Ovarian cysts are quite common. They generally do not last for very long and require no treatment. They wash away after 1 or 2 menstrual cycles or can be taken care of simply by using birth control. However, it is important not to be to lax with them as there is potential for them to be mistaken for other growths. So, remember to get your pelvic exams done annually. In this article we will look at the symptoms, causes, treatment and prognosis for ovarian cysts.
Usually ovarian cysts do not cause any symptoms. However, the larger they are the more chance that they will cause some symptoms, such as: menstrual period change, frequent urination, abdominal pain, and weight gain.
If your cyst ruptures, gets twisted or starts bleeding this could lead to more severe symptoms, such as: nausea, vomiting, vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal pain, dizziness and weakness. There are many types of symptoms that people with trouble ovarian cysts have had so it’s important to get your annual pelvic exam done to keep an eye on things.
Ovarian cysts are caused by changes in the way your ovaries release eggs. Usually, a cyst will occur when the small egg sac on the ovary does not release an egg and so fills with fluid on its surface or inside the ovary. They may also occur when the egg follicle does not dissolve and swells with fluid. Sometimes what seems to be growing on the ovaries will actually be growing on the pelvis. This is not good as it could be cancer.
Ovarian cysts are, more often than not, harmless. They generally just go away after 1 or 2 menstrual cycles so treatments are not needed. However, if a cyst does persist then your doctor may, if you are not already, put you on birth control. Birth control helps to prevent further cysts from piling up on your ovaries as it prevents ovulation. If the cysts do not go away after 1 or 2 menstrual cycles your doctor will probably want to observe them for 1 or 2 months and see what happens (i.e. if it has changed in size or shape). Basically, the doctor wants to make sure that it is a cyst and not a tumor. If the cyst hasn’t gone away by this time the doctor may recommend that you stay on the birth control a little while longer. If it still persists the doctor may remove it in surgery (laparoscopy or laparotomy).
For the most part, ovarian cysts will go away after 1 or 2 menstrual cycles, as mentioned earlier, so the prognosis is good. The prognosis turns bad if you are post-menopausal as you no longer have menstrual cycles to wash the cysts away. In the past doctors, commonly, would remove the woman’s ovaries if they got cysts after the age of 65. This is because the odds of it turning to cancer became quite high and as the woman could not get pregnant there did not seem to be much use for the ovaries. Nowadays this is happening less frequently with doctors opting out of removing the ovaries.