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Ovarian Cysts: An Overview
Ovaries happen to be the vital part of female reproductive system that are placed in the lower abdomen. There are two ovaries set to produce the eggs, and the hormones estrogen as well as progesterone. Sometimes, there occurs a development of a sac like structure filled with a fluid in one of the two ovaries. Health experts hold the view that many females happen to develop at least one cyst in their entire life. In most of the cases, these cysts stand to be painless and lead to no symptoms at all.
Types of Ovarian Cysts
Though ovarian cysts are of many types like dermoid and the endometrioma cysts but functional cysts happen to be the most common. There are two types of functional cysts, namely:
Follicle Cyst: At the time of menstrual cycle, the egg's growth takes place in a sac known as the follicle, placed within the ovaries. In ideal conditions, this follicle breaks open thus releasing the egg. However, when the follicle fails to break open, the fluid within forms a cyst on the ovary.
Corpus Luteum Cysts: Generally, the follicle sacs get dissolved once the egg is released. But when the sac remains undissolved and follicle opening also gets sealed, this results into added fluid development in the sac, the accumulation of which results into a cyst.
Often women battle a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome. This happens when the ovaries develop many small cysts, which causes enlargement of the ovaries. This condition if not treated can result into infertility.
Symptoms & Signs of Ovarian Cysts
As said earlier, these cysts generally don't cause any major symptoms. But as they grow, a woman can counter the given symptoms. These generally happen to be mild, devoid of any complication.
Severe symptoms: These indicate a broken cyst or ovarian torsion. These complications call for immediate medical help.
Causes of Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian Cyst Complications
Though most of the ovarian cysts go away naturally without any treatment, the complications like ovarian torsion need medical assistance. However, it's a rare complication wherein large cyst leads the ovary to either twist or dislocate. This cuts off supply of blood to the ovary and if not treated, the ovarian tissue gets damaged.
Ruptured cysts too are a rare sight, but can result onto severe pain as well as internal bleeding. It can increase the risk of infection and can even be life-threatening if not treated.
How an Ovarian Cyst is diagnosed?
An ovarian cyst is diagnosed by a pelvic examination using an ultrasound. During the examination, the doctor looks if any of the ovaries appear swollen which apparently is indicative of a cyst. A CT scan or MRI can also be used in detecting an ovarian cyst.
Treating an Ovarian Cyst
As said, a cyst in general goes away on its own but if it doesn't and grows bigger, the doctor can recommend following treatments:
Birth Control Pills: Women who battle recurrent cysts are often put on contraceptive pills as it stops ovulation thereby preventing new cysts development.
Laparoscopy: A laparoscopic surgery is preformed if the cyst happens to be small and there's no evidence of cancer. In this surgery, the incision made is quite small.
Laparotomy: The larger cysts are removed via laparotomy, which is done through a relatively larger incision in the abdomen.
How to Prevent an Ovarian Cyst?
There is no known way of preventing ovarian cysts. All you can do is undergo routine gynecological examinations so that the cysts can be detected in the very beginning of their growth. A timely diagnosis will help in keeping the complications at bay.
Staying aware and undergoing regular health check-ups is the best way of combating ovarian cysts. As the saying goes, 'Precaution is certainly better than Repentance'.