Ovarian cysts are the cause of a great deal of anxiety and concern for many women, and much of the time they are not truly a problem. The first thing a patient needs to understand is "what is a cyst"??
J. Glenn Bradley, MD
Recently a letter was sent to the Women's Health Forum by a patient who had undergone numerous surgeries in an effort to alleviate her pain due to surgical adhesions. Additionally, I recently had a patient whose case demonstrates a rather typical story for post-surgical adhesions, and her management. These two patient cases I hope you will find informative and "food for thought".
Mrs. Blumenthal*, a 40-year-old G1P1, had young twins at home and was also a full-time student. She delivered her twins in 1992 by C-section after conceiving through IVF. The patient had long-standing endometriosis, treated previously by three abdominal procedures (one laparotomy and two laparoscopies).
Approaching menopause, the bleeding pattern for many women will perhaps change, with cycles either becoming shorter initially, and then with time the menstrual interval will begin to lengthen, be variable and perhaps some cycles skipped altogether, and then finally the periods stop entirely. A woman is said to be menopausal if more than 6 months have elapsed and she has not had a period.
Pelvic adhesions cause many problems for millions of women. From obstructed tubes associated with infertility, to pelvic tenderness, and painful intercourse, to chronic pelvic pain. Curiously, adhesions can be very extensive, yet relatively silent. They may remain silent indefinitely, or long after the causative event, become symptomatic. The causes of adhesions are multiple but basically the tissue irritation that produces the adhesive process arises from an inflammatory event, or from trauma (i.e. post surgical).
Approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed every year in the United States alone, but only 10% or so for cancer of the uterus, or ovaries and rarely the fallopian tubes. The uterine indications usually are related to problems of bleeding, pain, pelvic tenderness, or a failure of pelvic support that causes uterine prolapse. Much less commonly, ovarian tumors will suggest the need for hysterectomy.
Uterine fibroids ( "fibroid tumors";" leiomyoma"; "myomas") are benign, (non-cancerous) growths present in about 30% of women over the age of 30. They are usually detected on pelvic examination, which may reveal the uterus to be enlarged and/or irregular in configuration. The vast majority of cases are absolutely silent and cause no symptoms. The size of a single fibroid may be smaller than a pea, or larger than a melon. In a given patient, there may be a single fibroid, or multiple fibroids of varying size. In the latter situation, the summation of the fibroids of varying sizes will lead to an aggregate size increase.