Ovarian cysts are quite common in premenopausal women. Around 15% of postmenopausal women are also affected by ovarian cysts. Though in majority of the cases ovarian cysts are completely harmless, they can cause pain, rupture, and bleeding in some cases.
Since the occurrence of ovarian cysts is so widespread, it is important for every woman to understand the causes of ovarian cysts. Basic understanding of commonly occurring diseases and conditions help us better understand our body. This in turn helps us take better care of ourselves and our family.
Ovarian cysts, as the name suggests, develop in the ovaries. They are usually small and are filled with fluid, blood, gas or solid material.
There are two ovaries in women and their primary function is to store eggs. During ovulation, a follicle, which looks like a cyst, develops in the ovary. The egg is enclosed inside this follicle. Upon maturation, the follicle breaks open and releases the egg. The ruptured follicle is then known as corpus luteum.
Different Ovarian Cysts Causes
Follicular cysts are functional cysts, because they develop from the ovary’s function. These are the most common ovarian cysts. Follicular cyst develops when the follicle fails to release the egg, or when it fails to dissolve. In such an event, the follicle will keep on growing and more and more fluid will accumulate inside it. It then becomes an ovarian follicular cyst. These cysts usually disappear within weeks. Smoking seems to increase the risk for developing follicular cysts.
The exact cause of luteal cysts is not known, but doctors suspect that hormonal imbalance causes these cysts. It has also been noted that women who are on certain types of fertility drugs are at higher risk of developing corpus luteal cysts.
The exact cause of dermoid cysts is unknown. What is known is that these cysts develop from the germ cells, which are known as the cells that produce the eggs. Thus, these cells are able to grow into numerous types of tissues like skin, teeth, fat, glands, and eyes. That is why dermoid cysts often contain body tissues like teeth, skin, or hair. These ovarian cysts are usually benign.
These cysts develop from cells that make up the outer covering of the ovaries. These cysts are filled with mucous or watery fluid. There are two types of cystadenomas cysts- serous cystadenomas and mucinous cystodenomas.
These cysts are also known as endometrioma cysts. These cysts are caused due to endometriosis disease. In endometriosis disease, tissues from the inner surface of the uterus are also present on the ovaries, bladder, fallopian tubes, rectum, vagina, bladder, or bowel. If they are present on the ovaries, then it leads to the formation of chocolate colored cysts. Since they are made up of tissues from inside the uterus, they respond to monthly menstrual cycle. In other words, they bleed and then get filled with chocolate colored blood.
One of the main causes of development of multiple cysts is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In simple terms, PCOS is a type of a hormonal imbalance.
This disease is characterized by excessive production of male hormones, like testosterone. This disease often leads to the formation of multiple cysts inside both the ovaries.
Though doctors still do not know the exact causes of many of the ovarian cysts, some of the risk factors have been identified. Women who have a history of ovarian cysts are at risk of developing ovarian cysts. It has also been noted that women who do not have regular periods are also more likely to develop ovarian cyst.
Infertile women and those who are undergoing infertility treatment are more likely to develop ovarian cyst in the future. It has been noted that gonadotropin medications for infertility often cause ovarian cysts. Women who started having their periods at the young age of ten or eleven are at higher risk of developing ovarian cysts. Women who smoke are also at higher risk of developing ovarian cysts.
Recent studies have looked at environmental and lifestyle factors to see if they are responsible for the abnormal behavior of the follicle, which leads to ovarian cysts. It has been seen that women who do not exercise or do not eat nutritious food usually have abnormal follicles. Stress has also been linked to abnormal follicles, which lead to ovarian cysts.
Though the exact causes of ovarian cysts are still not understood, we do have a basic understanding of the causes. The message that we get from this understanding is that it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle, one that is free from chemicals and stress.
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