What is Ovarian Pathology?
Ovarian pathology refers to any disorder of the ovaries, the female reproductive organs. A normal female possesses two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries produce female hormones estrogen and progesterone. They also produce and store a woman's eggs, the female reproductive cells. One egg is released by the ovary during ovulation.
What are Some of the Common Ovarian Disorders?
Some of the common ovarian disorders include:
- Ovarian cysts: Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled cavities that may be normally present within the ovaries but sometimes become symptomatic
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: Some women develop a large number of cysts in the ovaries due to excessive production of male hormones
- Benign tumors
- Ovarian cancer
- Ovarian torsion or twisting of the ovary
- Premature ovarian failure: The ovaries stop working before the age of 40
- Endometriosis: Abnormal growth of uterine tissue in the ovaries
What are the Signs of Ovarian Pathology?
Depending on the kind of ovarian pathology you may experience symptoms such as:
- Abnormal menstrual bleeding
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Back pain
- Bloating or pressure
- Excess hair growth
- Weight gain
- Skin changes
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
How are Ovarian Disorders Diagnosed?
To identify an ovarian disorder or other pathology, your doctor will review your symptoms and perform a thorough physical examination. You will need to undergo certain tests which include:
Abdominal ultrasound: In this procedure gel is applied on the belly and using a probe placed on the abdomen, internal images of the pelvis including the female reproductive organs such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are recorded.
Laparoscopy: A flexible tube with a light source and a camera is inserted into the abdomen through a tiny incision, to view the internal organs of the abdominal cavity.
Image-guided biopsy: Tissue samples are taken with a fine needle inserted into the uterine cavity through the vagina or by making an incision in the abdomen. The needle is guided with ultrasound or CT imaging. The extracted tissue sample is then examined microscopically to identify any pathology.
Blood tests: Blood samples are collected and tested to determine any abnormal count of platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells. This is useful for the detection of cancers.
How are Ovarian Disorders Treated?
Your doctor will recommend appropriate treatment depending on your condition and the type of ovarian pathology. Your treatment may involve lifestyle changes, hormonal therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.