- N Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form within the ovary or on its surface.
- N The size of an ovarian cyst varies. It can be as small as 2 cm to more than 20 cm in diameter.
- N Cysts that are smaller than 3 cm in diameter are functional cysts and will resolve with time.
- N Surgery is considered in cases where the cyst is causing symptoms, larger than 5 cm or whereby cancer cannot be ruled out.
Who are at risk
Your likelihood of developing ovarian cysts is heightened by:
- N Women of reproductive age. A woman has the tendency to develop a cyst If she is still menstruating and her body is still producing estrogen.
- N Hormonal problems. This is particularly common in those who are taking fertility medications to address hormonal problems.
- N Pregnancy. The cyst the forms during ovulations may stay on the ovary throughout the pregnancy.
- N Endometriosis. This condition causes uterine endometrial cells to grow outside of the uterus. Some of these tissues can attach to the ovary and form a growth.
- N Family history. There are some women who are genetically predisposed to develop ovarian cysts.
- N A previous ovarian cyst. If you experienced developing ovarian cysts, there is a good chance that it may also form again in the future. .
- N Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
- N Pain or pressure upon urination or bowel movement
- N Infertility
- N Bloating or increased abdominal girth
- N Fullness or heaviness in the lower abdomen
- N Chronic pelvic pain or low back pain
- N Irregular menstrual periods
In instances where the ovarian cyst ruptures, bleeds or twists (torsion), it can cause sudden severe pain. This usually occurs in the mid-menstrual cycle or after strenuous activities.
- N Pelvic ultrasound. In a transvaginal approach, a thin covered wand is placed into the vagina to visualize the uterus and the ovaries. This produces clearer images than a scan that is done through the abdominal wall (reserved for sexually naive patients) because the wand/probe can be positioned closer to the ovaries.
- N Blood test for tumor makers. A blood test may be ordered if there is a suspicion for ovarian cancer. CA-125 is often elevated with ovarian cancer.
- N Laparoscopy surgery. Through a small incision, a thin scope called a laparoscope can be passed into the abdomen. This allows the surgeon to identify the cyst at close proximity and allows removal (cystectomy) at the same setting.
- N Pregnancy Test. The pregnancy test may be done in order to rule out ectopic pregnancy since it often has similar signs and symptoms.
In certain circumstances, a CT or MRI scan may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
- N Ovarian Cystectomy – This is a surgical removal of the cyst from your ovary with the preservation of normal ovarian tissue. It is an appropriate treatment for pre-menopausal women to conserve ovarian tissue for reproductive and hormonal function.
- N Laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) – This approach is associated with less post-operative pain and faster recovery. It is an appropriate treatment if the risk of malignancy is low.
- N Laparotomy (open surgery) – This is a surgical approach that is recommended if you had a previous surgery, if the cyst is large, or if the cyst has suspicious features for cancer.
- N Oophorectomy – This is a surgical procedure to remove one or both ovaries. It can be done alone or together with another procedure, such as a hysterectomy.
At the Dr. Pamela Tan Clinic, we provide advice and intervention for women with ovarian cysts. Contact us today for proper advice and treatment.