A common symptom of ovarian cancer is abdominal bloating. The difficulty is to determine if the bloating is too many calories; not enough exercise; natural increase for the post menopausal woman; or water and gas retention. I thought my increasingly protruding stomach was due to my diet and not enough exercise. Despite smaller portions, decreasing fat and calorie count, and increasing abdominal and cardiovascular exercising, my pant size increased.
Never did I have even a fleeting thought that it could be a tumor. I felt great and was otherwise symptom free, except four days before my diagnosis I did have a change in my bowel movements. Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer(though not all) did have bloating plus pain, vaginal discharge, digestive or colon problems.
Our society puts such an emphasis on the slender and well proportioned woman, it makes some women feel unnecessary guilt and even take unhealthy actions to lose weight. Now is the time for people to accept us as who we are, not how we look.
Women need to be their own advocates, know and listen to their bodies, and seek appropriate medical advice. The rule of thumb is for the woman to seek a consultation with her physician if the bloating lasts longer than 3 weeks, increases, or another symptom appears. Here are two websites that have helpful tools to track possible symptoms: email@example.com has a symptom diary and interim practice guide; and ovarian.org in conjunction with Dr. Oz has a sheet for tracking symptoms. I encourage using either of these resources if there is any question about some bloating or pelvic pain occurring.
To help those who read this blog, I invite comments from ovarian cancer survivors. All women can learn from and need each other.
- Karen Ingalls
- Ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 1 of 72 women; 14,000 will die. Please know the symptoms and risk factors: read Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. Books at www.amazon.com. ALL PROCEEDS GO TO GYNECOLOGIC CANCER RESEARCH. I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writer's International Society of Authors, and Patient Leadership Council for Tesaro, Inc. I WILL NOT USE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE THAN CONTACTING YOU DIRECTLY. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2018.