Symptoms of Colon Cancer in Women – Don’t Mistake it For Menstrual Issues

Colon cancer is one of the most treatable cancers and is developed mostly through lifestyle. What are the symptoms of colon cancer in women? Early-stage colon cancer rarely offers any clear or obvious symptoms, so it is very important to know the warning signs.

I decided to write about colon cancer because unlike other cancer, colon cancer is developed mainly through lifestyle – specially eating habits.

To greatly simplify it, colon cancer is a result of a stressed, unhealthy, long-term damaged part of your gut. Because of this damage done through food and other factors, your body cannot get the nutrients it needs to help and minimize the damage, it’s a down-spiral situation and it can happen to anyone.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer


Colon cancer
Source: Mayo Clinic

If you have these symptoms it doesn’t already mean you have colon cancer.

Many of these symptoms can be caused by poor diet, a viral infection, hemorrhoids or irritable bowel syndrome.

However, if you suffer from these symptoms chronically you should visit your doctor.

  • Change in number 2 habits:

Diarrhea, constipation and poop consistency can signal precancerous polyps or Colon cancer. Growing polyps inside your colon can block the way for your stool to exit the body. Consistency and diarrhea indicate disturbed colon performance.

  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool:

A trace of blood on your toilet paper is nothing to worry about but is you notice a fair amount of blood, in color similar to you menstrual bleeding you should immediately schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Large amounts of blood are never natural in colon and usually indicates bleeding somewhere deeper.

  • Abdominal pain, cramping, bloating or discomfort: 

Know the difference between menstrual issues and colon cancer symptoms.

It is completely natural and nothing to worry about if you have cramps once a month before your period. But if you are dealing with abdominal pain, cramping, bloating or any persistent discomfort throughout the month, then it is time to visit a doctor.

  • Unexplained weight loss:

If you’re not trying to lose weight or you rapidly losing weight without trying this may indicate problems in your GI tract, colon. You may be losing weight because your colon is trying to do it’s job and absorb the nutrients given with food but fails to do so because of disturbances in its tissue – polyps or cancerous tissue.

  • Unexplained anemia (iron deficiency):

Every menstrual woman is prone to iron deficiency because we lose it with every single period we have.

In case of colon cancer, additional colon bleeding worsen levels of iron even more.

unhealthy habits to avoid

 

Colon Cancer is Mostly Developed Through Lifestyle


There are many new cases of colon cancer in the US each year. There are certain risks that increase it – this includes smoking and obesity.

It’s not entirely clear how obesity adds to this particular cancer but obesity may lead to chronic inflammatory state of colon that predisposes people to develop colon cancer.

Secondly, only 5% of new colon cancer is a result of genetic or inherited cancer.

Other 95% cases have no genetic predisposition and are entirely new cases. These 95% could be reduced with some simple lifestyle changes. (Source: Steven Hochwald, Chief of Gatrointestinal Surgery, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center)

 

Do You Have a Healthy Lifestyle?


You might be rolling your eyes seeing “Healthy Lifestyle” throwing around again. You see it everywhere, healthy this, healthy that, healthy here, there, everywhere.

But, you are looking into your health issues.

Health is everything.

If you’d feel healthy you would not be here. And this is the ugly truth.

So do you have a healthy lifestyle?

healthy habits to adopt

A study made in Denmark followed more than 55,000 men and women aged 50 – 64 that were absolutely cancer free. They paid a special attention to their lifestyle for almost 10 years and in that time nearly 700 with unhealthy habits developed colon cancer.

Five factors appeared to contribute to an increased risk of developing colon cancer.

If these factors were reduced or eliminated, developing a cancer was reduced to 23%.

  • Avoid smoking – very self-explanatory as smoking itself increases chances of developing cancer,
  • Eat healthy – processed food, diet high in fat and low in fiber is damaging your long-term health. “Convenient food” diet is low in nutrient and even though you might feel full after eating it, you’re starving your body.
  • Be physically active at least 30 min a day – being active improves blood circulation, digestion, your body gets more oxygen and can therefore perform better,
  • Drink no more than 7 alcoholic drinks per week – alcohol in general is a very harmful chemical to begin with. Just like smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, can cause cancer,
  • Watch your weight – human body was made for normal weight. Obesity is not part of evolution. Internal organs, joints, GI tract, etc. of obese people are put under tremendous amounts of extra work and stress just to try to keep up with everyday life processes. Keep waist circumference below 35 inches.

 

Colonoscopy – Best Prevention


Colon cancer is one of the most treatable cancers, but the only way to detect it is through screening.

colonoscopt
Source: Mayo Clinic

There is a screening test which is very, very, very good for detecting precancerous polyps or colon cancer called colonoscopy.

The best way to identify for either having precancerous polyps in a colon which might lead to colon cancer or to identify colon cancer is to undergo screening.

People who doesn’t have significant risk factors or genetic predisposition, should start their screenings at age 50. African Americans should begin screening earlier, at age 45.

Earlier screening is also recommended for anyone with a family history of colon cancer, polyposis syndromes or Lynch syndrome.

If you have any conditions that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as irritable bowel disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, talk with your doctor or a GI specialist to determine when and how often you should be screened.

 

Conclusion


Unlike other cancers, colon cancer is in 95% developed because of individuals unhealthy lifestyle. Women are more likely to dismiss warning signs as a menstrual problem. If you’re concerned for your health, schedule an appointment. Your doctor will help you decide in guide you toward further decisions.

If you feel it’s time to change bad habits, you’re probably right. Our body is an amazing system that can heal itself and compensate a lot of our mischief but only if we feed it correctly.

 

I hope you found information you were looking for. For any questions, thoughts and experience write a comment below.

 

Till next time,

Katya

 

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