Ovaries are a part of the female reproductive system located in the lower abdomen. They are placed on both sides of the uterus. There are two ovaries that produce hormones progesterone and estrogen as well as eggs. Ovaries are responsible for controlling the development of female body characteristics such as hair, body shape, and breasts. They also regulate pregnancy and menstrual cycle.

Over time, a fluid-filled structure or sac can be developed on one of the ovaries. This sac is called a cyst and many women, during their lifetime develops at least one cyst. Cysts are harmless and in most of the cases, they cause no pain or any symptoms. However, cysts may or may not represent a neoplasm or tumor. If it appears to be a tumor, it may be malignant or benign.

Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cyst

In most cases, ovarian cysts do not show any signs of discomfort. But the symptoms can appear if the cyst tends to grow. It may include

  • Painful intercourse
  • Breast tenderness
  • Pain in the thighs or lower back
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Pelvic pain during or before periods
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Abdominal swelling or bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Urinary urgency
  • Feeling full only after eating a small amount
  • Feeling the urge to defecate

Some severe symptoms that require immediate medical help include

  • Sharp or severe pelvic pain
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever

These symptoms are the signs of ovarian torsion or ruptured cyst. Both these complications are required to be taken seriously as it can have severe consequences on your health if not treated early.

What causes Ovarian Cysts?

There are several factors that cause ovarian cysts and most of them are not cancerous.

  1. Tubo-ovarian abscesses :

    It is an infection caused in the pelvic organs involving the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. This infection causes the formation of pus-filled cystic spaces around the ovaries and tubes.

  2. Benign Cystic Teratomas :

    Both malignant and benign tumors of the ovary may be cystic. The ovaries experience the abnormal tissue development forming cyst-like structures, but they are actually tumors.

  3. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome :

    This condition results in the formation of small and multiple cysts on both ovaries. This condition is associated with hormonal problems and can cause infertility in women.

Diagnosing Ovarian Cysts

Doctors at Vedanta hospital follows a multitude of diagnostic procedures for testing and diagnosing ovarian cysts. It includes a routine pelvic examination, looking for a swelled-up ovary, and more.

In case, if the doctor feels like the conditions are worse, he/she may issue imaging tools for diagnosing ovarian cysts.

  • Ultrasound Device : 

    this tool is used for visualizing the ovaries

  • MRI : 

    this device is used to produce the in-depth images of the internal organs

  • CT Scan : 

    this device is used to create cross-sectional images of the internal organs

Due to the fact that the cysts only appears for few weeks or months, the doctor will not instantly recommend a treatment plan such as the ovarian cysts surgery. Instead, the doctor will repeat the diagnosis and tests for few more weeks to check whether the cyst is growing or diminishing.

Treatment for Ovarian Cysts

The ideal treatment of ovarian cysts depends on the symptoms and its cause. Moreover, the doctor will consider your age and the size of your cyst to determine the treatment plan. It requires frequent monitoring to determine whether the cysts are functional or not. The cysts are prone to get ruptured and can cause significant bleeding. In this case, ovarian cysts surgery is required. Moreover, malignant and benign tumors also require surgical treatment.

The vital part of any kind of cyst treatment is observation. The doctors also evaluate blood tests like CA-125 to determine if the cyst poses any potential for cancer.

Surgical Treatment for Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts can be easily removed via surgery either with laparotomy or with laparoscopy.

  • Laparoscopic ovarian Cystectomy :
      It is one of the safest procedure considered and is used to treat simple ovarian cysts.
  • Laparoscopy ovarian Drilling :
      This surgical treatment is followed if your ovaries are affected with multiple cysts.
  • Laparotomy :
      If you are feeling severe pain or in case of malignancy, then the doctor may perform an open abdominal incision.