What are ovarian cysts?
Every woman has two ovaries located in the lower abdomen and on both sides of the uterus. Ovaries play an important role in the female reproductive system by producing eggs and the two important hormones i.e. estrogen and progesterone. At times, small fluid-filled sacs of pockets develop in the ovaries or on its surface. These cysts are normally painless and come with no symptoms.
Types of ovarian cysts
- Endometriotic cyst: In this condition, tissues that normally grow inside the uterus start developing outside and attach itself to ovaries, leading to development of the cyst. This type of cyst can lead to intense pain during periods, decrease the egg quality and decrease a woman’s pregnancy chances too.
- Dermoid cysts: These sacs contain hair, fat, skin, teeth or other tissues.
- Cystadenomas: These are sacs filled with watery or mucus. These are non-cancerous cysts.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?
Many times, ovarian cysts do not cause any pain and dissolve on its own over a period of time. However, a large cyst can cause:
- Sharp pelvic pain
- Heaviness in the abdomen
- Pain with fever or vomiting
- Sudden and severe pain the abdomen
- Breast tenderness
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Painful bowel movements
Causes of ovarian cysts
- Hormonal imbalance: Any imbalance in the hormones is likely to lead to formation of a cyst
- Medicines: Ovulation inducing drugs can lead to formation of an ovarian cyst
- Menopause: Cysts that develop after menopause are likely to be cancerous
- Endometriosis: This condition leads to growth of the endometrial cells outside the uterus, often attaching itself to the surface of the ovary and leading to its growth
Complications caused by ovarian cysts
Rupture: A cyst formed may burst out. The larger the cyst, higher the chances of a possible rupture.
Ovarian torsion: Medium sized cyst with solid and cystic area may undergo twisting. The symptoms of this may include pelvic pain, nausea and vomiting. The cyst can also destruct the blood flow of the ovaries, causing total loss of viability of that ovary.
Ovarian cyst and infertility
Endometriosis: This can give rise to fertility problem
Polycystic ovary syndrome: PCOS is a condition marked by many small cysts in the ovaries, irregular periods and production of male hormone i.e. androgen, insulin resistance and obesity.