Ovarian Torsion

Definition - What does Ovarian Torsion mean?

Ovarian torsion is the twisting and disfigurement of an ovary and fallopian tube. This condition is most frequently caused by the growth of a foreign mass that puts pressure on the ovary. Ovarian torsion causes extreme pain. If not promptly treated, the condition can result in the loss of the entire ovary.

Ovarian torsion is also called adnexal torsion.

FertilitySmarts explains Ovarian Torsion

The ovary and connected fallopian tube sit in one position within the body. If the ovary becomes displaced it may become intertwined with the fallopian tube and unable to return to its normal position. This condition is called ovarian torsion.

The symptoms of ovarian torsion are extreme sudden pain that may include nausea or vomiting. The pain is usually localized on one side of the body, corresponding with the affected ovary (i.e. torsion of the left ovary leads to pain on the left side). An ultrasound exam is utilized to diagnose ovarian torsion. For a more conclusive diagnosis, a dye may be used to outline the contour of the organ.

Causes of ovarian torsion include:

  • Cysts, particularly during the second trimester of pregnancy
  • Benign or malignant ovarian tumors
  • Adhesions and polycystic ovaries
  • Complication of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)

Women with severe symptoms indicating possible ovarian torsion should seek immediate medical treatment. Once the ovarian torsion has been diagnosed, surgery is immediately required to address the condition. Ovarian torsions worsen rapidly, and within hours the ovary can become infected and poisonous to the body. It may be possible to surgically untwist the ovary, however, in other cases, the ovary will need to be removed.

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