Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on or inside the ovaries, which are the two small organs located on either side of the uterus in a woman's reproductive system. Ovarian cysts are quite common and can occur at any age, but they are more likely to develop during a woman's childbearing years. In majority of the cases, ovarian cysts are not harmful and go away on their own without any medical treatment. But in some cases, ovarian cysts can cause complications and may be a dire medical emergency and need proper medical attention.
Types of Ovarian Cysts
There are numerous types of ovarian cysts, and they are classified into their own groups based on causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
Frequently, we see functional cysts, which are formed during a woman's menstrual cycle. This is the most common form of ovarian cysts. There are two types of functional cysts: follicular cysts and corpus luteum cysts. Follicular cysts develop when the follicle (the sac that contains an egg) does not release the egg during ovulation and instead continues to grow. Corpus luteum cysts develop when the corpus luteum (the structure that forms after the follicle releases an egg) does not break down as it should and instead continues to fill with fluid.
Endometriomas are cysts that are caused by endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows on the outside of the uterus.
Cystadenomas are cysts that form from cells on the external surface of the ovary. They are usually filled with watery fluid and can grow quite large.
Dermoid cysts are rare cysts that develop from the same cells that produce eggs. They can contain tissue such as hair, teeth, and other types of tissue that are found in other parts of the body.
Symptoms Of Ovarian Cysts
Usually, ovarian cysts do not cause any symptoms and are only found during routine pelvic exams or imaging tests. However, when symptoms do occur, they can include:
- Pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Bloating or swelling of the abdomen
- Pain during intercourse
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Nausea or vomiting
Complications Of Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts typically do not cause any complications and go away on their own. However, in some cases, complications can occur, including:
If an ovarian cyst ruptures/bursts, it can cause intense and sudden pain and internal bleeding. Seek medical attention immediately as this is an emergency.
If a cyst grows too big, it can cause the ovary to twist (turn around), cutting off its blood supply. This causes severe pain and requires immediate medical attention as the ovary may start dying due to a lack of blood supply.
While most ovarian cysts are benign (non-cancerous), some can be cancerous. Women who are at high risk for ovarian cancer, such as those with a family history of the disease, may need regular screening to monitor for cysts.
Diagnosis Of Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts are usually diagnosed during a routine pelvic exam or imaging test, such as an ultrasound or CT scan. If a cyst is detected, the doctor may recommend further testing, such as a blood test to measure hormone levels or a biopsy to determine if the cyst is cancer.
If you are concerned about an ovarian cyst or require further guidance, feel free to contact us at GlobMed where we can match you with some of the best specialist doctors around the globe. Get in touch with our team today.