Inflammation, etc., of the Ovaries. Ovaritis.
THE inflamed condition of the ovaries is indicated by increased heat, and pain upon pressure. The pain in the ovarian region is sometimes intermittent, sometimes constant, and occasionally passes down to the loins and thighs.
There are acute and chronic inflammations of the organs; but it will be sufficiently accurate, in a work of this kind, to. treat of them as essentially one.
The effects of inflammation upon the ovaries, as upon other bodies, are various, sometimes enlarging and hardening, at other times collapsing and blasting them. This last effect, it is hardly necessary to say, cuts off all hope of bearing children.
The Causes of ovarian inflammation are numerous. One of the most important causes has already been noticed, namely, the congestion of the parts, for several days, at every menstrual period. This, amounting as it does almost to inflammation, is often intensified by other causes, such as wetting the feet, taking sudden colds, excessive fatigue from dancing, and exciting drinks.
Sexual indulgence often proves a cause of inflammation in these bodies. It is particularly apt to have this effect in the newly married female, with whom it is a novel stimulus, and often applied with immoderate excess. In late marriages, when the stimulus to the ovaries has long been denied, its sudden presentation is liable to make an inflammatory impression. Its entire absence, too, in persons of strong passions, may result in ovarian disease.
This inflammation may be produced by the new state of things existing at the critical period called the turn of life, when it reacts on the womb, producing the floodings which often bring menstruation to a close. The congestion, too, which has been present every month for many years, does not immediately cease at this change; and not finding relief by the accustomed flow, the ovarian bodies are exposed to inflammation.
In all large cities, the pest houses of civilization, where the women are more numerous than the men, there are many females whose virginity is a burden, and numerous others who give themselves up to sexual excesses; to both these classes, the turn of life is very liable to promote these ovarian disorders.
There is another class of causes, which, though not so easily recognized, are equally cogent in exciting this form of disease. I mean all those excitements which arise from unbridled thoughts, from books of questionable character, from music, social intercourse, and stimulating food and drinks, all which promote and intensify burning desires, which, though natural and proper in themselves, cannot lawfully be gratified in a community where the female sex greatly preponderates, numerically, over the male. When we consider how powerful within a woman's breast the conflict often is between the impulse of passion and the dictates of duty, and how strongly this conflict must react upon the sexual organs, and especially upon the ovaries, the centre of the sexual system, we can easily see in how many cases they may become inflamed.
Another cause of this disease is suppression of the menses. The engorged and crowded state of the vessels of the womb, of the uterine neck, and of the ovaries, not finding vent in the accustomed flow., inflammation in any one of these organs is a very natural result.
The inflammation of these ovarian bodies is a frequent result, too, of a similar condition, previously existing in the neck of the womb. In passing from the uterine neck to the ovarian bodies, the inflammatory condition often fastens itself upon the broad ligament, the fallopian tubes, and their fimbriated extremities. The whole, it will be seen, presents an amount of disease which it is painful to contemplate.
The womb being turned over, and pressing against One of the ovaries, may cause it to inflame by mechanical irritation. Pessaries, injudiciously used, may do the same thing.
Symptoms. The first and most obvious symptom is a pain a little to the right or left of the womb. This pain is almost always increased by walking, riding, or by external pressure. It is especially augmented by straightening the thigh, by which the parts over the inflammation are put upon the stretch. When standing up, ladies suffering from this disease are generally compelled to rest the foot on a stool, so as to bend the thigh, and relax the muscles. The pains radiate from the ovaries, and go down to the loins and thighs, and sometimes to the fundament. They are of a dull, dragging, heavy nature.
Sometimes the ovarian bodies become very much enlarged, and dropping down somewhat, press upon the lower bowel, causing constipation, or upon the neck of the bladder, creating a frequent desire to urinate, and an inability to pass the water freely.
Treatment. As inflammation of the ovaries is always increased during the menstrual flow, it is not proper to meddle with it at these monthly periods, lest the trouble be aggravated. The parts over the pain should be rubbed for a few minutes, night and morning, with an alterative and anodyne ointment (169).
It is in many cases more desirable to insert a speculum and paint the roof and sides nearest the tender spot with tincture of iodine. There is a strong preparation called Churchill's iodine which is the tincture of iodine to which iodide of potash has been added, and though some greater care must be used when applying it, the results will be more rapid and beneficial.
After the next menstruation, the same things should be repeated, and again after the next, and so on, for five or six months, or even longer, if need be.
The bowels should occasionally be opened by some simple cathartic, for the purpose of removing all hard substances which may press against and fret the inflamed ovaries. The purgatives employed should be of the most cooling kind, such as salts or oil; while aloes, and all harsh cathartics must be avoided
Injections of tincture of belladonna and hyoscyamus are useful for quieting neighboring parts, and warding off external disturbances. They act like soft substances thrown upon the pavement in front of a sick man's house. A piece of flannel soaked in hot laudanum, laid over the ovary and covered with dry flannel, will give great relief and enable the patient to sleep.
The patient should be kept, w much as possible, in the recumbent position, lying upon the bed or the lounge, and should only be permitted to move about to such extent as will not irritate the inflamed parts.
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