You have cysts in ovaries. This is a diagnosis that most women fear to hear from their doctors. This is because many women do not know what cysts are. Moreover, many women relate cysts to cancer and infertility. Therefore, it is no wonder that many women get scared even at the thought of having cysts in ovaries.
However, the fact is that ovarian cysts can affect any woman of any age. They are usually benign and most of them resolve on their own. Learning about the various types of ovarian cysts will help remove the fear that we all have about them.
Cyst is nothing but an enclosed sac like structure filled with fluid, blood, tissues, or gaseous materials. They look like blisters. They vary in shape and size. They are usually found in women of childbearing age and in 99 percent of the cases are benign.
Types of Cysts
The most commonly occurring ovarian cysts are classified as functional cysts. They are called functional cysts, because they develop from the functions of the ovaries. There are two types of functional cysts- follicular cyst and luteal cyst.
The other types of ovarian cysts include dermoid, cystadenomas, and endometrioma cysts. Polycystic ovaries refer to a condition in which multiple cysts are present in the ovaries.
How Functional Cysts Develop
There are two ovaries in a woman. Eggs are stored in the ovaries and every month a single egg is released. The eggs are stored in a follicle, a sac like structure in the ovaries. You must be aware that every month the uterus is prepared for the implantation of the fertilized egg. While the uterus is being prepared for possible pregnancy, the egg matures in the follicle. The mature egg is released and makes its way to the uterus, where it waits for it to be fertilized. If pregnancy does not happen, then the egg and all the contents of the uterus are released in a process called menstruation.
However, sometimes the follicle fails to break open and release the egg. In such an event, fluid will build up inside the follicle and transform in to a cyst. This type of cyst is known as follicular cyst. In majority of the cases, this cyst usually dissolves within two or three months and is not something to worry about.
In majority of the cases, follicular cysts cause no symptoms. However, if it ruptures then you can experience sharp pain. The pain will occur on the side in which the ovary with the cyst is present.
Corpus Luteum Functional Cyst
Once the follicle has released the egg it is known as corpus luteum. Normally the corpus luteum should dissolve, if pregnancy does not occur. However, in some cases the corpus luteum does not dissolve after the matured egg has been released. The follicle then transforms into a fluid filled cyst, called corpus luteum cyst. This type of functional cyst usually shows no symptoms.
Dermoid cysts are also known as mature cystic teratoma. They usually affect younger women. These cysts may contain hair, teeth, bone, cartilage, and other types of tissue cells. These cysts are benign and nothing much to worry about. However, a dermoid cyst can become large and twist around. This will restrict blood supply to the ovaries and cause immense pain in the abdomen.
Women suffering from endometriosis usually develop endometriomas cysts, also called chocolate cysts. Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissues forming the inner lining of the uterus are present on the ovaries. Since these tissues respond to the monthly menstruation cycle, they bleed when the periods start. Very often they form cysts that are filled with dark brown blood. They can cause pain in the pelvic area and lead to infertility.
This type of cyst develops from the ovarian cells. These cysts are benign tumors, which are often filled with thick and sticky fluid. They often become very large and cause severe pain.
This condition is characterized by the presence of multiple cysts on the outer surface of the ovary.
Ovarian Cysts Symptoms
Ovarian cysts usually do not cause any problem; however, the large ones can. They can cause chronic pelvic pain. Some cysts can cause lower back pain during menstruation. Cysts can also cause irregular periods. Pain during intercourse and pain in the pelvic area after a strenuous workout are other two symptoms associated with ovarian cysts.
Severe abdominal pain and severe pain in one side of the abdomen are often associated with ovarian cysts. If you experience difficulty urinating, it might be a sign of ovarian cyst.
Endometriomas cysts are associated with severe pelvic pain during periods. Weight gain, nausea, and infertility are the other symptoms associated with some of the ovarian cysts.
Diagnosis of Ovarian Cysts
There are various tests that are used for diagnosing ovarian cysts. Doctors usually first do a pelvic examination to ascertain the presence of ovarian cyst. Further diagnostic tests are then recommended to confirm the presence of cyst and to find out the exact composition of the cyst.
Ultrasound of the Pelvic
With the help of the ultrasound the doctor will be able to determine the exact location of the cyst. He will also be able to determine the exact composition of the cyst.
In other words, the doctor will be able to find out whether the cyst is filled with fluid, blood, or solid material. The ultrasound also helps to ascertain the size of the cyst in the ovary.
How To Relieve Pain From An Ovarian Cyst
Factors Influencing Ovarian Cancer Prognosis
Common Symptoms Of Ruptured Ovarian Cyst
Effective Treatment For Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
The Top Causes Of Ovarian Cysts
You might wonder how a pregnancy test can confirm the presence of ovarian cyst. Pregnancy test is used for confirming the presence of corpus luteum cyst. If the pregnancy test turns out positive, it means that you have a corpus tuteum cyst.
Since an ectopic pregnancy is also characterized by symptoms that are quite similar to ovarian cysts, pregnancy test helps to confirm whether it is a cyst or an ectopic pregnancy.
CT and MRI Scans
These scans help the doctor to ascertain how big the cyst is or how many cysts there are.
Cancer Antigen (CA) 125
This is a type of blood test that is done to confirm the presence of CA 125 in the blood. This test is usually recommended, if the cyst is partially or completely solid. However, presence of CA 125 in the blood does not always mean that the cyst is cancerous. Certain conditions like, uterine fibroids and endometriosis are also characterized by rise in levels of CA 125 in the blood.
Most Cysts Non-Cancerous
Though ovarian cysts are quite common in young women, we can at least rest easy that 99% of them are non-cancerous. Moreover, functional cysts usually show no symptoms and go away by themselves. Another good news is that ovarian cysts are treatable and in vast majority of the cases do not lead to infertility.
However, this does not mean that you should ignore the symptoms. Remember that timely medical treatment ensures proper resolution of the medical problem and minimum or no damage to the body. Another important point to remember is that women above the age of fifty should never ignore ovarian cyst symptoms. Presence of ovarian cyst in women above the age of fifty increases the risk for ovarian cancer.
Photo Credit: http://www.healthcentral.com/sexual-health/h/does-a-cyst-on-ovary-cause-bloating.html