An ovarian cyst is a benign growth that is filled with fluid, blood, or mucus. A cyst forms on the surface of the ovaries. Ovaries are a pair of female organs in which reproductive cells mature. The ovaries are also responsible for the production of sex hormones.
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Some types of cysts are not dangerous and will disappear within a few months. Some, on the contrary, are dangerous and may even cause infertility or cancer.
Why does an ovarian cyst appear?
Ovarian cyst formation can be caused by various reasons. The main reasons include:
- hormonal disorders;
- early onset of the menstrual cycle;
- inflammation and infections;
- Dysfunction of the thyroid gland.
The presence of a cyst on the ovary may be indicated by:
- Circumferential pelvic pain;
- pressure or heaviness in the abdomen;
- Difficulty conceiving – although ovarian cysts do not usually affect fertility;
- Bleeding from the uterus that is not related to menstruation;
- Disruption of the menstrual cycle (in terms of duration or intensity, as well as late onset of the cycle);
- throbbing or dull pains in the lower abdomen (pain may also occur during sexual intercourse or physical exertion);
- weakness, heart palpitations;
- increased blood circulation in the mammary glands (increasing the size of the glands and pain due to the outflow of milk after childbirth);
- Bloating, increasing the volume of the abdomen (in the presence of a large, cystic tumor);
- high temperature up to 38-39 degrees;
- frequent urination;
- in some cases - weight gain;
- Stretching of the front wall of the abdomen;
- Frequent need to urinate.
Small cysts are usually not characterized by these symptoms.
Types of ovarian cysts
There are many different types of ovarian cysts, which can be categorized as follows:
- Functional cysts are the most common type. It is usually part of the menstrual cycle and does not require treatment. It is expressed by a follicular cyst or a cyst of the corpus luteum, which arises from the follicles or the corpus luteum;
- Pathological cysts - this type of cysts can be both benign (endometrioid, lutein, dermoid, ovarian fibroma) and malignant (cystadenoma, mucinous);
- Abnormal cysts are caused by abnormal cell growth and are not related to the menstrual cycle. They can develop before or after menopause.
Several types of ovarian cyst are distinguished, according to its structure and the way of formation, these are:
- A dermoid cyst is a benign tumor that may contain body tissues and cells, such as hair or cartilage;
- An endometrial cyst occurs when cells from the uterus get into the ovaries;
- Cystadenoma is a rare type of cyst, i.e. a benign tumor that may turn into a malignant one;
- A mucinous cyst, which is composed of mucus, reaches a large size and may become malignant.
- Twisted - the cyst can be twisted. As a result, the blood supply to the ovary is disrupted, which causes severe pain in the lower abdomen.
- Apoplexy-rupture – when an ovarian cyst ruptures, the patient experiences sudden, severe pain. Rupture may also be accompanied by bleeding.
- Malignant tumor of the ovary - rarely, an ovarian cyst is the beginning of cancer.
Ovarian cyst diagnostics:
- gynecologist consultation;
- ultrasound research;
- computed tomography, MRI;
- Blood tests - onco-marker CA-125, determination of hormonal status.
Ovarian cyst diagnostics begins in the gynecologist's office, with a visual examination of the patient. The doctor may find that the ovaries are enlarged and prescribe various tests. For the most part, a blood test that shows the presence or absence of inflammation.
Ultrasound examination allows to examine the disease in detail, in particular - to see the cyst and determine its location. Laparoscopy can not only visualize the tumor, but also take the material, perform the so-called biopsy. A biopsy revealed whether the growth was benign or malignant.
In cases where cyst treatment requires surgical intervention, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are performed. With the mentioned examinations, it is possible to get a lot of information about the cyst, starting from its structure and ending with its dimensions.
Treatment of ovarian cysts depends on the following factors:
- its size and type;
- on the patient's age;
- on the patient's symptoms;
- Have you gone through menopause?
In most cases, the cyst often disappears after a few months. An ultrasound scan can be used to check for this, but if you are postmenopausal, then your risk of developing an ovarian cyst is slightly higher. Regular ultrasound examinations and blood tests are recommended for ovarian cyst monitoring.
Surgery may also be necessary to remove cysts if they are large, symptomatic, or potentially cancerous. Ovarian cyst is surgically removed if:
- The cyst increases in size, does not drain and does not respond to medical treatment;
- There is a risk of the cyst turning into a malignant tumor;
- The growth is located inside the ovary;
- A benign growth is a type of dermoid, mucinous or endometrial cyst.