When it comes to female health concerns, most women are categorically tough. Many of you have borne children, conquered menstrual cramps on a monthly basis and expertly tackled a host of uncomfortable issues that are uniquely female. Unfortunately, this “warrior spirit” in many of you can also cause you to ignore some important warning signs related to your urological health.
Whether it’s episodic pain you experience; the type that only hurts during certain activities (while urinating or having sexual intercourse, for example) or the absence of pain altogether, the following symptoms should never be ignored.
Blood in the Urine – Depending on the cause and source, blood in the urine doesn’t always present as bright red. Sometimes, it can produce urine that is pinkish in color or brown-tinged. Either way, it is cause for immediate concern and a symptom that should be evaluated by a urological expert right away. A symptom of something as serious as cancer to a run of the mill urinary tract infection, blood in your urine isn’t something to “hope goes away on its own.” Even if you have no other symptoms along with it, have it checked out immediately. I have lost count of how many times my female patients with advanced bladder cancer were treated over and over again for “urinary infection.” If you have blood in the urine visible to your own eyes, demand to see a urologist.
Painful Urination – No matter the cause, pain during urination isn’t normal and should be evaluated by your healthcare professional. When a urinary tract infection is the cause of the pain, other symptoms such as foul-smelling and cloudy urine as well as an increased urge and frequency in urination, are usually present. More serious causes of painful urination can range from pelvic inflammatory disease to bladder cancer. Both are usually accompanied by additional symptoms, but sometimes they aren’t. Don’t wait for additional symptoms to materialize. Painful urination alone is cause for enough concern to make an appointment with your doctor about it.
Unexplained Weight Loss – This serious symptom is one that women may ignore simply because for many, weight loss is desirable. When weight loss occurs in the absence of any other pain or obvious symptoms, some women may just brush it off as a lucky break. Well, it usually isn’t. Unexplained weight loss, especially if it’s 10 or more pounds and within a 6-12 month period of time, can be a tell-tale sign of advanced bladder and kidney cancer. Though the cause of unexplained weight loss can be something less severe, making an appointment to see a health professional to determine the cause is crucial.
Abnormal and/or Foul-Smelling Discharge – Most women are very in-tune with their bodily functions. Though the amount and appearance of vaginal discharge can vary widely among different women, a sudden or long-lasting change in what is “typically” normal is usually a red flag. Sometimes the symptom of a yeast infection, abnormal or foul-smelling discharge can also be a warning sign for pelvic inflammatory disease. Beyond changes in discharge, the condition is also frequently characterized by other symptoms including pain during intercourse and while urinating. Even if these symptoms are fairly mild in terms of the pain, the damage they can cause to the female reproductive system can be severe and permanent. Be sure to have them evaluated right away.
Ladies, you’re often the first to recognize “something off” when it comes to the health of your loved ones. To keep your body in the best shape it can be for them, make sure to turn that laser-like attention on your own health needs too. Don’t brush off symptoms that can be easily treated when detected early enough and by all means, don’t ignore them either.