It’s difficult to know what is serious and what isn’t when it comes to health. I have been speaking to Dr Elizabeth Kershaw-Yates, GP and one of the medical team at The Online Clinic to find out what exactly women should be looking out for. They gave me a few key signs that should be a warning to go to the doctors and get a health check-up.
You seem to be tired… all of the time
It’s normal to get run down occasionally… but if you find that you always seem to be fighting the urge to fall asleep, it could be a sign of something serious. Women are prone to becoming anaemic which can manifest itself in extreme exhaustion. They are also much more likely to have underactive thyroid glands which can mean that they end up feeling tired all of the time.
Tiredness can also be a sign of a mental health problem such as depression, so if you find that you are unable to keep your eyes open, try and keep track of how often you are feeling like this and what the causes may be.
You seem to be losing weight without intending to
With women especially, losing weight is often seen as a positive thing. However, if you are losing weight without intention, it might not be such a good sign. Try and keep track of your weight and make sure that you aren’t losing weight when you shouldn’t be. Weight loss without intention could be a sign of a metallic disease such as thyroid disease, diabetes or even cancer in the extreme case. Get checked by a doctor ASAP to rule these out.
You have a permanent cough that just won’t go away
Coughs and colds are completely normal – it’s when they won’t go away that it’s a problem. If you are a non-smoker and you have had a cough for longer than 6 weeks it’s a good idea to go and get a check-up. Smokers have to be a bit more careful – if you are a smoker and you have had a cough for longer than 3 weeks, book an appointment to see a GP. It could indicate a lung disorder - or even cancer.
You’re bleeding when you shouldn’t be
Bleeding between periods or after sex should be a warning sign that something isn’t right. It can indicate a problem with your cervix or a sexually transmitted disease. Ensure that you go and visit a doctor to get this investigated and rule out these options.
Pain in general
It’s important to remember that experiencing pain of any kind is usually a sign that something is amiss. If you are experiencing any kind of pain, it’s best to go to a GP so that they can assess the cause.