Health Tips for Seniors



Diseases of the Ovary

The Ovary

The two ovaries are the fundamental heart of the female sexual system, and are located in the lower abdomen, one on each side of the uterus. They are the source of the menstrual cycle before the menopause and lose this function after the change of life, but remain as a frequent source of both large and small growths within the abdomen.

The normal ovaries are too small to feel, but when enlarged, they can range from apple-size to watermelon-size. Sometimes they are hard and sometimes cystic, like water-filled balloons and frequently tax the physician heavily for correct identification. Occasionally ovarian growths give clues to their identity through their hormonal influences. For instances, one specific tumor of the ovary produces a masculine hormone which produces in women, a growth of beard, deepening of the voice, and hair growth on the chest. Another growth of the ovary has a feminizing influence, and occasionally will restart the menstrual period long after the menopause.

Statistics show that after the menopause about fifteen women in every thousand will develop an ovarian tumor, and nearly three-fourths of these will be cancer. It is well to remember that

Tube enlarged
Ovary normal
Ovary uterus

Fig. 96. The uterus and ovaries are the machinery of the female reproductive systems. In them, however, minor or major diseases can arise and sometimes require hospital care.

a mass low in the abdomen is difficult sometimes even for the physician to identify, and very often the exact character of such a tumor cannot be determined until seen at operation, and studied under the microscope. Because of the serious possibilities with ovarian growths, the physician frequently advises their operative removal.

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