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Started getting irregular period and back pain. Should I be worried for ovarian cancer?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 961 Questions
I am 43 years old, and always had pretty regular periods. About 5 months ago, I skipped a period, and then had a regular period, then skipped another period, didn't have one for about 2 months, and I think I started today. But the blood is bright, and actually looks orange. Should I be concerned? Also, the other night I pulled myself up to stand on my bed to straighten a curtain rod, and about a half hour later, I got terrible lower back pain. The next morning i could not move, or walk the back pain was so bad. I can move now, but my lower back is very sore, and the tops of my buttocks. I'm not sure if this is related to the menstrual problems or not. I don't know if I pulled a muscle in my back. But I am worried that it is related, and that they could be signs of ovarian, or other cancer.
Posted Fri, 5 Apr 2013 in Women's Health
Answered by Dr. Prasad Akole 2 hours later
Dear friend, welcome and thanks for entrusting your query here at Healthcaremagic!
I am Dr. Prasad Akole (Critical Care Expert- and am glad to address to your query here.

Your back pain and stiffness is sudden in onset and is most probably due to a sprain/ muscle pull.

Your menstrual irregularity is expected at a peri-menopausal period.
But one can only be sure of it being of only menopausal cause by a thorough gynaecological examination.

Yes, uncommonly a tumour or cancer may present with irregular bleeding. It can cause gradual backaches depending on stage. But not sudden like this.

But do not get alarmed. Get evaluated.
Try pain-killer liniments/ sprays to see if it relieves back pain. You can try simple pain killers available at home or OTC. Take some rest, try hot fomentation.
If needed, you should see your doctor to get spine examined.

At this stage, I recommend a gynaec check up. A pap smear and ultrasonography may be needed.

Relax and do not worry. It may just be a sprain and menopause.

I hope to have answered your query satisfactorily. I would be glad to answer any further queries. Please ask for any clarifications before closing and rating this answer.
Take care and please keep me informed of your progress at
Good Luck! Thank you!!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Started getting irregular period and back pain. Should I be worried for ovarian cancer? 2 days later
Thank you Doctor for the info. I just have a few more questions. My back pain was a little bit better, and I went shopping yesterday. Today, it is still sore, but I have menstrual cramps, cramping in my lower back, and tops of my legs, and hips. I also went to the bathroom, and passed a large blood clot.

I'm not sure if the menstrual cramps are making my back pain worse, or of it is related.

I go to a clinic for low-income, and go about every 3 or 4 months. Each time i have went, I have had elevated liver enzymes. Of course, I worry about liver cancer, or something like that.

Would liver cancer cause elevated liver enzymes, and back pain? Could my worse than usual menstrual cramps, and passing the clot be due to previously missing periods?

I do want to mention that there is no possible chance of pregnancy, because I have had my tubes tied 8 years ago, and I have not had sex in 6 years. I also have endometriosis, if that is important.

Thanks so much, XXXXXXX

Answered by Dr. Prasad Akole 7 hours later
Thanks for the update Mrs XXXXXXX

With this detailed description, it appears that the backache is more related to the menstrual problems with bleeding and clots. The sudden pain in the back could be due to acute referred pain from the pelvic organs like uterine cramps.

As mentioned in my earlier reply, you should urgently get a gynaecological evaluation done to look for the pathology in the uterus. A sonography is needed.

Endometriosis, if advancing, can cause all these symptoms. It is an important differential now.

Elevated liver enzymes have many causes including liver cancer. However, liver cancer does not cause low backaches.

Uterine cancer should be ruled out while considering fibroids, adenomas, cervical pathologies, PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), DUB as differentials.

I would advise you to get evaluated fast instead of worrying over issues.

Keep me informed of the progress.

If you are satisfied with the answer, I would request you to give a review feedback and close the query.
Good luck!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Started getting irregular period and back pain. Should I be worried for ovarian cancer? 3 hours later
Hi Dr. Akole,
Well, the pain got worse last night, and was becoming unbearable. The back pain started feeling more cramp like, and almost felt like labor contractions. I went to the ER, and they first did an x-ray, and found a calcification in the left side. So they wound up doing a cat scan. It turns out that I have kidney stones. They said in the left side, it had dislodged and was moving, and that there looks to be one in the right side, but said it may stay in the kidney. I don't think so, because I have pain on that side as well. They gave me a prescription for 4 different medications. One for pain, antibiotics, something to help move the stones along, and one for nausea, if I should happen to get nauseated. That seemed to puzzle them, that I wasn't sicker than I am yet. They said i must have a high tolerance for pain, which I don't, it just hurts worse when I move. They said kidney stones hurt all the time. well, it is hurting constantly, but worse if I move too much. They seemed to think I wasn't a classic case. The bad part is, I have to wait several hours until the pharmacy opens.
Thanks again, XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Prasad Akole 6 hours later
Good that some cause of pain is found.

But it does not explain irregular periods with clots.
So, a gynaec cause remains to be found.
Does the CT scan show the pelvis also? any mention of genital tract anomaly (uterus, ovaries, cervix) ?
You could upload your reports here on this site.

A passing stone in the ureter in the pelvis would generally cause colicky pain, which was not according to your description. But yes, variations do occur.
Keep a watch on blood in the urine, pain, nausea, vomiting, urine output.
Site of pain due to a stone may vary depending on the site down the ureter it lodges in.
Drink plenty water.

Take care and follow a urologist's advice.
I would be happy to answer any future queries at-
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Started getting irregular period and back pain. Should I be worried for ovarian cancer? 29 hours later
Hi Doctor Akole,
Thank you so much for your advice. I will schedule a gynecological exam as soon as I can.

I am assuming the kidney stone on the right, that they said probably would not dislodge, did move, and is gone. Maybe because it was smaller. I think they said the one on the left is 4mm. It is still hurting me, but I am controlling the pain somewhat with Vicodin. They said I could take 2 at a time if needed, but I am only taking one, so that I won't use them up too fast. They only gave me 20.

How long does it usually take to pass a stone? Will it be instant relief when it does? (if the pain is only from the stone)
I am having an urge to urinate, like you do with a UTI as well. Is it ever possible for a stone not to pass, and surgery necessary to remove it?
Thanks so much, XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Prasad Akole 7 hours later
There is no fixed period for a stone to pass off.
It may take variable time depending on size, urine flow etc.

Yes, if it completely passes out of the system, it may give complete pain relief.
You can increase Vicodin to two if pain is severe.

Pain due to stone would be colicky, spasmodic, coming suddenly going fast, mainly in the flanks and if the stone enters the pelvic ureter, shifts lower down. It is possible that a stone does not move much and is impacted. It may cause pain, infection, kidney damage due to back pressure, bleeding, etc.

Depending on the size and location, short wave lithotripsy is generally done externally to fragment the stone and flush it away. Uncommonly, one may need endoscopic removal and rarely an open surgery. Your’s being a small one, will pass spontaneous with adequate water intake and if needed by diuretic (water pill) to increase urine flow. ESWL (lithotripsy) may help if impacted.

Continue under guidance of a urologist, watch for any complications and rule out gynaec problems.

I hope I was able to address all your concerns. Let me know if I have missed any of your concerns or if you have fresh queries.

I would appreciate you to post reviews after closing this discussion if you do not have any more follow ups.

Wish you all the best !
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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