by E.C. LaMeaux
Pain is your body’s way of getting your attention when something isn’t right, but many of us don’t always stop to listen. There are certain pains that women shouldn’t ignore, especially pains in the breasts or painful periods. Even smaller issues like fatigue, shortness of breath, or blood in your urine can indicate larger problems. Women should consult their doctors if they feel pain in any parts of their bodies. Here are eight pains women should never ignore.
1. Painful periods
Pain during a woman’s menstrual cycle could indicate endometriosis. According to WebMD, endometriosis is the accumulation of misplaced endometrial tissue on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bowel. It can lead to chronic pain and possible infertility if not properly treated. Women should consult a doctor if they have pain during their monthly periods.
2. Pain in the breasts
According to WebMD, pain and tenderness in women’s breasts is called mastalgia, and may be associated with your period cycle, or not follow any sort of pattern. Pain in the breasts will usually worsen when your hormone levels change, or depending on some medications you might be taking. Stress and caffeine can also affect breast pain. According to WebMD, breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer; painful lumps, however, could be caused by breast cancer. See a doctor if you ever feel any pain or lumps in your breasts.
3. Horrible headaches
If you think you’re experiencing what you would call the worst headache of your life, see a doctor, advises WebMD. Head pain could be a sinus headache, but it could be a brain hemorrhage or tumor. According to Sandra Fryhofer, M.D., MACP, and spokeswoman for the American College of Physicians, you should get medical attention immediately if you’re unsure of the cause of your pain.
According to Sharon Brangman, M.D., FACP, spokeswoman for the American Geriatrics Society, pain in women’s heads could also be a sign of a brain aneurysm. See your doctor immediately.
4. Pain in the chest, abdomen, throat, jaw, shoulders or arms
When women feel pain in their chests, says WebMD, it could be a sign of pneumonia or a heart attack. Jerome Cohen, M.D., says not to wait for pain; heart conditions often feel more like discomfort rather than pain. Heart diseases are often overlooked in women.
According to WebMD, if women feel pain or discomfort in their upper chest, throat, left arm or shoulder, abdomen or jaw, it could be a sign of heart disease. Cohen adds that heart disease can often be misinterpreted as a gastrointestinal problem because symptoms include bloating or abdominal discomfort.
5. Pain between the shoulder blades or in the lower back
WebMD states that pain between the shoulder blades or in the lower back could be a sign of arthritis.
6. Severe pain in the abdomen
Women shouldn’t ignore it if they feel severe pain in their abdomen. Severe abdominal pain could indicate a burst appendix, stomach ulcers, intestinal blockages or gallbladder and pancreas problems, according to WebMD.
7. Pain in the calves
Women who feel pain in their calves should see a doctor because it could be deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. DVT is a blood clot that can occur in the veins deep in the legs. According to WebMD, it affects two million Americans per year and can be critical because the clot could break away and result in a pulmonary embolism. Women are more at risk than men because pregnancy is a risk factor. So are obesity, cancer, immobility and advanced age.
8. Burning pain in the feet or legs
According to the American Diabetes Association, roughly 25 percent of Americans who have diabetes are actually undiagnosed. A burning or tingling sensation in the feet or legs can indicate nerve damage associated with diabetes. See a doctor if you experience these symptoms, similar to a pins-and-needles feeling.
Even if your pain is not listed above, see a doctor if any pain seems out of the ordinary. Some physical pains can even be symptoms of depression. You know your body better than anyone, so always see a doctor when you feel something is “off.”