What are ovarian cysts?
Ovarian cysts develop on the surface or inside of the ovary. Women typically have two ovaries. They each are the size of an almond, approximately, and house varies eggs which develop and then are released during the process of ovulation. Ovaries are an important part of the female reproductive system. If an ovarian cyst develops they are usually harmless and often go away on their own. They can be a sign or symptom of a condition that needs attention like endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome. However, sometimes cysts can become cancerous. During a pelvic exam and/or ultrasound, Dr. Bhanot is likely to find out if you have ovarian cysts.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?
Many women experience ovarian cysts at some time or another. Most ovarian cysts present little or no discomfort and are harmless. The majority disappear without any treatment or interventions. It can take 6- 12 weeks for a cyst to resolve on its own.
Larger ovarian cysts can sometimes cause the following symptoms:
• Lower abdominal pain
• Irregular menstrual bleeding
Risk factors associated with ovarian cysts include hormone imbalance, pregnancy, endometriosis, previous ovarian cysts, and pelvic infection.
Ovarian cysts that develop after menopause could be cancerous. Complications associated with some ovarian cysts include ovarian torsion and cyst rupture.
How are ovarian cysts diagnosed?
To diagnose ovarian cysts, Dr. Bhanot reviews your symptoms and medical history. She will perform a pelvic exam. She may recommend a pelvic ultrasound or blood tests.
How are ovarian cysts treated?
Your ovarian cyst treatment plan is based on the severity of your condition and symptoms. Your personalized treatment may include:
Many times simply keeping an eye on ovarian cysts over time is all that’s needed for treatment, as they might go away on their own within a few months. Dr. Bhanot may order follow-up pelvic ultrasounds to check if the ovarian cyst is still present, or to evaluate if the cyst is changing in size or character.
Taking birth control pills or other hormonal contraceptives can prevent ovarian cysts from returning. Birth control won’t get rid of existing ovarian cysts, however.
A minimally invasive Laparoscopy may be required to remove ovarian cysts or the affected ovary. Dr. Bhanot might recommend this treatment option if cysts are large, look abnormal, increase in size, develop after menopause, or are painful.
If Dr. Bhanot feels that the ovarian cyst may be cancerous, she may order blood tests known as tumor markers and refer you to a cancer specialist for further evaluation. You might require a total hysterectomy with radiation or chemotherapy in some cases.
Don’t let ovarian cysts go undetected and untreated. If you experience unusual symptoms or are due for an annual well-woman exam, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bhanot.