Ovarian Cysts: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments and Prevention

Overview

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs or pockets in an ovary or on its surface. They are common, especially with woman who still get their period. Most ovarian cysts are harmless and present little or no discomfort. The majority disappears without treatment within a few months. However, broken ovarian cysts can cause serious symptoms such as twisting of the ovary and severe pain. Sometimes it may cause vomit or faint.

According to some studies, about 8% of women before menopause can develop large cysts which can cause problems; about 16% of women after menopause develop ovarian cysts which are more likely to be a cancer.

Types & Causes

Ovarian cysts contain various types to which causes are different.

Follicle cyst
During a woman’s menstrual cycle, an egg grows in a sac called a follicle where is located inside the ovaries. In most cases, this follicle or sac ruptures and releases an egg. If the follicle doesn’t rupture, the fluid inside the follicle will form a cyst on the ovary.

Corpus luteum cysts
Follicle sacs usually dissolve after releasing an egg. If the sac doesn’t dissolve and the opening of the follicle seals, additional fluid can develop inside the sac, and this accumulation of fluid will cause a corpus luteum cyst.

Dermoid cysts
Dermoid cysts, also called teratomas, refers to the sac-like growth on the ovaries that can contain hair, fat, and other tissue because they form from embryonic cells. They’re rarely cancerous.

Cystadenomas
Cystadenomas is the noncancerous growth that can develop on the outer surface of the ovaries

Endometriomas
Tissues that usually grow inside the uterus can also develop outside the uterus and attach to the ovaries, resulting in a cyst

Nonfunctional cysts
In some women, their ovaries contain a lot of small cysts. This condition is called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It can cause the ovaries to enlarge. If not treat in time, this condition can cause hard to get pregnant and even infertility.

Follicle cyst and corpus luteum cysts are usually harmless, rarely cause pain, and often disappear on their own within two or three menstrual cycles.

Dermoid cysts, cystadenomas, endometriomas are not related to the normal function of menstrual cycles. However, they may become large and cause the ovary to move out of position. This increases the chance of painful twisting of the ovary, called ovarian torsion. Ovarian torsion may cause the decrease and stop of blood that flows to the ovary.

Symptoms

Most cysts are small and don’t cause any symptoms. Generally, they can go away on their own. While the symptoms can appear as cysts grows, including:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling.
    ainful bowel movements.
  • Pelvic pain before or during the menstrual cycle (usually a dull or sharp ache in the lower abdomen on the side of the cyst).
  • Painful intercourse.
  • Pain in the lower back or thighs.
  • Breast tenderness.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Sometimes cysts can cause severe symptoms. You need go to see a doctor immediately if you have following symptoms:

  • Sudden, severe belly pain or pelvic pain.
  • Pain with fever and throwing up.
  • Dizziness, weakness, feeling faint.
  • Fast breathing.

The above severe symptoms may indicate a ruptured cyst or an ovarian torsion. Both conditions can lead to serious consequences if not treat in time.

Diagnosis

Doctors can detect an ovarian cyst during a routine pelvic examination. Depending on its conditions such as size, location and composition (solid or fluid filled), doctors may need some tests to confirm the presence of a cysts. These tests may include:

  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Pregnancy test
    A positive test may indicate the presence of a corpus luteum cyst.
  • Pelvic ultrasound
    This can create an image of the uterus and ovaries on a video screen.
  • Laparoscopy
    This is a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia. Doctors can see the ovaries and remove the ovarian cyst by this method.
  • CA 125 blood test
    According to the data, blood levels of a protein called cancer antigen 125 (CA 125) often are elevated in women with ovarian cancer. Elevated CA 125 levels can also occur in noncancerous conditions, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Treatments

Most cysts can disappear on their own and need no treatment. Sometimes, doctors will give different treatment methods depending on the patient’s symptoms and health conditions.

Birth control pills
Birth control pills can stop ovulation and prevent the development of new cysts. It can also decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. This method usually be used when the patient have recurrent ovarian cysts.

Laparoscopy
This surgery is for smaller cysts. Doctors will make a tiny cut above or below the belly button. You can go home immediately after the surgery.

Laparotomy
This method usually be used when the cyst is large. Doctors will conduct a biopsy to confirm whether the cyst is cancerous. If it is cancerous, the patient may need a hysterectomy to remove the ovaries and uterus. Sometimes chemotherapy or radiation is needed.

Prevention

Ovarian cysts cannot be prevented. But routine gynecologic examinations can detect ovarian cysts early. Generally, benign ovarian cysts don’t become cancerous. While sometimes the symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar to those of ovarian cysts. Thus, it is important to go to see a doctor and have routine gynecologic examinations regularly.

Please go to see a doctor if you have any symptoms.

Home remedy

Home remedies can be helpful in reducing symtpoms, common ones include:

Heat

Put the heat pad on the lower pelvic area to relieve the pain. Do this for at least 15 minutes each time. Do not sleep with a heat pad on so as to avoid scald.

Castor oil

It’s an age-old remedy for ovarian cyst. It’s said that castor oil clears the body of excess tissues and toxins, and stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory systems.

Drizzle about two tablespoons of castor oil on a large folded flannel cloth, put the cloth on the abdomen, put a heat pad on the cloth, then cover up with a thick blanket. Leave them for 30 minutes.

Epsom salt bath

Epsom salt is rich of magnesium sulfate, it works as a muscle relaxant that in turn eases pain.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile has a gentle sedative effect, which reduces pain and helps you to relax.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed helps balance the proportion of estrogen to progesterone in your body.

Almond

Almond is a magnesium-rich food that helps reduce painful cramps associated with ovarian cysts.

Keywords: ovarian cysts; ovary; ovarian cacer.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.