Ovarian Cysts Q & A
What is an ovarian cyst?
Your ovaries are two small organs that sit on either side of your uterus. Your eggs develop and are released from your ovaries as part of your monthly menstrual cycle. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled cysts that develop on the surface of your ovaries.
In many cases, ovarian cysts cause no pain or dysfunction. They can disappear without medical intervention. However, if you experience symptoms associated with a cyst or one ruptures, you’ll need intervention from an experienced doctor like Dr. Hagberg.
What are the symptoms of an ovarian cyst?
If you have a large ovarian cyst, it can cause complications and symptoms, including:
- Pelvic pain
- Fullness or heaviness in your abdomen
In rare cases, a cyst can cause your ovary to move, resulting in painful twisting. You’ll experience abrupt, severe pelvic pain and possible vomiting as a result. A cyst that ruptures also causes severe, sudden pain and internal bleeding. Both of these cases require immediate attention.
How are cysts evaluated?
An ovarian cyst is detected during a regular pelvic exam or you present with symptoms suggesting a cyst, she may recommend screening tests to evaluate its severity, size, and type. You may undergo a pelvic ultrasound or laparoscopic surgery to view the cyst and, in the case of surgery, remove it.
How is an ovarian cyst treated?
If an ovarian cyst is identified but it’s causing no symptoms, it may be recommended you simply monitor it with regular screening tests. If you have a history of ovarian cysts, birth control pills or other hormonal contraceptives may keep them from recurring, but they will not shrink an existing cyst.
In cases of large cysts, or pain due to an ovarian cyst or cysts that continue to grow through multiple menstrual cycles, surgery may be recommended. Surgery often involves just removing the cyst and leaving your ovary intact. All options should be reviewed so the patient can make the best informed personal decision.
How can ovarian cysts be prevented?
There are a few options available to help prevent the formation of ovarian cysts. Regular pelvic exams and pelvic ultrasounds can help detect them as early as possible and prevent complications.