Heavy Periods and Pelvic Pain: Is It PCOS?

A woman’s body requires a wide range of hormones to function properly. When the levels remain balanced, all of our systems hum along efficiently. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for this delicate system to get thrown out of sync, especially when it comes to the regulation of menstruation.

One common hormone disorder impacting women during their reproductive years is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Unfortunately, studies show that despite their symptoms, up to 70% of women with PCOS don’t realize they have this condition.

As our experienced endocrinologist, Dr. Rohit Dwivedi specializes in hormone-related diseases like PCOS. If the following symptoms sound familiar, you should schedule an appointment with us at Sonoran Endocrinology.

Heavy or irregular periods

When you have PCOS, you have a hormonal imbalance that affects your ovaries. During a healthy menstrual cycle, your ovaries make and release an egg each month. When you have PCOS, the egg may not develop properly or be released as it should.

As a result, the most common signs of PCOS often include:

This condition can also cause infertility. Of women who experience problems becoming pregnant, 1 in 5 has PCOS.

Pelvic pain

Of all the PCOS symptoms, pelvic pain is one of the least common. However, this condition can cause ovarian cysts, which can lead to pain in the pelvis. 

When you have an ovarian cyst, the pain can be constant, or it may come and go. The sensations can feel like a dull ache or intense jolts in the lower belly. 

Other causes of pelvic pain could include endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or ovulation.

Hair growth

One symptom affecting up to 70% of women with PCOS is unwanted hair growth in areas where men grow hair, like the chin, face, chest, stomach, and back. This symptom, known as hirsutism, occurs because PCOS causes your body to produce extra male hormones, which triggers the unwanted hair growth.

In addition to unwanted hair growth where you don’t want it, PCOS can also lead to thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp.

Skin problems

Excess male hormones can lead to a wide range of skin issues, from acne on the face, chest, and upper back to dark patches of skin. 

Acne

Acne caused by PCOS usually doesn’t respond to cleansing treatments, but therapies like birth control that rebalances your hormones often help.

Dark patches

This skin issue, called acanthosis nigricans, causes areas of dark, velvety, or patchy-looking skin. These areas are most common under the breasts, in the groin or armpits, or at the back of the neck.

Diagnosing PCOS

So, while having heavy periods and pelvic pain could be due to PCOS, seeing a specialist is the only way to know for sure.

During your appointment, Dr. Dwivedi discusses your symptoms and performs a physical exam. If he suspects a hormone-related disorder, he also runs blood tests. PCOS is sometimes mistaken for thyroid disease and can increase your chances of developing diabetes, so it’s essential to find an expert in endocrinology disorders, like Dr. Dwivedi.

While there isn’t a cure for PCOS, Dr. Dwivedi can help you manage your symptoms. Your treatment options can vary, depending on the severity of your symptoms, overall health, age, and reproductive goals. However, common therapies for PCOS include lifestyle changes and hormone therapy.

Wondering if a hormone disorder is causing your symptoms? Contact one of our Sonoran Endocrinology offices in Surprise, Gilbert, Lake Havasu City, and Prescott, Arizona, today. Just give us a call or click the “book online” button to get started.

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