The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. Women have two ovaries that produce eggs as well as the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Sometimes, a fluid-filled sac called a cyst will develop on one of the ovaries. In most cases, cysts are painless and cause no symptoms.
Types of ovarian cysts
There are various types of ovarian cysts, such as dermoid cysts and endometrioma cysts.
- Dermoid cysts: sac-like growths on the ovaries that can contain hair, fat, and other tissue
- Cystadenomas: noncancerous growths that can develop on the outer surface of the ovaries, they can grow upto 30 to 40 cm.
- Endometriomas: tissues that normally grow inside the uterus can develop outside the uterus and attach to the ovaries, resulting in a cyst, they form chocolate cyst containing old clotted blood.
Some women develop a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome means the ovaries contain a large number of small cysts. If left untreated, polycystic ovaries can cause infertility.
Symptoms may include:
Severe symptoms of an ovarian cyst that require immediate medical attention include:
These symptoms can indicate a ruptured cyst or an ovarian torsion. Both complications can have serious consequences if not treated early.
Most ovarian cysts are benign and naturally go away on their own without treatment. Ovarian torsion is another rare complication of ovarian cysts. This is when a large cyst causes an ovary to twist or move from its original position. Blood supply to the ovary is cut off, and if not treated, it can cause damage or death to the ovarian tissue. Ruptured cysts, which are also rare, can cause intense pain and internal bleeding.
Ovarian cyst may be detected during a routine pelvic examination. They may notice swelling on one of your ovaries and order an ultrasound test to confirm the presence of a cyst. Ultrasound tests help determine the size, location, shape, and composition (solid or fluid filled) of a cyst. It may require
We may perform a laparoscopy to surgically remove the cyst. The procedure involves your doctor making a tiny incision near your navel and then inserting a small instrument into your abdomen to remove the cyst.
If you have a large cyst, we may surgically remove the cyst through a large incision in your abdomen. We may conduct an immediate biopsy, and to determine whether the cyst is cancerous, and may perform a hysterectomy to remove your ovaries and uterus.
What are the implications of ovarian cysts on pregnancy?
Endometriomas and cysts from polycystic ovarian syndrome may decrease a woman’s ability to get pregnant. However, functional cysts, dermoid cysts, and cystadenomas are not associated with difficulty in getting pregnant unless they are large. Most cysts are benign and do not require surgical intervention. However, you may need surgery if the cyst is suspicious for cancer or if the cyst ruptures or twists (known as torsion), or is too large.