An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on the ovary. Ovarian cysts are common and usually harmless, but some may cause pain or discomfort. The following are some commontypes of ovarian cysts:
- Follicular cysts: These are the most common type of ovarian cysts and form when the follicle that normally releases an egg each month does not dissolve as it should, but instead fills with fluid.
- Corpus luteum cysts: These cysts form after an egg is released from the ovary and the follicle that held the egg seals over, trapping fluid inside.
- Endometriotic cysts: Also known as endometriomas, these cysts form when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, grows outside of it and on the ovaries.
- Dermoid cysts: These cysts contain various types of tissue, such as skin, hair, and bones, and are thought to develop from embryonic cells.
Ovarian cysts can lead to severalcomplications, including:
- Rupture: Ovarian cysts can sometimes rupture, causing sudden and severe pain and internal bleeding.
- Torsion: Ovarian torsion occurs when a cyst twists on its own blood supply, causing pain, nausea, and vomiting.
- Infertility: Ovarian cysts can affect fertility by interfering with ovulation and causing hormonal imbalances.
- Cancer: Although rare, some types of ovarian cysts can develop into cancer, especially if they are large, persistent, or grow rapidly.
- Hormonal imbalances: Ovarian cysts can produce hormones that can lead to irregular menstrual periods, hot flashes, and other symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
It’s important to discuss any symptoms or concerns about ovarian cysts with your doctor to ensure timely diagnosis and management of any potential complications.
Diagnosisof ovarian cysts typically involves a pelvic exam, ultrasound, or MRI. Treatment may include observation, medication, or surgery, depending on the type, size, and symptoms of the cyst. It’s important to discuss all available options with your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for your specific situation.
The management of an ovarian cyst depends on several factors, including the size and type of the cyst, the patient’s age, and the presence of symptoms. Some common management options include:
- Watchful waiting: Small, benign cysts that are not causing symptoms may be monitored with ultrasound exams until they shrink or disappear on their own.
- Medication: Hormonal therapy, such as birth control pills, can help reduce the risk of developing new cysts and shrink existing cysts.
- Surgery: If a cyst is large, causing pain or discomfort, or suspected to be cancerous, surgery may be necessary. The type of surgery will depend on the size, type, and location of the cyst. Options include cystectomy (removal of the cyst), oophorectomy (removal of the ovary), or a total hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and ovaries).