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5 health symptoms a new mom should never ignore

Symptom: Pain during sex

What it could mean: Causes range from vaginal dryness to yeast infection, residual pain from episiotomy, to cysts, tumours or endometriosis.

Rx: See your doctor. Based on your symptoms, she can diagnose a yeast infection, check your episiotomy is healing properly, look for abnormal growths and order further tests or treatment if required. If low estrogen levels are contributing to vaginal dryness, your doctor can also prescribe an estrogen cream.

A water-based personal lubricant can provide relief of normal vaginal dryness. Your Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist can help you find the right products for your needs.

Symptom: Fatigue

What it could mean: It could be run-of-the-mill new-mommy exhaustion… Or a thyroid condition.

Rx: Don’t panic. Eight to 10 % of women develop a thyroid problem after pregnancy, and in most cases, the condition is resolved on its own. But your doctor should monitor the situation. Start with a blood test, and take it from there.

Symptom: Excessive thirst and urination

What it could mean: Possibly Type 2 diabetes, especially if you’re overweight or developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Rx: See your doctor. If you test positive for diabetes, your doctor will develop a diabetes management program for you, introducing both medication and healthy lifestyle routines to follow.

Symptom: Shortness of breath

What it could mean: Anemia, especially if accompanied by fatigue, pale skin and nails, dizziness and difficulties with focus and concentration.

Rx: See your doctor for a blood test. She may recommend introducing iron supplements, or, if you have very heavy periods, birth control pills (which can reduce menstrual flow). Cut your risk of anemia by eating foods like beans, dark greens, red meat and iron-fortified cereal.

Symptom: Changes to a mole

What it could mean: Melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer) or harmless darkening brought on by hormonal changes during pregnancy and post-partum.

Rx: See your doctor, pronto. Melanoma is highly curable if caught early. Monitor your moles regularly. If you spot any changes in colour, shape or size, or if any moles bleed, itch or become painful, have your doctor check them out.