Ovarian cysts: the why, the signs and the treatments
Ovarian cysts are very common and most women have them. Most of the time, however, the cysts do not cause any problems and often disappear by themselves. This can happen without the woman having any knowledge of them being there.
Why are the cysts there?
They are part of a woman’s menstrual cycle and occur when a follicle, inside which the egg is carried, doesn’t break open. It needs to burst in order to release the egg so that the man’s sperm can fertilise it. If the follicle remains intact or doesn’t release any of its fluid once the egg has been released, it can grow and turn into a benign follicle cyst. It usually disappears anywhere between one to three months.
How to tell if you have them
As mentioned before, you won’t usually be aware of cysts being present as most of the time, they don’t cause problems. The only time you may have cause for concern is if you experience any of the symptoms usually associated with a cyst that has ruptured, becomes twisted, is larger than normal or obstructs the supply of blood to the ovaries.
If you experience any of the following persistent symptoms, get yourself checked out.
- Painful sex
- Abnormal bleeding
- Pelvic pain
- Heavy periods
- Bloating or swelling of the stomach
- Difficulty opening your bowels
In severe cases, you could experience a fever, dizziness or extreme pelvic pains. In this instance, it would be necessary to seek medical assistance immediately.
What treatments are available?
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and your doctor has confirmed that it stems from ovarian cysts, you may be offered one of two treatments – a laparotomy or laparoscopic surgery.
If you’re offered laparoscopic surgery, you could be in and out the same day. It’s also favoured over a laparotomy as it involves making only small incisions in your stomach to allow the surgeon to see and remove the growths. The incision would then be closed with dissolvable stitches.
A laparotomy, on the other hand, would require a larger incision, but would tend to be offered only if the cyst is very large or if cancer is suspected. For more information about ovarian cysts and the available treatments, contact us today.