Up to 18% of American women have ovarian cysts. At Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology, in offices in Alpharetta and Atlanta, Georgia, the esteemed team of board-certified OB/GYNs can diagnose, monitor, and treat ovarian cysts based on your particular needs. For compassionate patient-driven care in a small practice that really cares, call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.
Ovarian cysts are growths in or on one of your two ovaries. The main types of ovarian cysts are:
Functional cysts, the most common variety, are typically asymptomatic and usually go away on their own within a couple of menstrual cycles.
Endometrioma cysts are uterine lining tissue that grows outside the uterus. They occur in women who have endometriosis. This type of cyst usually doesn't go away on its own and could potentially rupture.
Teratoma cysts, or dermoid cysts, contain skin tissue, hair, or another type of embryonic tissue. They're ordinarily present from birth but may grow larger after you start menstruating.
Cystadenoma cysts appear on the ovary surface. They're usually benign but may be quite large.
Although very rare, some ovarian cysts may develop into cancer.
Most women develop functional ovarian cysts at some point, but usually, the cysts go away without causing any symptoms.
If ovarian cysts remain for a long time or grow larger, they can potentially cause pain in your lower abdominal area. The pain may occur only at certain times, ranging from a dull ache to stabbing pain.
If a large cyst twists your ovary, or if an ovarian cyst ruptures, you may have very sudden severe pain.
The Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology team may discover ovarian cysts during a routine pelvic exam, a part of most well-woman exams. You may need an ultrasound exam to verify the diagnosis and determine which type of cyst you have.
If your cyst is solid or partly solid, and you're at risk for ovarian cancer, you may also need a specialized lab test — a CA 125 test — to check your blood for a specific cancer antigen.
CA 125 levels are usually high in women with ovarian cancer, particularly after menopause. However, high CA 125 levels may also happen with noncancerous conditions like uterine fibroids and endometriosis.
Not all ovarian cysts require treatment since most go away naturally. Instead, the team may recommend a watch-and-wait approach with periodic ultrasounds to monitor the cyst's size.
If you have a painful cyst, experience cyst rupture, or have a suspected malignant cyst, you'll need treatment.
Birth control pills are a standard treatment option for stable (non-growing) cysts. The hormones can prevent your cyst from growing larger and causing further issues, but they don't shrink it.
Surgical removal is an option for large, problem-causing, and malignant (cancerous) cysts. If you have ovarian cancer and it spreads or is likely to move into your other reproductive organs, you may need a hysterectomy (uterus removal) in addition to ovary and fallopian tube removal.
For help with an ovarian cyst, call Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology or book an appointment online today.