Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can develop on the ovaries, which are the female reproductive organs located on either side of the uterus. Ovarian cysts can range in size from very small to large, and they can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). While some women with ovarian cysts may not experience any symptoms, others may experience a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, and irregular periods.
Symptoms of ovarian cyst
The symptoms of an ovarian cyst can vary depending on the size and location of the cyst, as well as the underlying cause. Some common symptoms of an ovarian cyst include:
Abdominal pain or discomfort: This is the most common symptom of an ovarian cyst. The pain may be dull or sharp, and it may be constant or come and go. It may also be more severe during menstruation or sexual intercourse.
Bloating: Some women with ovarian cysts may feel full or swollen in the abdomen, even after eating only a small amount of food.
Irregular periods: Ovarian cysts can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle, causing periods to be irregular or missed entirely.
Pressure on the bladder: Large ovarian cysts can put pressure on the bladder, causing a frequent need to urinate or difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
Nausea and vomiting: Some women with ovarian cysts may experience nausea and vomiting, especially if the cyst is large or causing pressure on other organs.
Pain during sexual intercourse: An ovarian cyst may cause pain during sexual intercourse, especially if it is located on the side of the uterus near the fallopian tubes.
It’s important to note that not all women with ovarian cysts will experience these symptoms, and some women may have no symptoms at all. In these cases, an ovarian cyst may be discovered during a routine pelvic exam or during testing for another condition.
Treatment for ovarian cyst
The treatment for an ovarian cyst will depend on the size and type of the cyst, as well as the woman’s age, overall health, and whether or not she wishes to become pregnant in the future. Some common treatment options for ovarian cysts include:
Observation: If the cyst is small and does not cause any symptoms, it may be monitored with regular pelvic exams and ultrasound to see if it goes away on its own. This is often the case with functional cysts, which are the most common type of ovarian cyst and are usually benign.
Medication: If the cyst is causing symptoms or is causing concern, your doctor may prescribe medication to help shrink the cyst or regulate your menstrual cycle. This may include oral contraceptives, which can help prevent new cysts from forming, or other medications to help shrink the cyst.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the cyst. This may be done laparoscopically, through small incisions in the abdomen, or with an open surgery, depending on the size and location of the cyst. If the cyst is cancerous, a more extensive surgery may be necessary to remove the ovary and nearby tissue.
Alternative therapies: Some women may choose to try alternative therapies, such as herbal remedies or acupuncture, to help shrink ovarian cysts or manage symptoms. It’s important to discuss these options with your doctor, as they may not be effective and could potentially interfere with other treatments.
Ovarian cysts are generally not a serious condition and can often be managed with simple treatments, such as observation or medication.