Some people have the impression that doctors hate hyochondriacs, and others think a trip the GP is a sign of weakness.
Both attitudes are wrong, there are some signs that doctors wish patients wouldn't ignore.
This is not a list of symptoms that require an emergancy call to 999 such as chest pains, or signs of a stroke.
Nor of the more immediately obvious signs of ill health like finding a lump on your breast or testicle.
Also things men ignore, like depression, or impotence.
These are five symptoms you should not ignore, and merit a GP appointment, according to the NHS. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
1. Urine troubles
Difficulty peeing can be a sign of prostate cancer and can be caused by one’s enlarged prostate pressing on the tube that carries urine from the bladder. Other symptoms of the cancer that can be identified include needing to pee in the middle of the night, and burning or pain when urinating. According to NHS England, more than 40,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year.
2. Unusual stool
Diarrhoea is one of the less well known signs of gall stones. Gall stones can cause abdominal pain if they block one of the bile ducts. This can also cause diarrhoea when too much bile builds up in the body. Smelly stool or oddly coloured stool can also be a symptom.
Moles seem like a cosmetic problem that doesn’t merit a GP appointment, but they can be a useful early warning sign for skin cancer. NHS England provides advice for identifying moles that could be harmful:
- moles with uneven colouring – most moles only have one or two colours, but melanomas have lots of different shades
- moles with an uneven or ragged edge – moles are usually circular or oval with a smooth border
- bleeding, itching, red, inflamed (swollen) or crusty moles
- moles that get a lot bigger – most moles are no bigger than the width of a pencil
4. Upper back pain from sleeping
Consistent upper back pain is an NHS red flag, and they suggest sufferers seek a GP appointment immediately. It can be a sign of a slipped spinal disc, rather than just bad posture.
5. Phantom smells
‘Phantosmia’ is the medical term for when a person smells things which are not present. According to the NHS and persistence of phantosmia can be a sign of Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, or Parkinson's, and it constitutes a kind of hallucination. The smell is unique to the person smelling it, and is often unpleasant.