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Tubo-Ovarian Abscess in Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review

Yaron Gil 1Perrine Capmas 2Togas Tulandi 

        J Gynecol Obstet Hum Reprod 2020 May 12;101789. doi:   10.1016/j.jogoh.2020.101789. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: To evaluate and better characterize the incidence, clinical presentations and risk factors of TOA in postmenopausal women and to evaluate the incidence of underlying malignancy in postmenopausal women with TOA.

Methods: Electronic based search using Pubmed, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE, Google Scholar, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. The following medical subject heading (Mesh) terms, keywords, and their combinations were used: «tubo-ovarian abscess, pelvic inflammatory disease, menopausal and postmenopausal».

Results: Of 380 articles in the initial results, nine studies were eligible for inclusion in our systematic review. The prevalence of postmenopausal cases out of total TOA episodes was 6-18%. The most common risk factor identified was a recent pelvic procedure including endometrial biopsy in up to 45% of reported cases. A somewhat surprising risk factor was the presence or the act of removal of a longstanding intrauterine device (IUD), which was in place for many years, and was reported in up to 50% of cases. Recent studied showed that the risk of diagnosing a malignancy in postmenopausal women with TOA was lower than previously described. Attempts to identify patients with an underlying malignancy were unsuccessful, as neither size, complexity of the mass, bilateral lesions, tumor marker or lab work was sufficiently sensitive.

Conclusions: TOA is not a frequent finding in postmenopausal women. Yet, it may lead to or mask significant morbidity or mortality. A somewhat surprising risk factor for TOA in postmenopausal women is the presence or following removal of a longstanding IUD. The risk of malignancy is lower than previously described.