A dermoid cyst refers to a cystic teratoma or an encapsulated tumor, which is generally benign and non cancerous. The dermoid cyst typically contains mature tissues or skin, which contains sweat glands and hair follicles. Pockets of blood, sebum, fat, nails, bones, teeth, cartilage tissues are also present in these cysts.
Definition of Dermoid Ovarian Cyst
Dermoid cysts can develop in the ovarian region and it is similar to a sac or pouch like formation that is filled with different tissues of teeth, hair, skin and bones. Sometimes the dermoid ovarian cysts transform into complex teratomas and get filled with fluids such as blood or other oily secretions, along with the solid constituents. The dermoid ovarian cyst is sometimes called an ovarian neoplasm or dermoid cyst on the ovary.
Development of Dermoid Ovarian Cyst
These cysts can develop in women of childbearing age, ranging from those stepping into puberty to women on the verge of their menopause. The most common age for the appearance of these cysts is 29-30 years. Sometimes the dermoid cysts may be present inside the ovary right from birth, but their presence becomes noticeable only when they grow out of proportion or rupture.
The dermoid ovarian cysts take a long time to grow and they vary in size from a few inches to over 12 inches in thickness. The cysts may be present only on a single ovary and lead to pain and discomfort in patients. Sexual intercourse, childbirth, injury or exercise may lead to the first time detection of the dermoid ovarian cysts. If the cysts are disturbed or aggravated, then they may rupture, leading to the spilling off of the internal contents into the adjoining pelvic or ovarian organs.
This rupture of the ovarian cysts can lead to several complications and other issues such as infection, inflammations or adhesions. They may even lead to medical emergencies or other major health issues that may be difficult to tackle. To prevent the pain and issues connected with the rupture of the dermoid ovarian cysts, it is important to limit the levels of physical strain and avoid strenuous activities.
Causes of Dermoid Ovarian Cysts
Germ Cells in the Ovary
There are no well defined causes of the development of these dermoid ovarian cysts. They grow from “germ cells” which are a special kind of cells present in the tissues of the ovary. They are normal body cells and can grow into different cells present in other parts of the body, such as the tissues of glands, eyes, teeth, nails, skin, and hair or fat.
The presence of endometriosis can lead to the occurrence of dermoid ovarian cysts. Endometriosis is a condition that leads to the presence of pieces of the endometrial lining in areas outside the uterus or the ovarian region. Sometimes blood –filled cysts can also form in the tissues of the lining which leads to various complications.
As endometriosis advances, the small pieces of the endometrial lining or connected tissues can reach the fallopian tubes, bladders, ovaries, vagina, rectum or the bowel region. This leads to the development of the dermoid ovarian cysts in many women.
Imbalance of Hormones
An imbalance in the hormones produced by the ovary can give rise to numerous harmless and small cysts that cause discomfort. The condition is referred to as polycystic ovarian syndrome and in certain cases, some of these cystic formations have the properties of the dermoid ovarian cysts.
According to the recent reports, there is an increasing threat of the association of dermoid ovarian cysts with pregnancy. The treatment of these cysts formed during pregnancy is done through laparotomy or laparoscopy in the second trimester.
Symptoms of Dermoid Ovarian Cysts
In most cases the dermoid ovarian cyst is asymptotic and their presence goes unnoticed until the complications arise. In other less common cases there certain mild to severe symptoms may lead to the detection of these dermoid cysts. The symptoms become evident progressively and their appearance is dependent on the rate of growth of the dermoid cysts.
As the cysts develop, they create a pressure on the ovary and other organs in the region causing the symptoms to become more severe. The symptoms of dermoid ovarian cysts are quite common to those appearing during ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis and the formation of other types of ovarian cysts.
The growth of the dermoid ovarian cyst can cause the ovary to get twisted or distorted, which leads to the cutting off of the blood supply to the organ.
This leads to the appearance of pelvic pain in the region of the stomach and the hips in most patients. Sharp shooting pains or constant nagging pains may also develop in the abdomen or the lower back in other cases of dermoid ovarian cysts.
Pain During Bowel Discharge and Sexual Intercourse
As the dermoid cyst grows in size, it blocks the other organs and disturbs their normal functionalities. Women may experience pain during sexual acts or while passing bowels. The pressure created on the neighboring organs creates aches and discomfort.
Irregular Menstrual Cycles
The presence of dermoid ovarian cysts can lead to irregular periods, heavy discharge, spotting or missed periods. This irregularity in the menstrual cycle can lead to changes in the hormone levels and other reproductive complications.
Nausea and Fever
Some of the other symptoms of dermoid ovarian cysts are lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting and unexplained fever. It is important to consult a doctor if these systems appear as delay in diagnosis of the cysts can lead to further complications or rupture of the same.
Treatment of Dermoid Ovarian Cysts
The best way to treat the dermoid ovarian cysts is through surgical interventions, wherein the entire cyst is clinically removed before it ruptures. It is preferably removed a single piece to avoid spillage of the solid and fluid contents if any. It is difficult to use the technique of marsupialization for the removal of dermoid cysts in the ovary, as it may lead to a risk of developing malignancy or other complications. Marsupialization is used for the treatment of pilonidal cysts while performing surgery for the treatment of the same.
So if you have been doiagnosed with an ovarain dermoid cyst, the abovementioned information will definitely help you get educated about the cause, symptoms and other related issues. The dermoid ovarian cysts can be treated if diagnosed on time and so there is no cause of worry as you prepare to follow your doctor’s instructions.