Ovarian inflammation: main causes and symptoms

By (embryologist), (gynecologist), (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 06/15/2022

Ovaritis or oophoritis is the inflammation of one or both ovaries in women generally between the ages of 25 and 35. Inflammation of the ovaries may occur independently or together with inflammation of other organs, giving rise to the following pathologies:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): inflammatory process in the upper part of the female reproductive system (ovaries, tubes, uterus and ligaments).
  • Adnexitis: inflamed tubes and ovaries, i.e. oophoritis and salpingitis at the same time.

In any case, ovarian inflammation can cause symptoms in women of greater or lesser severity, in addition to affecting their fertility. Therefore, it is best to visit a physician as soon as possible.

What is oophoritis?

Oophoritis, also called oophoritis, is an inflammation of one or both ovaries in a woman ovaritis oophoritis, is the inflammation of one or both ovaries in women. Normally, the most common cause of ovarian inflammation is the presence of a bacterial infection, although there are other reasons as well.

It is a pelvic inflammatory disease (PI) and usually occurs in women between 25 and 35 years of age. Early diagnosis of oophoritis is essential, otherwise a woman's fertility may be affected.

Causes of ovarian inflammation

Ovaritis or ovarian inflammation can be caused by various factors such as those discussed below:

However, the most common cause of ovarian inflammation is infection, especially from pathogens such as Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, E. coli and gonococci. Candidiasis can also be a cause of ovarian inflammation.

Symptoms of swollen ovaries

When a woman has swollen ovaries, she may experience pain of greater or lesser intensity depending on each case. On some occasions, the pain may reach the rectum and anus.

Although the consequences of ovaritis may differ among women, there are a number of symptoms that usually accompany ovarian inflammation:

  • Headache.
  • Excess flow.
  • Belly and ovarian pain.
  • Nervousness and palpitations.
  • Menstrual cycle variations.
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea.
  • Discomfort when urinating.

It should be noted that the fact of having pain on only one side of the belly does not indicate that there is only inflammation of the ovary on that side. It may happen that pain only appears on one side and the oophoritis is bilateral.

Therefore, if a woman notices any of these symptoms, she should visit a gynecologist. The doctor will be in charge of determining whether the inflammation is in one or both ovaries through different tests.

Risk factors and prevention

Inflammation of the ovaries, either one or both, appears more frequently in young women who have not gone through pregnancy. Regular intimate relations with different partners, smoking and douching are other risk factors for oophoritis.

Although not as common, it has also been reported that IUD use can cause inflammation not only of the ovary but also of the tubes and uterus.

Adequate genital hygiene and avoidance of moisture is essential to prevent infection and largely avoid ovarian inflammation.

We must not forget that in severe cases, inflammation of the ovaries and/or tubes and uterus can cause pain during sexual intercourse, chronic discomfort in the lower abdomen and even sterility due to tubal obstruction.


Treatment of oophoritis is usually pharmacological by administering antibiotics to eliminate the infection and help calm the inflammation.

In the most serious situations, the physician may indicate the need for surgical intervention, in which case it will be essential to determine whether the inflammation is in only one ovary or in both.

Home remedies for oophoritis

As discussed above, the most common treatment for lowering ovarian inflammation consists of drugs. However, there are also several home remedies.

The most common ones are listed below:

  • Avoid cold and humidity.
  • Diet rich in vegetables and fruits.
  • Drink grape, orange and apple juice.
  • Perform for 10 minutes a daily bath of legs and belly with water obtained from boiling two handfuls of chamomile with flaxseed.
  • Apply warm or hot crushed leaves of mugwort plasters on the abdomen three times a day.
  • Perform cold baths in the ovarian region three times a day with half an ounce of tincture of arnica in half a liter of boiled water.
  • Three intakes per day of the decoction of a tablespoon of ground cloves and aniseed powder, three quarters of a tablespoon of cinnamon powder.
  • Boil 25 tablespoons of Walnut leaves in a liter of water for baths or showers.

It should be noted that some of these home treatments, in particular those that consist of taking baths, cannot be used if you are pregnant. Therefore, before taking any action, it is advisable to consult a physician.

FAQs from users

Why does inflammation of the ovaries occur?

By Marta Zermiani M.D., Ph.D. (gynecologist).

Inflammation of the ovaries may be related to pelvic infections or endometriosis.

Pelvic infection is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It usually occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries.

Endometriosis is a benign condition that occurs when the endometrium (the mucous layer that lines the uterus) grows in other parts of the body such as the ovaries, tubes, pelvic area or intestines, among others.
Read more

Is it normal to have back pain due to ovarian inflammation?

By Andrea Rodrigo B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

It is possible that the inflammation has spread to other areas of the body and is causing pain in other parts of the body, such as the coccyx or back. In any case, if the pain is very intense, it would be advisable to consult a specialist.

Is it possible to have ovarian inflammation with menopause?

By Andrea Rodrigo B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Yes, it is possible. Although it is not common because at menopause the ovaries no longer have a regular function, it can happen that some infection or specific alteration causes inflammation of the ovaries at any stage of a woman's reproductive life.

Does oophoritis have consequences for fertility?

By Andrea Rodrigo B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Ovarian inflammation can cause infertility, although it will depend on each case. The severity and the specific cause of the inflammation may mean that it affects a woman's reproductive capacity or, on the contrary, that it is a one-off event that has no influence on her fertility. To find out, specific tests are necessary.

Is ovarian swelling a common symptom of pregnancy?

By Andrea Rodrigo B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

It is not a common occurrence in pregnancy, but it can happen that due to hormonal changes in the body and the state of pregnancy itself, a woman notices that her ovaries are swollen.

What is autoimmune oophertitis?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Autoimmune oopherthitis is inflammation of one or both ovaries caused by autoimmune phenomena. It is a rare disease in which the woman's own immune system attacks the cells of the ovary.

Autoimmune ovaritis is usually caused by early ovarian failure (POI). However, the exact cause of autoimmune oophoritis is not known.

We have said that oophoritis is a PID. For more detailed information, please visit this article: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): causes, types, and treatments.

In addition, inflammation of the ovaries can cause alterations in female fertility. If you are interested in this topic, we recommend you to visit the following link: Female sterility due to endocrine-ovarian factor.

We make a great effort to provide you with the highest quality information.

🙏 Please share this article if you liked it. 💜💜 You help us continue!


A R Ghose, E J Vella, H B Begg. Bilateral salmonella salpingo-oophoritis. Postgrad Med J. 1986 Mar;62(725):227-8. doi: 10.1136/pgmj.62.725.227.

Charles Walter Bugg, Taku Taira, Milana Zaurova. Pelvic inflammatory disease: diagnosis and treatment in the emergency department. Emerg Med Pract. 2016 Dec 22;18(12 Suppl Points & Pearls):S1-S2.

Corrine K Welt. Autoimmune oophoritis in the adolescent. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008;1135:118-22. doi: 10.1196/annals.1429.006.

D J Williams, P Connor, J W Ironside. Pre-menopausal cytomegalovirus oophoritis. Histopathology. 1990 Apr;16(4):405-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.1990.tb01150.x.

E Gloor, J Hurlimann. Autoimmune oophoritis. Am J Clin Pathol. 1984 Jan;81(1):105-9. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/81.1.105.

R Matsuoka, Y Taketani. [Adnexitis (salpingitis, oophoritis)]. Ryoikibetsu Shokogun Shirizu. 1999;(25 Pt 3):215-7.

FAQs from users: 'Why does inflammation of the ovaries occur?', 'Is it normal to have back pain due to ovarian inflammation?', 'Is it possible to have ovarian inflammation with menopause?', 'Does oophoritis have consequences for fertility?', 'Is ovarian swelling a common symptom of pregnancy?' and 'What is autoimmune oophertitis?'.

Read more

Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo
 Marta Zermiani
Marta Zermiani
M.D., Ph.D.
Graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the Università degli Studi di Padova in Italy, specializing in Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge in Barcelona. Specialist in Assisted Reproduction with 4 years experience and currently a gynecologist at Vida Fertility Madrid. More information about Marta Zermiani
Licence number: 280847526
 Marta Barranquero Gómez
Marta Barranquero Gómez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduated in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) in collaboration with Ginefiv and in Clinical Genetics by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). More information about Marta Barranquero Gómez
License: 3316-CV
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

Find the latest news on assisted reproduction in our channels.