Understanding Medical Problems

3 Signs That Your Ovaries May Need A Women's Health Specialist

Many women need nothing more than routine gynecological screenings to ensure that their reproductive systems are healthy. But certain symptoms or obvious changes in your health may signal the need for additional women's health specialist services. Many such problems target the ovaries — those small, bean-shaped organs that serve as repositories for your eggs. Pay attention to these three indicators that your ovaries might need some attention.

1. Disturbances in Your Menstrual Cycle

The human menstrual cycle doesn't necessarily run like clockwork — or if it does, then that clock's inner workings sometimes produce changes in timing. A late period, for instance, may mean that you're pregnant, while irregular periods typically accompany the transition to menopause. A change in your menstrual cycle that doesn't correspond to these natural life events, however, might mean that you're suffering from a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. With this condition, multiple fluid-filled cysts grow on the ovaries. A possible case of PCOS should be checked and treated by your women's health specialist sooner rather than later. If the condition is allowed to progress, it can lead to other issues such as diabetes, liver inflammation, miscarriage, depression, and uterine bleeding.

2. Abdominal Pain and Bloating

Even a single ovarian cyst can cause abdominal pain and bloating. If your general physician can't find a gastric cause for your distress, it may be time to check for the presence of an ovarian cyst. Although many ovarian cysts cause no symptoms or recede on their own, a cyst large enough to cause discomfort may be ready to burst — a dangerous situation. In such cases, your women's health specialist may recommend surgery to remove the cyst. Sudden, extreme pain in the lower abdomen may indicate another problem called ovarian torsion, an emergency in which twisting of the ovarian tissues or fallopian tube cuts off the blood supply to the ovary. Always get this symptom checked immediately.

3. Fertility Problems

Have you struggled with infertility and irregular periods, even though you're under the age of 40? If so, you might assume that you're experiencing premature menopause. The main difference lies in the fact that women with premature menopause stop having periods altogether. Periods that are simply irregular may point to another possible cause of infertility: primary ovarian insufficiency, or POI. This condition can be triggered by everything from environmental toxins and autoimmune diseases to radiation/chemotherapy treatments. Your women's health specialist can treat the problem with hormone therapy and nutritional supplementation, prescribing in-vitro fertilization (if necessary) to help you become pregnant.

If you think that your ovaries are trying to tell you something, don't cast this message aside. Act on it by contacting your local provider of women's health specialist services and getting your condition checked out.