Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs or pockets within or on the surface of an ovary. They are a natural consequence of the maturation of eggs in preparation for ovulation. It isn’t unusual for a woman to develop these cysts.
In most cases, these are harmless, cause little or no discomfort and disappear after several menstrual periods.
Since the ovary does not ovulate after menopause, an ovarian cyst at this time needs careful monitoring for cancer. The best way to detect an ovarian cyst is through pelvic exam and evaluation using pelvic ultrasound.
It is important to be aware of any changes in your body. Signs of ovarian cysts might be:
- Menstrual irregularities
- Pelvic pain
- Pain with intercourse
- Fullness or heaviness in your abdomen
- Difficulty emptying your bladder completely
- Urinary frequency
Symptoms That Indicate Immediate Medical Attention Include:
- Sudden, severe abdominal or progressive pelvic pain
- Pain accompanied by fever or vomiting
Treatment Options For Ovarian Cysts
Treatment will depend on your age, the type and size of the cyst and your symptoms. Non-surgical options may include:
- “Watchful waiting” with regular monitoring using exam and ultra sound
- Over-the-counter pain relievers (Advil, Motrin IB, etc.)
- Birth control pills
- Restricting high-impact activities
- Avoiding constipation using diet and stool softener
- Withholding intercourse
Minimally-invasive surgical options for ovarian cysts include:
- Laparoscopic cystectomy (surgery to remove the cyst but not the ovary)
- Laparoscopic removal of tube and ovary