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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2004 Jun 15;114(2):203-9.

Tubo-ovarian abscesses in postmenopausal women: gynecological malignancy until proven otherwise?

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Gynecologic Oncology Unit, First Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the University of Athens, Alexandra Maternity Hospital, 3 Aisopou Street, Marousi, 151 22 Athens, Greece.



To investigate the incidence of gynecological malignancy in menopausal women who develop tubo-ovarian abscesses (TOAs), and to address the differences in presentation and underlying pathology between premenopausal and postmenopausal women with TOAs.


In a retrospective study we included 93 patients with a diagnosis of a TOA and compared a premenopausal group (group 1) with a postmenopausal group (group 2).


Group 1 included 76 (82%), and group 2 17 (18%) patients. Abdominal pain and pyrexia >38 degrees C were present in 93 and 74% cases of group 1, and in 71 and 41% cases of group 2 (P=0.016 and 0.019, respectively). Irregular vaginal bleeding and gross ascites were significantly more frequent in group 2. With respect to benign additional pathology we found no differences between the two groups. On the contrary a significant association between TOAs in menopause and malignancy was established. In 8 (47%) postmenopausal cases a concomitant gynecological malignancy was found including a variety of cancers.


Postmenopausal women presenting with TOAs, should be thoroughly investigated to exclude a concomitant pelvic malignancy. Conservative treatment of TOAs has no place during the menopause.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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