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7 Embarrassing symptoms women shouldn't ignore

As an experienced author, journalist and editor, Sarah specialises in writing about business, property, travel and parenting. She's written for magazines including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Collective and Your Investment Property magaz...

Check-up time

From SheKnows Australia
No one enjoys going to the doctor: it's yet another chore that takes up time on the to do list and strips hard-earned funds from your purse. But sometimes, when certain embarrassing symptoms present, you have to put aside your anxiety and get checked out. "Women do lots of really awkward things each day -- like waxing our bikini line, or wearing 3-inch heels," says Kate Broun, spokesperson for the Cancer Council Australia. "But when it comes to something like getting a pap smear, too many women put it off or avoid it all together. While it may be awkward, it could save your life." Here are seven medical symptoms you should never ignore.

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5Red spots on your bikini line

Angry red spots on your bikini line could indicate folliculitis, which occurs when your hair follicles become infected with bacteria. It usually shows as small red spots around one or more hair follicle, with tiny, white-headed pimples occasionally making an appearance. Mild folliculitis can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but severe infections can cause scarring and even permanent hair loss. If your bikini line is inflamed, make an appointment with your GP: they can prescribe a top-strength anti-fungal cream to clear up the issue in no time.

6A lump on your breast

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NCBF), breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in Australian women, with more than 13,500 new cases diagnosed every year. Of these, around 2,800 women don't survive.

If you notice a lump on your breast, don't delay visiting your doctor -- NCBF CEO Sue Murray says early detection is vital to increase your chances of a positive outcome. Murray recommends that you feel your breasts for lumps at least once a month, by checking all over the breast -- from your armpit to your cleavage, and from the top of your collarbone to your stomach -- for changes in size, colour and shape. Visually, look for dimpling, redness, soreness, puckering or bulging of the skin.

7Unexplained changes in bowel habits

Does it feel like you're suddenly rushing to the toilet every half hour? Changes in bowel habits, such as regular bouts of constipation or diarrhea, may indicate easily treatable bacterial, viral or parasitic infections, but other possible causes could be Irritable Bowel Syndrome or even bowel cancer. If your new toilet habits are accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting, nausea or abdominal pain -- or if there is any blood in your stool -- visit your doctor immediately.

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