If you have slight pain or soreness in your pelvic area, specifically around where your ovaries and uterus are located, you may be suffering from adnexal tenderness.

If this pain is not a typical premenstrual symptom for you, consider making an appointment with your doctor. You’ll want to rule out any adnexal masses developing in your body.

The adnexa of the uterus is the space in your body occupied by the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.

An adnexal mass is defined as a lump in the tissue located near the uterus or pelvic area (called the adnexa of uterus).

Adnexal tenderness occurs when there is pain or general tenderness around the area where an adnexal mass is located.

Adnexal tenderness usually occurs in the ovary or fallopian tubes.

Examples of adnexal masses include:

Symptoms of adnexal tenderness are similar to those of uterine tenderness or cervical motion pain.

You may have an adnexal mass if you experience any of the following symptoms that do not follow your normal menstrual symptoms or are present more than 12 times per month:

To find a suspected adnexal mass, your doctor will typically do a pelvic examination. This consists of a physical examination of the vagina, cervix, and all organs in the pelvic area.

After that, ectopic pregnancy will be ruled out via an ultrasound, also called a sonogram. The ultrasound can also show cysts or certain tumors. If the mass cannot be found with a ultrasound, the doctor may order an MRI.

Upon finding a mass, your doctor will most likely do a test to measure for cancer antigens. The antigens will be monitored to make sure that the adnexal mass does not become malignant.

If the mass is larger than six centimeters, or the pain does not subside after three months, a gynecologist will usually discuss options for removal of the mass.

There are many types of adnexal masses that may be causing your adnexal tenderness. Once diagnosed, your doctor will make a plan for treatment or management for the mass.

Simple cyst

A simple cyst in the ovary or uterus could be the cause of pain. Many simple cysts will heal on their own.

If the cyst is small and only causing mild discomfort, many doctors will opt to monitor the cyst for a period of time. If the cyst remains for several months, a laparoscopic cystectomy may be performed to determine if the cyst is malignant.

Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that does not occur in the uterus. If the egg is fertilized or remains in the fallopian tubes, the pregnancy will not be able to be carried to term.

If you are found to have an ectopic pregnancy, you will require surgery or medication and monitoring to end the pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies can be fatal to the mother.

Dermoid cyst

Dermoid cysts are a common type of germ cell tumors. They are a saclike growth that is developed before birth. A woman may not know she has a dermoid cyst until it is discovered on a pelvic exam. The cyst usually contains tissues such as:

  • skin
  • oil glands
  • hair
  • teeth

They usually form in the ovary, but can form anywhere. They are not cancerous. Because they grow slowly, a dermoid cyst may not be found until it’s large enough to cause additional symptoms such as adnexal tenderness.

Adnexal torsion

Adnexal torsion occurs when an ovary becomes twisted, commonly due to a preexisting ovarian cyst. This is a rare occurrence, but it’s regarded as an emergency condition.

Most often, you’ll need a laparoscopy or laparotomy to help address the adnexal torsion. During the surgery, or depending on the damage during torsion, you may lose viability in that ovary. That means that the ovary will no longer produce eggs that can be fertilized.

If you’re experiencing adnexal tenderness that develops into severe pain, you should contact your doctor.

If you’ve been experiencing tenderness for a long period and don’t think it’s related to your menstrual cycle, you should bring the issue up to your doctor or gynecologist. They will perform a pelvic exam with closer attention in case of an adnexal mass.

If you are experiencing abnormal blood loss or no periods, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Adnexal tenderness is a slight pain or tender feeling in the pelvic region, including your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Adnexal tenderness that persists over a long period of time could be due to a cyst or other condition within your adnexal region.

If you believe you may have a cyst or have reason to believe you may be pregnant, you should contact your doctor for examination.