Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

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Changes in Bowl Movements

Changes in your bowl movements–such as constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of both–can be early ovarian cancer warning signs. Because these symptoms are so common, doctors often overlook them as signs of ovarian problems. Since bowl irritation is a symptoms of so many more common ailments, the key lies in the persistence and worsening of your symptoms. When your bowl distress is caused by ovarian cancer, the symptoms will not come and go. They will remain constant and worsen with time.

Abdominal Pressure

Unexplained and persistent abdominal pressure can be an ovarian cancer warning sign. Bloating along with pelvic discomfort will present in a persistent fasion and worsen with time. Other symptoms include lower back pain, and pain or discomfort while having intercourse.

Other Ovarian Cancer Warning Signs

Changes to your menstrual cycle and a loss of appetite are common symptoms of ovarian cancer. You may begin to experience an unexplained urgency to urinate.

Keep track of your symptoms to discuss with your doctor. Many women may experience some of the ovarian cancer warning signs and should not be alarmed. The key to determining a problem lies in the persistence of the symptoms, along with the worsening of once subtle discomforts. With ovarian cancer, these symptoms will remain constant and will gradually worsen.

When to see a Doctor

Routine vaginal exams will ensure abnormalities are detected early. Early detection offers the best chance for a cure from ovarian cancer, says the American Cancer Society. It is recommended women who are sexually active, or by the age of 18, begin receiving routine preventative pelvic exams.

You should seek medical attention if you have pain, bloating, or pressure in your abdomen and pelvis, that lasts more than a few weeks. You need to be your own advocate and listen to your body. If your symptoms are constant seek help, possibly a second opinion, until you get an answer and relief to your discomfort.

If you have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, talk to your doctor about genetic testing, screening, and preventative options to consider while you are cancer-free. You may also want to consider seeing a doctor specifically trained to detect and treat ovarian cancer patients, as they will offer the level of care you may require.

Your doctor will ask specific questions about your symptoms, so your appointment will go smoothly if you are prepared ahead of time. Common questions include: “When did you start noticing these symptoms?”, “Does anything make these symptoms feel better?”, “How often do you experience these symptoms?”, and “Does anything make these symptoms worse?”. Write down the answers to all of these questions, as it may be easy to forget important details. Your doctor will also ask you about your family history so it is important to gather this information ahead of time.

Common Misdiagnosis

Because most symptoms of ovarian cancer present themselves as abdominal problems, it is not always clear that the ovaries are the root cause. Doctors may first diagnose you with stress, irritable bowls syndrome, bladder and digestive disorders, or even depression. And while these are much more common causes of abdominal distress, the key is persistence and severity.

If you have been diagnosed with a more common condition but your symptoms have either stayed the same, or have become worse, go to your doctor again. Early detection will give you the best chance of beating this cancer. If your symptoms are persistent, be just as persistent with your medical treatment