Adnexa are attachments of the uterus like ovaries, fallopian tubes, and tissues holding the uterus in place. Sometimes an abnormal growth known as an adnexal mass can occur close to the uterus in these attachments. It can either be filled with fluid (cystic) or is solid. Adnexal masses are mostly non-cancerous, but can sometimes be cancerous. Women of childbearing age are at more risk of developing an adnexal mass, but they can occur at any age.
There are many reasons for an adnexal mass to develop. Due to the common occurrence of the adnexal masses, doctors have to take into account various factors to understand the cause and classify the growth. Alarm bells generally start ringing when,
- The mass is solid and not fluid-filled.
- Occurrence is before the onset of menstruation and after menopause
- When the cyst is extremely large.
Most of the times they do not cause any symptoms, it could be accidentally picked up on ultrasound. But, sometimes if the ovarian cyst is big it can symptoms such as
- Lower tummy pain or discomfort
- Pain during periods
- Pain during sex
- Can cause infertility
- Can have pressure on bladder and you may have feeling like you want to pass urine frequently
- Tummy looks swollen; sometimes you can feel the lump in the tummy
- Rarely you can have severe pain and vomiting, this can happen when the ovary twists on itself. This may require urgent medical treatment
- Doctor would do physical examination (feeling the tummy and may do internal examination) to see if they can feel the cyst.
- You would be advised an ultrasound scan to confirm the diagnosis.
- Sometimes, CT or an MRI scan may be required.
Based on evaluation, thedoctor may opt for either watchful waiting, reviewing you on regular basis or start treatment immediately. This also includes surgery to remove the mass.