Beware! That Persistent Bloating Could Be Ovarian Cancer

| February 21 , 2018 , 17:07 IST

Women suffering from bloating are more likely to turn to probiotic yogurts than visit their general practitioner to check for Ovarian Cancer, a study has found.

Persistent bloating is one of the key symptoms of cancer but research by Target Ovarian Cancer found just 34 percent of women in UK would visit the doctors if they had concerns about regular bloating. While there is no figure for India, the estimates could be much lower in India.

Half of the British women would change their diet if they had a persistent swelling, including the elimination of foods such as gluten or milk or consumption of probiotic yogurt or mint tea, the study found.

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Dr. Sharon Tate, head of primary care development at the charity, said it had become increasingly difficult for women to see past marketing messages about bloating. 

A poll of 1,142 women on behalf of Target Ovarian Cancer found that 50% of British women would change their diet if they were persistently bloated, including cutting out certain foods like gluten or dairy, starting to consume certain foods such as probiotic yogurts or peppermint tea or go on a diet. But just 34% said that they would visit a GP if they had concerns about regular bloating.

Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said, "A probiotic yogurt should not be preventing a woman from visiting the GP promptly if something is worrying her."

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Jones said, "Women should not be risking their lives because of the enduring awareness gap around the symptoms of ovarian cancer. If women know ovarian cancer symptoms such as persistent bloating and are able to link them to ovarian cancer early on, lives will be saved."

As a result, two-thirds of British sufferers are not being diagnosed until their disease has spread, making it harder to treat, the charity added.

The common symptoms of Ovarian Cancer-

  • Pelvic, abdominal or back pain
  • Feeling full quickly and/or a loss of appetite
  • Needing to urinate more frequently than normal
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Persistent indigestion or nausea
  • Pain during sex
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • A change in bowel habits

Previous research of charity has found that only one in five women know that persistent bloating as a common symptom of ovarian cancer, and there is a "gap of consciousness" around the symptoms of the disease.