Ovarian cysts are relatively common, so much so that many women who get this condition are unaware they have it and exhibit no symptoms. These cysts that produce no negative symptoms are often referred to as “functional cysts,” that are normal, harmless, and not related to a disease. Functional cysts usually go away on by themselves without treatment.
However, ovarian cysts can produce serious symptoms, especially when they have ruptured. Ruptured ovarian cysts can cause severe pain and swelling. The cause of ovarian cysts in unknown, but they tend to form when ovaries produce too much estrogen. The cysts are fluid-filled sacs inside the surface of the ovary, and cause the following symptoms:
- Abnormal menstrual bleeding (periods)
- Pelvic pain and a feeling of fullness in the belly
- Painful sex
- Painful periods
The ovaries are a part of the female anatomy, and each ovary is about the size and shape of an almond. The ovaries are located on either side of the uterus, and they release the female sex cell known as ova (eggs), which develop and mature in the ovaries and are released every month during the menstrual cycle during the childbearing years.
Ovarian cysts can be diagnosed by first ruling out pregnancy. Cysts sometimes form during pregnancy when a ruptured follicle that released the egg reseals and fills with a fluid. If it is determined that the woman is not pregnant, then you will undergo a pelvic exam to allow the gynecologist to examine the vagina, cervix and uterus. The doctor feels the reproductive organs for lumps and changes. Blood tests may also measure estrogen levels in the blood.
The cysts are treated first by simply observing the woman to see if the cyst will go away on its own without treatment, especially if you have no symptoms and the cyst is proven to be small in an ultrasound. Birth control pills may also be recommended to reduce the chance of new cysts developing, as birth control pills prevent ovulation. If these treatments do not work, a surgical procedure to remove the cyst through a tiny incision can be done. The incision is made at the site of the pubic hairline and only a small scar results.
Ovarian Cysts can be diagnosed and treated. The doctors at West Medical are happy to help, our patients are our top priority. If you would like to learn more about ovarian cysts, or to set up an appointment, please call our West Medical Obstetrics and Gynecology hotline at (855) 690-0565.
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