An ovarian cyst is nothing more than a fluid-filled sac that forms on your ovary. Most ovarian cysts are called “functional cysts” because they develop when your ovaries release an egg at the start of your menstrual cycle and don’t create symptoms or impair your fertility.
But there are other, less common types of benign ovarian cysts. Here at Progressive Women’s Health, in Friendswood, Texas, Dr. Asia Mohsin and her team can help you learn about these and provide other information about ovarian cysts. Although most are harmless, it’s good to stay on top of them. Here’s a look at some types of benign ovarian cysts.
Dermoid cysts are present from birth and are composed of fetal cells, such as hair, teeth, and skin cells. They do not usually cause any symptoms.
Endometriomas form in women who have a condition called endometriosis, in which their uterine lining grows outside the uterus and may grow on their ovaries. Sometimes, the endometrial tissue attached to an ovary forms a cyst.
Cystadenomas are watery, nonfunctional cysts that can grow extremely large. Large cysts sometimes require surgical removal.
Ovarian cysts are so common that almost every woman develops a cyst when she releases an egg. Only about 8% of premenopausal women develop cysts that are large enough to cause symptoms and require treatment.
If you have ovarian cysts after menopause, however, you may be at greater risk for ovarian cancer. Dr. Mohsin, an expert OB/GYN, recommends that postmenopausal women with ovarian cysts get yearly pelvic exams and ultrasound studies to be sure the cysts aren’t growing or changing. If you have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, she may also recommend blood tests to be sure your levels of the protein CA 125 are normal.
Only about 22,500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States each year. If you do have ovarian cancer, early diagnosis and treatment are key to a good outcome, so be sure to call us whenever you have concerns or if you have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer.
Stay alert to symptoms
Whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cysts, and regardless of your age, you should be alert to symptoms that could indicate the presence of or changes to an ovarian cyst. Call us immediately whenever you notice unusual symptoms such as:
- Severe pelvic pain
- Sharp, sudden pelvic pain
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after menopause
- Bloating in lower abdomen
- Pain with nausea and vomiting
- Frequent urination
Sudden, severe pain with shortness of breath or dizziness could indicate that your cyst has ruptured or your ovary has twisted. Get medical help immediately if you experience symptoms like this. Bleeding after menopause could be a sign of ovarian cancer, so call Dr. Mohsin right away for an evaluation if this occurs.
Treat underlying conditions
If you have endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you’re more likely to develop ovarian cysts and have trouble getting pregnant. Treating your endometriosis or PCOS restores your fertility and may also resolve your ovarian cysts. Each condition responds to hormonal therapy, but endometriosis can also be treated with in-office endometrial ablation, in which the uterine lining is removed.
Monitor cysts during pregnancy
If you have large cysts and get pregnant, we recommend monitoring the cysts with ultrasound. Cysts that grow too large could rupture, cause an ovary to twist, or complicate childbirth.
Remove troublesome cysts
If your cysts are large, growing, or causing symptoms, Dr. Mohsin may recommend minimally invasive surgical removal. She may also recommend removing cysts that persist past menopause. About 5% to 10% of women undergo surgery to remove ovarian cysts, according to the National Institutes of Health. Of those cysts, only about 13% to 21% are cancerous.
Get the answers to your questions about ovarian cysts by calling our office at 281-993-4072 for an evaluation today, or use our convenient online booking form.