In addition to this, the more kids a woman bears the lesser her chances of developing the condition.
Another factor that is observed continuously is that women over the age of 45-50 are more prone to ovarian cancer. Over half the cases of the condition are diagnosed in women who are over the age of 60. However, this doesn’t mean that younger women are not at risk at all.
Oral contraceptive pills are a common feature among women all over the world and having these pills seem to reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Other types of medication like hormone therapy that is done to ease the symptoms of menopause and fertility treatments that are performed to increase the chances of child birth can increase the chances of ovarian cancer.
Obesity, excessive alcohol abuse, smoking and using an intrauterine device, all increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
There has not been any solid evidence of the risk factors and the early signs being counteractive in developing and detecting ovarian cancer. Because of this, getting any doubts checked is recommended by doctors. Eat healthy and inculcate healthy habits into your lifestyle and be aware of any signs your body might make to convey to you that something is amiss. Intensive studies are being conducted to develop a better strategy for detecting ovarian cancer at its early stage. Early detection usually leads to a life expectancy of at least 5 years provided efforts are taken to control the condition. Your gynecologist may suggest pelvic examinations, blood tests and ultrasounds to diagnose if something is wrong.
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