17 Nov 09

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Author: Dr. Roxanne (3 Articles)

Patient: I am 49 years old and my period stopped 3 months ago. I have been experiencing a burning pain on the left side. It also feels like it is itching and I have pain along my low back. What could this be?

Optional Information
Gender: Female
Age: 49
Already Tried: Pelvic exam one in July. It was normal.

Doctor: Please let me know if this is deep pelvic discomfort or superficial–as if your skin is burning or itching. Any history of heavy periods or this type of pain in the past? Any history of cancer in you or your family?

Patient: The discomfort is deep and sharp and the burning and itching sensation is coming from within. I have never had heavy periods. The last period I had was in August. I have not had cancer. My mom had breast cancer. I’ve had 3 separate experiences with cysts but the last time was in the mid-90’s.

Doctor: This certainly is concerning for an ovarian cyst. However, pelvic discomfort is sometimes related to your bowel function. If you have not had diarrhea or constipation, I recommend visiting your ob/gyn. Your mother having breast cancer may put you at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer if related to a genetic disorder (BRCA), however, this is usually more certain if you’ve had at least two close relatives with cancer or if your mother was tested for BRCA and was positive. After discussing your symptoms with your doctor, pelvic discomfort/low back pain, immediately an ultrasound should be ordered to rule out any ovarian masses. Best wishes!

Patient: My cousin on my mom’s side had ovarian cancer. I also have Gastroparesis, GERD and esophageal dysfunction. The Gastroparesis, if you have ever heard of that, is a partically paralyzed stomach so digestion is abnormal. Since it takes a longer than normal amount of time for food to leave the stomach I sometimes do have constipation but mostly diarrhea. Although I doubt any of that is related to this. Thanks for your advice.

Doctor: You’re welcome. I agree, if you have some chronic bowel issues, but suddenly a new symptom(s) develop, it may be due to something else. Although the cousin isn’t considered close/first degree, it certainly is still concerning. If your ultrasound returns as normal, you can still ask for a genetic counseling referral for BRCA testing.

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