Shortness of breath as a symptom can be caused by any number of medical conditions, ranging from asthma to acid reflux, to constipation and flatulence. While most problems cause bloating, which may press on the diaphragm to cause slight breathing discomfort, other condition affect the lungs directly. There are medical conditions that affect the ovaries and in turn cause breathing difficulties as a symptom. Seeing a physician is the only way to be sure if conditions within the ovaries are causing the shortness of breath.
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There are several causes for shortness of breath due to ovarian problems. One common cause is ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts form in the ovaries due to an irregularity in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. During a normal menstrual cycle, a small sack called a cyst forms in the ovary. Within the sack, an egg forms and remains until it reaches maturity and is released in ovulation. Hormonal imbalances may cause a woman to skip ovulation, which cause the cyst to remain intact. The cyst may continue to grow with every menstrual cycle, which can create pain and bloating as well as an enlarged ovary. Another cause for shortness of breath due to ovarian problems is ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. Women normally develop this condition during fertility treatments. During treatments such as intrauterine insemination or in-vitro insemination, women are required to take hormonal medications that stimulate the ovary to produce several eggs. As a rare side-effect, the ovaries may fill with fluid, which in turn can spill into the abdomen causing shortness of breath and severe abdominal cramping.
Symptoms of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome are mild to moderate abdominal pain abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and tenderness in the area of the ovaries. In severe cases, a woman may gain 5 to 10 lbs. of weight in one or two days and have severe abdominal pain, severe persistent vomiting, decreased urinary frequency, dark urine or shortness of breath.
Symptoms of ovarian cysts include menstrual irregularities, pelvic pain during intercourse, nausea, a feeling of fullness, having a tender abdomen, shortness of breath, pain during bowel movements, intermittent pelvic pain and dull aches and pains that radiate from your abdomen to your lower back and thighs.
What to Do
Make an appointment to see a physician promptly. The physician will take blood and urine samples to check for hormonal imbalances, pregnancy and diseases. He will perform a physical examination and pelvic exam to check for enlarged ovaries or uterus. Next, he will perform an ultrasound to see if there are any cysts or tumors. If a woman is seeing a fertility specialist for treatment, he will monitor her for signs of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, and if it is suspected, she will have to see her specialist immediately for an ultrasound. This will show any fluid accumulation in the ovaries, abdomen or lungs.
Treatments for small ovarian cysts may be monitoring. Medium-sized cysts can be eradicated by taking oral contraceptives to regulate the hormones that could be causing the condition. In most cases, the cyst shrinks while on the medication. In the worst-case scenario, the physician will perform laparoscopic surgery to remove the cyst. Women with ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome have to get plenty of rest, drink 10 to 12 glasses of water a day, avoid intense exercise and take over-the-counter pain relief. If the condition is severe, a hospital admission is necessary to drain excess liquid.
Experiencing shortness of breath without activity or with extreme pain is not normal. Seek medical attention immediately.