Why Do Ovarian Cysts Happen And Should I Worry?
As part of the female reproductive system women will usually have two ovaries. One on the left and one on the right side of the uterus.
The ovaries are responsible for creating eggs and releasing one every month during ovulation. They are also responsible for controlling hormones like oestrogen and progesterone which are important for fertility and maintaining a pregnancy.
A cyst occurs when a sac fills with fluid and fixes itself to one of the ovaries. They are extremely common and most women will experience at least one during their lifetime. They may be completely unaware as the cyst comes and goes without any symptoms or issues. In the majority of cases they are painless.
Cysts can occur as a result of endometriosis and other related issues but the two most common types of cysts are follicle cysts and corpus luteum cysts. A follicle cyst occurs during ovulation. An egg will grow inside the follicle which should then burst or break open to release the egg once a month.
In some cases, the follicle does not break open and the fluid contained within it can form a cyst. A Corpus Luteum cyst occurs when the follicle does not dissolve after it has opened to release the egg. Fluid builds up inside the sac as it reseals and forms a cyst.
When a woman’s ovaries contain a large amount of small ovarian cysts they may be diagnosed with a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It can cause fertility issues and should be monitored by your doctor.
As mentioned above, you might never know that you have an ovarian cyst but in some cases, there are some really obvious symptoms. Many women describe extreme bloating, disturbed bowel movements and pelvic pain during menstruation as the most common symptoms. In other cases sexual intercourse is painful and breasts feel tender and uncomfortable.
A ruptured cyst is when the cyst essentially opens up or “explodes”. It can come with a sharp and severe pain on one side of the pelvis as well as a fever. If your cyst ruptures, tears or twists it can cause complications if it goes untreated.
In most cases, cysts will naturally go away all by themselves without the need for any intervention or treatment. In rarer cases, they may be cancerous.
Other complications can occur when an ovarian cyst causes the ovaries to twist and change their shape. This can be extremely dangerous as it can cut the blood supply and it could cause the ovary to die which will affect fertility. This usually results in an emergency surgery.
An ovarian cyst may be spotted by your doctor during a physical examination. The lower abdomen may be very swollen and painful to touch. In other cases, a sonogram may be required to determine the size and composition of the cyst.
There are many different treatment options for ovarian cysts but in many cases, your doctor will most likely monitor the size and keep a close eye on it as it may go away all by itself. They may also prescribe a birth control pill to prevent ovulation which may encourage more cysts to develop.
Laparoscopy is the surgery that removes an ovarian cyst. It involves tiny incisions and using a small instrument to remove the cyst.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.com.