Ovarian cysts are a very common health problem which doesn’t typically produce any symptoms. While they are usually classed as harmless, sometimes they can be potentially cancerous. They can also be linked to conditions which can make it more difficult to get pregnant.
So, what exactly are ovarian cysts and how can they be treated? Below, you’ll discover everything you need to know.
What are ovarian cysts?
Ovarian cysts develop within the ovaries and are basically sacs that are filled with fluid. They occur naturally and tend to disappear on their own within a few months.
These cysts can either affect one, or both ovaries. The majority occur due to the menstrual cycle and these are known as functional cysts. There are two types of functional cysts including Follicular and Corpus luteum cysts. These types of cysts rarely cause any discomfort or pain and they will clear up on their own.
Other types of cysts are less common and aren’t caused by the menstrual cycle. These include:
- Dermoid cysts
Dermoid cysts are also referred to as teratomas and they develop from embryonic cells. These types of cysts can contain tissue and they are rarely cancerous.
Endometriomas are cysts caused by the condition Endometriosis. Tissue can attach to the ovaries, causing a growth to develop. Finally, Cystadenomas tend to develop on the ovaries surface and can be filled with mucous or a watery material.
Are there any symptoms?
With the majority of ovarian cysts, no symptoms do occur. However, if it is a large cyst or if it ruptures for example, this can cause a number of symptoms. The most common symptoms linked to ovarian cysts include:
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Swollen or bloated tummy
- Difficulty when emptying the bowels
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Pain during intercourse
As some of these symptoms can also link to other health problems, it is important for patients to seek a diagnosis from their doctor.
What problems can ovarian cysts cause?
Again, the majority of ovarian cysts don’t cause any health problems. However, as there is a small chance they could be cancerous, they do need to be checked out as quickly as possible. It is estimated that just 1 in 1000 ovarian cysts are cancerous in women aged under 50.
The cysts can also potentially rupture, which can lead to heavy bleeding and other dangerous symptoms. If you have been or are going through the menopause, cysts can also present an increased chance of cancer.
If the cysts are caused by endometriosis or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, there is also a chance it could make getting pregnant more difficult. However, this is more to do with the conditions themselves, rather than the cysts.
Can you prevent them?
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to prevent ovarian cysts, particularly functional ones. However, if you are found to develop cysts frequently, your GP may recommend putting you on hormonal birth control to prevent you from ovulating.
If you do have ovarian cysts, they won’t usually require any treatment. However, in some cases, surgery may be required. So, if you suspect you have ovarian cysts, it is worth getting checked over by a specialist. This will help to determine the type of cysts you’re dealing with and whether any treatment will be required. Call 07835 736627 to book your consultation.