Adnexal tumors

An adnexal tumor is also called as an ovarian cyst. It is a mass that develops near the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or surrounding the connective tissue of ovaries. It is considered as a common gynecologic problem. Adnexal tumors may be found in the females of any ages. These tumors are benign, but they can also be cancerous.

In general, our ovaries produce follicular cysts approximately 6 to 7 times each year. These may be self-limiting and resolve during the normal menstrual period. In some instances, these cysts last longer and become hard and enlarged, at this time the cysts are considered as a pathological Adnexal tumor.

The common ovarian cyst symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Discomfort
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the lower abdomen

The common causes of Adnexal tumors in premenopausal women include:

  • Endometriomas (cyst formation in the inner wall of the uterus)
  • Ectopic pregnancy (attachment of the embryo in a location other than the uterus)
  • Corpus luteum cysts (a type of ovarian cyst)
  • Polycystic abscesses (a liver disease)
  • Ovarian adnexal cysts

The causes of Adnexal tumor are different for postmenopausal women, which include:

  • Cancer
  • Fibroids (abnormal masses that develop in the uterus)
  • Fibromas (benign tumors like growths)
  • Diverticular abscess

The common conditions that keep you at a higher risk for developing adnexal tumors are:

  • Infertility
  • Early menarche
  • Late menopause
  • Family history of cysts
  • Certain drugs (Tamoxifen therapy may increase the chances of ovarian cysts)
  • Obesity-Over weight can increase your chances of developing cysts in the adnexal of the uterus

The major complications of adnexal tumor include:

  • Infection
  • Necrosis (death of the tissue)
  • Intracystic hemorrhage (bleeding within the ovaries)
  • Leakage from the tumor

A physical examination is performed to know if the tumor is palpable or impalpable.

In premenopausal women the adnexal masses are mainly benign; they may be malignant rarely. Based on the nature of your adnexal tumor your doctor would order for different types of diagnostic tests, which includes:

  • Cervical cultures
  • Quantitative β-hCG
  • Cancer antigen 125
  • Blood typing and Rh
  • Complete blood picture
  • Transvaginal ultrasonography
Benign tumors Malignant tumors
Benign tumors are not cancerous, and can be removed; in almost all the cases they do not reoccur. Cells in the benign tumor don’t spread to the different body parts. Malignant tumors are cancerous; these cells grow very rapidly and invade different parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis or secondary cancer.

If you are diagnosed with adnexal tumors based on the adnexal cyst symptoms, following are the treatments performed.

If asymptomatic, small, adnexal masses are observed in physical examination and radiological studies, your doctor would prescribe oral contraceptives.

If your adnexal tumor or mass is symptomatic and has the characteristics of malignancy, then they require surgical intervention.

The adnexal cyst treatment procedures include:

  • Removal of ovarian cysts: Your surgeon will remove the whole cyst and makes sure that it does not re-grow
  • If the tumor is benign, then your doctor performs a resection procedure that removes the mass alone or the whole adnexal structure.
  • If the tumor is malignant, then your doctor would perform a bilateral oophorectomy, omentectomy, total abdominal hysterectomy.

You can manage the discomfort caused by adnexal tumors at home, some of the self-management tips are:

  • You can use a warm compression on the abdominal muscles to relieve cramping
  • You can use (OTC) medications such as acetaminophen and aspirin etc., but you must talk to your doctor before using them
  • You must empty your bladder as soon as you feel the urge to urinate; this reduces the strain on the pelvic muscles
  • You must include high fiber foods in your diet to avoid constipation. Constipation increases the pressure on the pelvic muscles.

You must call your doctor immediately if:

  • You have severe vaginal bleeding
  • You experience a sudden sharp pelvic pain with nausea and vomiting
  • You feel dizzy or weak with abdominal discomfort that lasts for longer time