7 signs that your body is trying to tell you something

by: Marie Claire |

11 December, 2017

7 health symptoms you shouldnt ignore

Turning a blind eye to symptoms of illness is something that people become incredibly good at doing. ‘I’m not ill. I’ll be fine. It’s just one of those days,’ is something you tell yourself to convince your body that you’re actually the epitome of health. We’re often advised not to take antibiotics unless it’s absolutely necessary, so it’s no surprise that even taking a couple of painkillers is seen as a sign of weakness. The problem is when we ignore our symptoms to the point that they begin to do us harm. Here are seven messages from your body not to ignore:


What it is:
You most likely already know what this is but, just in case you don’t, it’s when you frequently pass watery or loose poo. It’s a common illness and usually nothing to worry about; you may just have eaten something dodgy that didn’t agree with you. There are many different causes, according to NHS UK, but bowel infection (or gastroenteritis) is the usual trigger in both adults and children. Gastroenteritis can occur through bacteria, parasites or when you contract a virus. Diarrhoea can also be the result of things such as anxiety, allergies, medication or long-term conditions like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

Why you shouldn’t ignore it:
It can become more serious when it lasts longer than a few days or you have it regularly. The NHS states that excessive loss of water in your poo can sometimes lead to dehydration, which can be serious if it’s not recognised and treated quickly. You should contact your GP and seek help if you have symptoms like: vomiting a lot, you’ve lost a lot of weight, it’s disturbing your sleep, you’ve recently taken antibiotics or been treated in hospital, you’re dehydrated, or your poo is dark or black (this may be a sign of bleeding inside your stomach). Blood in your poo could be a sign that you have bowel cancer. See a doctor if you’re concerned; they can send off samples of your stool for analysis.


What it is:
A good night’s sleep is hard to come by these days especially when, on average, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night according to WebMD. If you’re not sleeping enough, it’s hard to eat well and exercise. It’s the same in reverse – they’re all factors related to keeping you healthy. Fatigue is a common illness but if you don’t have an issue in any of these areas and you still can’t seem to pep up, it might be wise to have a check-up with your GP.


What it is:
A migraine is another common illness, affecting around one in every five women – three times more often than men according to WebMD. They are usually more severe than headaches, creating a throbbing pain on one side of the head, and you might experience sensitivity to light and/or sound, as well as nausea. The exact cause of why people get migraines is unknown, although they are thought to be the result of temporary changes in chemicals, nerves and blood vessels in the brain. Some people find they can be triggered by stress and/or tiredness. More often than not you can treat a migraine with painkillers, but they can last anywhere between a few hours and a few days.


What it is:
Constipation affects people of all ages; it’s a common illness that normally means that you can’t empty your bowel completely or at all. The symptoms can cause your poo to be harder and lumpier, larger or smaller, than normal. According to the NHS it’s estimated that around one in every seven adults, and up to one in every three children, in the UK has constipation at any one time. The Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute recommends having a warm drink in the morning but avoiding too many drinks containing caffeine. Things like not eating enough fruit and vegetables, for that all-important fibre, or not drinking enough fluids, are usually the reason why you’re constipated.

Why you shouldn’t ignore it:
The severity of constipation can vary, and you’ll probably only experience it for a short time, but sometimes it can become  a chronic condition. Long-term constipation can cause haemorrhoids (piles), incontinence or impaction. More seriously, ongoing constipation may sometimes increase your risk of developing colon cancer so it’s important not to ignore it if it continues.

Lower-back pain

What it is:
If you haven’t experienced back pain and don’t know what it is then you’re extremely lucky and must have the posture of a saint. Pain in the lower back (or lumbago as it’s known medically) is particularly common, although it can stem from anywhere along the spine. Typically it comes from sprains or strains in the muscles or joints between the bones in your spine. There are lots of ways to help relieve the symptoms of lower-back pain, but sometimes it can last for long periods of time or keep coming back. The NHS recommend keeping as active as possible, doing activities such as swimming, yoga and Pilates to keep your muscles moving.

Why you shouldn’t ignore it:
Normally the pain will ease off within a few days or weeks but it’s always a good idea to see a specialist to double check, especially if you’re in a lot of pain. Back pain is something people tend to ignore, blaming stress, bad posture or a bad night’s sleep as the cause. The ‘ignorance is bliss’ mantra should not be applied, however, if you have chest pain, trouble staying balanced, shooting pains from your back to other parts of your body, or bowel and bladder issues. Pain radiating from your back to another part of your body can sometimes mean there is a trapped nerve or nerve irritation. It’s important to visit a specialist to solve the problem, as ignoring it could cause permanent damage.

Hot flashes

What it is:
Hot flashes (or flushes) are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. Not all women experience them, but most do. Three out of every four menopausal women have hot flashes, the NHS found. Women have described them as a feeling of intense warmth that quickly creeps up on you, spreads across the entirety of your body, and seems to last forever. Others say they don’t really bother them at all. They can happen at any point of the day, without warning, but well-known triggers are stress, drinking alcohol or coffee, and eating spicy foods.

Why you shouldn’t ignore it:
Generally they’re a harmless symptom of ‘that time’ in a woman’s life, but very occasionally they may be a sign of a blood cancer or carcinoid (type of tumour). See your doctor if you feel fatigued, weak, have diarrhoea or have lost weight, in addition to hot flashes.

Via Marie Claire UK

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