Ovarian cysts are very small, fluid filled sacs that develop on the woman’s ovaries. In most cases, they are benign and relatively harmless. In unusual cases, however, they may bleed, rupture and cause excessive pain. Let us now study why these cysts occur and examine each cause in detail.
Previous Medical History of Ovarian Cysts
If you have had a previous medical history of ovarian cysts, you are likely to get more in the future. Cysts tend to recur and both the doctor and the patient have to be hyper- vigilant. In very severe cases of ovarian cysts, the woman may also undergo infertility. A strong medical history of cysts in the family may also predispose a woman to develop ovarian cysts.
Causes Of Ovarian Cysts
Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Excessive hormonal fluctuations in the body can lead to irregular menstrual cycles. It has been studied that irregular menses can lead to the formation of cysts. Why these cysts are formed is not clearly understood.
Age seems to work against the woman’s reproductive system. It has been seen that women who delay conception or do not have children are more likely to develop ovarian cysts and ovarian tumours, which may be cancerous or benign.
Obesity is one of the leading causes of ovarian cysts. A large number of obese women suffer from polycystic ovaries. In fact, it becomes a vicious cycle. Normally thyroid disease leads to obesity and obesity causes the ovaries to develop cysts on them.
Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their children show a lesser chance of developing cysts on their ovaries. Vis-a-vis them, women who do not breast-feed their children or those who cannot breastfeed are more likely to develop ovarian cysts and cancer of the ovaries.
The use of fertility drugs has led to an increase in cases of ovarian cysts. Fertility drugs like clomid produce multiple follicles and make the ovaries work overtime. Due to the release of multiple eggs, the chances of developing ovarian cysts and tumours are very high.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Menopausal women who are undergoing hormonal replacement therapy have a higher chance of developing ovarian cysts.
One of the biggest causes of cysts in the ovaries is hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body stops producing enough thyroxin. This makes the woman feel slow, sluggish, and irritable and reduces her body metabolism leading to weight gain.
It also leads to a disruption in the menstrual cycle causing irregular periods. This is because the hormone plays a direct role in the fertility of a woman. The ovaries become sluggish and stop producing eggs. Polycystic ovaries are directly related to thyroid disease.
Follicular Ovarian Cysts
These are some of the most common form of cysts and typically occur in women who are suffering from irregular periods. Normally the luteinizing hormone sends a signal to the brain to induce the ovarian follicles to produce an egg. In abnormal cases, this chain reaction does not occur.
There is no surge in the luteinizing hormone and the follicle grows and grows but it does not release an egg. This is when a cyst develops. These cysts automatically disappear after 4-5 menstrual cycles. Therefore, a disruption in the ovulation cycle or inadequate amounts of luteinizing hormones can lead to the formation of an ovarian cyst.
While this area has not been subjected to a lot of profound research, people have come to believe that stress is one of the biggest culprits of anovulation and polycystic ovaries. Long working hours and a scant regard for health has made ovarian cysts to become a lifestyle disease. Put to this is the fact that a lot of women are choosing their career over marriage and children. A poor lifestyle can be blamed for recurrent ovarian cysts.
Women simply cannot afford to play with their health. A bad diet is responsible for most women related ailments. Not eating regularly and not taking an adequate diet that is high on vitamins and minerals leads to severe and profound hormonal fluctuations. This is reflected in ovarian disorders, cysts and a poor hormonal profile. It also makes the woman more at risk for obesity, which is the root cause of cysts and fertility problems.
It has been recently researched that women are taking a diet that is very high on refined carbs and sugar. These foods lead to an unhealthy rise in the insulin levels. Insulin causes the typical characteristics of hersuitism, acne and excessive body hair. These go hand in hand with failed menstrual cycles and the formation of ovarian cysts.
Lack of Exercise
Nothing regulates the hormonal system better than exercise. Exercise helps to restore fertility and makes conception easier. While it sounds difficult, women who undertook exercise while having PCOS fared much better than women who did not. Lack of exercise is one of the leading causes of PCOS. This is further aggravated by a poor diet and consumption of fast food.
These types of cysts occur on the ovaries typically as a result of endometriosis in which the uterine lining starts growing on other parts of the uterus like the ovaries. These tissues attach to your ovary and start growing to form lumps, tumours and cysts. These need urgent medical treatment as they can cause profound pain and bleeding.
Cases of girls starting their menses at a very early age have become common. This has a lot to do with the diet. Early menstruation means that your body receives an overdose of hormonal surges every month. You also have a longer reproductive life span as compared to other women. This increases your chances of developing ovarian cysts and tumours.
These are some of the leading causes of ovarian cysts. While most cysts are relatively harmless, they still need medical assessment to rule out cancer or abnormalities. Surgery can be considered in case of multiple cysts. It has been seen that the use of birth control pills is particularly helpful in preventing cysts because they suppress ovulation completely. The chances of cysts being formed are rare when ovulation is not occurring.
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