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Causes and Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

Women’s ovaries serve two purposes; to produce eggs and the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These functions are very important to ovulation and fertility. A disruption in these functions may take the form of ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts are fluid filled sacks in the ovary. They can vary in size from less than one centimeter to greater than 10 centimeters. Ovarian cysts can occur both before and after menopause, but they are most common in young women who are of childbearing age.

Though in many cases ovarian cysts are benign, it is important that women remain aware and take the necessary measures to screen for and remove these obstructions.

There are two types of ovarian cysts: Pathological cysts and functional cysts.

  • Pathological cysts are cysts or cystic conditions which require treatment. These can either be benign or malignant, and the most common types of pathological cysts are chocolate cysts, dermoid cysts and cystadenomas.
  • Functional cysts are cysts which arise from resulting disorders that do not necessarily have to be healed with operations. Follicle cysts and Corpus luteum cysts are examples of these types of conditions.

What are the dangers of ovarian cysts?

This condition may appear harmless. In reality, however, severe cases can result in the cysts rupturing and damaging blood vessels, causing bleeding and eventually proving fatal, if left untreated. Before a cyst reaches this stage, however, it is very important that she visit her doctor and take the necessary recommended steps so as not to have to bear the severe abdominal cramps for any longer than necessary. Most importantly, any woman with ovarian cysts who wants to have children should have the cyst treated as early as possible. Don’t leave it untreated because ovarian cysts can have adverse impacts on fertility.

Although most ovarian cysts are not cancerous, they can still have an adverse effect on your health and endanger your well being. If you are diagnosed with an ovarian cyst, don’t panic because the condition is entirely treatable, with rare, or no, complications. Most importantly, if you notice an abnormality in your menstrual cycle, please consult an obstetrician to determine the cause and to commence early treatment, as necessary.

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Symptoms of an Ovarian Cyst

In many cases, cysts are small and, as a result, have no noticeable symptoms. However, if you are experiencing symptoms they are most likely:

  • Pressure
  • Bloating
  • Swelling
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Painful and heavy period
  • Absence of period
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal urination during a period
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain during urination

If pain is persistent, sharp and accompanied by nausea and vomiting consult a physician right away.

Causes of Ovarian Cysts

The following are the leading causes of ovarian cysts:

  • An imbalance in hormones. If not enough or too many hormones are being released, an ovarian cyst may occur.
  • Severe pelvic infections spreading to the fallopian tubes or ovaries, resulting in the development of a cyst.
  • Endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Should the endometriosis tissue attach itself to an ovary and growth may occur. This growth is called an endometrioma, and notable symptoms include pain during sexual intercourse and menstruation.
  • Pregnancy. Before the placenta forms, a cyst will develop to aid in the pregnancy. If the cyst remains past the formation of the placenta into a later stage of pregnancy, it may need to be removed.
  • A malfunctioning of the ovaries or ovarian tumors.

Risk Factors

The following are the risk factors for developing ovarian cysts or associated conditions:

  • Infertility
  • Abnormal period or painful period
  • A history of developing ovarian cysts
  • Endometriosis (condition described above)
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (POS, a condition when the hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance)

Diagnosis and Treatment

If an ovarian cyst is caused by a malfunctioning of the ovaries, it will disappear without treatment, although the associated pain may last for two to three months. To help alleviate the pain and discomfort, a doctor may prescribe pain and/or hormone medications. There are two types of ovarian cysts that may develop into tumors: ovarian tumors and chocolate cysts. Although there is a very small likelihood that either of these types of cysts could grow into cancer, there is still a chance. For this reason, the doctor may recommend surgical treatment.

There are various ways in which the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cysts can be carried out, but Laparoscopic Ovarian Cystectomy remains the most effective. At Samitivej, our surgeons can perform Minimally Invasive Surgery through small incision sites, less than 1 cm long, using 3D-4K technology. The extra resolution of 4K medical monitors (four times the resolution of full HD) and 3D imaging, results in a clearer view of finer detail, giving greater depth perception and providing a more precise visualization during this complex surgical procedure.

This technology maximizes overall effectiveness, to locate and remove all cysts, while ensuring patients’ safety.

“Very Small Incision, Minimal Postoperative Pain and only 2-3 Days in Hospital”

Learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cysts here.

Do you have a question about ovarian cysts?

Please complete the form below and we'll get back to you within 48 hours with a response

References

  1. Ovarian Cysts. Available from https://www.acog.org/-/media/For-Patients/faq075.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20160715T0457458092. Accessed on July 20, 2016.
  2. Ovarian Cysts. Available from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/gynecology_obstetrics/specialty_areas/gynecological_services/conditions/ovarian_cysts.html. Accessed on July 20, 2016.
  3. Can ovarian cysts become cancerous?. Available from http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/cancer-questions/can-ovarian-cysts-become-cancerous. Accessed on July 20, 2016
  4. Ovarian Cysts: Beyond the basics. Available from http://www.uptodate.com/contents/ovarian-cysts-beyond-the-basics. Accessed on July 20, 2016
  5. Ovarian Cysts. Available from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/OVARIAN_CYSTS.pdf. Accessed on July 20, 2016
  6. Ovarian Cysts. Available from http://www.uwmedicine.org/health-library/Pages/ovarian-cysts.aspx. Accessed on July 20, 2016
  7. Dermoid Cyst Symptoms. Available from http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/sdermoid-cyst#1 Accessed on August 18, 2016

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