Ovarian Cysts Q & A
What are ovarian cysts?
Ovarian cysts are small pockets of fluid on or inside an ovary. This type of cyst often develops during childbearing years but may also appear after menopause. Most ovarian cysts go away on their own, but some persist and cause problems.
If an ovarian cyst ruptures, you can develop severe symptoms and require immediate treatment. By having annual exams and knowing the symptoms to watch out for, you can avoid serious problems with ovarian cysts.
What causes ovarian cysts?
The cause of ovarian cysts isn't always clear, and it can vary with cyst type.
The most common type of ovarian cysts, functional cysts, develop because of irregularities during your menstrual cycle. Functional cysts appear at different points during your menstrual cycle.
A follicular cyst occurs when an egg doesn't burst out of its follicle as usual but instead grows larger in place to form a cyst. The other type of functional cyst, a corpus luteum cyst, happens after the follicle releases the egg. If fluid collects within the empty follicle, it can become a cyst.
In most cases, functional cysts go away within a few menstrual cycles without incident.
Dermoid cysts contain various tissues like old skin cells or hair. They're usually noncancerous.
Cystadenomas grow on the outside of an ovary. They're sometimes very big but generally noncancerous.
Endometriomas may appear when you have endometriosis, a condition in which your uterine tissue grows on your ovaries or other areas outside your uterus.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is sometimes confused with ovarian cysts, but they're two different conditions. In PCOS, many cyst-like growths may appear on your ovaries. The growths are actually excessive ovarian follicles rather than true cysts.
What symptoms do ovarian cysts cause?
In most cases, ovarian cysts don't cause symptoms. You may learn that you have ovarian cysts during an annual exam or an unrelated imaging test.
But, in some situations, ovarian cysts may trigger symptoms like stabbing pain, dull ache, or sudden sharp pain on one side of your lower abdomen or pelvis.
What is the treatment for ovarian cysts?
Many cysts go away naturally. If you have an ovarian cyst that doesn't cause symptoms, Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology may recommend watchful waiting, which simply involves ultrasound monitoring to make sure the cyst doesn't grow or cause symptoms.
Oral contraceptives can minimize the risk of future cysts but won't shrink the existing cysts. For persistent symptomatic cysts, you may need minimally invasive surgery to remove the cyst or the entire ovary.
For ovarian cyst treatment from a compassionate team of professionals, call Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology, or request an appointment online.