Fortunately, most gynecological symptoms you may face are due to benign conditions. Rarely, some symptoms might be consistent with reproductive cancers. Listening to your body and speaking with a doctor about any troublesome symptoms may increase your chances of identifying cancer in the early stages, if it occurs.
Any abnormal bleeding should be investigated further. The most obvious forms of abnormal bleeding are post-menopausal bleeding, bleeding between periods, and bleeding after intercourse. Other forms of bleeding may not be as obvious. For example, it is normal to experience changes in your periods from month to month or over the years, so it may be harder to spot abnormalities. When your periods become abnormally lengthy or heavier than normal, this may be cause for concern, especially if you are having these problems for multiple cycles. Not only can abnormal bleeding be a sign of a serious condition, but excessive or prolonged blood loss can lead to anemia. Any instances of substantial blood loss during your period, such as soaking through a tampon or pad quickly, should be treated as urgent.
Pelvic pain is easy to overlook especially in women who have a history of painful periods, endometriosis, or fibroids. You should be more concerned about pelvic pain that occurs at times of the month other than around or during your period. Even women experiencing new or worsening pain during their period should have the problem evaluated. Sometimes the pain associated with gynecological cancers may not be cramping, but pressure, stabbing, or low-back pain that radiates to your legs. Pain during intercourse or while trying to use tampons may be other concerns that need to be taken seriously.
Bloating is the most vague symptom that may occur with some gynecological cancers. Since there are many organs located in close proximity to each other, bloating is easy to blame on gastrointestinal ailments, such as gas or constipation. When bloating is an ongoing issue, women typically notice they bloat significantly after meals and their pants no longer fit appropriately although they are not gaining weight or changed their diet. Sometimes bloating may infringe on your ability to eat, making you feel full after eating small amounts of food. Unfortunately, chronic bloating is often seen with ovarian cancer, which may go unnoticed in the early stages.
Gynecological symptoms can be caused by any number of problems other than cancer. When you are having new or worsening symptoms, speaking with your OBGYN and having the issue promptly evaluated can help diagnose cancers in the early stages.