What is an ovarian cyst?
Ovarian cysts are fluid filled sacs in or on the surface of a woman’s ovary. these are not uncommon, these are normal during the child bearing years in a woman’s life and are usually formed during ovulation. In many cases, the cysts dissolve on its own and are harmless but not always! In some cases they demand treatment. A woman in her lifetime can develop either one or many cysts in single or both ovaries. These ovarian cysts may vary in shapes and sizes.
Facts you should be aware about Ovarian Cysts-
- Ovarian Cyst is common in women with normal monthly cycles. In fact, many women form at least one follicle every month. Nobody knows the presence of cyst unless they suffer when it grows or multiple cysts are formed.
- Approximately, 8% of the women prior menopause may have large cysts in their ovaries that demands treatment that needs to be cured.
- Doctors should be consulted whenever you think you have a cyst growing inside of you, regardless of age. If you face symptoms like bloating, need to urinate more often than normal, pelvic pain or pressure, abnormal vaginal bleeding etc. then it’s time for call to action.
- Most ovarian cysts do not inhibit the chances of attaining motherhood but the illness caused due to cyst can sometimes make it harder to conceive. Two major conditions that lead to the formation of ovarian cysts and infertility are-
- Endometriosis this is a condition which happens when the Uterus lining outgrows the same.
- PCOS is one of the leading causes of Infertility as women with PCOS often have many small cysts in their ovaries. In some women, the ovaries make many small cysts, termed as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) which affect ovaries and chances of being pregnant.
- Ovarian cysts are usually uncommon once a woman’s body attain menopause. Women having ovarian cysts post menopause are more vulnerable and prone to ovarian cancer.
- Also, cysts are normal during pregnancy, but these are benign and harmless but those cysts which continue to grow can rupture and affect childbirth.
Types of Ovarian Cysts-
There are a number of types of ovarian cysts. Most cysts are benign and in very rare cases, they turn out to be malignant. These are more customary in older women. Cancerous cysts are ovarian cancer hence ovarian cysts require to be consulted with your doctor.
Two most common cysts are-
- Follicle Cysts
- Corpus Luteum Cysts
Other benign cysts which are less common-
Ovarian Cyst Causes
The most common causes of ovarian cysts are-
Hormonal Problems- Functional cysts does not require any treatment as they go away on their own. These cysts may be caused due to hormonal problems or by the intake of those drugs which helps you ovulate.
Endometriosis- Women with endometriosis can develop endometrioma, a type of ovarian cyst. It becomes painful during copulation and periods when it grows.
Severe Pelvic Infections- Also, infections can spread to the fallopian tubes and ovaries and can lead to cyst formation. The above mentioned three are the most common and general ovarian cyst causes.
Ovarian cyst symptoms
- Most cysts do not cause symptoms when they are small.
- If a cyst is showing symptoms, then these symptoms would be pressure, bloating, swelling or pain in the lower abdomen aside cyst.
- Many a times, you would feel nauseatic when the cyst starts twisting your ovary.
- Sometimes, ruptured cells leads to heavy bleeding and would bring severe pain along with it. In such case, you should immediately rush to the doctor.
- Ovarian cyst symptoms that warns and aware you of the cyst being ruptured or broken apart include-
- Pain with constant vomiting and fever
- Severe abdominal pain
- Dizziness and weakness
- Fast breathing
Some other less common symptoms-
- Urge to urinate more often
- Tenderness of breast
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Pain during Menstruation
- Unexplained Weight gain
- Pain during coitus
- Problems emptying bladder completely
- Ache in thighs and lower back
- Pelvic pain
How are Ovarian Cysts found- Tests include
- Ultrasound- It helps your doctor to get through your cyst’s shape, size, composition of mass and location.
- Pregnancy tests
- Hormone tests, to check if there are any hormone-related problems
- Blood tests
- Laparoscopy- In this surgery, a laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera) is inserted into the abdomen to view the pelvic organs closely. It can also be very helpful while treating cysts.
Ovarian Cyst Treatment– All you need to know!
Not all, but oral birth control pills may be prescribed to treat a few types of ovarian cysts. This will not remove the already grown cysts but will lower your chances of getting more cysts.
- If your cyst is large and showing symptoms, then your doctor may suggest surgery. The shape, size and type of your cyst, age, symptoms and your desire to have children decide the type of surgery to be carried out.
- Cyst may require surgery if you are past menopause or your cyst does not go away after several menstrual cycles, gets enlarged, looks unusual or causes pain.
Types of surgeries for ovarian cyst treatment–
Cystectomy– When only the cyst is removed.
Oophorectomy– When the entire ovary is removed.
Surgery can be carried out in two different ways-
- Laparoscopy- In this surgery, the doctor makes a very small cut above or below your belly button so as to remove the cyst. This is mostly recommended for smaller cysts which looks benign.
- Laparotomy- If the cyst is large and there are chances of the same being cancerous then there is a high probability for your doctor to opt for this method. This process requires a larger cut in the abdomen for the surgery to be carried out. The cyst is then tested for cancer. If it is likely to be cancerous, then it’s high time for you to visit gynecologic oncologist.
Ovarian Cyst Prevention
Taking medications which contains hormones such as birth control pills may stop ovulation process. However, many women who opt for low-dose contraceptives may still ovulate. Although there has been no such study that shows these contraceptive pills reduce the formation of the ovarian cysts but many physicians still do prescribe this regimen as Ovarian Cyst prevention.
Though ovarian cyst can’t be prevented, however, routine gynecologic examinations can detect them early. A benign ovarian cyst doesn’t lead to cancer. But in some cases, symptoms of ovarian cancer may imitate symptoms of ovarian cyst. Thus, it’s significant to alert your doctor with these symptoms.
1 Changes in your menstrual cycle
2 Ongoing pelvic pain
3 Loss of appetite
4 Unexplained weight loss
5 Abdominal fullness
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