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Article Type: Blog

Stomach Troubles That Won’t Go Away? It May Be Time to See Your Doctor

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Everyone experiences occasional digestive problems, particularly after eating a large or spicy meal. But no matter how minor symptoms like ongoing gas, bloating and nausea may seem, they could be signs of a more serious health condition. 

That’s why it’s important to see your doctor regularly as well as when you notice any health changes or ongoing issues. Knowing your risks for certain diseases, having recommended health screenings and staying in close communication with your primary care provider (PCP) can help you detect major health problems early, when they’re most treatable.

Understand Your Ovarian Cancer Risk

Since some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer seem like common stomach ailments, it often isn’t diagnosed until it’s in an advanced stage. Because so many of its symptoms are non-specific, it’s important that you understand your lifestyle and medical risks for ovarian cancer. 

The good news is that you can decrease some of your risks by making healthy lifestyle changes. For example, achieving a healthy weight, quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake. You’re at increased risk for ovarian cancer if you:

  • Are age 40 or older
  • Had your first child after age 35 or never had a child
  • Take hormone replacement therapy
  • Used in vitro fertilization (IVF) to become pregnant

You are also at greater risk if certain cancers, such as ovarian, breast or colorectal cancer, run in your family. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer — or any lifestyle or medical factors that put you at greater risk — you should speak with your doctor about genetic testing or any other steps you can take to better understand and reduce your risk.

Ovarian Cancer Often Gives Only Subtle Warning Signs

If you experience one or more of these subtle symptoms — especially for an extended period of time — it’s important you work with your doctor to rule out ovarian cancer:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Changes in bowel movements or menstrual cycle
  • Feeling fuller sooner when eating or loss of appetite
  • Increased abdominal girth
  • Lack of energy
  • Nausea
  • Pressure in your lower back or pelvis
  • Urinating frequency

Understand Your Ovarian Cancer Risk 

Many women mistakenly believe their annual pap test will catch ovarian cancer. But unfortunately, there’s no reliable routine screening test for it. This makes understanding ovarian cancer risks and the symptoms all the more important. If you’ve experienced any of the warning signs, believe you’re at high risk or suspect you may have ovarian cancer, please talk with a doctor right away. Arm yourself with the information and medical team you need to catch health conditions early so you can protect your whole health.

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