by Beth Janes, REDBOOK
1. Being drop-dead tired Exhaustion seems like the status quo for busy parents, but it can also be a warning sign of something serious. How to tell the difference: "Go through a check-list," says internist Sandra A. Fryhofer, M.D. "Have you been getting your usual amount of sleep? Are you eating normally? Is your schedule the same as always?" If you or your hus-band struggle to get out of bed but there's no lifestyle change that could be to blame, the cause could be as simple as anemia or as complicated as cancer. "It's easy to rule things out with tests," Fryhofer says, but many people wait to get help because they think it means they can't hack work or parenthood. That's just wrong: Fatigue is your body's way of telling you some-thing. So listen!
Related: The 10 Least Helpful, Most Irritating Parenting Tips Ever
2. Painful sex
If sex hurts, tell your doctor right away, says Mark Perloe, M.D., an ob/gyn in Atlanta. If it's not simple dryness (easily fixed with lube), painful sex might be an indication that something is wrong. It could be a vaginal infection, benign fibroid tumors in the uterus, or - perhaps most serious - endometriosis. Endo, which affects 5.5 million women, mostly in their 30s and 40s, is a condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside of the organ in the pelvic area and often causes heavy, painful periods. Aside from enjoying sex again, treatment is key because endometriosis can cause infertility.
Related: 51 Days of New Outfits for Under $200
3. Feeling really, really thirsty Excessive thirst and peeing all the time (possibly coupled with unexplained weight loss) are blaring warning signs of type 2 diabetes in adults and juvenile diabetes in kids, which often pops up around puberty, says Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D., a professor of endocrinology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Diabetes in grown-ups and kids is serious business. Not only does it more than double a person's risk of heart disease, but it can also lead to stroke, blindness, and even some cancers. Rates of type 2 diabetes have gotten so high that a recent study warned that if Americans don't start exercising and losing weight, a whopping 50 percent of adults will have the disease or pre-diabetes by 2020.
Related: The 18 Most Annoying Male Habits Explained
4. Ouch, heartburn! Reaching for an antacid after a rich meal is common, but if you or your husband need them at least once a week, see your doctor. Stomach acids that continually gurgle up can form scar tissue in your esophagus and increase your chances of esophageal cancer, says Susan Blum, M.D., of Rye Brook, NY. A doctor may prescribe a proton-pump inhibitor, such as Nexium or Prilosec, as a temporary fix, but it's key to address any underlying causes like stress, diet, or weight.
Related: Nominate Your Hot Husband to be in Redbook
5. Real trouble bouncing back form disappointment
Does a breakup send your teen reeling for months? Does your guy fly off the handle over a Starbucks order snafu? Could a friend's canceling plans leave you distraught for the rest of the day? A lack of resilience or over-reacting are subtle signs of depression that people often write off as stress or typical teenage drama. "A lot of people don't realize they're depressed, especially in the early stages," says New York City psychotherapist Jill Muir-Sukenick, Ph.D. Although teens (and sometimes grown men!) are dramatic by nature, trust your gut if a reaction seems over the top. The longer a depressed person goes without seeing a doctor or therapist, the deeper they can dig themselves into it - and the harder it will be to climb out. In terms of treatment, exercise may help mild depression, but a combo of medication and therapy is best for moderate and severe cases.
Check out 13 more symptoms you should never ignore
by Beth Janes, REDBOOK