Ovary is the female reproductive organ, that produces ova or eggs, ovary also produces sex hormones namely oestrogen, progesteron and androgen. When due to some reason the ovary grow beyond normal size then the condition is termed as enlarged ovary. This condition may occur in one or both ovaries. In some women enlarged ovary is asymptomatic, but in majority of the cases enlarged ovary is painful and may hamper day to day life.

Symptoms : The common symptoms of enlarged ovary are as follows :

  1. Abdominal, pelvic, or lower back pain
  2. Dysuria (difficulty in urinating with urinary retention )
  3. Menorrhagia ( heavy bleeding during menstruation )
  4. Sometime missed menstrual periods
  5. Painful sexual intercourse
  6. Urgency to urinate
  7. Vaginal bleeding
  8. Body aches, most commonly thigh pain
  9. Breast pain
  10. Constipation and indigestion
  11. Loss of appetite and fullness
  12. Nausea
  13. Unintentional weight gain

Please remember that enlarged ovary is not a disease but it is a symptoms of some underlying diseases so seek immediate medical advice if you have any of these above mentioned symptoms

The possible causes behind swollen ovary :

  1. Corpus luteum cyst : Generally after the egg is released from a follicle, the follicle becomes a secretory gland called corpus luteum, that produces large quantities of estrogen and progesterone to prepare the uterus ready for conception. Normally if there is no conception the corpus luteum breaks down and disappears. In some cases instead of breaking down the corpus luteum fill with fluid or blood and expand into a cyst, that stays in the ovary. This type of cyst may rupture about the time of menstruation, and may disappear entirely.
  2. Dermoid cyst : It is a kind of cystic teratoma, that contains tissue or organ components resembling normal derivatives of more than one germ layer like mature skin, hair, sweat glands, bone, nails, teeth, eyes and cartilage. In very rare cases more complex organs like eyes, torso, and hands, feet may found with this kind of cyst. Generally dermoid cyst is present at birth, but may not be noticeable until much later.
  3. Follicle cyst : This is the most common type of ovarian cyst. In normal condition graafian follicle burst around the middle of menstrual cycle and release egg or eggs but if some reason the follicle doesn’t rupture or release its egg and grows and then it turns into a cyst.
  4. Endometrioma (endometriosis affecting the ovary) : This condition happens under the influence of female hormones the cells from the endometrium (lining of the uterus ) respond like to the cells found inside the uterus and appear and flourish outside the uterine cavity to form a cyst.
  5. Polycystic ovary disease (PCOS) : It is one of the most common female hormonal disorder and one of the leading causes of female sub fertility. This condition is caused by imbalance of female sex hormones but the definite cause or causes are not yet fully understood. Normally in the time of ovulation the mature ova or eggs are released by the graafian follicle of the ovary, but in PCOS release of eggs don’t happen, instead, they form very small cysts in the ovary. The most common symptoms of PCOS are menstrual disorders like oligomenorrhea (few menstrual periods) or amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods), other common symptoms are acne and male pattern of hair growth.
  6. Congenital abnormality : Some congenital abnormality may also cause enlarged ovary.
  7. Metastatic cancer : Metastatic cancer is a type of cancer where the cancer spread from it’s site of origin to other organs. The name originated from a Greek word ‘metastasis’ means displacement. In the case of ovarian metastatic cancer the main site of metastasis is liver, lung or peritoneum.
  8. Nonmalignant tumor : Non malignant tumors is the benign tumors, that don’t have the ability to invade neighboring tissue or metastasize and they also have slower growth rate than malignant tumors. Nonmalignant tumors in ovary may also cause enlarged ovary.
  9. Ovarian cancer : Sometime ovary may get enlarged due to Ovarian cancer .
  10. Ovarian torsion or twisting of the ovary : Ovarian torsion may leads to compromised blood supply and this condition is life threatening and need immediate medical attention.