Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop within the ovary. It is among the most common gynaecological disorders which generally occur in women of reproductive age. Some of the factors that cause ovarian cysts are hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, and pregnancy. The factors also include abnormal cell proliferation and pelvic infections causing cysts on the ovaries. Some ovarian cysts may develop after menopause and usually go away on their own. Some types of ovarian cysts can increase the risk of ovarian cancer, but this is very rare. Let’s understand more about its causes, symptoms and all possible treatment options.
What are Ovarian Cysts?
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops in or on one of the ovaries (every woman has two ovaries–one on each side of the uterus). Most cysts only last a few months and do not cause any problems. Functional cysts are small sacs that form around an egg that is released each month during the menstrual cycle. These cysts grow to the size of approximately 0.955 inches, and usually go away without treatment within six to eight weeks. They may form when an egg does not mature, or when a follicle becomes trapped. Ovarian cysts are most common in women between the ages of 30 and 50, but they can occur at any age.
Causes of Ovarian Cysts
There are several different causes of ovarian cysts, such as
- Age – Ovarian cysts are more common as women approach menopause.
- Family history – If one or both parents have a history of cysts (the father having cysts in his testes or epididymis), there is a high probability that the child will also develop such cysts.
- Hormone levels – Ovarian cysts can be caused by high levels of oestrogen or progesterone, both of which can be affected by contraception methods and other factors.
- Weight – Being overweight or obese can cause increased pressure on the ovaries, which in turn can lead to ovarian cysts.
- Smoking – Smoking can increase the risk of ovarian cancer, and can also cause damage to the ovaries that can lead to Cysts.
- Pregnancy – Having a child can lead to an increase in the number of ovarian cysts.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts
Symptoms of ovarian cysts vary from woman to woman but may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Pelvic pressure
Diagnosis of Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian Cysts can be diagnosed through physical examination and various testing techniques such as:
- Pelvic Examination: A healthcare provider may be able to feel the cyst and determine its size and location through pelvic examination.
- Ultrasound: Imaging tests such as ultrasound can help to determine the size and type of cyst and monitor surrounding tissues.
- Blood tests: Usually hormone blood tests are suggested by experts to evaluate the levels of certain hormones such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) which causes ovarian cysts.
- MRI: An MRI scan can detect the presence of ovarian cysts more accurately than other tests such as hormone blood tests or ultrasounds. It is also more sensitive and can provide accurate information about the size and location of the cyst.
- Laparoscopy: Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure in which a small incision is made in the abdomen and a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end (a laparoscope) is inserted to view the ovaries and other organs. This may be done to confirm the diagnosis of a cyst and to remove it if necessary.
Treatment Options for Ovarian Cysts
There are many different treatment options available for ovarian cysts. Some common treatments include:
- Medications for Ovarian Cysts – Hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills, can stop ovulation and decrease the risk of developing new ovarian cysts in some cases. However, birth control pills will not shrink existing cysts.
- Laparoscopy – If ovarian cysts are small in size, they will be removed using a minimally invasive procedure called laparoscopy. This involves making a small incision to insert a laparoscope, which is a thin, lighted telescope that allows gynaecologists to view the cyst with greater detail and remove it with less damage to the organs.
- Laparotomy – If the patient has a large ovarian cyst that looks suspicious, the doctor may perform a laparotomy, an open surgery that requires a larger incision. This opens up the abdomen so that the surgeon has better access to the cyst present in the ovary and can remove it carefully.
Generally, most ovarian cysts are benign and do not require surgical intervention. However, if a cyst is causing significant symptoms or is suspected to be cancerous, further testing and treatment may be necessary.
Risk Factors for Ovarian Cysts
Several factors increase the risk of ovarian cysts, including:
- Hormonal imbalance
The various complications include:
- Cyst rupture – Sometimes cysts that form on the ovary can burst, causing pain and bleeding in the pelvic region.
- Ovarian torsion – If the ovarian cysts are not treated in time, they become large and twist to form an ovarian torsion. Ovarian torsion is a condition where the ovaries are twisted and compressed. This can cause extreme pain in the abdomen and pelvic area.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Gynecology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Ovarian cysts are common in women of all ages and can be highly discomforting. Fortunately,
Most ovarian cysts resolve on their own without treatment. In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend monitoring the cyst with regular ultrasounds just to ensure that it is not growing or causing abnormalities.
Get in touch with experts at Narayana Health where health and care goes hand in hand.
FAQs About Ovarian Cysts
Q. What are ovarian cysts?
A. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop in the ovary. Generally, they are not cancerous but can cause discomfort and pain.
Q. What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?
A. Some common symptoms of ovarian cysts includes:
- Abdominal pain
- Pelvic pressure
Q, How are ovarian cysts diagnosed?
A. If a woman is experiencing any of the above symptoms, her doctor is likely to perform a pelvic exam to determine if she has ovarian cysts. If the cysts are found, the doctor can suggest an ultrasound to determine its size and location. If the cysts are large or located near other organs in the body, surgery may be necessary for removal.
Q. What are the treatment options for ovarian cysts?
A. Treatment for ovarian cysts typically involves one or more of the following:
- Surgery, or both.
Q. Can ovarian cysts lead to cancer?
A. Ovarian cysts are benign growths that can form either on the ovary or the fallopian tube. Sometimes they develop into ovarian cancer, especially in menopausal women. While there is no evidence that ovarian cysts lead to cancer, it is still advisable to take advice from a gynaecologist.
Q . What are the long-term effects of ovarian cysts?
A. Long-term effects of ovarian cysts can include pain or discomfort, loss of libido, irregular periods and complications such as infection.
Approved and Reviewed by Dr. Sapna Raina