10 Physical Changes a Woman Should Never Ignore

As women, our bodies change regularly due to weight fluctuations, hormones, pregnancy and numerous other factors. Admittedly, most of the changes we go through physically don’t warrant much concern. However, other symptoms can serve as red flags that alert us to more complicated health issues that need to be addressed.

So, when you look in the mirror, how do you know when the changes you’re seeing are normal, and when it’s time to see a doctor? From facial swelling to heavy periods, here are ten physical symptoms that you should never ignore and the health problems they could indicate.

Unexplained Facial Swelling

Every woman knows what it’s like to feel bloated around time of menstruation, but facial swelling can be a sign of more than just fluid retention. If the swelling in your face is accompanied by tooth pain, it could be an abscess, so you’ll need to see your dentist to rule out an infection in your teeth or gums. It’s important to do this right away, as in rare cases an infection in your teeth can get into your bloodstream and cause sepsis.

Swollen Arms

If your face and arms are swollen and you’re experiencing shortness of breath, pain in your chest or back, fever, fatigue or trouble swallowing, you should see a doctor to rule out mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer most commonly caused by high levels of asbestos exposure. It is treated in the same way as any other cancer, using a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, contact your nearest mesothelioma specialists who can help you with your diagnosis. Rest assured that more often than not, the symptoms described above are caused by other conditions, but it’s always better to see a physician so you can rule out a more serious diagnosis.

Unusually Heavy Periods

If your flow is so heavy that you’re changing your sanitary products every hour, going to the doctor should be your first port of call. A period that is regular but unusually heavy is one of those symptoms you should never ignore, as you could be dealing with a more serious problem such as uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. The fibroids are usually benign, but left untreated they can lead to more serious problems such as anemia, difficulty conceiving and pregnancy complications.

Unintentional Weight Loss

Losing weight without trying may sound like a blessing, but in reality sudden, unexplained weight loss can be a sign of a serious health problem. If your weight loss is accompanied by a change in your toilet habits (most notably peeing more than usual), then it could be a symptom of type one diabetes. Other possible explanations for your weight loss include psychological issues like depression and anxiety, sleep disorders and even certain types of cancer. So if you’ve dropped more than ten pounds unintentionally within the last six months, schedule a visit to see your physician.

Sudden Weight Gain

Putting on a few pounds is not worth worrying about, but if you appear to gain 10 pounds overnight or your weight seems to be going up despite eating well and exercising, you should see your doctor to rule out a health condition. Ovarian cancer can cause a build-up of fluid in the belly that makes you feel fuller after meals and causes your weight to increase.

Suddenly gaining weight can also be a sign of hypothyroidism: a thyroid condition that slows down your metabolism and affects all other areas of your health. Other signs of hypothyroidism include fatigue, dry skin and depression. This condition is easy to treat with medication, though you will have to take a thyroid stimulant for the rest of your life. Left untreated, however, thyroid disorders can lead to severe health complications and have a negative impact on your everyday life, so it’s important to get your thyroid levels checked.

Breast Changes

Most women know that they should never ignore a lump, but what about other changes to the breasts? A swollen, hot and dimpled chest could be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, which is particularly aggressive, whereas scaly or flaky skin around the nipple could indicate Paget’s disease of the breast. Paget’s disease can show up like regular eczema, but it can be a sign of cancer, so inspect your breasts regularly and make sure you follow up even minor changes to your look or feel of this area.

Pelvic Pain

Despite that many people consider ovarian cancer to be symptomless, lower back and pelvic pain can be one of the first signs that something is wrong. Other symptoms include bloating and changes to regular bowel habits, including peeing more regularly or feeling bloated after meals. To lower your risk of ovarian cancer, go for regular screening and attend all of your gynecological exams. You should also look after your general health and avoid becoming obese. Women who are particularly overweight are thought to be of greater risk of ovarian cancer, as are females who have been through the menopause.

Persistent Cough

A persistent cough is one that lasts up to three weeks and is not caused by a respiratory infection or allergic reaction. A doctor should check out a cough that lasts for weeks without any explanation, especially if you’re also coughing up blood. This is because a persistent cough can also be a sign of lung cancer, so ask your physician for a chest X-ray and CT scan if you think you might be at risk.


It’s important to remember that the majority of symptoms we experience are commonplace and highly treatable, so try not to let anxiety over your health overrule your common sense. If you think something’s not right, it’s always better to seek advice from a medical professional. However, more often than not your worries about life-threatening illnesses will be unfounded. Take care of your health, be vigilant about checking your symptoms and don’t forget to schedule regular check-ups.

Thanks to Christine Kovach

Speak Your Mind


Copyright 2014 @ A Celebration of Women™ The World Hub for Women Leaders That Care