Like many female health concerns, ovarian cysts can be a cause for concern. For anyone unfamiliar with them, ovarian cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that develop in the ovaries. For some women, ovarian cysts form during monthly ovulation. Some ovarian cysts show no symptoms and may not be noticeable, while others can become painful or uncomfortable for a woman. While it’s true that most ovarian cysts are of minor concern, some can grow to become serious and require immediate medical intervention. In order to protect your health, it’s important for women to know when an ovarian cyst may indicate a more serious issue. This is why our board-certified gynecologists are here to explain when an ovarian cyst may be a concern.
There are many different types of ovarian cysts, but we will be focusing primarily on the most common form, functional cysts. Functional ovarian cysts are broken into two categories: follicle cysts and corpus luteum cysts.
During the menstrual cycle, eggs form sacs inside the ovaries called follicles. In most cases, the follicle will break open and release an egg. But if the follicle fails to break open, the fluid inside the follicle can form a cyst on the ovary. This is a follicular cyst. Once the egg is released, the follicle typically dissolves. However in some cases the follicle will persist and its opening can seal shut. In these instances, additional fluid can develop inside the follicle leading to a corpus luteum cyst.
For many women, ovarian cysts may develop without causing any negative effects. However, if the cyst grows, it can lead to a variety of symptoms including abdominal bloating, pelvic pain (especially during the menstrual cycle), pain during sex, tenderness in the breasts, and more. In rare cases, ovarian cysts can even lead to more serious symptoms like severe pelvic pain, fever, dizziness, and breathing issues. If you experience any of these symptoms, we highly recommend seeking medical attention immediately. These could be signs of a ruptured cyst or an ovarian torsion, both of which can have serious complications if not treated early. Additionally, in some cases small cysts in the ovaries can lead to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition associated with a number of hormonal issues and female infertility.
Due to their mysterious nature, it’s important to receive regular pelvic exams in order to identify and diagnose the presence of ovarian cysts. While you may not be able to prevent a cyst from occurring, there is still immense value in detecting ovarian cysts early before they have the chance to grow and impact your reproductive health. Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we can perform a transvaginal ultrasound to help detect ovarian cysts or any other abnormalities that could be causing issues. For more information on ovarian cysts or to request an appointment today, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips and news from the world of women’s health.