It’s a fact of digital life that every time you’re hit with a twinge of pain or a pang of discomfort, the natural impulse is to immediately google your symptoms, which will lead you to reach the eventual (and sensible) conclusion that you probably have cancer.
Relax! The good news is that you probably don’t have cancer. Or AIDS, dengue fever, Lyme disease, Ebola, leprosy, or any of the other terrifying illnesses that keep WebMD in business. In fact, you may be even healthier than you think. Random pains can be distressing, but if your body displays these subtle signs of health, chances are good that you’re actually doing just fine.
1. Relatively Clear, Copious Urine
If you’re peeing a few times a day and it’s pale yellow—not cloudy, dark, or super-concentrated—that means that you’re adequately hydrated and your kidneys are healthy. Completely colorless urine, however, indicates that you may be over-hydrated, and while that’s not as problematic as being dehydrated, it could mean that you’re losing valuable salts and electrolytes.
2. Regular, Well-Formed Bowel Movements
Yes, it all comes down to poop. Normal feces comes in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, but as long as yours isn’t bloody, loose, or painfully hard, you’re probably okay. Being regular is another good indicator of relative health; when your body is processing solid waste quickly and efficiently, it shows that there’s adequate fiber in your diet and your digestive system is working properly.
3. Stable Weight
Assuming you’re not grossly underweight or morbidly obese, a relatively stable weight is a sign of good health. Significant unexplained gains and losses or yo-yoing back and forth on diets are causes for concern.
4. Quick Wound Healing
If you find that small cuts, scrapes, or burns take a very long time to heal or if you experience unexplained bruising from light pressure, see a doctor. If you don’t, congratulations! Your blood is clotting normally, your white cells are carrying away bacteria, and your blood vessels are healthy. You’re doing alright.
5. Healthy Hair and Nails
The integumentary system (which includes hair and nails) is often the first place that a serious vitamin deficiency shows up. This shortage can cause weak, deformed fingernails and toenails and hair that falls out in clumps. If your hair’s biggest problems are frizziness or split ends, then it’s more or less healthy.
6. Regular Menstrual Periods
Regular periods with normal premenstrual symptoms are one of the best indicators that your reproductive system is healthy. Irregular, painful periods and excessive or prolonged bleeding are symptoms that should be checked out by a doctor.
7. Decent Sleep
True, most of us don’t get quite as much sleep as we should, and occasional insomnia is considered normal. But as long as you’re sleeping through the night on a regular basis and not experiencing night sweats or being awakened repeatedly by the urge to urinate, you’re probably hitting all the necessary sleep rhythms. And if you’re generally waking up feeling at least moderately refreshed, things are looking good.
It should go without saying that the absence of these signs can mean hundreds of different things and can signify dozens of different problems—or sometimes nothing at all—and a doctor is the only one who can say for sure. And that means a real doctor—because sometimes WebMD just doesn’t cut it.