- Which are the ovarian pathologies and how can they be resolved?
- Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome
- Ovarian inflammation
- Ovarian cancer
Which are the ovarian pathologies and how can they be resolved?
The ovaries can be affected by both benign and malignant pathologies. The ovarian tissues that are mostly affected by pathologies are: the ovarian surface epithelium, that is the region where ovulation takes place, and the ovarian stroma, that is the germinal area that contains oocytes and where ovarian hormones are produced.
Pathologies that affect the ovary are cysts, inflammations, polycystic ovary syndrome and ovarian cancer. The diagnosis of such pathologies takes place through pelvic examinations, scans, and sometimes more specific diagnostic imaging examinations. Treatment includes surgery if cysts and cancer exceed normal dimensions.
Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome
Cysts are benign formations that appear in the ovaries. The formation of ovarian cysts is very frequent in women of childbearing potential and often these are not of pathological character. Cysts can be of different dimensions and can derive from follicles (follicular cysts), from the corpus luteum (lutein cysts), or from theca cells (theca-lutein cysts). Instead, when a follicle in the ovary does not go through ovulation, it may create a functional cyst.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is one of the most common pathologies in women of childbearing potential. It is characterised by different symptoms including ovulatory dysfunctions, anovulatory cycles, hyperandrogenemia, and the presence of polycystic ovaries.
The ovaries can also start inflammatory processes called ovaritis, which can also affect uterine tubes. Ovaritis can be acute and chronic. Acute ovaritis is characterised by symptoms like fever, pain in the lower abdomen, and increased frequency in micturition. Chronic ovaritis is a consequence of acute ovaritis and is characterised by the same symptoms but also by strong pain in the legs as well as menstrual disorders. If the infection continues, thus resisting to pharmacological treatment, surgery to remove the ovaries is advisable.
There are benign forms, intermediate (border line) forms, and malignant forms of ovarian cancer. Benign tumours form slowly and only rarely become malignant; the most common are benign cystic teratomas, fibroids, and cystadenomas.
Teratomas are developed from layers of embryonic tissue, fibroids are masses of connective tissue, and cystadenomas are cysts full of liquid on the ovarian surface that contain ovarian glandular tissue. Some tumours can appear during pregnancy, like luteoma, which usually regresses spontaneously after delivery.
Malignant tumours are instead of three types: epithelial tumors that originate from the ovarian epithelium, which covers the ovaries’ surface, germinal tumors that originate from germ cells, and stromal tumors that originate from the gonadal stroma, which is the tissue supporting the ovary.