An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled growth within the ovary; this fluid can be watery or viscous. In premenopausal women, cysts are generally normal, for they develop during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Cysts that occur during a woman’s menstrual cycle are called functional cysts and are normal. A woman who has passed through menopause by definition no longer ovulates and thus does not produce functional cysts. If she has an ovarian cyst, something is wrong.
Types of Cysts
There are several different kinds of cysts that are not related to the menstrual cycle. For example, a condition called endometriosis causes when the lining of the uterus grows outside it. This lining can form cysts called endometriomas that attach themselves to the outside of the ovary. Dermoid cysts form from embryonic cells and can thus contain tissues like hair or skin. These are usually not cancerous. Cystadenomas, like endometriomas, form on the ovary’s exterior. They are typically filled with a viscous or watery fluid. While they are generally benign, cystadenomas and dermoid cysts can grow large enough to force the ovary out of position. Cysts can sometimes become cancerous, particularly in older women.
What are the Symptoms?
A small ovarian cyst generally won’t cause symptoms and may even go away on its own. Larger cysts can cause abdominal discomfort, bloating, and pressure. The discomfort can be intermittent, and it can be dull or acute. A woman should notify her doctor if she knows she has a cyst and develops any of the following symptoms, as they may be indicators that the cyst has ruptured:
- Severe and sudden abdominal pain
- Weakness, faintness, or dizziness
- Pain accompanied by vomiting and fever
- Rapid breathing
How is an Ovarian Cyst Treated?
Treatment will depend on the type and size of the cyst. If the cyst is small and not causing any problems, the doctor may simply prescribe pain medication to keep the patient comfortable, and they may prescribe birth control pills to prevent the formation of new cysts. They will monitor the patient to see if the cyst eventually goes away. If the patient has a large cyst that causes discomfort or pain, looks suspicious on the ultrasound, and/or hasn’t gone away after several menstrual cycles, the doctor will remove it.
Contact Us for Further Information
To learn more about dealing with an ovarian cyst, we welcome you to reach out and make an appointment with Fort Worth Center for Pelvic Medicine. At our convenient location in Fort Worth, TX, our caring and devoted team of professionals will explain what to do if you have a cyst and answer any questions you may have. We will also be happy to explain the myriad benefits of treatments such as the MonaLisa Touch®. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!