Ovarian cysts are sacks in or around your ovaries. Check out the types, signs, causes and treatment from an expert. Read on.
Do you know what is a cyst? It is basically a fluid or air filled sac structure of membranous tissue. These bumpy structures can grow in any part of your body or even under your skin. There are different types of cysts, including both cancerous and noncancerous, but mostly they are noncancerous. You need to get checked by the doctor to know if any treatment is required or not. This depends on various factors like the type and location of the cyst and other symptoms such as pain and infection. Basically, women have two ovaries in each side of the uterus that produce eggs and two hormones called estrogen and progesterone, and the cysts start developing in or around them.
Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with different fluids or air in an ovary or can grow on its surface as well. Ovarian cyst is the most common type of cyst and many women have ovarian cysts at some point of time, and many are even painless and harmless. In fact, many cysts go away without any treatment within a few months or so. However, ruptured ovarian cysts can cause severe symptoms at times. To keep an update and know about any serious issues, you should get regular pelvic exams or tests. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Anjana Singh, Director and Head, Obstetrics And Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Noida, about the types, causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention, complications and risk factors of ovarian cyst.
Ovarian cyst types
There are many types of ovarian cysts, such as dermoid cysts and endometrioma cysts. According to Dr. Anjana, generally, cysts are of two major types and they can be benign or malignant. So, here are the main two types of ovarian cysts:
1. Benign cysts
Benign cysts are the cysts which do not have any malignant potential and are called simple cysts. They can be cystic or solid in nature. If they are cystic, then it is a very harmless cyst like follicle cyst, which can form in every cycle or could be a simple ovarian cyst which can be cystic. If it is a little solid, then generally it is because of blood that gets clotted and it can lead to a echogenic cyst.
2. Malignant cysts
Apart from that, if it is a malignant cyst, they are mainly solid in nature and they are the ones which have the potential to metastasize and get severe. Malignant cysts can be a major cause for new cysts to develop in other parts of your body.
Ovarian cyst causes
Benign cysts are mainly caused due to hormonal disturbances. If a patient has imbalance in the LH/FHS hormones in the body, it can cause certain types of cysts. Follicular cysts are formed in the cycle, if a follicle does not rupture and just gets converted into a cyst, it is called LUH or an unruptured follicular cyst. Solid, malignant cysts are generally caused by cancers or other such conditions.
Ovarian cyst symptoms
Dr. Anjana said, "Ovarian cyst may cause pain in the lower abdomen, irregular cycles and painful intercourse. In certain cases, of endometriotic cysts (cysts filled with blood), simple defecation can also be painful. And, larger sized cysts can even lead to infertility. Many people might even experience pelvic pain and bloating as signs of ovarian cycts.
Ovarian cyst diagnosis
Dr. Anjana said, "The diagnosis for an ovarian cyst is basically done with the help of a hormonal assay. Moreover, an ultrasound can also determine whether its a solid or a benign cyst." You doctor might also feel the need to observe the swelling on your ovaries and an ultrasound test can confirm the cyst. Imaging tests such as a CT scan and MRI can also be done to diagnose an ovarian cyst. You doctor will set a whole treatment plan for you depending upon the causes and severity of the cyst. Instead, they may repeat the ultrasound test in a few weeks or months to check your condition. You should keep a check if there are any changes in your cyst with time, like the size.
Ovarian cyst treatment
As per Dr. Anjana, the treatment of ovarian cysts depends upon causative agents. If it is a benign cyst, it is mainly because of hormonal imbalances and therefore hormone replacement therapy or treatment of the imbalance can help get rid of the cyst. If it is a haemhemorrhagic or endometriotic cyst, then surgery is required to remove the cyst from the body. If it is a malignant cyst, an even more extensive surgery is required.
Ovarian cyst prevention
In the case of Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), also known as Polycystic Ovary syndrome (PCOS), reducing the intake of carbohydrates and fats in the diet and regularly exercising and act as preventive measures. If the cyst is because of hypothyroidism, thyroid supplements can help in letting out the cyst from your body. At times, simple weight reduction can decrease the chances of cyst formation because it is generally said that if your abdominal fat is high, there is an unusual secretion of insulin which can lead to an ovarian cyst. So, these are some simple preventive tips of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cyst risk factors
If you lead a stressful life, it can lead to hormonal imbalances which can eventually result in cyst formation. If you are overweight, it can also cause ovarian cyst. Some people have a tendency to forming cysts. Even after getting surgeries, they can again develop cysts in one to two years. People with gene carriers BRCA1 & BRCA2 are at a higher chance of getting malignant cysts
Ovarian cyst complications
In most cases, cysts in an ovary are benign (not-cancerous). Some of them even go away naturally without any treatment.These cysts may show some symptoms like irregular or painful menstrual cycles. In rare cases, doctor may detect a cancerous cystic ovarian mass during regular check-ups, but it is suggested that if these cysts have to removed by an operation, a person must go for cancer checkups like biopsy to be sure. Ovarian torsion is also a very rare complication of ovarian cysts. It is a condition which occurs when an ovary twists from its original place. It can cut off the flow of blood to the ovary and fallopian tube.It can cause permanent damage to the tissues. Severe pain is a common symptom. Very few cases have to undergo emergency surgery.
Also read: How to prevent ovarian cysts
Another complication of ovarian cyst is a ruptured cyst can vary from no symptoms to severe symptoms such as severe pain and internal bleeding. It puts you on high risk of infection. If medical help isn't seeked it can even be life threatening. Severe cases may require an immediate surgery.It can further cause more complications like blood clots, the incision may not heal quickly. Regular ultrasounds and checkups should be done to keep a track of such complications.
Therefore, these were the types, symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cyst by Dr. Anjana Singh. As mentioned above, you cannot prevent ovarian cysts but can go for regular pelvic checks to know about any changes in your ovaries that can be diagnosed on time. You have to be aware about any changes in your menstrual cycle such as irregular periods, especially ones that go on for more than a few cycles. You should visit your gynaecologist to talk about any such changes.
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