Women can experience more subtle symptoms, like fatigue, a burning sensation or upper abdominal pain. "If it is a heart attack, a delay could cause the heart muscle to be damaged," says Eric Topol, M.

D., a cardiologist at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California.

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What else it might be: Blood in the stool may be due to hemorrhoids, while blood in the urine may be the result of a bladder or kidney infection.

Vaginal bleeding long after menopause may be due to the growth of benign polyps or fibroids.

D., deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

"You know your body best," says Len Lichtenfeld, M.

Rarely, it could also signal esophageal spasm, an abnormal contraction of the muscles in the esophagus, which carries food from the throat to the stomach.

Both conditions can be treated with medications, but it's always wise to go to the ER: "It's a heart attack or angina until proven otherwise," Topol says.

"There are many common reasons for seeing blood where you don't expect it, but it still has to be checked out and treated," Lichtenfeld advises.

The big worries: Fever is your body's way of fighting infection.

Bloody vomit can result from stomach or esophageal cancer, and people with lung cancer can cough up blood.