Symptoms You Shouldn’t be Embarrassed About

In the world of personal health, there are certain things that are downright uncomfortable to talk about. Think things like body odour, bad breath, hair loss, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or other issues affecting your nether regions.

Dr Chun Tang, our specialist GP at Pall Mall Medical, says he’s seen it all before and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to taking care of yourself and prioritising your health.

We’ve sat down with Dr Tang to discuss the signs and symptoms that you should actively, always be looking out for. We’ve listed a few symptoms that are deemed ‘embarrassing’ to talk about and some home remedies to cure them. If you notice unusual changes in your body, it is important that you banish your blushes and make a doctor’s appointment. Know the signs and symptoms for when you should seek medical advice.

 

Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is common in all ages and happens for many different reasons, usually it is nothing to be concerned about. However, diarrhoea can also be a huge red flag when it comes to bowel cancer. Symptoms include:

  • Blood in stool
  • Persistent diarrhoea
  • Weight loss
  • Change in bowel habits

Please visit your GP for further investigation if you have persistent diarrhoea.

Remedies:

  • Drink plenty of fluids or use a rehydration drink such as Dioralyte. This helps with salt loss (sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium)
  • Drink plenty of water, clear juices, clear broths, or an electrolyte-rich sports drink.
  • Avoid coffee, caffeinated drinks, prune juice, sugary drinks, dairy products, soda and alcohol, all of which have a laxative effect.
  • Eat a bland diet. Low-fibre foods will help to firm up stools such as: bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, skinless chicken breast, oatmeal, baked potatoes and chicken soup.
  • If diarrhoea lasts more than a couple of days, it is a good idea to check the foods that you are eating. Diarrhoea can be exacerbated by foods high in fibre (such as bran, whole grains, and brown rice) as well as greasy foods or those sweetened with sorbitol.

Use probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are beneficial to your digestive system which can help restore normal bowel function and exert powerful antidiarrheal effects.

 

Constipation

Constipation is also common in all ages and happens for many different reasons, usually it is nothing to be concerned about. However, like diarrhoea, constipation can also be a huge red flag when it comes to bowel cancer. Symptoms include:

  • Blood in stool
  • Persistent constipation
  • Weight loss,
  • Change in bowel habits

Please visit your GP for further investigation if you have persistent constipation.

Remedies:

  • Exercise regularly. Walking or running for example can help stimulate the muscles in your intestines and colon. This will help the bowels move things through
  • Stay hydrated. This prevents as well as treats constipation. Fluids help movement and prevent stools hardening
  • Eat enough dietary fibre. Start eating easy-to-digest foods that are high in fibre, such as berries, bananas, prunes, or avocado
  • Include plenty of fibre-rich foods in your diet, including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Magnesium supplements can help constipation as they pull water into your digestive system, which helps soften your stool

 

Vaginal Itching

If you notice lumps, persistent itching, or bleeding, you should see GP immediately for further investigation. Causes for vaginal itching could be; yeast infections/skin infections/STDs or skin cancer.

Remedies:    

  • Baking soda can help to relieve vulval itching that occurs due to dry skin
  • An oatmeal bath can help ease vulval itching cause by eczema
  • Vitamin E may help relieve itching in the vulva or vagina caused by atopic dermatitis or menopause
  • Eating yogurt or honey can help restore the balance due to healthy bacteria ingredients
  • Garlic can help prevent or treat bacterial or fungal infection

 

Trapped Wind

Trapped wind can be common for all ages. However some red flags when experiencing trapped wind can include;

  • Persistent bloating – could be a sign of ovarian cancer
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting blood
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal distension
  • Not passing stools or wind

Please visit your GP for further investigation if you have persistent symptoms.

Remedies:

  • Open bowels/pass wind
  • Eat slowly and avoid chewing gum to stop swallowing air
  • Avoid sugarless gum as this contains artificial sweeteners which may cause bloating
  • Drink non-carbonated drinks
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame
  • Avoid high-fat foods and spicy foods
  • Add apple cider vinegar to water
  • Drink tea – g  ginger or peppermint
  • Try peppermint supplements
  • Clove oil
  • Hot water bottle
  • Take probiotics
  • Exercise

 

Rectal Bleeding

If you experience any rectal bleeding, you should see your GP immediately to rule out bowel cancer. However, there can be other minor causes such as piles.

 Remedies for piles:

  • Witch hazel reduces both itching and pain
  • Aloe vera
  • Taking a warm bath with Epsom salts can help soothe the irritation from haemorrhoids
  • Over-the-counter ointments – piles ointments and suppositories
  • Apply ice packs or cold compresses to the anus to relieve swelling for 15 minutes at a time
  • Stool softeners reduce constipation to relieve piles

Please visit your GP for further investigation if you have persistent symptoms.

 

Inverted Nipple

If you notice that you have developed an inverted nipple and have never had one before, it could be a sign of breast cancer. You should see your GP immediately.

 

Hot flushes

Hot flushes can be common in women going through menopause or happen due to hormones. However, some red flags when experiencing hot flushes include;

  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Lumps
  • Persisting hot flushes

Please visit your GP for further investigation if you have persistent symptoms.

Remedies:

  • Black Cohosh
  • Liquorice root
  • Valerian root
  • Relaxation exercises such as:
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Avoid common triggers of hot flushes including:
  • Warm weather
  • Stress
  • Spicy or hot foods and beverages
  • Alcohol

 

Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness can happen after menopause, either natural menopause or early menopause brought on by breast cancer treatment or hysterectomy. However, if you are bleeding post menopause, please consult with your GP

Remedies:

  • Coconut oil
  • Sea buckthorn oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Omega-3 fatty acid
  • Aloe vera
  • Avoiding perfumed products: (powders, soaps, and deodorants)

 

White Tongue

Red or white patches on the lining of your mouth are common and are rarely a sign of cancer. Most likely the cause is oral thrush which is a fungus. However, if you experience these symptoms please consult with your GP.

  • Persisting ulcers
  • Lumps

Remedies:

  • Probiotics
  • Adding food-grade baking soda to a toothbrush and scrubbing the tongue, teeth, and gums may help reduce the bacteria that cause a white tongue.
  • Raw garlic
  • Tongue scraping
  • Salt water
  • Yogurt
  • Apple cider vinegar

 

Weight Gain

There can be several reasons behind weight gain which are easy to control however, there can be many red flags when it comes to gaining weight which include:

  • Drinking a lot
  • Passing urine more than usual

Remedies:

  • Increasing exercise and eating a healthier diet

 

Anal Itching

Anal itchiness with bleeding can be a sign of anal cancer. Please visit your GP for further investigation if you have persistent symptoms.

Remedies:

  • Wearing cotton helps keep the area dry. Tights and tight materials can trap moisture and cause itchiness
  • Avoid irritants such as bubble baths, genital deodorants, harsh or perfumed soaps
  • Apply ointments or gels – zinc oxide based or Vaseline
  • If there are piles present, piles ointment containing anaesthetic and steroids will help

 

Vaginal Discharge

If you are experiencing any lesions around the vaginal area or postmenopausal bleeding, then you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible.

Remedies:

  • STD check
  • Over-the-counter treatments
  • Antifungal treatments in the form of creams or pessaries can be purchased over the counter to treat yeast infections. These are available without a prescription and are available to purchase online, or are found in:
  • Antifungal creams/pessaries for thrush
  • Tea tree oil
  • Probiotic supplements
  • Natural yogurt
  • Coconut oil
  • Garlic

 

Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)

If you are experiencing night sweats, weight loss, lumps or persisting hot flushes please visit your GP for further investigation.

Remedies:

  • Strong antiperspirants which you can wear overnight
  • Botox injections in the affected areas

 

Bad Breath

Bad breath can be caused for many reasons such as poor hygiene. However, if you notice symptoms such as:

  • Drinking a lot
  • Passing urine more than usual
  • Tiredness

Please visit your GP for further investigation.

Remedies:

  • Good dental hygiene
  • Drink more water, dehydration causes bad breath
  • Yogurt
  • Vitamin C helps saliva production to wash away foul-smelling bacteria
  • Green tea

 

 

If you notice any unusual changes or have any concerns, you can book an appointment at Pall Mall Medical to see one of our GPS. Click here for more information or call us on 03300 58 44 55.

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