These Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Can Happen In The Bathroom - Best Life

In the fight against cancer, recognizing early symptoms of the disease can be crucial. “Early cancer detection focuses on identifying symptomatic patients as early as possible so that they have the best chance of successful treatment,” explains the World Health Organization (WHO). “When treatment for cancer is delayed or unavailable, the chances of survival are reduced, there are greater problems with treatment, and higher costs of care.”

Some warning signs of cancer are better known than others. An irregular mole can be a warning sign of skin cancer, while a breast lump could indicate breast cancer. Other symptoms are less well known — and some cancers manifest in subtle or even undetectable ways.

Changing your bathroom habits can be a sign of ovarian cancer, which can present with vague symptoms and causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, reports the American Cancer Society. Read on to find out what it is.

READ NEXT: If you do this while you sleep, you’re getting screened for cancer, experts say.

PeopleImages/iStock

Detecting ovarian cancer early increases the patient’s chances of survival. However, because the warning signs may not be easy to spot, the disease is often not discovered until it is more advanced.

“In its early stages, ovarian cancer may not show any obvious signs,” says Healthline. “When symptoms do appear, they’re often the kind of symptoms you’d typically associate with more common conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and urinary tract infections.”

Pixels Effect/iStock

Problems with bowel habits that appear like IBS, constipation, or diarrhea can be an indicator of ovarian cancer.

Why do the ovaries affect the intestines? “The ovaries are attached to the uterus and dangle down from the uterus, meaning they float freely in the pelvis.” Marilyn Huang, MD, tells Everyday Health. The small intestine floats in the pelvic cavity, she says, explaining that as ovarian cancer grows, it can attach itself to the intestine and affect its function.

This can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms that can appear like IBS. According to WebMD, both IBS and ovarian cancer can lead to stomach pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. (Note that these types of changes in bowel habits can also be caused by numerous other conditions, including but not limited to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), endometriosis, viral gastroenteritis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).)

nortonrsx/iStock

With so many reasons to change bowel habits, it can be difficult to know when they might be a sign of something more serious. Always contact your doctor if you have symptoms that come on suddenly or seem unusual. To make matters worse, e.g Barbara A GoffMD told Oncology News, “Most women with ovarian cancer have a history of abdominal or gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, and diagnoses are often delayed because neither patients nor physicians recognize these early warning signs.”

It can be helpful to look for other symptoms that can clarify a possible diagnosis. For example, according to the Mount Sinai Health System, IBS usually starts in early adulthood: “It’s less likely to start in people older than 50.” If IBS symptoms suddenly appear in an older adult, it can be a cause for concern .

PMS can cause constipation or diarrhea, but this “usually goes away in a predictable manner,” write the experts at Mount Sinai. “Unlike ovarian cancer, it should come and go with your menstrual cycle.”

Sign up for our daily newsletter to get more health news delivered straight to your inbox.

Credit: Povozniuk /iStock

Although the early symptoms of ovarian cancer can be difficult to spot, it’s still important to be aware of other signs to look out for. “As the cancer progresses, subtle symptoms appear, but they may not be noticed right away,” advises the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer may include frequent urination, back pain, weight gain or loss, and vaginal bleeding between periods. However, MSKCC notes that while these symptoms can be subtle, especially early on, “usually they are fairly constant and represent a change from what you normally feel.” In addition, symptoms worsen as the cancer progresses.

Knowing the potential signs, however vague, as well as the risk factors for ovarian cancer can help women make an early diagnosis. The American Cancer Society reports that weight, family history, and age are factors. (Women under 40 rarely develop ovarian cancer.) And don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about symptoms that come on suddenly, are unusual, or last longer than two to three weeks.

READ NEXT: Two-time cancer survivor Kathy Bates warns others not to do this.

>