A teratoma is an ovarian tumor that comes from germ cells. That is, it has different tissues or organs. The word teratoma comes from a Greek term that means “monstrous tumor.” Most of the time, the tumor can contain well-differentiated tissues. A teratoma can have hair, teeth, bone, and even more complex tissues such as nerve tissue cells, eyes, or fingers. Teratomas can be both gonadal and extra-gonadal. The latter are usually located near the midline of the body. At FastlyHealwe, tell you more about ovarian teratoma: causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Table of Contents
Causes of ovarian teratoma
In embryonic growth, there is a formation of three layers, called endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm. Each layer will mature and form different parts of the body. Since teratoma comes from the three layers in its composition, we can find tissues that resemble hair, teeth, or bones. Teratomas can be divided into two types:
It usually behaves like a benign tumor because all the tissues that make it up are mature, significantly reducing cancer risk. It is generally found in women of childbearing age (15 to 49 years). Surgical removal tends to heal completely. In turn, the mature teratoma is divided into two:
- Mature, solid teratoma: a rare variant usually occurs in young women. They are composed entirely of fully mature tissues.
- Mature cystic teratoma: the most common variety of teratoma. In addition to having mature tissues of different origins, it has an epidermoid cyst, a sac from the embryonic layers with fluid inside.
It only corresponds to 3% of ovarian teratomas. This type of teratoma usually has a more malignant behavior because the cells that make it up are still immature and resemble the cells of a fetus, which gives them more significant metastatic potential. They are rarer than mature teratomas and are usually diagnosed in girls (under 18 years of age).
Teratomas are probably tumors from birth, so they can be considered congenital tumors. Still, most teratomas are only diagnosed until adulthood. The tumors can be large and found in newborn babies in rare cases, and ultrasound tests can diagnose these.
Symptoms of ovarian teratoma
Teratomas are mainly found in adult women, but they can also be found in girls. Most teratomas are asymptomatic, but when symptoms occur, they can be:
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Problems urinating
- Uterine bleeding (not corresponding to menstruation)
- Dysmenorrhea: a painful and challenging menstruation
- Dyspareunia: pain when having sex.
Cyst rupture in mature cystic teratomas is very rare, but it is usually a medical emergency when it does occur.
Diagnosis of ovarian teratoma
The early diagnosis of a teratoma is practically impossible. Teratomas are primarily asymptomatic and are only accidentally diagnosed by a radiological examination or abdominal surgery. It isn’t easy to palpate via the abdomen. They are usually significant when uncovered. If your doctor suspects that you have a teratoma, they may resort to performing some tests, including:
- Plain X-ray of the abdomen
Other diagnostic images can be made to avoid giving a wrong diagnosis. These are:
- Magnetic resonance
Treatment of germ cell tumors of the ovary
There are several possible lines of treatment:
- Surgery: in this type of treatment, total resection of the tumor occurs. Teratomas are usually encapsulated and non-invasive, so they are relatively simple to remove. This surgery is generally done laparoscopically; a technique in which an instrument is inserted called a laparoscope, which has a camera and a light that allow the cavity to be visualized. It is considered a minimally invasive surgical technique, which leaves a small scar.
- Chemotherapy: If it is a malignant teratoma, drug treatment usually must be given after surgery to prevent metastasis.
It is estimated that around 80% of teratomas are benign, but there is a possibility that they may become malignant and turn into cancer.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Ovarian Teratoma: causes, symptoms, and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Female reproductive system.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.