Though ovarian cysts are common and usually trouble-free, sometimes these cysts cause discomfort and even pain. The physicians of Memphis Obstetrics & Gynecological Association, PC, with locations in Memphis, Germantown, and Bartlett, Tennessee, as well as Southaven, Mississippi, are experts in treating cysts. Call the office today or request an appointment online.
Pockets of fluid inside or on the surface of your ovaries, these cysts are common for many women, but usually, they develop and disappear on their own, without causing symptoms or requiring treatment. Some ovarian cysts can, however, create symptoms while others may rupture, causing additional problems.
When a cyst becomes symptomatic, your may feel a sensation of fullness or heavy pressure in your abdomen. It may feel more like bloating, and it can include either dull or sharp pain on the side of the affected ovary, in your lower abdomen.
Ruptured cysts may cause severe pain in your abdomen or pelvic area that begins suddenly. This may be accompanied by fever and nausea. If you experience this, or any of the classic symptoms of shock, such as weakness, rapid breathing, and clammy skin, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Most cysts are a product of your menstrual cycle, called functional cysts. As your ovaries prepare to release an egg each month, a follicle develops and grows before releasing the egg into your fallopian tube. Two processes may occur to create a functional cyst. If the egg is released normally, the follicle is now called a corpus luteum. Sometimes, the corpus luteum traps fluid and continues to grow.
When a follicle doesn’t rupture to release its egg, a cyst may develop. This is called a follicular cyst. In both cases, though the process is different, the ovarian cyst development resembles that of an acne pimple on your skin. Functional cysts rarely create problems and tend to disappear within a few menstrual cycles.
Dermoid cysts develop from embryonic cells, and cystadenomas form on the surface of an ovary. Along with cysts related to endometriosis, these are the ovarian cysts more likely to produce symptoms and require treatment.
Using hormone therapy in the form of birth control pills to suppress ovulation can prevent recurrence of ovarian cysts, but these won’t affect cysts that have already formed. If symptoms are minor, your MOGA physician may advise monitoring to see if the cyst subsides.
If surgery is advised, there are two general approaches. The cyst itself may be targeted for removal, or complete removal of one or both ovaries may be suggested. This can be done with minimally invasive techniques, such as laparoscopy and robotically assisted surgery.