What are ovarian cysts?
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that grow on your ovaries. In most cases, you may not ever know you have an ovarian cyst. When cysts are small, they don’t cause symptoms and often resolve on their own. In most cases, ovarian cysts are non-cancerous.
Ovarian cysts cause symptoms including:
- Pelvic pain
- A full or heavy feeling in your abdomen
There are several types of ovarian cysts.
Functional cysts are the most common form of ovarian cyst. They develop every month as your body prepares to release an egg when you ovulate. These cysts are supposed to be reabsorbed into your ovary after the egg is released. However, in some cases, the cyst continues to grow.
Endometriomas develop when you have endometriosis and endometrial tissue grows on your ovaries.
Dermoid cysts develop from embryonic cells and can include other tissue like hair or skin.
Cystadenomas develop on the surface of your ovary and are filled with a watery mucous substance.
What causes ovarian cysts?
Ovarian cysts are often due to hormonal imbalances. They may also develop during pregnancy or if you’ve had a severe pelvic infection that’s reached your ovaries. If you have endometriosis or have a history of ovarian cysts, your risk of developing additional cysts increases.
How are ovarian cysts diagnosed?
Your doctor at Pure OBGYN diagnoses ovarian cysts with a physical exam and a pelvic ultrasound. They may also order blood work to test for specific proteins that indicate ovarian cysts and other conditions. In some cases, your doctor may perform a laparoscopy — a minimally invasive procedure — to examine your ovaries closely and remove a cyst if necessary.
How are ovarian cysts treated?
Depending on your condition, your doctor typically begins treatment conservatively. For example, you may have several appointments to monitor your cyst as they often go away on their own. Your doctor may also prescribe medication like hormonal birth control to regulate your hormones and prevent cysts. In rare circumstances, your doctor may advise you have surgery to remove large cysts that are causing significant pain and putting your health and fertility at risk.
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