Ovarian torsion is a medical condition in which the ovary twists around its supporting structures, such as the ligaments that attach it to the uterus or the pelvic wall. This twisting can obstruct blood flow to the ovary, reducing blood supply and potentially damaging the ovarian tissue. Ovarian torsion is a surgical emergency and can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, and other symptoms. Prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent complications and preserve ovarian function.
Symptoms of Ovarian Torsion
- Severe Abdominal Pain: The most common symptom of ovarian torsion is sudden, intense lower abdominal or pelvic pain. This pain may be constant or intermittent, ranging from moderate to severe.
- Pelvic Pain: Pain may also radiate to the lower back or thighs, making it challenging to pinpoint the exact location of the discomfort.
- Nausea and vomiting: Many individuals with ovarian torsion experience nausea and vomiting, often due to the excruciating pain.
- Fever: In some cases, ovarian torsion can lead to a low-grade fever.
- Abdominal Distention: Some people may notice abdominal bloating or swelling.
- Changes in the Menstrual Cycle: Irregular menstrual bleeding or changes in the menstrual cycle can sometimes be associated with ovarian torsion.
Causes of Ovarian Torsion
- Ovarian Masses: Large cysts or tumours on the ovary can increase the risk of torsion by making it more prone to twisting.
- Pregnancy: Ovarian torsion can occur during pregnancy due to the enlargement of the ovaries and hormonal changes.
- Previous Ovarian Torsion: If you’ve had ovarian torsion before, you may be at a higher risk of experiencing it again.
- Strenuous Physical Activity: Vigorous exercise or activities that cause sudden movements can increase the risk of torsion, particularly in individuals with predisposing factors.
- Anatomical Abnormalities: Certain congenital or developmental conditions may make the ovaries more susceptible to torsion.
- Pelvic Surgery: Prior pelvic surgeries, such as ovarian cyst removal or hysterectomy, can alter the normal anatomy and create conditions conducive to torsion.
- Ovulation Induction: Fertility treatments that stimulate the ovaries to release multiple eggs can increase the risk of ovarian torsion, especially if the ovaries enlarge.
Treatment for Ovarian Torsion
Ovarian torsion requires immediate medical attention and often surgical intervention to prevent further damage. Treatment options may include
- Surgery: The primary treatment for ovarian torsion is surgery to untwist the affected ovary and restore blood flow. In some cases, if the ovary is severely damaged, it may need to be removed (oophorectomy).
- Laparoscopy: Many cases of ovarian torsion can be treated using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. This approach involves making small incisions and using specialised instruments to correct the torsion.
- Pain Management: Pain relief medications, such as opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may be prescribed to manage discomfort before and after surgery.
- Follow-up Care: After surgery, patients may require follow-up appointments to monitor their recovery and ensure there are no complications.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Gynecology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Ovarian torsion is a rare but serious medical condition characterised by the twisting of an ovary, leading to impaired blood flow and severe abdominal pain. Recognising the symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to preserving ovarian function and overall health. Timely surgical intervention is typically necessary to untwist the ovary and prevent complications.
Q. What is ovarian torsion?
A. Ovarian torsion is a medical emergency in which an ovary twists around its supporting structures, potentially cutting off its blood supply. This condition can lead to severe abdominal pain and requires immediate medical attention.
Q. What are the common symptoms of ovarian torsion?
A. The most common symptoms include sudden and severe lower abdominal or pelvic pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, and sometimes fever. The pain is often intense and may be accompanied by other discomforts.
Q. What causes ovarian torsion?
A. Ovarian torsion can occur due to several factors, including ovarian cysts or tumours, pregnancy, a prior history of torsion, strenuous physical activity, and certain anatomical abnormalities that make the ovaries more susceptible to twisting.
Q. How is ovarian torsion diagnosed?
A. Doctors typically use a combination of physical examinations, imaging tests (such as ultrasound or CT scans), and medical history to diagnose ovarian torsion. Imaging is beneficial in confirming the diagnosis and assessing the extent of the condition.
Q. What is the treatment for ovarian torsion?
A. The primary treatment for ovarian torsion is surgery. Surgeons will untwist the affected ovary to restore blood flow and assess the extent of any damage. In some cases, if the ovary is severely damaged, it may need to be removed (oophorectomy).