Introduction to Ovarian Health

The ovaries play a crucial role in women's health, being pivotal in hormone production, development, and fertility. Tumours in the ovaries, affecting women of various ages, are a significant health concern. Although they are less common in children and the elderly, understanding them is essential for women's health.

Types of Ovarian Tumours

Ovarian tumours are classified into different types, including:

  • Functional ovarian cysts.
  • Benign ovarian tumours like dermoid cysts, endometriotic cysts, or chocolate cysts.
  • Malignant ovarian tumours.

Notably, the majority of ovarian tumours (about 94%) are benign, reducing the prevalence of cancer in these cases.

Risk Factors for Ovarian Tumours

Certain factors can increase the likelihood of developing ovarian cysts and tumours:

  • Natural occurrence in menstruating women of any age.
  • Higher prevalence in obese women.
  • Early menstruation onset (before 11-12 years).
  • Fertility challenges.
  • A family history of hormone suppression medication usage, like tamoxifen.
  • Smoking habits.

Recognizing Symptoms of Ovarian Tumours

The symptoms of ovarian tumours can vary, including:

  • No noticeable symptoms.
  • A palpable mass or an enlarged abdomen.
  • Abdominal pain accompanied by fever.
  • Difficulties with bowel movements or bloating.

Diagnosis Process

Diagnosis begins with a medical history review and a physical examination to detect any growths. Diagnostic tools include ultrasound and computerized tomography (CT) scans, especially when ovarian cysts or tumours are suspected.

Treatment Approaches

Treatment options vary based on the tumour type and severity:

  1. Monitoring and Medication: For suspected ovarian cysts or growths, initial steps may involve observation over 2 to 12 weeks or prescribing oral contraceptives. Subsequent appointments will determine if further treatment is needed.
  2. Advanced Diagnosis and Surgery: In cases of suspected ovarian tumours, doctors might conduct blood tests for cancer markers (like CA 125), perform imaging tests (ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan), or suggest surgical removal for laboratory analysis.