Most ovarian enlargement is discovered either on routine pelvic examination or on imaging studies such as pelvic ultrasound or CAT scans obtained for various related or unrelated reasons. With the introduction of vaginal probe ultrasound, this category of problems has increased significantly.
It is important to take into account the normal physiology of the ovary. The ovary in a reproductive woman undergoes monthly egg formation, ovulation and corpus luteum formation. Follicles may be entirely normal up to 2.5 centimeters in size and should not be called cysts of the ovary. Corpus luteum size may easily reach 3 -3.5 centimeters and still be termed normal. At times, this normal physiologic process, however, can seem abnormal and thus enlarged ovaries have become a very common problem.
The ovaries are situated deep inside the abdominal cavity. Hence an enlarged ovary is discovered mostly on imaging studies such as pelvic ultrasound or CAT scans obtained for various reasons or on routine pelvic examination. The ovary in reproductive women is responsible for ovulation and corpus luteum formation in normal physiology. Follicles may be entirely normal up to 2.5 centimeters in size and are not called cysts of the ovary. Corpus luteum size may reach 3 -3.5 centimeters and still be considered normal.
Some of the possible factors which cause enlarged ovaries may be:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Ovarian cancer.
- Ovarian cyst.
- Ovarian abscess.
- Metastatic malignancy.
In menstruating women, an enlarged ovary seen on CT scan is more likely a benign process. In menopausal women it could indicate cancer. Further evaluation is done using a transvaginal sonogram or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Biopsy of tissue samples, tests to detect the presence of cancer markers such as cancer antigen CA125 may also be ordered.
Another less frequent cause of enlarged ovaries may be ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. This is a potentially dangerous reaction to fertility drugs used to stimulate egg production. Overstimulated ovaries enlarge and release chemicals into the bloodstream that cause the blood vessels to leak fluid into the body. In severe cases the ovaries become swollen and fluid may fill the stomach and chest cavities.
It is essential that enlarged ovaries be diagnosed and treated appropriately. Enlargement of the ovaries can cause a lot of anxiety and distress in patients. Concurrent with conventional treatment, a visit to a holistic medicine practitioner is highly indicated. The expert will treat the body holistically correcting various imbalances in the body and not merely assuaging symptoms.