The missing ovaries

When I told my mother-in-law that I had an ultrasound today, she asked if it was going to be the one where they went inside. I said I didn’t know. She wished it wouldn’t be, for my sake; she said, “It doesn’t hurt, but it’s…uncomfortable.” I told Mari a few days later, “I hope it isn’t the invasive one.”

When I went to the screening room today, the first thing the technician said was, “Have you ever had a vaginal ultrasound before?” So much for that.

I stripped waist down, lay flat on my back with my ass dangling and my feet up in stirrups, and cringed as a long white probe (wearing a wet condom) was shoved up inside me. Later, I would reflect that this must be what heterosexual sex for lesbians is like. At the time, all I was thinking about was ignoring the fact that it was unpleasant.

I expected it to last a few minutes, like a regular GYN exam, and then the discomfort would be over. So when the exam went on and on, with the technician pressing against my lower belly and forcing the proboscis around in ways that brought tears to my eyes, I was not particularly happy. I had no idea when it was going to end, and it felt like she was doing the same things over and over.

It turns out that she was.

Eventually she called “Dr. Judy” over. I started to feel a little worried. “I’m just going to have her look,” the technician said when I asked if something was wrong. After a few minutes of watching the screen while the technician moved the probe around, Dr. Judy had me press down on my own stomach while she did the exam herself. From their murmured conversation which I could barely hear, I figured out what was going on.

“Can’t see my ovary?”

The technician pulled the probe out. “Sure can’t,” she said. “Sometimes that happens.”

After a pause, I responded, “But the other one was okay?”

“Actually, we can’t see either one of them.” She didn’t sound particularly bothered by this. “There’s a lot of stuff in there that gets in the way,” she explained. “I’m going to look from the outside.” She removed the stirrups, raised the foot of the bed, had me straighten my legs, and lubed up the normal ultrasound device, the one that feels like a steamroller.

“After my exploratory lap, the surgeon apparently told my mother that my ovaries were fine,” I said.

“Oh? When was that?”

“…1998.”

She began rolling the thing over my pelvis. It was far less uncomfortable than the vaginal probe, but now I was edgy. She shoved it across the middle, then either side, and then finally pulled it away. Something about her manner clued me in.

“My ovaries are still there, right? They haven’t, like, spontaneously combusted…” I said.

“Should be,” the technician said. “We just can’t see them. If they need to, they’ll do a CT scan to get a look at them.” She gave me a towel and told me to clean up and get dressed. When I did, she showed me where to dispose of the towel and hospital gown, told me she’d fax the results to my endocrinologist, and said, “Goodbye.”

I almost started crying on my way out to the waiting room. In the parking garage, I accidentally walked up one flight of stairs too many, and when I got back to the correct level, I almost walked right past my car without seeing it.

11 thoughts on “The missing ovaries

  1. After my hysterectomy 3yrs. ago… with my ovaries purposely left behind, I now have a missing right ovary. Ironically, I also have a breast lump that is the size of an ovary, but 2 surgeons have claimed the lump is simply a clogged duct. Has any doc offered to further explore where the missing ovaries could be? Have they been willing to put in writing there is no concern about a missing ovary? So many questions, so little peace of mind.

  2. I had an MRI last week, when I hear the results, I’ll leave a post.
    P.S. that internal ultrasound to me was the same as having a pap test

  3. Hi,

    I also have a missing left ovary…it didn’t show on either the vaginal or external scans, I asked the Gynocologist who performed a D and C to try to stop 3 months of heavy bleeding ( I hemorahged whilst on holiday abroad and the hospital also did Transvaginal ultrasound but didn’t locate the missing ovary..nobody seems too worried, although I sometimes worry that as the pain and bleeding seems to be more from the left side and the ovary is hiding, maybe it has got stuck or twisted behind my organs and that is causing me the problems. I haven’t been through nearly as much as you though, I do hope you soon feel well again. I don’t think the breast lump would be your ovary, maybe it is tucked behind your bowel or something. Maybe an MRI or CAT scan would find it and also put your mind at rest re the breast lump.

  4. Hi,
    I’m 33, about to turn 34 next week, and I, too just had the same experience and am online looking for answers b/c my doctors seem to have none. I had a pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound and my left ovary is nowhere to be found?! I had the exam b/c of lower pelvic pain. I was told I have a collapsed cyst on my right ovary and that it would take care of itself and there was nothing I needed to do. And, that it was likely irritated b/c of muscle strain. However, I still would like to know what happened to one of my ovaries and why I have pain there? This is very frustrating.

  5. Hi again.

    I have been back to my gyni this week following my hysteroscopy and d and c as I had caught an infection in my womb and have been on antibiotics for a few weeks, and because the bleeding is again increasing together with the dull pain which I have where I think my left ovary (the missing one on the scans) should be.
    He assures me that if they can’t see it it is a good thing as disease or similar would enlarge the ovary making it more visible. He says during my op he did a manual examination of all my organs and all looked ok. The ovary sometimes hides behind the end of the bowel which curves on the left side.I do have IBS too and that might be what the pain is.

    I hope this reassures anyone who is worried. I am having Mirena fitted this month which should hopefully sort out my issues. If not then Novasure is the next step.

    all the best to anyone having similar probs.

  6. I am carol9999, I dont know if it will show that..but here it goes under anonymous maybe.
    They found my ovaries with an MRI. turns out my pain is coming from the release of an egg during my menstral cycle on my left side. My shell holding my eggs is hardening , so when it releases one I get pain for about 24 hours. It has a fancy name , which of course I cant remeber to type it here

  7. Am so relieved I found this blog – have just returned from my second transvag. scan having been told that my right ovary is missing, and although I have been experiencing lower right pain and discomfort for over 5 months now , my gyni thinks the two things are not linked!!! I am having a pelvic sonograph in 10 days to have another go at locating the missing ovary and am seriously thinking of chaining myself to the bed until they locate either the ovary or the cause of the pain as I am getting to think I will never be without pain again!! Thanks for the postings girls – it makes me feel so much better knowing I am not alone in this – but what can we do to make these gyni’s take us seriously?

  8. Thank goodness for this forum. I have been crying for awhile…. now trying to research online. I had an abdominal and pelvic ultrasound done in October.

    No one ever notified me that anything was wrong, foolish me, from now on I will always be a thorn in the doctors’ sides and demand answers, either way. I always thought no news is good news with any tests.

    I went to pick up the results today — starting out with a naturopath and trying to round up some results for him — and on one page it says that I have free-floating matter blocking my left ovary, and that they can’t make it (the ovary) out. The right one is fine apparently.

    I am 44, no children, though still hoping for a miracle.
    Based on the home ovulation kits, I knew I wasn’t ovulating every other month (though I’ve also been told by other doctors it’s more like a coin toss with the ovulation), and I have had pain and discomfort on the left side, on and off, for 6 months.

    Just reading here makes me feel better, that this might be why I was basically blown off by the radiologist and PCP.

    I had a Pap and biopsy last month and everything was fine. She told me I have constipation and that’s why I’m in pain. She didn’t ask any probing questions and basically blew me off too. I’m sorry but what a moron (and I’m filing a medical complaint about her, but that is another story).

    I’m going in tomorrow to see about getting a CT scan (recommended on the sheet that I never received), and also am getting blood test back soon for CA-125. Nothing in my family history would indicate the worst; still, this is so frightening.

    I also agree with one of the posters that the interior ultrasound was terrible and went on and on. Not so much painful, just horrible (if that makes any sense).

    Thank you for listening.

  9. I too have a missing ovary! Went for an ultrasound yesterday (transvaginal and normal) and they could’nt see my left ovary. I had a hysterectomy in ’97 and they took everything but my left ovary. I know its still there somewhere….its producting the hormones. I was told by a dr. who I no longer see, that I didn’t need to have pap smears anymore. So I have not seen a gyn for 7 years.

    My biggest worry is my grandmother had ovarian cancer (survived thankfully) before she was 40. I am 39 now. And I had precancerous cells of my cervix when I was 19. The pain and other symptoms can be related to ovarian cancer. When my gyn pushed where my ovary is suppose to be it sent me through the roof.

    The tech told me the same “its hidden behind your bowel” and “I wouldn’t worry, if it was enlarged, it would push the bowel out of the way.” However, I have found other posts on other sites where the ovary was “hidden” but on another ultrasound or mri or ct, they found a large tumor on the ovary. So I find no comfort in her words.

    Now its the waiting game to hear from my doctor. She is suppose to have the results today.

  10. Hi everyone

    I have been suffering from pain in my left side for a number of months now. It can happen between periods but gets really in tense for the first 24 hours of my period. They thought it might be endomitriosis and so sent me for a MRI, vaginal ultra sound and a normal ultra sound.

    When I was having the intrusive scan the doctor couldn’t seem to find my ovaries but made it seem as this was just because my bowels were in the way. She wants me to go back for a second MRI.

    I then found out today, first time and doctor has been through the results of my original MRI scan that the doctor who sent the results through also could not see my ovaries and thought they may have been medically removed.

    I also apparently have something pressing on the tube to my kidney which is causing a blockage.

    What I don’t understand is how can ovaries just disappear, where do they go? Do they just srivel up and drop off?!?!?!

    I am only 29 with no kids a desparatley want to be a mom one day. Does this mean my only option is to take a leaf out of Madoonas book and go steal a child from some poor family in Africa?

    Does anyone know the cause for missing ovaries and why do we get these pains if there is nothing there to cause the pain?

    I am so confused.

  11. I had a ct scan which showed my right ovary was missing my obgyn just said they hide sometimes at least your doctors are doing some tests to find if anyone finds out where there’s went please post results

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