The Health Collective 

Six Aches and Pains Your Body Doesn't Want You to Ignore

By Nikita Mishra

A year and a half ago my uncle was diagnosed with microscopic gall stones in a routine ultrasound. The doctor scoffed at our plan of an immediate laser operation. In fact he laughed at the sonographer’s expertise in detecting stones so miniscule. My uncle was told to get routine ultrasounds twice a year and an operation when the miniature marbles grew bigger.

Exactly year and a half later my uncle passed away. He was 63.

A victim of end-stage gall bladder cancer, the disease was diagnosed so late that treatment was not an option. The stones became colossal, became cancerous, infected the whole gall bladder and even the liver. All in a matter of 18 months.

So, did no one see it coming? Can the beginning of your end be without a single sign? Or was he and the family repeatedly ignoring the silent symptoms? In hindsight, his appetite did diminish slowly, there was the frequent jackhammering of the stomach, dizzying spells, all pinned to occasional deep fried indulgences – nothing a Pudin Hara couldn’t fix. But something wasn’t quite right.

Which brings me to the main crux of this piece -- Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is out of whack.

Take a look at six kinds of pain, you must not ignore.


(Nikita Mishra/ The Health Collective)

We aren’t talking about the run-of-the-mill tummy troubles. Imagine your stomach hurting more than it has ever before, like being punched below the belt, or being stabbed by a knife or poked by chopsticks.

This kind of intense pain radiating from within often accompanied by fever, chills and vomiting needs immediate ER care. If could be appendicitis or endometriosis – a condition affecting the fertility in women. Either way, don’t waste time googling symptoms. A burst appendix is a serious complication.


(Nikita Mishra/ The Health Collective)


Tooth ache is worse than heart ache. Period. It’s awful and debilitating and yet we ignore it often, because the thought of going to see a specialist who drills your teeth for a living is traumatising!

ENT specialist Dr Thorawade feels it can be a whole array of issues -- a raw nerve, a cracked tooth, worn-off enamel, rotten roots or a cavity that needs filling. "Your dental health is a good benchmark for the health of the rest of your body since it is all connected. In rare cases, a tooth abscess can travel down your neck blocking the airways and bleeding gums are often a signal a heart disease,” he tells The Health Collective.


(Nikita Mishra/ The Health Collective)


Do leg cramps, the kind which happen after a workout, sound familiar? If you experience the same numbness, tenderness, calf muscles on fire kind of pain without a killer cardio session, go to the emergency right away. You might have a blood clot which can do untold damage.

Sitting for long hours in one position, as many frequent long distance flyers are aware, can lead to a condition called Deep Vain Thrombosis or DVT. In 2015, cricketer and MP Navjot Singh Siddhu had a near fatal brush with this condition caused by a blood clot in a deep vein, obstructing blood flow.


(Nikita Mishra/ The Health Collective)

We all feel like over blown balloons ready to burst from time to time. But if suddenly a single chapatti has started keeping you full from lunch to dinner, then it’s time to pay heed.

Watch your diet for a week or two but if you still consistently feel bloated, then it is a red flag of a serious health issue. Book yourself an appointment with a gynaecologist or a GP because abdominal pain, lessened appetite and constant bloating for more than three weeks are early symptoms of a number of abdominal cancers.


(Nikita Mishra/ The Health Collective)

Weird, annoying and extremely common for anybody sitting in one position for too long. But if the tingling and sleeping sensation is far too often and shaking it off doesn’t help then head to a doctor.

Not to freak you out but this could be down to a pinched nerve in the spinal cord, early onset of type-2 diabetes, carpal tunnel syndrome, and under-active thyroid due to a vitamin B12 deficiency.



(Nikita Mishra/ The Health Collective)


It’s never normal or a good sign for your hoo-ha to pain while you're peeing. But then, it’s nothing abnormal post- a vigorous spin class, or sitting on a hard seat, or a night of rough sex, or an allergy to the latex in condoms (this is legit! Switch to polyurethane from latex to see the difference) Or maybe not.,,

Sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infection, yeast or bacterial infections, worst case bladder cancer; just about any of these can also make your lady parts feel the heat.

"Pain while urination is the biggest sign of bladder cancer. It’s the fourth most common cancer in men if caught early, there is more than a 90% chance of fixing it with surgery and chemotherapy,” Dr Prakash Tajwani, Urologist tells The Health Collective.

If you itch, burn, pain, stink or feel like cottage cheese for more than a week, schedule an exam with the gynaecologist. ASAP.


And then there is the classic heartburn, pressing chest sensation which people blow off in the name of indigestion way too often. Sure it could just be gas but with one person dying of a heart attack every 30 seconds in India*, you could be living on borrowed time.

(*Source: Gangaram Hospital study Living with Heart Disease: All about Stents & Interventions, 2016)


Period or Question Mark: 5 Things Messing with Aunt Flo

By Nikita Mishra

You know what would be ideal? If Mother Nature just picked up the phone and told you, "You’re not pregnant, have a great month!" 

Repeat that conversation 12 times a year and hold off on the bleeding, the cramps, the soul-sucking bad mood... Instead, we have Aunt Flo. I think of her as being just like that annoying boy who always makes you miserable but who you still want to see month after month. Of course this is only true until you want to be pregnant, but that's a story for another day.
Until that day, there's the unease to blind panic spectrum (we've all been there!) when your period doesn't make its monthly appearance.

But do remember that besides pre-menopause and pregnancy, there are many reasons which can make your period go out of whack.

Five Reasons for Missed or Irregular Periods: Nikita Mishra/ Health Collective
Credit: Nikita Mishra/ Health Collective

  1. You’re Seriously Stressed

    Quick Fact: Ovulation starts in the pituitary gland of your brain and not your uterus. So if it’s the season of makeups and breakups, interviews or job losses, anxiety about birth or death in the family...Many things can snap the connection between your brain and your ovaries, making your monthly cycle go wonky.

    Mumbai-based gynaecologist, Dr Sangita Agarwal tells The Health Collective, “Stress is the most common cause of your body shutting down the ovulation system. And it doesn’t always have to be something big like death or divorce; just one night of tremendous stress can signal the brain to not produce the hormones required for ovulation.”


Also Read: Ask the Experts: Relationships, Happiness, Living the Life you Want

  1. You're Travelling Through Time Zones

    This is a sneaky one. Your zzz’s are not the only thing which get rickety when you jet set across time zones. When you’re air-bound for more than 8-hours, the circadian rhythm (which influences the body’s clockwork) goes for a toss. The hormones which regulate your periods are also tied to these rhythms and get messed up when coupled with a fluctuating light-dark cycle.

    Logically you’d think that these symptoms would be worse in a long haul flight, but more than the time it’s the direction which makes your brain groggy. Scientists are still trying to understand the exact reason, but it’s the West to East travel which hits the circadian rhythm and your periods the hardest. Probably because it’s tougher to adjust to a shorter day and we lose time going to the east.

  2.  Your Weight has been Fluctuating

    There is such a thing as excessive exercise. Suddenly upped your workout game to achieve that flawless summer bod? Well, your brain can perceive this as an extreme stressor and put the kibosh on your monthly crimson wave.  Step back, girl, take it easy, your body needs a certain amount of fat to ovulate. On the other hand, if you’ve piled on the pounds rather rapidly, Aunt Flo is the first to notice. 

    “Too much weight gain can throw your hormones for a loop. Your ovaries can start making extra testosterone which can hinder ovulation, consequently, you can have too little or too heavy periods”, says Dr Agarwal. 


Also Read: Ask the Experts: Understanding Anxiety Disorders

  1. You Forgot to Pop Your Birth Control Pill

    For most women with painful periods, birth control pills are a god-send. They can make periods lighter and help you lose the cramps, but if there’s a change in the dosage of the birth control pill or you’ve introduced the IUD or gone for hormonal shots this time, you might end up missing a cycle or two because your body needs time to adjust to a new cycle. Don’t freak out, repeat after me, it's going to be fine.

  2. You’ve Been Sick

    Virals, flu, bacterial infections like sexually transmitted diseases, pelvic inflammatory disease, all of these can wreck your monthly cycle the same way stress does. Also, heavy duty antibiotics can shoot up the level of estrogen in your body which might give you some random mid-month bleeding. 

    Not scoring enough on the snooze card, even a single night of insomnia, working in night shifts, not to mention an underlying disease, smoking, alcohol, too much caffeine, spotty attendance at the gym, crash diets or loading up on sugar could just be some of the many reasons why your hormones are acting out of whack.

    Bottom-line – a single or double missed cycle should not set the alarm bells ringing. (And that stress remember, sets off its own chain reaction! But if wonky/ long M.I.A periods are a regular feature, please to discuss the matter with a gynaecologist. 

Views expressed are personal; Material on The Health Collective cannot substitute for expert advice from a trained professional.

Slowly... Centering




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