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What are Ovarian Cysts: Types, Symptoms & Diagnosis | Max Hospital

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What are Ovarian Cysts: Types, Symptoms & Diagnosis Options

By Dr. Manisha Arora in Obstetrics And Gynaecology

Jul 04 , 2024 | 2 min read

Ovarian cysts, although often benign, can cause significant anxiety and discomfort for many. Gaining an understanding of these fluid-filled sacs, their origins, symptoms, and treatment options is essential for maintaining an individual's health and peace of mind. Let's explore the complexities of ovarian cysts to clarify this common but sometimes confusing condition.

What are Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian cysts are fluid or semi-solid sacs that develop on the ovaries, varying in size from as small as a pea to as large as a grapefruit. Most are harmless and asymptomatic, often resolving on their own without treatment. However, some can lead to complications and discomfort, requiring medical intervention.

Types of Ovarian Cysts

  • Functional Cysts: The most common type, developing as part of the menstrual cycle. These include follicular cysts, which occur when a follicle cannot release an egg, and corpus luteum cysts, which form after a follicle releases an egg and then seals off.
  • Dermoid Cysts: Contain tissues such as hair, skin, or teeth, developing from cells that produce human eggs. Typically benign, they can grow large and may need surgical removal.
  • Endometriomas: Result from endometriosis, where uterine lining-like tissue grows outside the uterus. These cysts can cause pain and fertility issues.
  • Cystadenomas: Develop from ovarian surface cells and can contain watery or mucous-like fluid. Usually benign, they can grow large and cause discomfort.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

  • Pelvic pain: Ranging from a dull ache to sharp pains, often on one side.
  • Bloating: A feeling of fullness or bloating in the abdomen.
  • Irregular menstruation: Changes such as irregular periods or spotting.
  • Pain during intercourse: Discomfort or pain during sex.
  • Urinary urgency: Pressure on the bladder from large cysts, leading to frequent urination or difficulty emptying the bladder.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing ovarian cysts typically involves pelvic exams, ultrasound imaging, and sometimes blood tests to measure hormone levels. Treatment options depend on the cyst's size, type, symptoms, the individual's age, and overall health.

  • Watchful waiting: Small, asymptomatic cysts may require regular monitoring through ultrasound.
  • Medication: Birth control pills can regulate hormones and prevent new cysts. Pain relievers to help manage discomfort.
  • Surgery: Necessary for large, symptomatic, or potentially cancerous cysts, often performed using minimally invasive laparoscopy.
  • Fertility treatment: For those with fertility issues due to cysts, treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be recommended.

While ovarian cysts can be worrisome, especially if symptomatic or complicated, most are benign and manageable with appropriate medical care. Regular pelvic exams and awareness of symptom changes are vital for early detection and treatment. Understanding ovarian cysts, their causes, and treatment options empowers individuals to take control of their reproductive health and well-being.