What You Need To Know About Ovarian Cysts

We never give importance to our body parts unless we realise their functions. Ovaries are a great example of such ignorance. We do not bother to pay attention to our ovaries unless it is a matter of pregnancy. Studies reveal that when a woman menstruates for the first time there are many chances that the ovaries can develop cysts.

What Is Ovarian Cyst?

The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. They’re located in the lower abdomen on both sides of the uterus. Women have two ovaries that produce eggs, as well as the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Sometimes, a fluid-filled sac called a cyst will develop on one of the ovaries. Many women will develop at least one cyst during their lifetime. In most cases, cysts are painless and cause no symptoms.

Types Of Cysts

There are various types of ovarian cysts, such as dermoid cysts and endometrioma cysts. However, functional cysts are the most common type. The two types of functional cysts include follicle and corpus luteum cysts.

Follicle Cyst

During a woman’s menstrual cycle, an egg grows in a sac called a follicle. This sac is located inside the ovaries. In most cases, this follicle or sac breaks open and releases an egg. But if the follicle doesn’t break open, the fluid inside the follicle can form a cyst on the ovary.

Corpus Luteum Cysts

Follicle sacs typically dissolve after releasing an egg. But if the sac doesn’t dissolve and the opening of the follicle seals, additional fluid can develop inside the sac and this accumulation of fluid causes a corpus luteum cyst.

Other types of ovarian cysts include:

  • dermoid cysts: sac-like growths on the ovaries that can contain hair, fat, and other tissue
  • cystadenomas: non-cancerous growths that can develop on the outer surface of the ovaries
  • endometriomas: tissues that normally grow inside the uterus can develop outside the uterus and attach to the ovaries, resulting in a cyst

Some women develop a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome. This condition means the ovaries contain a large number of small cysts. It can cause the ovaries to enlarge, and if left untreated, polycystic ovaries can cause infertility.

Causes Of Ovarian Cyst

There are various causes of ovarian cyst. It can be caused due to hormonal imbalance, endometriosis, pregnancy and severe pelvic infections.

Signs And Symptoms

All cysts do not have painful symptoms. In severe cyst formation symptoms like bloating, swelling or pain in the lower abdomen followed by severe pain, nausea and vomiting occur. The most common symptoms include pelvic pain, dull ache in the lower back and thighs, problems while passing stools and pain during sex.

Can Ovarian Cysts Lead To Cancer

Yes, certain ovarian cysts can lead to cancer. Women who are going through menopause stage are more prone to ovarian cancer. Studies reveal that scanning for ovarian cysts is not completely accurate as it leads to “false positives” which means that the test results say that a woman has ovarian cancer when she does not.

Can Ovarian Cysts Be Prevented

Studies reveal that you cannot prevent functional ovarian cysts if you are ovulating. If there are multiple cysts produced then doctors prescribe medicines to stop the cysts growth.

What’s the Long-Term Outlook?

The outlook for premenopausal women with ovarian cysts is good. Most cysts disappear within a few months. However, recurrent ovarian cysts can occur in premenopausal women and women with hormone imbalances.

If left untreated, some cysts can decrease fertility. This is common with endometriomas and polycystic ovary syndrome. To improve fertility, your doctor can remove or shrink the cyst. Functional cysts, cystadenomas, and dermoid cysts do not affect fertility.

Although some doctors take a “wait and see” approach with ovarian cysts, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove and examine any cyst or growth that develops on the ovaries after menopause. This is because the risk of developing a cancerous cyst or ovarian cancer increases after menopause. However, ovarian cysts don’t increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Some doctors will remove a cyst if it’s larger than 5 centimeters in diameter.

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