Its inner surface may be smooth and even, or knobby and irregular. Lastly, the fluid contained in the cyst may be thin or consistent; limpid or glutinous; opaque or transparent; and of various tints; so that, in different cases, it may be colorless, green, purple, red, and more or less resemble pure water, white of egg, jelly, glue, birdlime or treacle. Most commonly, however, when the cyst is single, its contents are thin and watery.

Again the dropsical Ovary may be multilocular, composed of many cysts, distinct, and separate from each other; or sometimes, through mutual pressure, communicating one with another: and these cysts in the same Ovary, while they vary much in size may differ also from each other in any or in all the particulars just enumerated as belonging to Ovarian cysts. In this variety we speak of multiple cysts.

But there is another variety of multilocular Ovarian Dropsy, and much the commoner of the two, in which one or more large cysts have their walls embossed, as it were, by the projecting outlines of groups of small nodules that lie within their walls, and may be strictly spoken of as their offspring: as yet of stunted growth, but capable, like the parent cysts, of indefinite enlargement, and of giving birth to cysts of a still later generation. These are distinguished by the name of compound or proliferous cysts.

Sometimes the tumour is solid throughout; in which case the term Dropsy is altogether misapplied.

The progress of Ovarian Dropsy is also irregular. Sometimes it is very rapid; occasionally it is very slow. It may destroy life in a few months; more rarely it may continue, a mere burden, with scarcely any fatal tendency, for many years, Not unfrequently after a period of active increase in the tumour, the morbid process, without any apparent cause, suddenly stops: and the pause may be final; or, after an uncertain interval, the disease may resume its former activity.

Under all circumstances the malady is a serious one: for its possible grievances are many: and its issue is precarious and unpromising. Although in some cases, the general health for some time is but slightly or not at all impaired, in others the disease runs a short course; the tumour, if not meddled with, increasing rapidly, and proving ultimately fatal by its bulk and pressure; or embittering and abridging the unhappy patient's existence by some accident of growth or of position. Even when of no vast magnitude, it may be so situated as to impede or prevent the expulsion of the faeces from the bowels, of the urine from the bladder, or the child from the womb.

Dropsy of the Ovary seldom commences before the age of puberty; nor often after the capability of child-bearing has ceased; but chiefly during that period when the organ, if healthy, is capable of sustaining its proper and temporary functions. Virgins, and barren and fruitful wives are alike subject to the disease.

In Ascites, when the accumulation of liquid has crept on without pain, fever, or other signs of inflammation, our first and best hope of removing the collected fluid will rest upon diuretics. Purgatives may also be employed, when diuretics fail to act, or to reduce the swelling, provided the disease is not complicated with diarrhoea. In Germany the Muriate of Ammonia [Sal Ammoniac] is much used. The following may be tried, one after the other, till it is ascertained which is most effectual and agrees best with the patient.

Muriate of Ammonia........................A Dram and a half-Extract of Dandelion......................Three Drams.

Tincture of Henbane......................Two Drams.

Water sufficient to make Half a Pint. A tablespoonful three or four times a day.

Acetate of Potash...........................Half an Ounce.

Sweet Spirit of Nitre......................Six Drams.

Oxymel of Squills.........................One Ounce.

Water sufficient to make Half a Pint. A tablespoonful three or four times a day.

Tincture of Digitalis.....................Two and a half Drams,

Sweet Spirit of Nitre.....................Six Drams.

Extract of Dandelion.....................Half an Ounce.

Water sufficient to make Half a Pint. A tablespoonful three or four times a day.

At the same time the following pills may be taken:

Powdered Squills................................24 Grains.

Compound Rhubarb Pill.......................24 Grains.

Castile Soap.......................................24 Grains.

Mix, and divide into 24 pills. Two to be taken every night at bedtime.

At the same time the abdomen may be rubbod for half an hour at a time with warm oil, night and morning: the patient standing or sitting before a fire.

Sometimes at the commencement of Ovarian Dropsy, the Ovary is found painful or tender; when that is the case, a few leeches may be applied, to be followed by warm fomentations or a poultice. A little cooling medicine will also be beneficial. The following may be taken:

Solution of Acetate of Ammonia..........One Ounce.

Sweet Spirit of Nitre.........................Six Drams.

Compound Tincture of Cardamoms......Half an Ounce.

Water sufficient to make Half a Pint.

Two tablespoonfuls three times a day,

Sometimes, as has been stated, these Ovarian tumours reach a certain magnitude, and then enlarge no more; but remain, a mere inconvenience and deformity, for many years. Occasionally, either spontaneously, or in consequence of some accidental violence, they burst into the cavity of the peritoneum, whence the effused fluid may be absorbed; but more commonly it causes fatal inflammation. Or the bursting tumour may empty itself more harmlessly (adhesion having previously taken place) through some channel of communication with the bowels, with the vagina, or with the bladder, or externally through the walls of the abdomen.

Tumours, supposed to be Ovarian, do sometimes disappear entirely. It may, however, be doubted whether all, or even many of the enlargements which have had this fortunate issue, were really connected with the Ovary.