A friend of long ago once said she’d been raised in a Catholic school where the nuns shied from sex education and talking much about those parts of our bodies that have to do with sex and reproduction. However, for whatever reason, they did try, probably to prepare girls for the day that they would start to bleed and therefore be able to bring about more humans. The friend said the nuns explained ovaries as being like a popcorn popper, popping ripe kernels into full blossomed eggs.
An odd image to be sure, but corn like ovaries does have many seeds within it. It’s probably closer to liken an ovary to a pomegranate or a fig, though both are far too large in relation to the size of an ovary. A gynecologist told me that research has shown that women don’t ovulate on one side, and then the opposite the next month. It goes more like this: right, right, left, right, right, left, with one side producing more. Maybe it ties into whether we’re left or right-handed but I don’t know.
The world of gynecology and women’s reproductive systems is complex and as a woman I have had my fair share of issues. Over the years I have used three types of birth control: birth control pills, diaphragms and condoms (worn by my partner as I have not tried a woman’s condom). They all have their issues. Condoms can be uncomfortable and need lube. Diaphragms have to be left in for many hours after sex and can increase yeast infections. Birth control pills can cause cysts, heart conditions and various other denied problems
I was on the birth control pill for about twelve years and it gave me hard and lumpy breasts. Cysts. These cysts can range from smaller than pea sized to as large as a pear. And yes, when they change from the normal size I have to get them checked out. They can be very painful and tender and during ovulation by breasts can swell up to two inches. Inflatable breasts are not as much fun as they sound.
These cysts can also be in the ovaries. So if they are like corn, imagine the cysts as a type of ergot. What that means in how they look, I don’t know. What it means for fertility probably depends on the number, size and severity of cysts. They can rupture and do other fun things that can cause a lot of pain. Ovulation can be very painful to the point where I can’t stand up straight. Sitting can hurt and pain can range from a general bruising feel to a sharp stabbing.
Anytime something seems out of the norm it is best to get it checked by a doctor. So one particular year when my popper was on the blink I went to a gynecologist. I was sent for exploratory surgery, a laparoscopy that leaves three small incisions and which they use to look around inside. The gynecologist said after the surgery, well you may have cystic ovaries and maybe not. We can put you back on the pill. I said, I’m not going back on as there are side effects after thirty. He said, what effects? Even if he didn’t believe the evidence out there, as specialist he should have known about the studies.
And one side effect? Cystic breasts and ovaries. I left, never to see that particular doctor again. A friend recommended a naturopath. At the time I didn’t quite know what they were or maybe even believe in them. But the naturopath gave me a liver cleanser, a capsule, to take for three months and it did in fact fix the problem until three years later when I had a cyst in the uterus and that had to be removed.
The medical profession doesn’t always have all the answers nor do individual doctors always have the experience, knowledge and wherewithal to diagnose properly. It was only years later that I found out I had endometriosis as well. What’s that? The butter on the popcorn? I think not.
So as analogies go, ovaries are not much like popcorn or popcorn poppers. They pop on average one egg a month. That would be pretty slim pickings in the movie theater. No butter, no salty topping. Just eggs and cysts.