Women’s specialist talks about ovarian cysts
Our women’s specialist understands that the word “cyst” can make people a little nervous, but there has been a growth in awareness surrounding ovarian cysts over the years. It is important to learn as much as you can about this benign and relatively common condition if you are concerned that you or a loved one may have an ovarian cyst.
What is an ovarian cyst?
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled or solid pocket on or in your ovary. They are common, more so in women who have not gone through menopause or are pregnant. They can be harmless and painless most of the time. You may even have one every month as a part of your monthly menstrual cycle and never know you had one. Usually, they will go away without the need for treatment on their own.
When a cyst gets bigger or doesn’t go away is when it becomes a problem. It can start to be painful. Although rare, they can also be cancerous. As you get older, the chances go up.
There are several different types of cysts, most don’t require treatment and are noncancerous:
- Functional cyst: This type of cyst usually will dissipate without any treatment within six to eight weeks and cause no symptoms, they are the most common type.
- Teratoma: This cyst contains various tissues, such as hair and skin. A woman can be born with a teratoma cyst, or it can form during childbearing years. They can rarely progress to cancer.
- Cystadenoma: This can grow very large on the outside of the ovary. They are usually benign.
- Endometrioma: Women who suffer from endometriosis usually have this type of cyst form, endometriosis is a condition where the uterine tissue lining also appears outside of it, this can cause uncomfortable or painful complications.
Symptoms of ovarian cysts
Most of the time, a cyst will be small and won’t cause any problems. If there are any symptoms, you might feel bloating, pressure, pain, or swelling in one side of your belly. This pain can come and go as well as either be dull or sharp.
A cyst will sometimes need emergency attention. You should see your doctor right away if you have:
- Severe, sudden pain in your belly
- Fever and vomiting with pain
- Weakness, dizziness, or feeling faint
- Breathing fast
These are signs that your cyst may have caused your ovary to twist.
How an ovarian cyst is treated
Without you even knowing it was there, most of the time the cyst will disappear without the need for any treatment. However, you will have two options, should you have a cyst that needs treatment, either watchful waiting or surgery.
When a cyst is very large, is causing other symptoms, or it might be cancerous, a doctor will then recommend surgery. Your doctor, if this is the case, might perform surgery to remove the cyst from the ovary, or remove the ovary itself from your body.
Most likely, your doctor will carefully monitor a cyst with repetitive ultrasound exams. The ultrasounds will determine whether the size of the cyst or appearance has changed during the exams. Most cysts will resolve themselves without any surgical intervention needed, although it may take time.
Women’s specialist in Atlanta and Alpharetta GA
A women’s specialist will quickly evaluate and diagnose an ovarian cyst. Depending on the type of cyst, the treatment will be different.
Contact your top Alpharetta and Atlanta OBGYN for your obstetrics and gynecology care.