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OVARIAN CYSTS

WHAT ARE OVARIAN CYSTS?

Ovarian cysts are tiny cavities that may fill with fluid or debris that may form on or in a woman’s ovary.  Ovarian cysts are common in women. They vary in size with most being benign, simple cysts that disappear after a woman’s cycle.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF OVARIAN CYSTS?

  • Most women have no symptoms at all
  • Some may cause pain or pressure on one side of the lower abdomen or pelvis
  • Pain may be either sharp or dull and may come and go

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CYSTS NEED TREATMENT?

Sometimes the cyst can rupture (break open) spilling fluid into the abdominal cavity, or cause the ovary to twist around itself. Spillage of the cyst can cause pain and twisting of the ovary can be very serious and life threatening. Immediately call your doctor or go to the emergency room if you have any of the following:

  • Sudden, intense pain on either side of the abdomen or pelvis that doesn’t go away
  • Intense pain that prevents you from walking,
  • Nausea or vomiting associated with the pain

HOW ARE OVARIAN CYSTS DIAGNOSED?

Ovarian cysts are usually felt during a pelvic exam. If your doctor feels your ovary is enlarged, he/she may decide to do further tests such as an ultrasound or blood tests.  A procedure called laparoscopy can also be done. This involves a camera being inserted into the abdomen to make the diagnosis and remove the cyst.

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF OVARIAN CYSTS?

  • Follicular cysts: These are cysts that form when women ovulate. A follicle (sac) grows but does not rupture to release an egg. Follicular cysts often disappear without treatment.
  • Dermoid cysts: These are the most common type of cysts in women ages 20-40. Most dermoid cysts are benign, but they can rarely be cancerous. Dermoid cysts, also called teratomas, are made up of germ cells (reproductive cells) and can contain growth of teeth, cartilage, hair or fat.
  • Endometriotic cysts: Also called “chocolate cysts,” endometriotic cysts can develop in women with endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue, similar to the tissue in the lining of the uterus, grows outside the uterus. Endometriomas are filled with old blood that has an appearance similar to chocolate syrup.
  • Hemorrhagic cysts: Sometimes ovarian cysts may bleed into themselves. Often, the bleeding can cause pain and will typically resolve with time. Occasionally, the bleeding or pain is very significant and may require hospital admission, surgery or blood transfusion.

HOW ARE OVARIAN CYSTS TREATED?

Some cysts are harmless and may go away on their own. Birth control pills may help prevent new cysts from forming but cannot make cysts you already have go away. If the cyst is large and you feel symptoms such as pain and pressure, surgery can be done to remove it. The decision for surgery depends on many factors such as the size and type of cyst, your age, type of symptoms and your desire to have children. Speak to your healthcare provider about the best treatment option for you.

CAN I GET PREGNANT IF I HAVE OVARIAN CYSTS?

Yes. Most women with cysts can get pregnant even if one ovary is removed. If you think you are having trouble getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about medicines and technologies to help you.

|    © 2014-2018 copyright Taraneh Shirazian, MD

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Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health

207 E 84th Street

New York, NY 10028

Phone: 646-754-3300

 

Email: info@wwcofny.com