An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that grows on the ovaries. They’re very common and mostly harmless, and usually disappear in a few months without treatment.
Some ovarian cysts can cause symptoms such as pain in the abdomen, bloating and irregular periods. Most are a normal part of the menstrual cycle and shouldn’t cause any discomfort, however, large cysts or cysts causing symptoms, may need to be surgically removed.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes lots of small, harmless cysts to develop on your ovaries – learn more about PCOS here.
Ovarian cyst symptoms
Usually, an ovarian cyst will only cause symptoms if it ruptures or is very large.
The presence of a large ovarian cyst can make you prone to a rare emergency called ovarian rupture, where if it’s not resolved, the ovary’s blood supply gets cut off abruptly, causing a potential loss of the ovary.
Most cysts don’t cause any symptoms and go away naturally, however, if a cyst splits or is very large, you can experience these signs of ovarian cyst:
Pelvic pain – it can either be mild and dull, or sharp and intense
Pain when having sex
Frequent need to urinate
Difficulty emptying your bowels
Heavy and irregular periods
Fullness and heaviness in the abdomen; feeling full after only eating a little
Diagnosing ovarian cysts
If you have any ovarian cyst symptoms, we recommend booking a consultation with one of our gynaecologists here at The Evewell. They will conduct a pelvic examination and transvaginal ultrasound.
We will also undertake a full review of your history and symptoms, as well as discuss any plans you may have to build a family, to make recommendations for appropriate treatment.
We also do other tests, such as a hormone level test or blood test, called Cancer Antigen 125 (CA 125) – a tumour marker to assess the risk of ovarian cancer.
Treating ovarian cysts
We provide a full range of treatment options for ovarian cysts, without the need to wait for a long diagnosis, and any treatment and management plan will be designed around your needs, working to your schedule.
In most cases, ovarian cysts don’t require any treatment as they go away naturally, however, you may require an ovarian cyst removal surgery if you are past menopause or have cysts on your ovary:
Doesn’t go away after several menstrual cycles
Increases in size
Looks unusual on the ultrasound
If your cyst doesn’t require removal, you may be recommended painkillers or, if you develop cysts on ovaries often, you could be prescribed hormonal birth control to lower the chances of getting more cysts.
Your consultant will discuss all these options with you and our experienced care teams will be on hand to provide sensitive support and aftercare.
Ovarian cysts, fertility and pregnancy
The good news is ovarian cysts don’t prevent women from getting pregnant naturally, however, it may sometimes be harder to conceive.
If you have any illnesses that cause cysts on ovaries to form, such as endometriosis or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, then ovarian cysts could affect your fertility, but they’re not untreatable.
Developing cysts on ovaries is also common during pregnancy – typically, these are non-cancerous and harmless. Ovarian cysts that continue to grow can rupture or cause problems during childbirth, however, your consultant will be able to identify these and monitor any cysts found during pregnancy.
Here at The Evewell, not only are our fertility consultants also gynaecologists, with specialised interests in providing holistic female healthcare, but we are also leading the way in new endoscopic techniques for the treatment of ovarian cysts.
If you have any concerns or are experiencing any ovarian cyst symptoms and would like to arrange a consultation to discuss ovarian cyst treatment in London, please get in touch with us to see how we can help.