An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on one or both ovaries. This is a common condition that affects most women at some point during their childbearing years. Many times, ovarian cysts won’t cause any symptoms at all; however, if the cyst is larger you may experience some abdominal pain, bloating, nausea or pain with intercourse.
You may find that ovarian cysts appear more often around your menstrual cycle. They are also more likely to develop in those with hormonal imbalances, those taking fertility treatments, women who are pregnant, women who have endometriosis and women who have a history of ovarian cysts.
Most ovarian cysts are completely harmless and will go away on their own without the need for special care or treatment; however, if a cyst ruptures this can cause some pretty serious symptoms that should be addressed right away. If you are dealing with sudden or severe abdominal pain, or if you have abdominal pain that is accompanied by vomiting or a fever then you need to call your gynecologist for immediate care.
There are different kinds of cysts that can develop on the ovaries. The most common type is called a functional cyst. Ovaries naturally grow fluid-filled sacs called follicles, which release the egg each month and are also responsible for producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone; however, if the follicle keeps growing it will turn into a functional cyst. Most functional cysts are nothing to worry about and often go away within a few months.
There are other types of ovarian cysts that can develop and that aren’t influenced or brought about by menstruation. These cysts include:
- Dermoid cysts
It is possible for dermoid cysts and cystadenomas to become large enough to cause the ovary to shift or even twist. If the ovary twists this is called ovarian torsion. This condition often causes severe and sudden abdominal pain on one side and it requires immediate medical attention.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent ovarian cysts from happening; however, if you do experience ovarian cysts, coming in for a routine gynecology checkup can help pinpoint this issue early on. If you notice any changes in your health or experience new or worsening symptoms it’s important to call your OBGYN.