Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs, often times found on the ovaries, that can cause several symptoms such as pelvic pain, bloating, and irregular periods. They can be caused by hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, or pregnancy, and are often non-cancerous. Most ovarian cysts are typically harmless and disappear on their own without requiring any treatment. However, some larger or more complex cysts may cause discomfort and may require medical intervention. In this blog post, we will explore the different options for treating ovarian cysts.
Observation and Monitoring
If the cyst is small and does not appear to be causing any discomfort, the doctor may opt to monitor it and simply wait for the cyst to go away on its own. This is typically done by scheduling regular ultrasounds, which can show if the cyst is growing or shrinking. The patient is also encouraged to keep an eye on any symptoms or discomfort that may arise and report them to the doctor immediately. This approach is typically recommended for women who are in their reproductive years, as ovarian cysts are common during this time.
If the cyst is causing discomfort, the doctor may recommend pain management techniques, such as over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These medications can help to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with ovarian cysts. However, it is important to avoid taking too many of these medications as they can cause liver damage with overuse.
Hormonal Birth Control
Hormonal birth control is another commonly used method for treating ovarian cysts. Birth control works by regulating the hormones in the body, which can help to prevent future cysts from forming. If a woman is already experiencing cysts, the hormonal birth control can help to shrink or eliminate them. This method is typically used for women who are in their reproductive years and are not trying to conceive.
If the cyst is large and causing significant discomfort, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove it. There are two main types of surgery that can be performed to remove ovarian cysts: laparoscopy and laparotomy.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery where the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a small camera to view the cyst. The cyst is then removed through another small incision. This type of surgery is typically performed on smaller cysts that are not causing significant pain or discomfort.
Laparotomy is a more invasive surgery where the doctor makes a larger incision in the abdomen to remove the cyst. This type of surgery is typically used for larger cysts or those that appear to be cancerous.
After any treatment for ovarian cysts, it is important to follow up with regular appointments with the doctor. This allows the doctor to monitor the healing process and ensure that the cysts are not reforming. During these appointments, the doctor may perform regular ultrasounds and pelvic exams to check for any signs of recurring cysts. The patient will also be advised to report any new symptoms or discomfort that they experience.
While it is not always possible to prevent ovarian cysts from forming, there are some measures women can take to reduce their risk of developing cysts. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help to regulate hormones and reduce the risk of developing cysts. Women who smoke are also at a higher risk of developing cysts, so quitting smoking can help to reduce this risk.
When To See A Healthcare Practitioner
Ovarian cysts can occur naturally and disappear on their own without any treatment, but they can also become painful or cause issues. Depending on the size and symptoms, a doctor may opt for different treatments such as observation, pain management, hormonal birth control, or surgery. Regardless of treatment options, it is important to follow up with regular visits with a healthcare practitioner to ensure that the cysts are not reforming. Finally, leading a healthy lifestyle, quitting smoking, and staying in tune with one’s body can help to reduce the likelihood of developing ovarian cysts.