Ovarian cysts are common, especially during the period of life when you have menstruation. Most cysts disappear by themselves, but some require treatment even though they are benign. It is unusual for cysts to be caused by cancer.
A cyst is a fluid-filled bladder that can be found in various parts of the body. This text is only about ovarian cysts.
Symptoms of ovarian cysts
The most common thing is to have cysts on the ovaries without noticing. But sometimes the cysts cause one or more of the following symptoms:
- You have a stomach ache. It can hurt all the time or come when you exert yourself. It can also hurt a certain posture because then there will be pressure on the cyst.
- You suddenly get a lot of stomach aches. This may be due to fluid or blood coming out of the cyst.
- You feel a pressure or weight in your stomach. This may be due to the cyst pressing against other organs.
- You need to pee more often. This may be due to the cyst pressing against the bladder.
- It hurts when you have vaginal or anal intercourse.
- You feel a lump in the lower abdomen.
- You have started to get severe menstrual pain , which you have not had before.
- The person may become irregular. This is because the cyst produces hormones that interfere with ovulation.
When and where should I seek care?
Contact a health care center or gynecologic clinic if any of the following is true of you:
- You feel a lump or soreness or pressure in the lower abdomen, below the navel.
- You feel pressure against the bladder.
- If you started to get severe menstrual pain that you did not have before.
- Because people become irregular.
If it’s in a hurry
Seek medical care directly at a health center or on-call clinic if you suddenly get a lot of pain in the abdomen or lower abdomen that doesn’t go away after a while. If the clinics are closed, seek medical attention at an emergency room.
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Ovarian cysts are usually examined by a gynecologist at either a gynecological clinic or in a hospital.
An ultrasound examination is a good way for the gynecologist to see if you have a cyst. The gynecologist usually does the ultrasound examination with the help of a rod-shaped ultrasound sensor that is inserted into the vagina. This is called a vaginal ultrasound.
The examination is done in conjunction with a gynecological examination. The entire survey takes about 15 minutes.
Through the ultrasound examination, the gynecologist can often, but not always, differentiate between different types of cysts. Depending on what the gynecologist sees on the ultrasound, you may also be examined by x-ray and have blood tests.
Different types of cysts on the ovaries
A cyst is a fluid-filled bladder. There are different types of cysts that you can get on the ovaries.
Benign ovarian cysts are divided into four types:
- functional cysts
- chocolate cysts
- benign tumors
- dermoid cyst or.
The most common type of ovarian cyst is a functional cyst. It is common to have functional cysts. They are always benign and usually come on one ovary at a time.
Functional cysts are formed after ovulation. Therefore, they are most common during the years you have menstruation, but they can come even after menopause.
Contraceptives that only contain yellow body hormones can sometimes interfere with ovulation and cause functional cysts to form. Mini pills and hormonal spirals are examples of such contraceptives.
The disease endometriosis can give something called chocolate cysts. Endometriosis means that there is uterine mucosa in places other than the inside of the uterus. Chocolate cysts can be formed if the uterine mucosa sits on the ovary. The name comes from the fact that they often contain blood that resembles dark chocolate.
Benign tumors – another form of cysts
Benign tumors can be formed in various parts of the body. In the ovaries, it is in the form of cysts. These are not related to ovulation, unlike functional cysts. Most are vesicles that contain fluid or mucus and usually only sit on one ovary.
There is no known reason for this type of cyst.
Sometimes this type of cysts becomes large. They can be up to 50 centimeters in diameter and contain several liters of liquid.
Benign ovarian tumors are more common after age 40.
One type of benign tumor is dermoid cysts. They are also called twin cysts. They occur in egg cells and can develop into different types of tissue in the body. Dermoid cysts can, therefore, contain, for example, sebum and hair.
Dermoid cysts are quite common, but not as common as functional cysts. The reason for getting dermoid cysts is unknown.
They are most often discovered when you are in your thirties. They usually sit on just one ovary, but sometimes on both ovaries.
There is also another type of tumor that can be formed on the ovary. They are called borderline tumors. They are neither benign tumors nor cancer but are somewhere in between. Borderline tumors usually do not spread in the body, but the treatment is about the same as in ovarian cancer.
A cyst can be ovarian cancer. It is caused by cells in the ovary beginning to divide uncontrollably so that a cancerous tumor is formed.
Ovarian cancer is most common after menopause. The disease is unusual before the age of 40.
Treatment of ovarian cysts
The most common cysts usually disappear by themselves and you usually do not need treatment. The cyst may sometimes need to be removed. If you need surgery, it happens in a hospital.
Functional cysts usually disappear by themselves
The doctor usually waits to treat cysts that are less than five inches in diameter and looks benign on ultrasound. Functional cysts usually disappear by themselves. After six to twelve weeks, the gynecologist usually does a new ultrasound check to see if the cyst has disappeared.
Sometimes cysts need surgery
Sometimes it may be necessary to remove a cyst. This applies, for example, if any of the following happened:
- The cyst has become so big that you get the trouble of it.
- Bleeding has occurred due to the cyst.
- The cyst has caused the ovaries to twist.
Dermoid cysts and chocolate cysts often need to be removed. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between cysts and ovarian cancer, and then you have to have surgery.
Tumors are always operated on
Benign tumors grow slowly, but they do not disappear by themselves but must be removed. You usually get a time for surgery already when the cyst is detected if the doctor thinks it may be a benign tumor or cancer.
One in four cysts that have been operated on because there is a suspicion of cancer is benign.
It is more common for a cyst to be ovarian cancer if you have entered menopause. Therefore, the doctor more often recommends an operation then.
Pit hole surgery is a common method of operating cysts and benign tumors
Cysts are usually operated with peephole technology. It is also called laparoscopy.
The operation is done in hospitals. You get anesthetized and first get a small incision below the navel. A lamp with a camera at the top is inserted into the incision. This instrument is connected to a monitor. Next, the doctor makes two or three small incisions at the bottom of the abdomen for the surgical instruments. A larger incision may be needed if complications arise.
The operation takes about an hour. After a peephole operation, you can usually go home the same day and do not have to stay in the hospital.
It usually hurts the stomach for a few days afterward. You may also feel a pain radiating to your shoulders, but it goes over. It is good to take non-prescription painkillers for the pain.
Sometimes a stomach operation is done
Sometimes a stomach operation is done instead of a peephole operation. The difference is that the stomach is opened with a longer incision during a stomach operation. After such an operation, you may remain in the hospital for a little longer.
Sometimes the doctor has to have the ovary removed
In an operation, the doctor primarily tries to remove the cyst only. Sometimes it may be necessary to remove the entire ovary if it has been damaged.
How are functional cysts formed?
There are two ovaries that sit on either side of the uterus. The ovaries are oval and about three inches long.
The main function of the ovary is to produce eggs and secrete hormones. The egg is formed inside an ovary in the ovary. Usually, there are holes in the ovary at the ovulation. Then the egg bladder collapses. Then the egg is released and caught by the fallopian tube. After that, the ovary is transformed into a so-called yellow body in the ovary.
A functional cyst is formed from the egg bladder or yellow body
Occasionally, the ovary does not collapse after ovulation. Then the egg bladder can attract fluid, increase in size and form a cyst. The same thing can happen if you have no ovulation. You who have come into the menopause may have ovaries, although you no longer ovulate, and therefore may also have functional cysts. This is called a follicle cyst.
It is less common, but it happens that a yellow body attracts fluid and forms a cyst. This is called a yellow body cyst. Sometimes it can also start bleeding in this type of cyst.
Cysts that have formed from egg blisters that have not collapsed usually disappear by themselves after a month or months. Cysts formed by a yellow body may remain for a little longer.
How can I prevent having cysts on the ovaries?
Some people find it easier than others to get functional cysts. There is no known reason why this is so.
You who often get functional cysts can receive preventative treatment in the form of intermediate pills or oral contraceptives. They prevent ovulation, and thus new cysts cannot be formed.
There is no preventive treatment for other types of cysts.
A cyst can cause the ovaries to twist, but this is unusual. The blood circulation to the ovary then deteriorates and you get very severe pain that comes in intervals, with breaks in between.
This is a bit more common if you have dermoid cysts. This is because the type of cysts is often heavier than others, and the weight makes the ovaries twist more easily.
Ovarian cysts and pregnancy and breastfeeding
Sometimes doctors need to remove the ovaries where the cyst is located, but this is unusual. You can get pregnant even if you only have one ovary left.
You can get cysts and benign tumors when you are pregnant. Ovarian cancer, on the other hand, is very uncommon during pregnancy. Cysts can be removed even during pregnancy if needed but this is unusual.
Functional cysts are unusual if you are breastfeeding, as the ovulation is then inhibited.
How is life affected by ovarian cysts?
Many people are worried about being told that they have ovarian cysts. You who want to become pregnant in the future may be worried about how the cyst will affect that possibility.
If you are worried or have cystic pain when you have sex, your sex drive may decrease for a period of time.
Ovarian cysts can affect life in different ways. How big the changes will be for you depends on what type of cyst you have, what treatment you need, if you have other illnesses and how you are doing otherwise. For most people, the cysts disappear without treatment and do not affect life after that.
As a relative, you may also be worried about the person who has cysts hurting the cysts. You may also be thinking about your relatives’ chances of becoming pregnant. Then it can be good to try to talk to each other about how you experience the situation.