An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac located inside the ovary or on the surface. Most cysts are functional and develop as a normal part of the menstrual cycle. Functional cysts include follicular cysts, which develop when a follicle containing an egg doesn’t rupture properly at ovulation. Another type of functional cyst is a corpus luteum cyst, which may develop after an egg has been released at ovulation.
Other types of cysts that may appear on the ovaries include endometriomas, cystadenomas, and dermoid cysts. Ovarian cysts are rarely cancerous.
Most ovarian cysts don’t cause any symptoms. However, some patients with ovarian cysts may experience pelvic pain, especially right before or right after menstruation. Patients with this condition may also experience pressure on the bowels, pain during bowel movements, nausea, and fullness in the abdomen. In addition, larger ovarian cysts may press on the bladder, causing the patient to urinate more frequently.
Most ovarian cysts will go away on their own without any treatment. However, other cysts may continue to cause uncomfortable symptoms. In some cases, Dr. Pollard may simply watch the cyst over time to see if it disappears. If the cyst is large, growing, or suspicious, Dr. Pollard may recommend surgery to remove it.
Patients may be able to reduce the chances of developing new ovarian cysts by taking birth control pills. However, some patients may develop new ovarian cysts in spite of treatment.
Ovarian cysts are a common cause of pelvic pain. However, pelvic pain may also result from fibroid tumors in the uterus. A fibroid tumor is a small, compact tumor composed of fibrous connective tissue and muscle cells. These tumors are usually benign, but they can still be painful. If pain from fibroid tumors is bothersome, treatment is available. Dr. Pollard can diagnose fibroids using ultrasound, hysteroscopy, and other tests. If she finds fibroids, she will explain treatment options and help patients decide on the best course of action.
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