By Brooke Strickland
If you’ve heard of ovarian cysts or been diagnosed with them, it can be a somewhat frightening diagnoses. However, knowing the basics about ovarian cysts will help you better understand them and know how to what to expect.
What are ovarian cysts?
Ovarian cysts are small sacs that are filled with fluid that develop in a woman’s ovaries. The cysts are usually harmless, but can cause problems or pain. Many times, surgery may be needed to remove the cyst(s). Women of all ages can experience ovarian cysts and but most of the time, they’re seen during a woman’s childbearing years.
What are the causes?
There are several possible risk factors for women to develop ovarian cysts, which include:
of previous ovarian cysts
-Increased upper body fat distribution
How do I know if I have one?
If you have an ovarian cyst, it will likely not be found on a regular exam, but instead via ultrasound. You will likely have symptoms indicating a cyst, however, which may include:
abdominal pain or pelvic pain, which can include sharp, sudden and very severe
-Irregular menstrual cycles
-Long-term pelvic pain during the menstrual cycle
-Pain or pressure with urination or bowel movements
-Pelvic pain after exercise or intercourse
-Nausea and vomiting
If you’re experiencing abnormally heavy or irregular menstruation, weakness, dizziness, fever, or other abnormal pain, swelling, or tenderness in the abdomen or pelvis, contact your doctor. He or she can perform tests to determine if you have a cyst and what type it is. An endovaginal ultrasound may be performed to get an image through the abdominal wall. This type of ultrasound provides better results, as the probe is able to get close to the ovaries for an accurate image. The ultrasound will show if the cyst is simply filled with fluid or mixed with solid material, or if it’s completely solid. CT scanning or MRI scanning may also be used.
What is the treatment?
Many ovarian cysts occur and will resolve themselves in a matter of months. However, other treatments may be needed. Birth control pills may be prescribed, as it helps normalize the menstrual cycle and can help prevent the formation of follicles on the ovary that turn into cysts. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers may also be prescribed to help minimize pelvic pain, and in severe cases, narcotic pain meds may be needed due to extreme pain. For some people, surgery may be needed, which will likely include a laparoscopic procedure. A laparoscopy procedure means the doctor will make small incisions in the abdominal area in which a laparoscope can pass through. The surgeon will locate the cyst through the scope and can remove it.