Ovarian cysts refer to fluid filled sacs found in or on the ovaries. Women have two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. Eggs in the ovaries develop and mature, which is then released in monthly cycles. An egg in the ovary grows in a sac called the follicle. The follicle ruptures to release the developed egg. Ovarian cyst can affect one or both of the ovaries. Most of the ovarian cysts are not cancerous.
There are two major types of ovarian types:
- Functional ovarian cysts are most common that develop as part of the menstrual cycle; usually short termed and harmless.
- Pathological ovarian cysts are less common that form as a result of abnormal cell growth.
Common causes of ovarian cysts include:
- Hormonal changes
- Pelvic infections
Ovarian cysts may or may not cause symptoms. Larger cysts usually exhibit symptoms that include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Painful intercourse
- Painful bowel movements
- Pelvic pain
- Frequent urination
- Changes in menstrual bleeding patterns
- Nausea and vomiting
Diagnosis of ovarian cysts involve:
- Pelvic examination
- Pelvic ultrasound
- CT, MRI
- CA 125 Blood test
There is no exact means to prevent ovarian cysts. Routine gynaecological examinations can help in early diagnosing and treating the condition at the earliest.
Treatment depends on several factors such as age, type and size of your cyst and your symptoms.
- Watchful waiting is recommended in many cases.
- Medications such as birth control pills, hormonal contraceptives might be recommended to avoid recurrence and progression of ovarian cysts.
- Surgical procedures might also be carried out to remove the cysts. This depends on several factors such as severity of symptoms, type and size of cyst, if it is cancerous or not, and overall health condition.
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