Know Ovarian Cysts Symptoms, Treatment, Facts & Why should you Worry
Robust menstrual and reproductive health is an important aspect of a woman’s well-being. Like any other system in the body, the reproductive system must be nurtured with care.
But at times, despite your attention to it, your reproductive system is susceptible to certain conditions. For instance, developing ovarian cysts is common among women. They often go away on their own but sometimes they can escalate into conditions that cause pain and several other symptoms. Let’s understand what exactly are ovarian cysts.
What are ovarian cysts?
Every woman has two ovaries located on either side of the uterus. The role of the ovaries is to produce and develop eggs or ova, which are released during the monthly menstruation cycle.
Sometimes women develop ovarian cysts, meaning fluid-based pockets that grow on top of or inside the ovaries. An ovarian cyst in the uterus is also a possibility. Expectant mothers may also develop ovarian cysts during pregnancy.
Typically, these cysts are harmless and disappear on their own. However, those that get ruptured can cause serious damage to your health. Here is everything you need to know about ovarian cyst causes, symptoms, and ovarian cyst treatment to enjoy good health.
Types of ovarian cysts
Here is a demarcation of the various types of ovarian cysts:
During the menstrual cycle, the ovary releases an egg, which grows within a sac known as the follicle. On maturing of the egg, the follicle opens and releases the egg.
However, sometimes the follicle does not break open, which makes it grow into a cyst. Also known as functional ovarian cyst, this type usually vanishes within three months and has no adverse effects on the human body.
Corpus luteum cysts
When follicles break open and release the egg, the now-empty sacs shrink into a mass of cells known as the corpus luteum. These cells play an important role – they produce the hormones required to prepare for the next menstrual cycle.
However, sometimes after the egg is released, the sac does not shrink and instead re-seals itself. This causes fluid to build up inside the sac, leading to the formation of corpus luteum ovarian cysts. They tend to go away after a few weeks.
However, sometimes they grow up to four inches wide. The pressure built up may cause them to erupt and result in bleeding or twisting of the ovary, which can cause pain.
When an ovarian cyst breaks open and bleeds into the belly and lower abdomen, it is known as a hemorrhagic cyst.
This is a cystic lesion in the ovary caused by the onset of endometriosis. It is a painful disorder triggered when the inner lining of the uterus starts growing outside, resulting in a chocolate-coloured ovarian cyst. It may require medical treatment and, at times, surgery.
Ovarian cyst symptoms
Typically, ovarian cysts are tiny and do not manifest as symptoms. However, there are cases where the reality is different:
- Ovarian cyst symptoms include swelling and bloating.
- Pain may be experienced in the lower abdomen based on the location of the cyst. The severity and frequency of the pain may vary.
- You might also experience a spectrum of ovarian cyst symptoms such as pain during the menstrual cycle, vaginal bleeding, tenderness in the breasts, and a slight ache in the lower thighs and back.
- Having an ovarian cyst causes some women to gain weight and also experience pain during intercourse.
- Some women feel the urge to urinate more often.
Causes of ovarian cysts
Some of the common causes for developing ovarian cysts include hormonal problems, which can lead to the development of cysts that go away on their own.
Some women develop ovarian cysts during the early stages of pregnancy. It may have to be removed if it continues to remain after the placenta forms.
Infections in the ovaries and fallopian tubes can also lead to the formation of ovarian cysts.
Risk factors of ovarian cysts
In rare cases, ovarian cysts can turn cancerous; the risk increases with age. Post-menopausal women are thus at a higher risk of ovarian cancer.
Some early symptoms might include rapid breathing, feeling weak or dizzy, heavy bleeding, sudden bouts of abdominal pain, fever, and vomiting. However, these ovarian cyst symptoms can also indicate ruptures or hemorrhagic cysts.
Sometimes, women may develop several small ovarian cysts, resulting in a disorder known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
The growth of so many cysts may block the ovary from producing eggs, thus making it difficult for some women to get pregnant. It can also lead to irregular menstrual cycles and impact blood flow during the cycle.
Complications of ovarian cysts
If an ovarian cyst continues to grow and enlarges enough to shift the location of the ovaries, it can lead to twisting of the ovaries. This is also known as ovarian torsion.
Typically, you might experience ovarian cyst symptoms such as severe pain in the pelvic region. This may be accompanied by vomiting and a feeling of nausea.
Another complication is when a large ovarian cyst ruptures and leads to internal bleeding, which can cause immense pain and internal damage.
Diagnosis of and treatments for ovarian cysts
It is advisable to have ovarian cysts checked by a medical professional to avoid escalation into high-risk health conditions. This can include an obstetrician-gynecologist or OBGYN, gynecologist, or a specialist such as a fertility expert based on the issue faced.
Your consulting specialist may conduct a spectrum of tests to understand the severity of the problem. These can include a pregnancy test, a pelvic ultrasound, or a laparoscopy to get a closer look inside the ovary and a CA 125 blood test to check for signs of ovarian cancer.
Your doctor may observe your condition for some time and recommend medication based on the tests. In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the ovarian cyst, ovary, uterus, or any cancerous mass.
For fertility issues, your consulting fertility expert is the best professional to guide you on the available options.
It is estimated that 10 in every 100 women have benign ovarian cysts that do not have any adverse effects.
However, when ovarian cyst symptoms start manifesting as pain, discomfort, fever, and other side effects, it is advisable to seek a medical diagnosis at the earliest and get access to suitable ovarian cyst treatment. Timely interventions can help you live a healthy, full life.
To seek the best diagnosis and treatment for ovarian cyst symptoms, visit CK Birla Hospital, or book an appointment with Dr Deepika Aggarwal.
What does ovarian cyst pain feel like?
You might feel sharp spurts of pain, and the frequency might vary. However, if an ovarian cyst ruptures, it can lead to instant, intense pain.
What is the main cause of ovarian cysts?
Ovarian cyst causes can range from hormonal problems and infections in the pelvic region to extreme stress and experiencing certain conditions during pregnancy.
Is an ovarian cyst serious?
Typically, ovarian cysts do not present any risks and tend to go away on their own. However, in some cases, they can rupture, leading to bleeding. They can also turn cancerous. Ovarian cyst symptoms must be taken seriously, especially if there is pain and other indicators of infection. A cystic lesion in the ovary can also sometimes lead to intense pain and can trigger full-blown endometriosis.
What are the signs of a cyst on your ovary?
Ovarian cyst symptoms can include pain in the pelvic area, sudden weight gain, vaginal bleeding, a tendency to urinate more often, and difficulties in urinating.
Can stress cause ovarian cysts?
Long periods of stress can lead to hormonal imbalances that, in turn, can lead to the formation of ovarian cysts.