What are ovarian cysts?
- Benign tumors of the ovary – hollow sacs consisting of very thin membranes, fluid-filled, inside the ovary.
How often do the ovarian cysts occur?
- Almost every woman will have an ovarian cyst at least once in a lifetime,
- 95% of ovarian cysts are benign.
What are the types of ovarian cysts?
- Functional cysts – cysts that occur as a result of ovarian problems (so-called „water cysts“)
- Follicle cysts – cysts created as a result of problems with the function of the follicle, a structure created every month which releases an egg during ovulation. Follicle cysts may grow up to 6 cm in diameter;
- Corpus luteum cysts – cysts appearing after the follicle breaks open and a yellow body is created (corpus luteum) in the second stage of the cycle. Corpus luteum cysts may grow up to 10 cm in diameter;
- Hemorrhagic cysts – cysts formed when the follicle damages a blood vessel as it breaks open which then continues to bleed either into the ovary or the abdomen
- Follicle and corpus luteum cysts disappear (burst) without intervention after 4-6 months,
- Hemorrhagic cyst needs to be surgically removed if the bleeding doesn’t stop (most often case).
- Benign cysts
- Dermoid cysts,
- Other cystic tumors.
- Inflammatory cysts
- Malignant cysts – 15 out of 100.000 women develop a malignant cyst, usually at older age.
What complications are associated with ovarian cysts?
- The so-called torsion – when the cyst twists around its stem due to sudden movement or physical strain cutting off its own blood supply
- This causes sudden pain and should the cyst not untwist on its own, an emergency surgical intervention is required.
- Inflammation of the cyst results in high temperature, pain and damage to all organs in the pelvis
- Hospitalization and high doses of antibiotics are usually necessary, sometimes even a surgery.
What are the symptoms of an ovarian cyst?
- Most often there are none and the cysts is found during a routine pelvic examination ,
- Pain which may vary from mild discomforting pelvic pain to sudden and sharp pain,
- Painful intercourse,
- Bloated pelvic feeling,
- Irregular menstrual cycle,
- Irregular bowel movements – constipation or diarrhea,
- Frequent urination.
What will the doctor do to diagnose ovarian cysts?
- Pelvic examination,
- Pap test,
- Transvaginal ultrasound,
- Cervical swabs (at times),
- Blood tests, CRP (C – reactive protein reflecting an inflammation) and CA-125 blood test (tumor marker whose levels rise in inflammatory cysts, endometriosis and malignant cysts).
How are ovarian cysts treated?
- By waiting and monitoring – functional cysts go away on their own with time,
- If the pain caused by cysts is mild, it can be controlled taking painkillers ,
- In cases of irregular menstrual cycles gestagen or birth control pills may be issued,
- Surgically in cases of:
- functional cysts, if there is pain or the cysts are larger than 5-6 cm in diameter,
- inflammatory cysts, according to doctor’s evaluation,
- Benign cysts,
- suspicion of a malignant tumor.