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Ovarian Cyst

Many women develop ovarian cysts, but they are usually harmless and do not need to be treated. If you have ovarian cysts, you might be concerned about their effect on fertility and pregnancy, and here at The Evewell, we are ready to help and support you.

 

Read on to learn what are the main types of ovarian cyst, what the main ovarian cysts symptoms are, and whether they can affect women’s fertility and pregnancy.

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What is an ovarian cyst?

 

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can grow on the ovaries. They’re very common and mostly harmless and usually disappear in a few months without treatment.

 

Some cysts on ovaries can cause symptoms, such as pain in the abdomen, bloating and irregular periods. Most ovarian cysts are a normal part of the menstrual cycle and shouldn’t cause any discomfort.

 

Large cysts or cysts causing symptoms may need to be surgically removed.

 

Who gets ovarian cysts?

 

Ovarian cysts are very common to females with regular periods and most women make at least one cyst every month. Only about 8% of premenopausal women develop cysts that require treatment.

 

Cysts on ovaries are less common after menopause, however, they are at a higher risk to be cancerous.

Types of ovarian cysts

 

Most ovarian cysts form during the menstrual cycle – these are known as functional cysts and are usually harmless and short-lived.
Normally, the ovaries grow cyst-like structures called follicles each month. Follicles produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone and release an egg when you ovulate.

 

If a normal monthly follicle keeps growing, it’s known as a functional cyst.

 

There are two types of functional cysts:

 

  • Follicular cyst – it forms when the follicle doesn’t break open to release the egg, which causes the follicle to continue growing into a cyst.
  • Corpus luteum cyst – a persistent cyst that is usually filled with blood. Corpus luteum cysts usually occur post ovulation and regress in size over a few weeks.

 

Other types of cysts can be benign but are much less common:

 

  • Endometrioma – a cyst on the ovary that is caused by endometriosis.
  • Dermoid cysts – a sac-like growth that is present at birth. It contains structures such as hair, fluid, teeth, or skin glands that can be found on or in the skin.
  • Cystadenomas – these develop on the surface of an ovary and are filled with watery fluid.

What causes ovarian cysts?

Some cysts on ovaries can be caused by abnormal cell growth or a condition such as endometriosis.

 

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining of the pelvis – learn more about endometriosis here.

 

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 cysts 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 – 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 it 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 during sexual intercourse
  • 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

Ovarian Cyst Diagnosis

If you feel any ovarian cysts symptoms, speak to your GP, who may suggest an ultrasound scan to identify the cyst and show its shape, size and location.

 

To detect and examine ovarian cysts, you can have a consultation and an ultrasound scan with one of our gynaecologists here at The Evewell. 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.

 

If you have any concerns, we are always ready to help and support you.

 

Ovarian Cyst Treatment

 

In most cases, ovarian cysts do not require any treatment as they go away naturally, however, you may require an ovarian cyst removal surgery if you are past menopause or your cyst on ovary:

 

  • Does not go away after several menstrual cycles
  • Increases in size
  • Looks unusual on the ultrasound
  • Causes pain

 

If your cyst doesn’t require ovarian cyst removal, you will be recommended painkillers or, if you develop cysts on ovaries often, prescribed hormonal birth control to lower the chances of getting more cysts.

 

You will not have to wait long for a diagnosis and we will be able to advise a treatment and management plan designed around your needs.

 

We provide a full range of treatment options for ovarian cysts. Your doctor will discuss all these options with you and our experienced care teams will be on hand to provide sensitive support and aftercare.

Ovarian Cysts And Pregnancy

 

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, they could affect your fertility – learn more about how to increase fertility in women here.

 

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 doctor will monitor any ovarian cyst found during pregnancy.

How can we help?

Here at The Evewell, we deeply care about all of our patients. If you have any concerns or experiencing any ovarian cyst symptoms, please get in touch with us to see how we can help. Whether that’s a consultation with one of our doctors to guide you through the treatment process, or putting you in touch with Fertility counsellors. You can contact us by either emailing us at appointments@evewell.com or giving us a call on 020 3974 0950.