Medical Services – Medical Diseases & Conditions

Ovarian Cysts

Do you suffer from ovarian cysts and want effective treatment options? Yanhee’s specialists can provide advanced care to help you find relief and improve your quality of life.

Overview

What is an Ovarian Cyst?

An ovarian cyst is any collection of fluid enclosed by an extremely thin membrane (wall), within an ovary. Ovarian cysts vary in size from as small as a pea to bigger than an orange.

Nearly all ovarian cysts are small and will not produce any symptoms.

Sometimes a large cyst ruptures or blocks an artery supplying blood to the ovary which can trigger an abrupt, severe pain.

If the cyst is large enough to cause twisting of the ovary, you will have pain with nausea and vomiting.

Other less frequent symptoms include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Pain during your period
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Breast tenderness
  • A dull ache in the lower back and thigh

The Ovaries

The ovaries are two small organs found on both sides of the uterus in a woman’s body. The ovaries produce hormones, like estrogen, which regulate menstruation. Each month, the ovaries generate an egg. The egg finds its way down the fallopian tube to be potentially fertilized by a sperm. This cycle of egg release is called ovulation. See the figure below.

Ovaries Illustration

Types of Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts can vary in type and cause. The most common type is a functional cyst, which forms during the menstrual cycle. This can happen when the follicle (sac) that normally releases an egg does not dissolve after releasing the egg or when the egg is not released at all.

Other types of ovarian cysts include:

Polycystic ovaries: In this condition, the sacs in which the eggs mature fail to open and instead form multiple cysts on the ovaries. This is often seen in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Endometriomas: These cysts develop when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in the ovaries, causing pain and potentially affecting fertility.

Cystadenomas: These cysts form on the surface of the ovary and are typically filled with fluid.

Dermoid cysts: These cysts contain tissues such as hair, skin, or teeth, which are similar to tissues found elsewhere in the body.

When Should You Seek Medical Attention?

Certain symptoms related to ovarian cysts should prompt immediate medical attention, as they may indicate a medical emergency:

  • Sudden, severe abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain accompanied by fever and vomiting
  • Faintness, dizziness, or weakness
  • Rapid breathing

These symptoms could suggest a ruptured cyst. In rare cases, a large, ruptured cyst may lead to heavy bleeding. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical help promptly.

Medical Exams

If you are experiencing symptoms of ovarian cysts, consult your doctor. Your doctor will do a pelvic exam to feel for any swelling on your ovary. If a cyst is located, your doctor will either watch and wait or obtain more tests to facilitate treatment plans.

Additional tests may include:

  • Ultrasound to locate the cyst and determine shape, size, and consistency.
  • Pregnancy test to exclude pregnancy
  • Hormone level test
  • A blood test to rule out cancer

Is Surgery Necessary for Ovarian Cyst?

Surgery may be recommended for your cyst if you are postmenopausal or if your cyst:

  • Persists after several menstrual cycles
  • Increases in size
  • Shows abnormal characteristics on ultrasound
  • Causes pain

Surgical options may include cystectomy (removal of the cyst while leaving the ovary intact) or oophorectomy (removal of the affected ovary). Your healthcare provider will consider various factors, including your age, symptoms, and the characteristics of the cyst, to determine the most appropriate course of action. It’s important to discuss all treatment options with your healthcare provider to make an informed decision.

If surgery is not necessary for your cyst, your doctor will:

  • Discuss pain management options with you.
  • Consider hormonal birth control if you experience cysts frequently. These pills can reduce the likelihood of developing more cysts.

Types of Surgeries

If surgery is necessary, your doctor may either remove only the cyst or the entire ovary. There are two main surgical approaches:

  1. Laparoscopy: This procedure is typically recommended for small cysts that appear benign on ultrasound. Your doctor will make a small incision above or below your navel and use specialized instruments to view and remove the cyst from your pelvic area.
  2. Laparotomy: If the cyst is large or suspected to be cancerous, your doctor may perform this procedure. It involves making a larger incision in the abdomen to remove the cyst and test it for cancer.

Treatment

Treatment for ovarian cysts depends on several factors, including the type of cyst, its size, and whether or not it’s causing symptoms. Here are some common treatment options:

  1. Watchful Waiting: If the cyst is small and not causing symptoms, your doctor may recommend monitoring it with regular ultrasounds to see if it goes away on its own.

  2. Medication: Birth control pills can help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce the formation of new cysts. Pain relievers may also be prescribed to alleviate discomfort.

  3. Surgery: If the cyst is large, causing symptoms, or appears suspicious, surgery may be necessary. The type of surgery will depend on the nature of the cyst and may involve removing just the cyst (cystectomy) or the entire ovary (oophorectomy).

  4. Hormonal Treatment: In some cases, hormonal medications other than birth control pills may be prescribed to help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce the formation of cysts.

  5. Lifestyle Changes: Maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise may help prevent ovarian cysts, especially for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

It’s important to discuss your options with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment for your specific situation.

If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please email or contact us now.

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