While many diseases and conditions such as influenza or psoriasis come with obvious symptoms, plenty come with seemingly innocent warning signs people end up wishing they hadn't ignored. No one wants to live life as a hypochondriac, which means people sometimes ignore symptoms they don't think are life-threatening. And particularly rare diseases can come without warning, making it difficult for a person to know they're in danger during the early stages.
To help others not make the same mistakes, Redditors came together to share health issues they should have looked into sooner. Unfortunately, a lot of these symptoms simply resembled other conditions basically everyone has or were misdiagnosed as something else. Either way, these neglected symptoms ended up demonstrating how important it is to pay attention to changes in your body. You may find your body just needs vitamins and supplements, but it could be something more serious.
(Comments have been edited lightly for clarity.)
More Than Just Bad Cramps
From Redditor /u/my_random_thots:
Increasingly painful periods and nasty PMS symptoms in general. Family doctor attributed the change to age and just wouldn't take it seriously.
After a year of complaints, the doctor prescribed birth control pills, which did nothing.
After two years I finally lost it and cried in her office. The cramps had gone from "hmm... this is a bit more than usual" to full-on WTF, 8/10, white-knuckle, puking-level pain. I asked to please, please be referred to an OB-GYN.
When the gynecologist examined me, he also did an ultrasound in the office. He took one look at the screen, told me I could dress and he'd be right back. When he returned, he was carrying his surgery bookings schedule.
A few weeks later I had a total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingectomy (tubes out).
It would usually take up to a year to book that surgery, but he said he absolutely had to find me a spot. He was horrified I hadn't been seen much sooner and described my uterus as "more tumor than healthy tissue; it looks more like a raspberry than a pear."
Fortunately it was just benign fibroids, but it taught me a lesson: IF SOMETHING HURTS, GET HELP! Yell if you have to.
A Shrinking Mole
From Redditor /u/notsolittleliongirl:
My dad has a lot of moles, and my mom forced him to go to the dermatologist because he hadn't been in years. She was worried about a few of the big moles that she thought might be getting bigger. The dermatologist pointed one out and asked if that was one they were concerned about. My mom said that one actually seemed like it was getting smaller, so she wasn't concerned. The doctor informed my parents they were doing a biopsy right there and then, and he cut a 1.5-inch-long chunk out of my dad's back.
It was melanoma. The really bad skin cancer. It turns out, if a mole is getting smaller, it's probably because the immune system has a reason to attack it.
A Taste For Lettuce
From Redditor /u/lovetheblazer:
I started craving iceberg lettuce like you wouldn't believe. Like I'd wake up in the middle of the night and go to the fridge just to eat handfuls of lettuce. At my worst, I was eating an entire bag of iceberg lettuce a day, no dressing or toppings, just munching on it like it was popcorn at the movie theater.
Finally decided I should drag myself to the doctor for a few blood tests, assuming I was a bit dehydrated or vitamin deficient or something. My hemoglobin was 5 when it should be 13-16, ideally. My ferritin (iron stores) level was 1, which is literally as low as the test goes. I went straight from the doctor's office to the hospital to be admitted for two blood transfusions and an IV iron infusion. The hospital staff couldn't believe I'd been walking around and even working overtime with a level that low for months. Within 24 hours of my blood and iron transfusions, my lettuce craving went away.
Growth Spurts Might Be A Sign
From Redditor /u/CrustyHamSandwich:
I was much taller than my family. They're all around 5'5", but I was 6'5" by high school. We always joked I was a freak or won the genetic lottery.
I went to my father's doctor for a physical. He noticed the swelling in my hands and ran a blood test. Turns out my growth hormone levels were about three times the normal amount. I was diagnosed with acromegaly.
Got an MRI which showed I had a tumor on my pituitary gland. Got it removed and was feeling better after a few years.