Keep Your Ovaries Healthy with These Tips

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., ACCESS Media Relations Specialist
September 24, 2018

Tips for Healthy Ovaries

Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, with around 1 in 78 females at risk of getting ovarian cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. In recognition of September being Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we’re offering signs and prevention tips to combat the disease.

Signs you may have ovarian cancer

Age and family history are the main factors in developing ovarian cancer. According to Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness, women under 40 are most often diagnosed if the disease runs in their family. However, ovarian cancer can occur at any age.You should speak to a doctor if you have two or more of the following symptoms:

  • Difficult menstrual cycles
  • Unusual or rapid weight gain
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Constipation
  • Sleeplessness
  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Higher frequency to urinate
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal indigestion
  • Back pain
  • Weight and diet issues

Defending against ovarian cancer

Early detection - The three methods of diagnosis include pelvic exams, the CA125 blood test and pelvic ultrasounds. These tests together can help detect ovarian cancer in early stages for women who are high risk. However, the CA125 blood test and ultrasound are not recommended for pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women without a family history of ovarian cancer.According to the National Cancer Society, 94 percent of patients live longer than five years after an early diagnosis.

Oral contraceptives - Using birth control pills for several years has been found to decrease the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Those who have taken birth control pills for five years or more had approximately a 50 percent lower risk of being diagnosed, compared to those who did not. Oral contraceptives may not be an option for some, so it is important to speak with your doctor before deciding if this option is for you.

Diet and nutrition - A 2014 study in the Journal of National Cancer Institute found a nutrient rich diet (including beans, Greek yogurt and sweet potatoes) limited the mortality risk in those diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Low-Glycemic-Index foods, such as oatmeal, corn and most fruits, can also be important healthy living with the disease.

If you are showing two or more of the above symptoms, or if ovarian cancer runs in your family, ACCESS can help you get the proper screenings. Schedule an appointment today at any of our 35 locations.