Ovary is the site of egg production that is release per month in fertile females while cyst is just an encapsulation around an organ, therefore, in a simple term, Ovarian torsion occurs when an ovary becomes twisted around the tissues that support it. Sometimes, the fallopian tube may also become twisted. This painful condition cuts off blood supply to these organs. Ovarian torsion is a medical emergency. If not treated quickly, it can result in the loss of an ovary.
Once the egg is released during ovulation, the sac that held the egg should also disappear. If the sac fails to disappear as when due, it can be filled with other body fluid which may later turn to an ovarian cyst, if left for a longer period, it may lead to ovarian torsion.
In adolescents and young women, the presence of a cyst is normal. The cyst is called a functional cyst. Many females have functional cysts without knowing. The cysts shrink or dissolve after ovulation.
Sometimes a cyst can get large and burst or rupture. The larger the cyst, the more likely that ovarian torsion will occur. With ovarian torsion, the blood supply to the ovary can be blocked and permanently hurt the ovary. Functional cysts do not cause cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of ovarian cyst and torsion
Functional cysts rarely cause symptoms. Since other illnesses have similar symptoms, a health care provider will need to diagnose the cause of your symptoms.
- Aching or sudden lower abdominal (belly) pain
- Bloating in the lower abdominal area
- Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
- Dizziness when standing up from a sitting position
- Changes in the timing of menstruation
- Very heavy vaginal bleeding
- Change in bowel movements
- More frequent urination
- Weight gain
- Pain during or after sex
The signs of ovarian torsion slightly differ by causing:
- Severe, sudden pain in the lower abdomen
- An adnexal or pelvic mass
- Abnormal bleeding
- Tenderness in the lower abdomen may come and go for several weeks. This can occur if the ovary is attempting to twist back into the correct position.
Causes of ovarian cyst and torsion
There is no obvious cause for ovarian cyst and torsion, this may be due to the fact that, all reproductive females are at risk of developing cyst which can later develop into torsion. However, some of the under-listed might result into the conditions.
- Post-menopausal women can experience ovarian torsion.
- People between the ages of 20 and 40 years old are most likely to experience ovarian torsion. However, women of all ages, from infancy to post-menopause, can experience ovarian torsion.
- Sometimes, the presence of a cyst or other tissue mass in the ovary can displace it.
- The extra weight or mass on the ovary can cause it to start to twist and rotate around its supporting ligaments.
- Ovarian ligament, connecting the ovary to the uterus, that is longer than usual. A longer ovarian ligament makes ovarian torsion more likely.
- Assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as inducing ovulation, are another factor that can increase the risk for ovarian torsion.
- Pregnant women can experience ovarian torsion as well as those who are not pregnant. In the first trimester, women may have corpus luteum cysts that cause the ovary to twist.
- Higher hormone levels during pregnancy can also relax tissues in the body, including the ligaments that hold the ovaries in place. If the ligaments are not taut, they may be more prone to twisting.
Are there associated complications?
The longer it takes to receive a diagnosis and treatment, the longer your ovarian tissue is at risk.
- It can lead to a reduction of blood flow to the organ (ovary), if this persists for a longer period, it will render the organ less effective
- A prolonged reduction in blood flow can lead to necrosis (tissue death). Ovarian necrosis refers to the death of ovarian tissue due to blood loss. If this happens, the doctor will remove the affected ovary and other affected tissues surgically.
However, if a doctor does not remove the ovary, a person will be at risk of ovarian infections that can cause an abscess or peritonitis.
The only way to avoid this complication is to seek immediate medical attention for your symptoms.
If an ovary is lost to necrosis, conception and pregnancy are still possible. Ovarian torsion doesn’t affect fertility in any way, though, the chances may be halved.
Treating Ovarian Cyst and Torsion
In the treatment of ovarian cyst and torsion, using the traditional approach won’t rescue the situation and even the cyst defy such method. More importantly, you are counseled to shun such method, because, any damage done to the organ can cause impairment in the functionality of the ovaries. You are therefore urged to visit US, you will be consulted by a versed medical officer or specialty of Pediatric and Gynecology
When to see a US at ALTH
Seek immediate medical attention if you have:
- Sudden, severe abdominal or pelvic pain
- Pain with fever or vomiting
Also, if you notice these symptoms or those of cold, clammy skin; rapid breathing; and lightheadedness or weakness, kindly get across to us. Never a joke to joke with one’s health.