If you've ever taken a visit to WebMD to punch in your symptoms in an attempt to find out whatever unnamed illness is ailing you, you've probably been left mortified and frightened by the gamut of different diseases you could have.
It's either a head cold or rabies, low blood sugar or leprosy, a sore ankle or a sign your foot is being eaten away by some new flesh-eating zombie virus. It's all enough to get you pretty freaked out.
And although WebMD is a hypochondriac's delight (nightmare), it does highlight that complex nature of correctly diagnosing symptoms for patients. Because our body reacts to things that are wrong with it in a finite number of ways. And it's up to a doctor to discern whether or not your hives were caused by working in a new high stress environment, or that peanut curry you tried at the new Thai spot down the street.
Scarily enough, even the most innocuous of symptoms could be a clue to more inimical health issues that are lurking around in your body. Like this UK study's findings about women who experience persistent bloating.
A bloated belly could be caused by many things: gas, your period, or maybe it's just your gut's reaction to eating a meal. However, it could also be a sign of ovarian cancer. Because it's usually written off as a normal occurrence, may women aren't checking out their persistent belly bloats.
So how do you know if your bloating could be dormant cancer symptoms or a result of having one too many drinks?
There are some warning signs, that, if they occur simultaneously, are a strong indicator that you may be suffering from ovarian cancer.
The first big sign is if it happens frequently. If you notice you have to pee more than normal, your stomach hurts from time to time, and you always feel like your full, you may be at risk and should get yourself checked out pronto.
But again, because it's "only bloating," most people would downplay the severity of their body's clear signals.
Constant bloating isn't going to be remedied by a change in one's diet - especially if you never experienced those problems previously when you were eating more or less the same things.
People began sharing stories of their own loved ones who discovered that they had ovarian cancer when they at first believed it to be something more mundane.
UK politicians tweeted the story to get the word out and urge people to get themselves checked out.
And once you take a look at the statistics of women who suffer from ovarian cancer, you realize that the message in this study needs to be spread far and wide.
In fact, it's the fifth most common cancer among women, and there's a 1 in 73 chance that at some point in a woman's life, they will develop ovarian cancer. That's a ridiculously high probability.
Like all forms of cancer, the sooner you can spot it, the sooner doctors can properly treat it.
So do yourself and your loved ones a favor and stop putting off that doctor's visit. Your "food allergy" could be something way worse.