Ovarian cysts are bags filled with fluid that form inside or on the ovary’s surface. Women have two ovaries on each side of the uterus, each approximately the size of an almond on each side of the uterus. In the years of reproduction, eggs (ova) which develop and mature in ovaries are discharged from the ovaries monthly.
Ovarian cysts affect a large number of women at some point in their lives. The majority of ovarian cysts cause little or no pain and are completely safe. The vast majority of cases resolve on their own in a few months without therapy.
Ovarian cysts, particularly those that have burst, may produce severe symptoms and complications. Get frequent pelvic examinations and get familiar with the signs that may indicate a potentially severe issue in order to safeguard your health.
The majority of ovarian cysts form as a consequence of your monthly menstrual period (functional cysts). Cysts of other kinds are considerably less frequent than functional cysts.
Follicles, which are cyst-like structures, develop on your ovaries every month. When you ovulate, the follicles secrete the chemicals estrogen and progesterone and release an egg into the uterus.
When a regular monthly follicle continues to develop, it is referred to as a functional cyst. Functional cysts are classified into two categories:
- Follicular cyst: About halfway through the menstrual cycle, one egg breaks out from its follicle and begins to move down the fallopian tube. In the case of a follicular cyst, the follicle does not burst and does not expel its egg, but instead continues to develop.
- Corpus luteum cyst: follicle starts generating estrogen and progesterone after releasing its egg in preparation for pregnancy. Fluid may build up within the follicle, causing the corpus luteum to swell and form a cyst.
Functional cysts are typically painless and go away on their own after 2-3 menstrual cycles.
Cysts that are not linked to your menstrual cycle’s regular function include:
- Cysts of the dermis. Because they develop from embryonic cells, these tumors, also known as teratomas, may include tissue such as hair, skin, or teeth. They are not usually malignant.
- Cystadenomas. These form on the ovary’s surface and are loaded with a watery or mucous substance.
- Endometriomas. A disease in which uterine endometrial cells expand outside the uterus (endometriosis) causes these. A few of the tissues may adhere to the ovary and develop into a tumor.
The following factors increase your chances of having an ovarian cyst:
- Hormonal imbalances: Taking fertility medication, which causes you to ovulate, is one of the reasons for hormonal imbalance leading to the formation of ovarian cysts.
- Pregnancy: The cyst that develops after you ovulate may sometimes remain on your ovary for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Endometriosis: Uterine endometrial cells develop outside the uterus in this disease. Some of the tissue may adhere to your ovary and develop into a tumor.
- Infection in the pelvis: Cysts may form if the infection extends to the ovaries.
- Previously existing cyst: You are more prone to develop more if you have already had one.
Ovarian cysts often do not produce any symptoms. However, as the cyst develops, symptoms may emerge. Among the signs and symptoms are:
- bloating or swelling in the abdomen
- bowel motions that hurt
- pelvic discomfort before or during menstruation
- discomfort in the lower back or thighs during the intercourse
- soreness in the breasts
- vomiting and nausea
The following are severe ovarian cyst symptoms that need urgent medical attention:
- fast breathing
- acute or intense pelvic pain
A burst cyst or an ovarian torsion may cause these symptoms. If not addressed promptly, these problems may have severe implications.
During a regular pelvic examination, your doctor may discover an ovarian cyst. If they detect swelling on one of your ovaries, they may conduct an ultrasound to confirm the cyst’s existence. Ultrasound (ultrasonography) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that utilizes sound waves to create a picture of your inside organs. Ultrasound examinations may be used to identify a cyst’s size, location, form, and composition.
The following imaging techniques are used to identify ovarian cysts:
- A CT scan is a kind of body imaging that creates cross-sectional pictures of inside organs.
- MRI is a procedure that utilizes magnetic fields to generate detailed pictures of interior organs.
- An ultrasound device is a kind of imaging equipment that is used to see the ovary.
Because most cysts go away within a few weeks, your doctor may not suggest treatment right away. Instead, they may do an ultrasound exam on you again in a few weeks to monitor your health.
If your condition does not improve or the cyst grows in size, your doctor will order further tests to rule out other possible reasons for your symptoms.
These include pregnancy tests, hormone level tests, and CA-125 blood tests.
If the cyst does not go away on its own or it gets bigger, your doctor may suggest therapy to reduce or remove it.
Your doctor may prescribe oral contraceptives to halt ovulation and prevent the formation of new cysts if you have ovarian cysts that are recurrent. Oral contraceptives may also lower your chances of developing ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is more common in postmenopausal women.
If the cyst is small and an imaging test shows it is not malignant, your doctor may do a laparoscopy to remove it. Your doctor will make a tiny incision around the navel and use a little instrument to remove the cyst.
Your doctor may medically remove a huge cyst by creating a major incision in your abdomen. If the cyst is cancerous, your ovaries will be removed.
When To See A Doctor
If you experience any of the following symptoms, get medical treatment right away:
- Abdominal or pelvic discomfort that comes on suddenly and severely
- Fever or vomiting with pain
Immediately seek medical attention if you have any of these signs and symptoms, as well as cold, clammy skin; fast breathing; and weakness.
The development of ovarian cysts is unavoidable. Ovarian cysts, on the other hand, may be detected early via regular gynecologic exams. It is critical that you see your doctor and get an accurate diagnosis.