Ovarian cancer is a serious and often life-threatening condition. Early diagnosis greatly increases survival odds. While early symptoms may be subtle and often are overlooked, most women do have symptoms during the earliest stages of ovarian cancer. Symptoms are sometimes misdiagnosed for other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, bladder disorders, digestive disorders and depression. Ovarian cancer can be diagnosed with a combination of ultrasounds, pelvic exams and blood tests.
While symptoms of ovarian cancer may be mild or nonspecific, they are consistent. Symptoms experienced on a continual basis are pelvic pain or discomfort, urinary urgency and abdominal swelling, bloating or pressure. If these symptoms persist for more than six weeks, consult a doctor.
Women with ovarian cancer may experience bowel changes, especially chronic constipation, and bladder changes such as an increased need to urinate. Also, women with ovarian cancer may see a dramatic increase in their appetites. Menstruation may change as well, resulting in irregular bleeding and painful intercourse.
Pain and Discomfort
Other symptoms of ovarian cancer include nausea, gas, indigestion, fatigue and lower back pain. Also, there may be a sensation of heaviness in the pelvic area. Some women may notice increased hair growth as well. Women are urged to report symptoms to their gynecologists because there is no routine screening for ovarian cancer.
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