Situated in the lower abdomen, below the pelvis and the belly button, the ovaries have an array of functions in females. For instance, they produce the reproductive hormones such as estrogen and release eggs every month. Ovary pain is a condition that has been affecting a considerable number of ladies across the world. Owing to the location of the ovaries, this pain will occur in the lower abdomen. The pain may be categorized into chronic and acute. Acute pain in the ovaries last for a short period, ranging from a few hours to a couple of days. Chronic pain, however, lasts for a considerable period. Regardless of the type of ovary pain you are suffering from, it is important that you have it checked by a professional doctor or a gynecologist/obstetrician.
Possible Causes of Ovary Pain
Ovarian cysts are sacs that are filled with a fluid, which form in the ovaries. The condition occurs during the child bearing years. The condition occurs when ovule is not released or when the ovary-holding follicle does not dissolve after ovulation. Basically, the condition may go unnoticed because it may not display any symptoms. After some time the cysts will dissolve on their own. However, if the cysts fracture or twist, they can lead to unbearable pain in the lower abdomen.
Normally, the walls of the uterus thicken every month in preparation to house the fetus. If the egg is not fertilized, the wall tissues rapture and are passed out in the form of menstruation. In other cases, this thickening of tissue may occur in another part of the body. The tissues then dissolve, but have nowhere to go. This leads to the formation of a scar tissue in such places, which can be very painful. This condition is referred to as endometriosis. Other symptoms of the condition are:
Heavy menstruation, bleeding
Pain during menstruation
Pain while having sexual intercourse
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
The other common cause of pain in left ovary is the pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection that is caused by sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. The infection affects the Fallopian tubes, the ovaries and the uterus leading to pain. Other symptoms associated with the infection include:
Pain during sexual intercourse
Irregular menstrual cycles
Smelly vaginal discharge
Difficulty while urinating
Ovarian Remnant Syndrome
Surgical removal of the ovaries and the uterus is referred to as oophorectomy and hysterectomy respectively. However, salpingo oophorectomy is the surgical removal of all the ovaries as well as the Fallopian tube. During this procedure, a small piece of the ovary may be left behind accidentally. This remaining piece may then grow and eventually develop cysts. It is these cysts that will lead to immense pain in the lower abdomen. The pain may also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as difficulty in urinating and pain during sexual intercourse.
Mittelschmerz refers to the one-sided pain in the lower abdomen. This pain is a result of the rupturing of the follicle during ovulation. As such, the pain is experienced during menstruation and may last a couple of minutes to a few hours. In some woman, the pain may be sharp and sudden while it is dull in other ladies. However, not all the ladies will experience this pain.
Mittelschmerz may change sides from one month to the other or affect the same side for several months consequently. If you experience this pain, you should keep track of your menstrual cycle and note when the pain occurs. If the pain occurs in the middle of the cycle and lasts a few hours, you should mention it to your gynecologist. In most cases, the problem can be solved using over the counter medications. In advanced cases, however, contraceptives may be prescribed to prevent ovulation.
Basically, ovarian cancer accounts for about three percent of cancer cases in ladies. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 90 percent of the women suffering from this condition are more than 40 years of ages, with the majority of them being above 55 years of age. Some predisposing factors of this condition include family history of either ovarian or breast cancer, BRCA2 or BRCA1 gene mutation and infertility.
The symptoms associated with this condition are not gynecologic and may be vague. As such, the condition may go on for years without being detected. Early detection can lead to effective cure from ovarian cancer. Some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating or swollen abdomen, pain in the pelvic area, increased urge to urinate or increased frequency of urination, loss of appetite or feeling full quickly, constipation, and diarrhea. If you experience such symptoms for more than two weeks, you should seek immediate medical attention for diagnosis.
A pain in the pelvic region that occurs suddenly may be an indicator of an infection in the reproductive system. Bacteria can infect the reproductive system, including the ovaries, leading to abdominal pain. For instance, sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, can lead to the development of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If this infection occurs close to the ovaries, it can cause the ovaries to develop sores. This will lead to pain in the lower abdomen. If not treated early, this infection may result in infertility.
Alternative Pain Causes
While pain in the lower abdomen may be a result of a kidney problem, it may be something else altogether. For instance, pain in the reproductive organs is easily confused with pain in left ovary. Other than ovary pain, the following may also lead to pain in the lower abdomen:
Infection in the bladder or the urinary tract
Infection in the gall bladder
Regardless of whether you are trying to conceive or are on contraceptives, you should have any pain in the lower abdomen properly examined by a doctor.
What to Do
If you have any pain related to the reproductive system, including left ovary pain, you should see a doctor for examination and prescription. However, the following first aid practices will help soothe the pain prior to seeing a doctor:
If the pain is bothering you, it can be very helpful for you to rest in the bed.
Take pain killers.
Use contraceptives to prevent ovulation, if it is the one causing the pain.
You may also take anti-inflammatory medications.
If the ovulation pain lasts for more than three days, you should seek medical attention.