How Are Ovarian Growths Diagnosed?

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Almost 12 years separates my two children. When I found out I was pregnant with the youngest, I was stunned. The thought of being pregnant in my 40s terrified me. Being older meant that there was more risk in having a child. I was determined to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. After leaving my OB/GYN's office, I started researching pregnancy tips specifically for older women. During the course of my research, I discovered a lot of older women had questions about being pregnant under these special circumstances. I started this blog to provide pregnancy tips and support to women in their 40s who suddenly find themselves preparing to be a new mom.

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How Are Ovarian Growths Diagnosed?

24 June 2021
 Categories: , Blog


Having something go wrong with one's reproductive organs can have a negative impact on an entire life. Ovarian growths can be perfectly benign, or they can be cancerous. In either case, they can end up causing pain and complications for women, so it's important to have them diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. If your doctor believes that you might have ovarian growths, like a cyst or tumor, then here's what you can expect from the diagnostic process.

Hands-On Pelvic Exam

For starters, your doctor is likely to perform a pelvic exam or send you to a specialist like a gynecologist or OBGYN for one. Since the ovaries are completely internal, this exam may or may not include taking samples or performing a Pap smear. It will ultimately depend on what your doctor is attempting to diagnose or confirm.

However, what your exam will definitely include is physical palpation. This is where a doctor presses down on your torso and pelvis to feel for any abnormalities. While not everything can be discovered this way, things like reproductive organs being misaligned or pushed out of position and large growths can sometimes be detected.

Pelvic Ultrasound

From there, your doctor is likely to want to perform secondary pelvic exam tests. One of the most common is the pelvic ultrasound. Pelvic ultrasounds can be performed either entirely externally or with an internal scan, which requires inserting an ultrasound wand into the vagina to get a better image.

In either case, you'll be expected to drink a large amount of water prior to the test. This will fill up your bladder and help the tech to get a better image of everything. While ultrasounds aren't the most precise of tests, they do help doctors to determine if anything is the wrong size or if there's something there that shouldn't be.

MRI

If your ultrasound comes back and either reveals something or is inconclusive, your doctor will likely then send you for a pelvic MRI. Unlike the ultrasound, this doesn't require any real prep work on your part, except not wearing metal, as the MRI uses magnets to perform its scan.

You'll lie in a tube while the scan runs. The MRI is one of the more revealing scans, and it is 100% non-invasive, so you don't need to worry about pain.

With an MRI available, your doctor will likely be able to diagnose what's going on at this point and can then determine a course of action depending on the results and your symptoms. If you need a pelvic exam, contact a medical clinic like Naples OB-GYN.