PVC's and Severe Joint Pain
by AmericaNicole, Dec 11, 2012

My name is Nicole I'm 22 and for the last week I have been experiencing PVC's and severe joint pain, the joint pain mainly at night and the PVC's will not let up. I went to the ER doctors figured it was stress or anxiety (I suppose because I am a female and they always figure that first lol) said they were probably benign and gave me an anti-anxiety pill (ativan) which did nothing for my palpitations and made me feel worse, dizzy, unsteady, and extremely fatigued.

Anyway I went to my college clinic where they did a complete blood work up (well I think it was complete), results came back fine thyroid was fine, cholesterol was fine, and well everything looked normal; nurse said everything was where it should be. I continue to have shortness of breath and constant heart palpitations along with my joint pain and I'm at my wits end! Oh I should also note that a few weeks prior to these symptoms I was having extreme stomach and lower abdominal pain, well a burning sensation. That lasted a week and seemed to go away I would get them every time I ate anything, I've always thought I've had an ulcer but have never been diagnosed.

I'm not taking any medications and have not made any changes to my diet, I do smoke probably a pack every week or so, I'm not a heavy drinker and I don't do any drugs. Please help! I would love to hear any ideas about what it possibly could be.I have another doctors appointment tomorrow and we'll see what he says but I'd still love to hear opinions!
Member Comments (4)
by michellepetkus, Dec 12, 2012
Stomach issues can definitely cause pvcs to flare up.  I almost always get them after I eat so I would say when you go to the doctor pursue the stomach issue and see if getting that under control will help.  I don't see that the joint pain would be related though if you are a bit under the weather it could be compounding the problem though I don't know that it would cause it.  Best of luck at the doctor.  I do hope you can get the pvcs a bit more under control right quick.  Take care.
by AmericaNicole, Dec 12, 2012
Thanks so much for the suggestion! I will most definitely do that! My appointment with the doctor got cancelled until next week =( oh well. Yeah the joint pain sort of through me for a loop I couldn't understand how that could possibly be related, but in talking to an old friend of mine, whose a nurse, mentioned it could possibly be related if it is some sort of autoimmune disease or infection. I don't really know hopefully it's nothing and just a fluke. The PVC's are aggravating I can't get them to settle...Anyway, thank you so much for your feedback!
by achillea, Dec 13, 2012
First, everyone--that is *everyone*--gets PVCs.  Most people do not feel them, but people like me, who come to this board because they're bothered by PVCs, DO feel them, and this awareness makes us really nervous about them.

PVCs can have a 'cause,' sometimes, but the truth is that usually they do not have a particular cause that can be tracked down.

However, in my experience, they do increase when I have a cold, and if I am anxious or panicky, well, they go nuts!  Extra adrenaline is not good for a happy heart rhythm, so anything one can do to reduce anxiety is a good thing.  I happen to get panic attacks in bursts that can last months, and PVCs always accompany this.  I finally found a solution to this:  I got a good shrink who tried me out on several different SSRI antidepressants, and of them, a little dose of Zoloft, turned out to be the one that killed the panic attacks--and interestingly, first decreased my awareness of the PVCs, and then, as I got calmer still, the actual number of PVCs decreased!  It's a nice benefit.

Many of your symptoms could be very reasonably linked to an anxiety state:  the pvcs, shortness of breath, and even abdominal pain.  Not sure about the 'burning sensation,' because you didn't specify where it was.

Smoking is a separate issue, but it does arterial constriction in many areas of the body, and that can cause pain.  I'd suggest quitting it altogether, at least to eliminate it as a possible contributor to your troubles.

However, the abdominal pain could also be related to the reproductive cycle; it is not rare for women to experience what is called 'Mittleschmerz,' a pain that occurs at ovulation.  You can google that word.

The thing that worries me, and that doesn't fit well with all the above, is your joint pain at night.  That does need to be examined more closely, and for that you need a specialist called a 'rheumatologist.'  You didn't say which joints were affected, and that's important for a diagnosis, because different conditions cause pains in different areas.

There is a condition called 'Reactive Arrthritis,' which I have had.  In women and children, it is most often caused by food poisoning, and several weeks after the gut illness, joint pains start appearing and then get worse.  It can take several years for the condition to quiet down on its own, but the important thing is that it can be treated by a good rheumatologist (an internist or even cardiologist might never have heard of it).  This one can affect the heart to some extent.

Unfortunately, Reactive Arthritis (unlike Rheumatoid Arthritis) does not have any blood markers to show up in blood tests, so your blood work would not have mentioned it.  It's diagnosed pretty much by history and symptoms.  It is treatable.

Another cause of joint pains is fibromyalgia.  Again, you need a rheumatologist for that.

There is a form of arthritis that accompanies long lasting gut problems, such as Crohn's Disease.  

So, in sum, I'd advise you to talk with a rheumatologist, because joint pain in a 22 year old woman is something that really needs to be checked out completely.

by AmericaNicole, Dec 23, 2012
Thanks so much for the suggestions guys but I finally found out what's wrong with me. Doctors called Friday and I told me I have Lupus. The only way they  found it (since all my blood tests came back normal) was through testing for arthritis. So what I was going through was known as a "flare" usually triggered by stress but is not the cause (obviously). As of now I am trying to handle it naturally because I would really hate to have to take medications.