Finding Freedom from the stubborn plague of Ovarian Cysts

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From prevention, management to treatment, you can be free of suffering from ovarian cysts and its associated pain. Cysts are common and normal especially with women who are still on their normal cycles. Most of them are small and don’t cause problems, they are painless and harmless. But when a cyst becomes a problem (this happens especially when it grows bigger) it may pose a number of issues that need the doctor’s attention. But before we look into that and how you can find freedom from stubborn cysts, let us look at what they are.

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So, what are they really? Ovarian Cysts?

You are probably aware that an ovary is part of the female reproductive system, and for the symmetry of the system, are a pair, one on each side of the uterus in the lower abdomen. These pair of ovaries produce the ova (eggs) and hormones estrogen and progesterone which are crucial in reproduction.

Once in a while, small fluid-filled sac develops on one of the ovaries. At least one sac develops in a woman’s lifetime. This is what is called a cyst. An ovarian cyst because it develops on the ovary.

A normal cyst is harmless and painless and has no symptoms. There is a possibility for one to get one cyst every cycle and never know about it. Normal cysts do not need treatment for they go away on their own after a few weeks or months. They are also very common when one is pregnant.

A cyst occurs in the ovary (usually as a result of rupturing failure of the egg-containing sac). The fluid in the sac usually turns into a cyst and grows to a point where it disappears on its own. Other times, instead of disappearing it ruptures thus causing pelvic pain that may last up to a day and can grow to any size. When this happens you may or may not have symptoms

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Symptoms of ovarian cysts if they occur…

When they occur, Ovarian Cyst symptoms present themselves as pressure, sometimes bloating as well as swelling and pain in the lower abdomen. These are normal and mostly nothing to worry about. However, the advice of a doctor should be immediately sought after if the following occurs. Always consider them emergency situations;

  • Sudden, severe pelvic pain
  • Fever, pain, and vomiting
  • Dizziness, weakness, feeling faint
  • Fast breathing

When these occur, there is a high possibility that the cyst has twisted the ovary, which is a cause of alarm.

At the doctor’s office

At the suspicion of an ovarian cyst, a doctor will confirm by finding cysts during a female pelvic exam while asking questions about your pain and other pelvic symptoms. An ultrasound may be given but not necessarily. Ultrasounds take pictures by detecting vibrations and will show clear details of the cyst. Other possibilities that may rule out the ovarian cyst are; pregnancy, hormonal problems, the possibility of cancer especially if you are past menopause.

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How does this cyst present itself?

Various types of cysts exist like the endometrioma cysts and the dermoid cysts and most commonly the functional cysts. Functional cysts are the corpus luteum and follicle cysts. Follicle cysts occur as a result of the failure of the sac to break and release the egg in the ovary. Corpus luteum cysts on the other hand form as a result of stubborn sacs that do not dissolve. the opening of the follicle then seals and allows additional fluid inside that causes the corpus luteum cyst. Other cysts that could form are the cystadenomas.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

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When a large number of cysts develop in some women, it leads to what is known as The Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) a condition that causes the ovary to enlarge because a large number of small cysts and can cause infertility if left untreated.

Can ovarian cysts be prevented?

It is impossible to prevent ovarian cysts, though management and treatment regimes are available, which we will look at later. More important is doing routine gynecologic examinations. This will only ensure that ovarian cysts are detected early and benign cysts do not become carcinogenic and increase the risks of ovarian cancer.

The doctor is the first line of management and early detection. The following problems need to be reported immediately they appear;

  • changes in your menstrual cycle
  • ongoing pelvic pain
  • loss of appetite
  • unexplained weight loss
  • abdominal fullness

Ovarian cysts and Fertility

Some ovarian cysts are associated with decreased fertility while others are not. Endometriomas and cysts from polycystic ovarian syndrome may decrease a woman’s ability to get pregnant. However, functional cysts, dermoid cysts, and cystadenomas are not associated with difficulty in getting pregnant unless they are large. If your physician discovers an ovarian cyst while you are pregnant, the treatment may depend on the type or size of the cyst. Most cysts are benign and do not require surgical intervention. However, you may need surgery if the cyst is suspicious for cancer or if the cyst ruptures or twists (known as torsion), or is too large.


Alana Biggers, MD, MPH
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