Ovarian Cysts and Ovarian Tumours:
An ovarian cyst is a sac of tissue that develops inside an ovary. They are very common and many women will have ovarian cysts at some point in their life.
The cysts can be fluid filled sacs or have solid content and called tumours (pathological cysts).
While there are many types, the most common is a functional ovarian cysts which forms during the menstrual cycle. These are harmless and often go away on their own. The second main type is a pathological ovarian cysts which forms as the result of abnormal cell growth. These can be either benign (harmless) or malignant (cancerous).
Most cysts cause no symptoms and some are found incidentally during a pelvic examination or pelvic ultrasound. Further investigations may be organized if needed like a blood test or pregnancy test.
Not all women with ovarian cysts will experience symptoms as they generally only occur if the cyst is very large, has ruptured or blocks the blood supply to the ovaries. When symptoms are present, they can include:
- Menstrual changes – heavier, lighter or irregular periods
- Frequent urination or difficulty urinating.
- Pain during bowel movements or difficulty emptying your bowel
- Bloating or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen
- Observation – In many cases the cyst will disappear over the course of a few weeks or months without treatment being needed. The cyst will normally be observed by ultrasound during this time.
- Surgery – For women who are post-menopausal or have a cyst that causes pain, looks abnormal or gets larger on Ultrasound Dr Farjo may want to remove the cyst with surgery.
- Birth control pills–These may be recommended to prevent further cysts forming.
Benign ovarian cysts do not usually affect a women’s ability to conceive even if they required surgery. However the surgical management of the cyst will largely depends on the ultrasound features , it’s size , the blood results and the clinical findings in each individual case.