Symptoms of Colon Cancer in Women
A lot has been said about colon cancer in recent years. It's also becoming more frequent in women: it's now the second most common for us. Why does it happen? What causes it? We're still not 100% sure about the causes, which is why prevention and being aware of the symptoms is especially important.
Today, we’re going to talk about the common symptoms of colon cancer in women, for your health and peace of mind. There is a treatment for it, and many people have beaten it, so we’re going to
1. What is colon cancer?
Colon cancer starts in the colon or rectum. They have a different treatment, but they have the same symptoms and origin. To help you understand it a little better, let’s start by talking about what these parts of our body do.
- When you eat, your stomach digests the food and then your intestines process and eliminate it.
- First it passes through the small intestine, the longest part of the digestive system, which is in charge of digesting and obtaining nutrients from food.
- Then, the residues go from the large intestine to the colon, which is in charge of absorbing the water, synthesizing some types of vitamins and storing waste that will later be carried to the rectum. This last section is 15 centimeters wide, and that is where colon cancer comes from.
2. How does colon cancer start?
Colon cancer starts with one or more polyps growing inside the colon walls or rectum. They grow on the inside and can have a flat or oval shape.
This is where prevention comes in. Most of these polyps are benign, but if you don’t get them removed in time, they can turn cancerous. These are called adenomas, and only show signs of their presence once they reach a certain size, and when they come in contact with feces, they bleed. This is usually when you’ll realize that something is happening.
Many countries are starting to schedule occasional colonoscopies as a preventative measure. If you detect a polyp in time, when it’s small, you can avoid contracting colon cancer. But there might be a point when you notice something is wrong. So, with any problem, no matter how insignificant, alert your doctor. Better safe than sorry.
3. Symptoms of colon cancer
- Blood in your stool: This is the clearest of the symptoms of colon cancer, and one you should never ignore. It’s not pleasant, but you should always observe the color and shape of your stools, especially if there are any traces of blood. If they’re red or black, it’s because of the contact with the polyps: they bleed when they rub against anything.
- Anemia: Women tend to experience anemia more often than men. It’s usually because of heavy menstruation, but it’s always best to be sure of the causes. If you have anemia, ask your doctor to also do a stool analysis to see if there are any traces of blood.
- Changes in your digestion processes: Do you have constipation one week and diarrhea the next? Tell your doctor. It’s important to figure out what’s causing these changes in your digestion process.
- The shape of your stool: Pay attention to any change in the shape of your stool, especially if it’s suddenly thinner. This could be because of polyps making the intestine smaller and preventing normal bowel movements.
- Unusual bowel movements: Do you feel like you still have to go to the bathroom even after you just did? Do you feel like something is still inside your intestines? This is called tenesmus and you should tell your doctor about it right away.
- Abdominal pain: Do you feel very full right after eating? Do you feel tired and bloated? Don’t ignore it. It’s most likely something minor, like gas, but if you notice that your stools are different, for example, along with those symptoms, see your doctor. It isn’t hard, and you’ll be calmer once you’ve ruled out more serious issues.
- Weight loss: When you have a colon problem, you’ll stop properly synthesizing a lot of nutrients, your body won’t process foods the same… These will make you lose a few pounds (not in a good way). This is definitely one of the symptoms of colon cancer to keep an eye out for. Don’t get too caught up in the short term benefits.
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4. Can you prevent colon cancer?
Like any other type, what’s important is to be aware of the symptoms of colon cancer and to have a healthy lifestyle. Right now, there’s no 100% strategy to prevent this disease, but what you can do is try to take care of yourself as well as possible.
Here are some tips to help with that:
- If you’re a smoker, what’s stopping you from quitting? Drop the habit today!
- Follow a Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, fresh vegetables, and olive oil.
- Cleanse your intestines regularly: For example, it’s great to start the morning with a glass of warm water and lemon, or a tablespoon of olive oil with a few drops of lemon, or even an aloe vera infusion.
- Take care of your intestinal flora by taking probiotics.
- Ginger and mint infusions in the afternoon will also care for your colon.
- Drinking a liter of boiled artichoke water twice a week is also very good for you.
- Manage your stress and anxiety properly.
- Exercise a little bit every day, like walking every day for an hour.
So, how does that sound? Follow these tips and get your lifestyle on track today!