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Ovarian Torsion: Everything you need to know

This condition affects only one ovary. You are more likely to experience ovarian torsion in case if you have an ovarian cyst.

Written by Kristina Das |Published : August 6, 2018 5:14 PM IST

Ovarian torsion is a condition that happens when an ovary twists around the ligaments that support it in place. Even at times, the fallopian tube is also likely to get twisted and that can cut off the blood flow to the ovary. And when the ovary stops receiving enough blood flow it can cause severe pain. Other symptoms could occur too. According to the American Pediatric Surgical Association, this serious condition is the fifth most common medical emergency involving the female reproductive organs. Ovarian torsion can even cause death if the blood restriction continues for too long. Chances of losing an ovary are also high if not treated on time. Doctor call this condition in medical language as adnexal torsion. Usually, this condition affects only one ovary. You are more likely to experience ovarian torsion in case if you have an ovarian cyst. The ovary tends to swell in such conditions.

Symptoms of ovarian torsion

Some common symptoms of ovarian torsion included pelvic mass, lower abdomen or pelvic area, vomiting, nausea, fever, cramping and abnormal bleeding. However, the symptoms of ovarian torsion can be tough to diagnose because they are same as those of appendicitis, a urinary tract infection, kidney stones and gastroenteritis. These symptoms could persist for several weeks. This could be the situation when the ovary is trying to twist back into the correct position.

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Causes of ovarian torsion

Mostly, women between the ages of 20 and 40 years old are most likely to experience ovarian torsion. The extra weight of the ovary can cause this condition, even the presence of a cyst or other tissue mass can cause ovarian torsion. Another common cause can be an ovarian ligament, which connects the ovary to the uterus. If the ovarian ligament is longer then it is more likely to cause ovarian torsion. Another factor that can increase the risk for ovarian torsion is Assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as inducing ovulation.


The only way to untwist the ovary is surgery. To reduce the pain and nausea a doctor may also prescribe medications prior to the surgery. Thes surgery should be done as early as possible because if the condition restricts blood flow for too long, the ovarian tissue may die, and a surgeon will need to remove the ovary. Ideally, the doctor will perform the surgery by using a laparoscopy. To untwist the ovary they will insert several medical instruments, including a video camera, into the pelvis and abdomen. Even the doctors may need to perform an open procedure if they cannot see the ovary properly.

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