Ovarian Cysts

What are Ovarian Cysts?

During your menstrual cycle, it is common for one or more small cysts to form on one or both ovaries. A cyst is a benign, fluid-filled sac or pouch that can vary in size. They are quite common in women during childbearing years and often go away on their own. While most cysts are benign, a few cysts may turn out to be malignant, or cancerous. For this reason, your doctor should check all cysts.

Some types of ovarian cysts include:

  • Functional Cysts: the most common type; usually produce no symptoms; disappear within six to eight weeks
  • Dermoid Cysts: often found on both ovaries; are generally small and produce no symptoms
  • Cystadenomas: usually benign, but can grow very large and cause pain
  • Endometrimas: a slow growing cyst that is often linked with endometriosis; it can be painful, especially during sex or menstruation

Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

Most ovarian cysts are small, do not cause symptoms, and go away on their own. However, some cysts may cause symptoms because of twisting, bleeding, or rupture. You may experience a dull or sharp ache in the abdomen and pain during sexual intercourse.

While ovarian cancer is very rare in young women, the risk does increase with age. Because ovarian cancer often has no symptoms in its early stages, you should be aware of its warning signs and see your doctor if you have any of these signs:

  • Enlargement or swelling of the abdomen
  • Nausea or heartburn that does not go away
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pelvic pain
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Urinary frequency

Diagnosis and Treatment of Ovarian Cysts

An ovarian cyst is often found during your annual pelvic exam. When your doctor detects an enlarged ovary, other tests may be ordered to determine the cause. These may include an ultrasound to see a picture of your pelvic organs, a laparoscopy to look directly at your pelvic organs, or blood tests to measure substances in your blood. Each of these tests can help confirm whether or not you have an ovarian cyst.

If your cyst is not causing any problems, your doctor will most likely monitor it for a few months since many cysts go away on their own. If your cyst is large or is causing symptoms, your doctor may suggest surgery. The extent and type of surgery recommended will depend on several factors:

  • The size and type of your cyst
  • Your symptoms
  • Your age
  • Your desire to have children

In some cases, removing a cyst cannot be done without removing your ovary. Your doctor will explain this possibility prior to surgery.

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The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.


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