Ovarian cysts are a relatively common gynecological disorder in women, but fortunately often benign. What are the symptoms, and how can these small tumors be treated? Here are some explanations.
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What are cysts?
There are two types of ovarian cysts: the most common (90%) are functional cysts. A malfunction of the ovary causes them. The second category is that of so-called organic cysts due to impaired ovarian function. Among these, dermoid cysts, endometriotic cysts or those encountered in polycystic ovary syndrome are likely to alter ovulation.
They belong to the family of functional cysts. Hormonal disturbances lead to the abnormal enlargement of a follicle which does not rupture and therefore does not release the egg. As a result, there is no ovulation. Fortunately, these cysts often disappear spontaneously after a few menstrual cycles. If this is not the case, medical treatment (estrogen pill) can be offered to get everything back in order. Then an ultrasound check is carried out after two or three months to ensure that the cyst has disappeared. Most often, it is discovered by chance, but occasionally pelvic pain leads to a consultation.
They are frequently found in women with infertility. They result from a disease called endometriosis, in which tissue from the endometrium (the mucous membrane inside the uterus) develops in other organs. At the end of the cycle, the endometrium bleeds, and the period arrives. The presence of blood in organs where it cannot drain away, such as the ovary, leads to painful haematomas that take a long time to disappear. These cysts are also called “chocolate cysts”. When the cyst becomes too large, the treatment removes the cyst, most often by laparoscopy. About 50% of surgically treated patients succeed in becoming pregnant.
Polycystic ovary syndrome or ovarian dystrophy
One woman in ten is affected by this condition caused by a hormonal abnormality, the origin of which is poorly understood. It is diagnosed by ultrasound and shows enlarged ovaries with more than twelve small follicles on their surface. The symptoms of this disease are anovulation, irregular or even absent menstruation and a surge of male hormones, sometimes resulting in acne and increased hair growth. Weight gain and even obesity are typical. Depending on the severity of the signs, the disease can exist in a mild, moderate or severe form. There is no cure for the disease, and the symptoms are treated on a case-by-case basis. The treatment is therefore adapted to the individual patient. To enable pregnancy, hormonal stimulation is used to restore ovulation. In vitro fertilization is also a solution.
A cyst on the ovary is a fluid-filled space within the ovary, which usually results from ovulation. Most cysts resolve on their own by breaking or being reabsorbed by your body. Occasionally they can cause bloating, discomfort, pain and may grow large.
Cysts on the ovaries are prevalent. The key to minimizing your anxiety level is to talk to your gynecologist, become educated about the type of cyst you have, and develop a follow-up plan.