Your ovaries can become enlarged for many reasons. Some of these conditions are completely harmless and others are a cause for concern. Typically, an enlarged ovary is more concerning in a woman who has reached menopause and is no longer ovulating. Follow along to learn about the various conditions can trigger the appearance of enlarged or swollen ovaries:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a common illness in which a woman has higher than normal levels of sex hormones known as androgens. Women with PCOS experience a range of symptoms including pelvic pain, facial hair, missed periods, heavy periods, and more. In many cases, the hormone imbalance leads to the development of cysts in the ovaries, which can then cause swelling. Typically, PCOS can be treated but not cured.
Sometimes enlarged ovaries aren’t anything to worry about and are simply due to ovulation. Typically, a woman’s ovaries will swell just before ovulation, which takes place about 14 days into the cycle. This swelling is temporary and will subside after an egg is released.
Swollen ovaries can also be due to ovarian cancer. In this case, the swelling accompanies other symptoms like bloating, abdominal and pelvic pain, a frequent need to urinate, quickly feeling full, weight loss, and more. Ovarian cancer can strike at any age, but it’s most common in women who are between 50- and 60-years-old. If you have concerning symptoms, please see a doctor as outcomes are best when cancer is caught early.
Endometriosis occurs when the uterine lining grows outside the uterus on other areas of the body, such as the ovaries. In some cases, this can contribute to ovarian swelling and inflammation. This painful illness is common, affecting more than 10% of women between age 15 and 44.
Endometriosis is treated with pain medication, birth control pills, and medications called gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists. Also, with different types of surgery.
Benign Ovarian Cysts
Benign ovarian cysts are non-cancerous fluid-filled sacs that form on or within the ovaries. A few different types may form, and they’re most common during a woman’s menstruating years. Most of the time, benign ovarian cysts resolve on their own and are nothing to worry about.
Ovarian tumors can be cancerous and are usually accompanied by symptoms like bloating, indigestion, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or constipation. Depending on the type of tumor, treatment options might be surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Women’s Health Arizona. As Arizona’s largest ObGyn group, we’re trained and solely dedicated to delivering the best ObGyn experience in convenient and comfortable settings around Phoenix.