Ovarian problems can result from a number of different conditions. Symptoms and treatments vary depending on the individual circumstances. Since the ovaries are an essential part of a woman’s reproductive system, women who have ovarian problems during their childbearing years may find conceiving difficult if not impossible depending on the individual circumstances.
The ovaries are also the part of your body that gives you your secondary sex characteristics that make you look like a woman. Women are born with a set of two ovaries on either side of the uterus and they are about one-and-a-half inches long. They serve the purpose of storing and releasing your eggs and they contain all the eggs at birth that you will have in your lifetime.
Most ovarian problems don’t occur until a woman is old enough to menstruate and the odds of developing an ovarian disease continue to increase as she ages. One of the most common conditions that women develop affecting their ovaries is ovarian cysts. As many as seventy-five percent of all women develop ovarian cysts during their lifetime and the causes aren’t really known. Some women experience only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all while others have severe pain, irregular menstrual cycles, and/or unusual bleeding. Most ovarian cysts go away on their own within a few menstrual cycles and they are almost always benign.
Women who experience Polycystic Ovary Syndrome may experience related ovarian problems that women suffering from one cyst do not. Polycystic ovary syndrome is an endocrine disorder that is the leading cause of infertility in women and which can cause secondary symptoms that include hirsutism (excessive hairiness), obesity, irregular menstruation, and acne. Diabetes and insulin resistance are also closely related to PCOS.
There are some more serious ovarian problems that women must be cautious of such as ovarian cancer. This type of cancer was previously known as the “silent killer” since it wasn’t usually found until it had spread to other areas of the body. Now, there are indications that women have symptoms in the early stages so that early detection may be possible. However, the symptoms of the disease are nonspecific and are similar to those of many more common conditions. You may experience the same symptoms with ovarian cancer that you would with digestive and bladder disorders and may even be diagnosed with other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, stress or depression before the true cause of your symptoms can been discovered.
Some symptoms you should always get checked out include abdominal pressure or a feeling of fullness, bloating, or swelling, urinary urgency or pelvic discomfort or pain. There is also the possibility of changes in your digestive or bladder habits, an increase in waist size, pain during intercourse, lower back pain, and menstrual changes. Many of these are also symptoms of ovarian cysts which may cause women who have experienced ovarian cysts in the past to ignore current symptoms.
There are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of serious ovarian problems. Get an annual exam, don’t smoke, limit alcohol, eat a healthier diet, and never ignore any symptoms even if you feel sure you know what is causing them. The most deadly of the ovarian problems is ovarian cancer and early diagnosis is the key to surviving it. Don’t take a chance on putting off a diagnosis.