10 early symptoms of lupus in women

10 early symptoms of lupus in women

Table of Contents

Since the signs and symptoms of lupus are common with other diseases, it will be difficult to diagnose. lupus is more common in women aged 15 to 44 or in reproductive age.

Statistics show that 161,000 to 322,000 Americans have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In women between the ages of 15 and 44, 9 out of 10 people are diagnosed with lupus.

The most characteristic symptom of lupus (a facial rash that looks like butterfly wings spread across both cheeks) happens in many, but not all, cases of lupus.

Some women are born with a tendency to develop lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain medications, or even sunlight. 

But the good news is that by identifying its early symptoms in women and following the available treatments, you will be able to control the symptoms well.

Therefore, If you suspect you have lupus, don’t worry. In this article, we will introduce the most accurate early signs of lupus and the methods of its diagnosis to control symptoms.

10 Early Symptoms Of Lupus In Women 01

10 early symptoms of lupus in women

Lupus symptoms in women usually appear in early adulthood. Therefore, anyone who is in their teens to early thirties can get this disease.

Lupus symptoms appear quickly in many people, especially in women, and improve after a while, so the symptoms of lupus are usually easily ignored.

It is important to note that since the initial symptoms of this disease are also seen in other diseases, their occurrence in the body does not mean that a person is suffering from lupus.

Related: “Types Of Lopus/ Key Differences to Know

  • The most common and early alarm

    • Fatigue

      90% of women with lupus report feeling too tired to their doctor, which may be confused with fatigue caused by iron deficiency, which is also more common in women. 

Some women choose a short nap in the evening to relieve their fatigue, but sleeping too much in the evening eventually leads to insomnia at night.

If a woman is active during the day and does his daily activities correctly, she can put her body’s energy level at the right level. 

Of course, achieving this goal is not so easy, and one must work hard to achieve this goal. 

If the woman feels too tired, it is better to consult her doctor. Some factors that cause excessive fatigue are easily treatable.


10 Early Symptoms Of Lupus In Women 02
    • Fever without a specific cause

      Another symptom of lupus that appears in the early stages is a mild fever without a clear cause. 

A woman usually has a fever between 36.9°C and 38.3°C, and since she has a mild fever, she does not feel the need to see a doctor. Women with lupus regularly experience this type of fever.

Mild fever can be a sign of inflammation or infection. If a female regularly has a mild fever, she should see her doctor as soon as possible.

Related: “What Is The Easiest Way To Treat A Fever?

    • Hair loss

      Thin back hair is usually one of the symptoms of lupus that can be seen in the early stages of this disease. 

Hair loss is caused by inflammation of the scalp. Some women with lupus lose their hair in a large volume and size, and the severity of hair loss in other people will be slow.

In addition to head hair, eyebrow hair, beard hair, body hair, and eyelashes can also fall out in women with lupus. On the other hand, girls with lupus will experience a problem called lupus hair, in which the hair will be more fragile than normal.

If lupus is treated, new hair will eventually grow to replace the lost hair, but if a skin lesion develops on the person’s head, the lost hair will likely not grow back.

10 Early Symptoms Of Lupus In Women 03
    • Skin lesions and seeds
      What is the biggest indicator of lupus? What organ does lupus affect first?

      One of the most obvious symptoms of lupus is skin rashes that appear in the shape of a butterfly on the nasal septum and both cheeks. 

About 50% of women with lupus experience these skin rashes on their body surface.

These rashes can appear suddenly or when exposed to the sun ( Especially women are fond of sunbathing ). Sometimes, these rashes appear before the severity of other symptoms of lupus.

On the other hand, lupus causes lesions in other parts of the body that do not cause itching

In rare cases, lupus can cause hives. Many females with lupus are very sensitive to sunlight and even artificial light. In some cases, the tips of the fingers and toes of affected people will be discolored.

    • Lung problems

      Pulmonary inflammation is one of the other symptoms of lupus. The lungs are inflamed, and the swelling caused by this inflammation spreads even to the pulmonary veins; even in some women, this inflammation involves the diaphragm.

All these problems will cause a lot of pain in the chest when breathing. This complication is called pleuritic chest pain.

Over time, breathing problems caused by lupus will lead to a decrease in lung volume. Constant chest pains and shortness of breath are among the symptoms of this problem.

The muscles forming the diaphragm become very weak and will be seen higher than normal in the CT scan images.


    • Renal inflammation

      A female with lupus will suffer from a special type of kidney inflammation called nephritis.

This inflammation does not allow the kidneys to easily filter excess and toxic substances from the blood. Usually 5 years after the onset of lupus, a woman will develop nephritis.

      • The symptoms of this kidney inflammation are:
        1. leg swelling
        2. high blood pressure
        3. Blood in the urine
        4. dark urine
        5. Frequent urination, especially at night
        6. flank pain


Early symptoms may not be noticeable, so it is important that the kidneys are carefully monitored after a girl or woman develops lupus. If nephritis is not treated, it will eventually lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

lupus and Renal inflammation
    • Painful and swollen joints

      Inflammation can cause pain, dryness, numbness, and swelling of the joints, especially in the morning. 

This problem is mild at first and gradually gets worse. If the usual painkillers are not effective in this case, the person should see a doctor. The doctor checks whether this joint pain occurred as a result of lupus or is caused by arthritis.

Some over-the-counter antacids are used to treat mild symptoms of lupus.

If the sufferer complains of intermittent heartburn and acid reflux, he is advised to reduce his food intake and avoid caffeinated beverages. On the other hand, one should not lie down immediately after eating. If these symptoms persist, the person should see a doctor as soon as possible.

lupus and joint pain
    • Thyroid problems

      Autoimmune thyroid disease is a common complication in women with lupus. The thyroid is responsible for controlling the body’s metabolism.

If the thyroid does not do its job properly, the important and vital organs of the body, such as the brain, heart, kidney, and liver, cannot do their job properly. On the other hand, thyroid problems can cause weight loss and gain, dry skin and hair, and mood changes.

  • .
    • Dry mouth and eyes

      If a woman has lupus, they have probably experienced this well-known symptom of the disease. This is because many people with lupus also suffer from Sjogren’s disease – an autoimmune disease.

In Sjogren’s syndrome, lacrimal glands and salivary glands lose their proper function, and lymphocytes accumulate in these glands. Some women with lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome also complain of dry skin and genital area.

lupus-early-symptoms 1201

Does lupus cause death?

The inflammation caused by lupus can cause kidney failure and damage to the kidneys, memory disorders, anemia, bleeding or inflammation of the vessels, lung diseases, and heart diseases. 

Also, having lupus increases the risk of infection, cancer, and pregnancy problems, so if the disease is not controlled and treated and progresses, there is a possibility of death due to the above complications.


Does lupus show up in blood work?

Since the initial symptoms of lupus can be similar to other diseases and have a late onset, and these symptoms may be different in different people, the clinical diagnosis of this disease is a challenge. 

Investigations indicate that the amount of some antibodies changes during this disease, therefore, laboratory diagnostic tests are one of the most important methods of investigating this disease, among which the following can be mentioned:

  • Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs
  • Deoxyribonucleic and antibodies (Anti DNAs
  • Anti-Smith and antibodies
  • Counting white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets


Researchers are still investigating the possible causes of lupus ( Especially in women because of its prevalence ) by looking at the early symptoms. We know that lupus is not a contagious disease. Genes play an important role in the disease, but they are not the only cause of lupus.

Even a person who has one or more genes related to lupus has a small chance of getting this disease. The treatment of lupus disease is different depending on the type of symptoms and signs.

A very important point is that you should prevent it from becoming critical and other serious problems by identifying its early symptoms and taking quick action.

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Author and specialist

Dr. Majid Zahrabi,


  • Board Certified Neurosurgeon
  • DHA certificate holder
  • Plantation certificate holder, France
  • Certified holder of Discogol, France
  • A pioneer in the non-surgical treatment of disc herniation in the Middle East and CIS countries.
  • Under the training and coaching of Professor Jacques Theron (founder of Discogel Therapy) since 2008
  • More than 400 successful cervical and 1300 lumbar discogel injections
  • Trained and certified several neurosurgeons and spine surgeons in the Middle East and CIS countries for the treatment of Discogel
  • Strong belief in patient-centered care planning and participation
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Imam Khomeini and Amir Mazandarani Hospital, Sari, Iran, with more than 430 surgeries annually, 2000-2011
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Farmaniyeh, Nikan and Yas Sepid Hospital, Tehran, Iran, with more than 400 surgeries annually, 2011-2012
  • Neurosurgeon at Iranian Hospital, Dubai, 2022-2023
  • Since 2015, he has been working as a reference doctor for the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with Discogel and has trained many doctors of spine-related specialties in various countries of the Middle East and CIS in person/practically and online.



  • Individual training sessions under the direct supervision of Professor Jacques Theron in Discogel treatment, 2008-2020
  • Training sessions under the supervision of Professor Thierry Boye on spinal implants, 2007
  • Participation and presentation in several national and international medical and neuro-spinal conferences
  • Board certificate by Iran Neurosurgery Board, 2001
  • Neurosurgery assistant training course, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran, 1996-2001 (In 2001, he graduated from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences with the first rank in the country.
  • His thesis the titled:The Application of human amniotic membrane in repair of dura matter in dogs.” ( It was happening for the first time in the world. )
  • General medical education, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran, 1984-1993


Published books:

  • CT scan of the brain for doctors
  • Etiology and treatment of painful spine disorders
  • Atlas of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of spine disorders
  • The most common mistakes in the treatment of spinal disorders
  • Reading brain CT scan in simple language (3rd place in the book of the year)
  • Treatment of head and spine injuries

Publications and articles:

  • Bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects of DISCOGEL® (https://www.researchgate.net/)
  • Muscle recovery, reduction of pain, and improvement of movement strategies in patients with lumbar discopathy after injection of Discogel.
  • The article on the initial results of the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection, which won the second-best poster rank at the Pan Arab International Congress of Interventional Radiology (March 14-16, 2015) and was accepted for presentation at the Chicago Pain Congress.
  • The use of human amniotic membrane in dura mater repair in dogs, a study for the first time in the world.



  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2019
  • Chicago International Pain Congress, 2019
  • Iran International Pain Management Congress, 2018
  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2018
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Armenia for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2017
  • First Live Workshop and Seminar on Minimally Invasive Disc Therapy (DISCON), 2017
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Azerbaijan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • Seminar of Iranian official managers, 2016
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Tajikistan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • International Neurological Intervention Congress in Iran, 2014
  • Educational seminar for nurses on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Educational seminar for general practitioners on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Speech at the Retraining Seminar for General Practitioners and Specialists in Dubai (Discon) in 2017
  • Speech in the internal retraining courses of Irani Hospital, Dubai
  • Holding lecture sessions and practical workshops on the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Oman, and Armenia during the years 2015 to 2021.
  • Giving a lecture and holding a practical workshop for neurosurgeons in Vietnam at Ho Chi Minh City University in 2023

Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.