Ovarian Cancer

When problems start occurring in your digestive system, there are lots of possible reasons. Some of them, while aggravating and uncomfortable, are generally not life-threatening. IBS is a good example. This means that some of the less common but more severe causes may be overlooked, including ovarian cancer.

If you’re thinking about cancer affecting the digestive system, you’re probably imagining stomach or colon cancer, something that impacts a digestive organ directly. The ovaries may not be involved in digestion, but the symptoms of ovarian cancer can include bloating, indigestion, constipation, heartburn and lack of appetite, all of which seem digestive in nature. Other possible symptoms include stomach and pelvic pain, fatigue, an extra need to urinate and vaginal bleeding outside of your period.

Anyone with ovaries can develop ovarian cancer, including women, trans men, non-binary people and some intersex people. One big risk factor, however, is age. You are much more likely to develop it if you are over 50 and post-menopause. People who start their periods earlier, never have children and have later menopause ovulate more over the course of their lives. That also means they’re more at risk.

There can be a genetic element to ovarian cancer. It can also become more likely if you’ve experienced other types of cancer, particularly breast or colon cancer, or you’ve had radiotherapy in the past. People who have used hormonal birth control and therefore ovulate less experience a smaller risk, but hormone replacement therapy can make it more likely. Other risk factors include diabetes, endometriosis and smoking.

Detecting ovarian cancer early is difficult because the symptoms are so often mistaken for IBS and other conditions. That’s why it’s so important to know the signs and if you are at high risk. Diagnosis may involve blood tests and scans. Further tests may be needed to identify the extent and severity, as well as to identify whether you have a faulty gene.

The types of treatment available will depend on the cancer but may include surgery to remove the tumor or ovary, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy or targeted therapy. This may affect fertility for those who are pre-menopause. The effectiveness of immunotherapy is being researched. It’s important to have social and psychological support to manage your feelings.

Like many cancers, the key to treating ovarian cancer is to catch it early and be aware of the risks.

Related Posts

Gut Health Test

There’s increasing awareness that our gut health isn’t just important when digesting food, but can also be a significant indicator of what’s happening in the rest of our body. If issues in the gut can act as early warning signs of wider health problems, then a gut health test is obviously a valuable investment. That

Read More »


If you’re a sufferer of IBS or other digestive problems, you may have encountered the concept of the low-FODMAP diet. What exactly are FODMAPs and why are they important? They’ve been linked to all kinds of digestion-related symptoms, so it may help to know exactly what we mean. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for

Read More »

Herbs And Spices

Sometimes you just need to add a bit of extra spice to your food. It’s not about the health benefits – at least, they’re not usually the first things on your mind. You just want better flavors. If certain spices can actually improve your gut health, boosting some of those good bacteria down there, that’s

Read More »
Scroll to Top