Bloating is one of the symptoms of ovarian cancer - here’s when you need to visit your GP

Ovarian cancer symptoms could be mistaken for less serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or pre-menstrual syndrome. 

A new poll has found that some women would be more likely to make changes to their diet than visit their GP if they were regularly bloated. 

A survey of 1,142 women on behalf of Target Ovarian Cancer found that 50 per cent of British women would change their diet if they were persistently bloated. 

This includes cutting out certain foods like gluten or dairy, starting to consume certain foods such as probiotic yoghurts or peppermint tea, or go on a diet. 

But just 34 per cent 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 yoghurt should not be preventing a woman from visiting the GP promptly if something is worrying her. 

“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.” 

So what are the symptoms of Ovarian cancer and when should you visit your GP?

The NHS lists the following signs to watch out for:

  • Feeling constantly bloated 
  • A swollen tummy 
  • Discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area 
  • Feeling full quickly when eating, or loss of appetite 
  • Needing to pee more often or more urgently than normal

Other symptoms can include: 

  • Persistent indigestion or nausea 
  • Pain during sex 
  • A change in your bowel habits 
  • Back pain 
  • Vaginal bleeding - particularly bleeding after the menopause 
  • Feeling tired all the time 
  • Unintentional weight loss

When to see your GP

You’ve been feeling bloated most days for the last three weeks 

You have other symptoms of ovarian cancer that won’t go away - especially if you’re over 50 or have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, as you may be at a higher risk. 

The health body adds: “It’s unlikely you have cancer, but it’s best to check. Your GP can do some simple tests for ovarian cancer to see if you might have it. 

“If you’ve already seen your GP and your symptoms continue or get worse, go back to them and explain this.” 

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