Ovary Pain: What are the Causes, Diagnosis and Treatments?
The ovaries, two small oval-shaped organs at the ends of the fallopian tubes, are very important parts of the reproductive organs in a woman. They not only secrete hormones, such as estrogen, that trigger menstruation, they are also home to the eggs that are released one at a time each month for possible fertilization that results in pregnancy.
Ouch, What's Causing That Pain?
When ovulation occurs there may be ovulation ovary pain associated with it. Some women experience cramping and pelvic discomfort at this point in their menstrual cycle. But ovarian pain can be caused by a number of different conditions, including cysts, tumors, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease as well pregnancy. The pain can be acute, happening suddenly and presenting with sharp pains that subside in hours or days, or it can be chronic, going on for months, perhaps coming and going in waves. To diagnose the source of the pain, an examination and possible diagnostic testing, such as ultrasound will be needed.
Ovarian Cysts And Fibroid Tumors
Ovarian cysts and fibroid tumors are common causes of ovarian pain and can present in pregnancy as pelvic pain. Cysts can form on the ovaries as a result of a follicle, the sac that carries the egg, that does not dissolve after the release of the egg. These cysts are not harmful, although they can be very painful. Fibroids are similar in that they are generally not dangerous, but they can cause lower back pain and pelvic pain which is exacerbated during pregnancy. Cysts and tumors are diagnosed through a pelvic exam and by ultrasound in order to determine their size and location. Usually they go away on their own, so there may not be a need for medical intervention. As long as they do not present a risk or threat, the doctor may just watch, wait, and check periodically. This would be the method of treatment most frequently used in the case of pregnancy symptoms of ovary pain. Otherwise, they can be dealt with surgically (laparoscopy) if the cysts are small, or a larger abdominal incision if they are large.
Endometriosis And Uterine Pain
In pregnancy, endometriosis can present some challenges. This condition occurs when the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, grows outside the uterus and attaches to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines, or other parts in the pelvis. Endometriosis causes pelvic pain, painful periods and can be the cause of infertility. An MRI and ultrasound are the most common tools used by doctors to diagnose this condition. It can be treated with pain medications, birth control pills, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, which are drugs designed to reduce the amount of estrogen in the body, or by surgical procedures such as laparoscopy, laparotomy, or even hysterectomy.
In pregnancy, uterus pain is the most common source of pregnancy low back and pelvic pain, especially since the uterus is undergoing constant stretching and growth. With so much going on in the region, it can often be difficult to distinguish one source of pain from the other. Occasionally, in pregnancy, kidney pain may trigger abdominal and low back pain. Because of pressure on the urinary tract, kidney infections are not uncommon during pregnancy.
Ever Hear Of Vitamin K?
While there is usually little risk of Vitamin K deficiency in pregnant women, there are some cases where the vitamin is administered as a supplement. Vitamin K reduces the risk of bleeding in newborns and is sometimes given to newborns at birth to prevent cerebral bleeding and rupture. However, a serious complication of ovulation that is related to rupture of the corpus luteum or a functional cyst, called ovarian hemorrhage with hemoperitoneum, is a condition that can cause ovarian and pelvic pain and internal bleeding. Doctors have found that the use of anticoagulants reduces the level of Vitamin K in the body and this, in turn, makes a woman more susceptible to bleeding. Vitamin K is essential to blood clotting and a deficiency of it can lead to excessive bleeding.
Regardless what the cause of pain is, if a woman is experiencing ovulation ovarian pain, pregnancy symptoms of ovary pain, or other indications that something is amiss, it is important that she see her OB/GYN for an assessment, diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.
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