Ovarian Disorder Analysis Assignment Help
Ovaries are part of the reproductive system of females. Normally, women are born with 2 ovaries. The function of the ovaries is to produce and store a woman’s eggs. When a woman is ovulating, an egg is released by one of the ovaries.
Ovaries are also responsible for making female hormones like progesterone and estrogen. Once a woman reaches menopause, the ovaries stop releasing eggs and stop producing these hormones.
Common disorders of the ovaries are:
- Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome
- Ovarian cancer
- Premature ovarian failure
- Ovarian torsion
It is important to understand how the ovaries work to understand the different types of ovarian disorders. The ovaries produce eggs and store them. Once a female reaches puberty, the ovaries become active and they start releasing one egg every month.
With time women lose their eggs through degradation of un-ovulated eggs and ovulation. Once she reaches menopause, the quality of eggs and egg supply reduces so much that it causes the menstrual cycles to stop.
- Ovarian Cysts – it is normal to have one kind of ovarian cyst once a month. This is called a functional cyst. This cyst usually has a ripening egg that is released at the right time of the menstrual cycle. If this egg is not fertilized, it goes away in 1-2 weeks.
Ovarian cysts besides this particular cyst are forms of ovarian disorders. An example is endometriomas. This is a cyst filled with endometriosis. It causes pain and infertility. They are also known as chocolate cysts because the endometriosis fluid looks like melted chocolate during surgery.
Another type of ovarian cyst is the dermoid cyst. Dermoid cysts are filled with teeth, hair, and sebaceous fluid. They are painful when they enlarge. Unlike endometriomas, they do not cause infertility. Dermoid cysts can be seen on an ultrasound.
Most ovarian cysts cause little or no discomfort and disappear on their own within a few months without treatment. Ovarian cysts however cause severe symptoms especially when they rupture. It is important to regularly get a pelvic exam and know the symptoms of a potentially serious problem.
Most ovarian cysts develop due to the menstrual cycle. the ovaries grow follicles every month. These follicles are responsible for producing progesterone and estrogen hormones. During ovulation, they also release an egg.
When a normal monthly follicle continues to grow, it forms what is known as a functional cyst and there are two types:
- Corpus luteum cyst – corpus luteum forms when the follicle releases an egg and starts to produce progesterone and estrogen for conception. A corpus luteum cyst forms when there is an accumulation of fluid inside the follicle that causes it to grow into a cyst.
- Follicular cyst – in the middle of the menstrual cycle, an egg burst out of the follicle and moves down the fallopian tube. When the follicle does not rupture or fails to release an egg, but instead continues to grow, a follicular cyst forms.
symptoms of ovarian cysts
Most cysts do not have any symptoms and will disappear on their own without any treatment. Large ovarian cysts may cause symptoms such as:
- pelvic pain
- heaviness or fullness in the abdomen
It is advisable to see the doctor if you experience severe and sudden pain in the pelvic area or in the abdomen and pain that is accompanied by vomiting and fever. If you experience symptoms of shock such as clammy skin, rapid breathing. cold and weakness or lightheadedness, you should see the doctor immediately.
risk factors for ovarian cysts
The risk for ovarian cyst is increased by:
- hormonal problems – hormonal problems may be caused by fertility drugs
- endometriosis –
- pregnancy – it is possible that the cyst formed during ovulation can stay on the ovary throughout the pregnancy.
- a previous ovarian cyst
- a severe pelvic infection that spreads to the ovaries
complications of ovarian cysts
There are fewer common types of cysts. Complications associated with ovarian cysts include:
- Rupture – a cyst may rupture and cause severe bleeding and pain. Larger cysts are more likely to rapture. Cysts are likely to rupture during a vigorous activity like vaginal intercourse.
- Ovarian torsion – once a cyst enlarges, it may cause the ovary to move. This may lead to painful twisting of the ovary known as ovarian torsion.
Prevention of ovarian cysts
There is no certain way of preventing ovarian cysts. However, having regular pelvic exams can help detect any changes in the ovaries early enough. Staying alert to changes in the menstrual cycle such as persistent unusual menstrual symptoms.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – this condition affects hormone levels in women. Women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome have male hormones whose amount is higher than normal. This imbalance makes the body skip menstrual periods and even harder for them to get pregnant.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that causes the ovaries to enlarge with many cysts on the edges. PCOS is mostly characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, acne, excessive growth of hair, and fertility.
Initially, PCOS used to be diagnosed in overweight people. However, women with low body weight and normal body weight can develop PCOS. Treatment options for this disorder depend on the interest of patient infertility.
PCOS is characterized by the hair on the body and face and in some cases baldness. PCOS may lead to health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Hormone imbalance can be fixed using birth control pills. This can help reduce the symptoms.
PCOS affects the ovaries hence affecting the production of estrogen and progesterone hormones which regulate the menstrual cycle. Ovaries also produce a male hormone called androgen. This hormone is produced in small amounts.
Features of polycystic ovarian syndrome include:
- irregular or skipped periods
- cysts in the ovaries
- high levels of male hormones.
Causes of Polycystic ovarian syndrome
Doctors don’t know the exact cause of PCOS. However, they believe that higher than normal levels of male hormones prevent the production of hormones by the ovaries as well as prevent them from making eggs normally.
Excess production of androgen hormone is linked to inflammation, genes, and insulin resistance.
- Genes – PCOS is passed down in families. Many genes contribute to PCOS and not just one gene.
- Insulin resistance – a majority of people with PCOS have insulin resistance. When cells are unable to use insulin properly, the demand for insulin in the body increases. As a result, the pancreas has to make more insulin to compensate. This extra insulin causes the ovaries to produce more male hormones.
Common symptoms of PCOS
Symptoms of PCOS start in the first period. Other women discover PCOS after gaining a lot of weight or having trouble getting pregnant.
Common symptoms of PCOS include:
- Heavy bleeding – periods are usually heavier because the uterine lining builds up for a longer time.
- Irregular periods – lack of ovulation prevents the monthly shedding of the uterine lining.
- Hair growth – a lot of women with PCOS grow hair on the face, chest, back, and belly. Excess growth of hair is known as hirsutism.
- Acne – male hormones cause the skin to become oilier thus triggering breakouts on the upper back, face, and chest.
- Weight gain – the majority of women with PCOS are overweight
- Darkening of the skin – dark patches form in the neck, under the breasts, and in the groin
- male pattern baldness – hair on the scalp becomes thin and falls out
- Headaches – changes in hormones can cause headaches in some people.
How does PCOS affect the body?
Higher levels of male hormones affect fertility in addition to other aspects of a person’s health.
- Infertility – women need to ovulate to get pregnant. Those who do not ovulate as regularly as they should, do not release any eggs to be fertilized. PCOs, therefore, are a leading cause of infertility.
- Metabolic syndrome – 80% of women with PCOS are obese. Obesity increases the risk for:
- high LDL (bad) cholesterol
- high blood sugar
- low HDL (good) cholesterol
- high blood pressure
A combination of these factors makes up metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk for stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
- sleep apnea – sleep apnea causes repeated pauses in breathing when a person is sleeping which interrupts their sleep. It is common in women who have PCOS. The risk of sleep apnea is more common in women who are obese.
- Endometrial cancer – normally, the uterine lining is shed every month during ovulation. If this does not happen every month, the lining builds up. A thickened uterine lining increases the risk of endometrial cancer
- Depression – changes in hormones and undesirable symptoms like the growth of hair on the face can negatively affect a person’s emotions.
Diagnosis of PCOS
Doctors diagnose PCOS in women with 2 of the following symptoms:
- cysts in the ovaries
- high androgen levels
- irregular menstrual cycles
During diagnosis, the doctor will want to know if the person has experienced things like weight gain, acne, and growth of hair on the body and face. A pelvic exam can be done to look for problems in the ovaries and other parts of the reproductive system.
Blood tests can be done to check the level of male hormones. Blood tests can also check insulin, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels to determine risk for conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
The doctor may also do an ultrasound to look for abnormal follicles and any other problems with the uterus and ovaries.
Treatment of PCOS
- Diet and lifestyle tips to treat PCOS
Lifestyle changes like diet, weight loss, and exercise are the first treatment option for PCOS. Losing weight can help improve the symptoms of PCOS and regulate the menstrual cycle. In addition, weight loss helps lower insulin, improves cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk for diabetes and heart disease.
- Medical treatments
Medications and birth control pills can help regulate the menstrual cycle and treat some symptoms of PCOS like acne and growth of hair. For instance, taking progestin daily can help:
- protect against endometrial cancer
- restore normal hormone balance
- relieve symptoms of PCOS like excess hair growth
- regulate ovulation
Metformin that is used to treat type diabetes can also treat PCOS by improving the levels of insulin. If taken when one is exercising and changing their diet, metformin lowers blood sugar, improves weight, loss, and helps restore a normal menstrual cycle compared to when a person only makes diet and exercise changes.
Clomiphene helps women with PCOS to get pregnant. However, it is important to note that clomiphene increases the chances for multiple gestations.
- Hair removal medications
Few treatments can help stop the growth of unwanted hair as well as get rid of it. Electrolysis and laser hair removal can be done to get rid of hair on the body and face while eflornithine cream can be used to slow down the growth of hair.
If other treatments are unsuccessful, surgery is the option to improve fertility. Using a thin heated needle or a laser, tiny holes are made in the ovary to restore normal ovulation. This procedure is called drilling.
- Premature Ovarian Failure – this disorder was previously known as primary ovarian insufficiency. This disorder occurs before women hit menopause. Healthy ovaries produce estrogen hormone which controls menstrual periods and makes a person fertile.
However, in some women, the ovaries stop working long before they get to menopause. Premature ovarian failure causes the ovaries to stop menstrual periods and stop ovaries from making eggs.
Causes of premature ovarian failure
Follicles are small sacs found in the ovaries. Follicles hold eggs as they grow until they mature. Girls are born with 2 million eggs that turn into follicles and last through menopause. However, this is not the case for women with premature ovarian failure.
In women with this disorder, their follicles stop working properly or they run out. Doctors have not been able to establish why this happens. A woman whose sister or mother had the premature ovarian failure is more likely to develop this disorder.
Other factors that may increase ase risk for premature ovarian failure are:
- viral infections
- autoimmune disorders
- Radiation therapy and chemotherapy
- Chromosomal and genetic disorders like Turner syndrome and Fragile X syndrome.
Symptoms of premature ovarian failure
It is not that easy to detect that the ovaries are not working as they should. Some women with premature ovarian failure have their menstrual periods and can get pregnant.
Most women with premature ovarian failure have trouble getting pregnant. This could be the reason they go to see the doctor. Symptoms of premature ovarian failure that are common among women are infrequent or missed periods. They may start and then stop for years.
Other symptoms include:
- night sweats
- hot flashes
- trouble sleeping
- anxiety, mood swings, and depression
- vaginal dryness which makes sex unpleasant
- memory or concentration problems
- changes in sex drive
Diagnosis of Premature ovarian failure
It is very important to see the doctor if your periods stop or if they become infrequent. The doctor will do blood tests to rule out pregnancy, thyroid disease, and any other health condition. In addition, a blood test will help them to determine your hormone levels.
The first blood tests are done to determine levels of estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone. The results obtained will help the doctor to understand what is going on in the ovaries.
A woman may be diagnosed with premature ovarian failure if they are under 40 and have irregular or no periods, high levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, and low estradiol level. If necessary, the doctor may also recommend a transvaginal ultrasound. If the imaging test shows smaller ovaries with few follicles, it is a sign of premature ovarian failure.
Health effects of premature ovarian failure
Estrogen hormone is important for healthy bones and a healthy heart. If the ovaries fail to make enough estrogen, a person is more likely to develop health conditions.
Treatment for premature ovarian failure
There is no cure for this disorder. However, there are treatments used to reduce complications of low estrogen levels and to ease symptoms of premature ovarian failure. The most common treatment is hormone replacement therapy which combines progestin and estrogen hormones.
HRT may be taken orally, placed in the vagina, or put on the skin. It is important to discuss possible risks and side effects. Additionally, the doctor may also prescribe vitamin D supplements and calcium to prevent loss of bones which is caused by low levels of estrogen hormone.
For those who do not work out, the doctor may recommend that they make fitness a habit since exercising keeps the heart healthy and keeps bones strong. Women with premature ovarian failure who would want to get pregnant should talk to a counselor and their doctor to understand their options.
Other ovarian disorders are less common in women of reproductive age. Ovarian cancer for instance is a rare disorder in women who have not reached menopause. Additional screening may be helpful for women who come from families with a history of cancers such as ovarian, colon, and breast cancer.
In some women, ovaries fail to form properly. Such women have a condition known as gonadal dysgenesis. Patients with this disorder need hormone therapy to enhance their health.
Ovaries are complex and intricate organs in the female reproductive system. Ovarian disorders can be easily diagnosed and treated to maximize the medical health of a person and maximize their fertility options.
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