Don't 'Go Ask Alice!' — Get medical attention immediately

1) Dear Alice,

I had one very sore breast for about a week. Now there is a bloody discharge every so often from my nipple, but the pain is gone. I know I should see my doctor but I wanted your opinion first.

Thanks for the help.

2) Dear Alice,

I have very strange walking patterns:

1. Feels like I am on a trampoline.
2. Legs hurt and get very heavy as the day goes on
3. A sense of no balance. I have to literally hang on in the shower and feel like I have no control of my legs at times.
4. Also my legs are cold and my left leg has much pain. Below the knee cap on the side of the calf.
5. My ankle also is in extreme pain some of the time.

Can you help?

Dear Readers,

Dealing with pains in your body can be scary and stressful, so kudos to you both for trying to seek guidance on what to do. However, these are great examples of what could be serious and urgent conditions that require immediate medical attention. Given the number of questions that Go Ask Alice! receives on a weekly basis, the team may or may not be able to answer your particular question. Also, because of the research that goes into ensuring that GAA! responses are both accurate and helpful, questions that require time-sensitive attention from a medical provider aren't likely to be answered on the site before you'd need to seek care in person. While Go Ask Alice! can provide an illuminating discussion on many key health issues, this site isn't able to provide a diagnosis, act as a direct response site, or reply instantly.

Your best course of action is to visit your health care provider as soon as possible when you:

  • Experience new, severe, or constant pain
  • Notice changes on or from any part of your body (e.g., unexplained weight loss, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, etc.)
  • Have a fever (100.4° Fahrenheit/38° Celsius or above)
  • Become injured
  • Sense that what you’re feeling isn’t right

If you're a student, you can check to see if your school has a medical services facility that provides care. Additionally, a health care provider or, in more urgent circumstances, an emergency or urgent care facility can provide care in-person to address the symptoms you're experiencing. If you believe any of your symptoms to be life-threatening, it’s highly recommended to seek emergency care immediately. When it comes to medical attention, those real-time interactions are far more likely provide assessment and work towards getting you the care you need!

Last updated Dec 25, 2020
Originally published Oct 17, 1996

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