The female reproductive system consists of a pair of ovaries, fallopian tubes and a uterus. The ovaries are the most important organs in this system, since they produce matured ova (or eggs) for fertilization. Sometimes due to abnormalities, cysts grow on the ovaries. The cysts are small sacs that are filled with fluid and are seen on either or both the ovaries. Most of the women have ovarian cysts and are hardly aware of this condition.
These cysts are relatively harmless and do not cause any discomfort. Sometimes, these sacs may disappear, just as they were formed, without a trace. However, in some cases, due to the presence of infections they can and lead to a number of complications, some of which may prove to be harmful. Cysts are less common in women who have entered menopause.
There are three types of ovarian cysts, namely, endometrioma cysts (caused due to endometriosis), dermoid cysts (formed from the egg cells) and cystadenomas (grown from the tissue in the ovary). The endometrioma, which is formed outside the uterine wall can result in complications in the ovary that can lead to ovarian cancer, if the cyst ruptures. Cystadenomas are large cysts filled with mucus and liquid and cause a lot of pain, if they grow twisted.
The last type of cyst, which is the dermoid cyst, is benign but can be a painful cyst, if it twists itself. A complex cyst in the ovary is an outgrowth of solid mass that can be benign or malignant in nature. This mass of tissue is formed when the ovum produced by the follicle is not released into the uterus. This unhealthy growth is a result of hormonal imbalance or excessive growth in the follicles. Cysts may also caused due to excess fertility drugs, which result in over stimulation of the ovaries.
Ovarian Cyst Symptoms
A cyst in the ovary hardly shows any symptoms, when it is small in size. But if it becomes enlarged or bursts, then the fluid can spread to other organs in the body and affect them. It can also trigger inflammation and pain. In some women, the pain can be so severe that it restricts movement and might also require surgical removal. Given below are some of the signs of a ruptured cyst, which can be indications of the presence of this risky condition in the body.
- The most common and dominant symptom of an ovarian cyst that has ruptured is severe pain, which can be unbearable. This pain usually results due to a twisted ovary and begins at the pelvic region and radiates to the abdomen and the back.
- Irregularities in the menstrual cycle
- Painful and prolonged menstrual period
- Experiencing pressure on the abdominal region and a feeling of bloating is also one of the symptoms of cysts on either of the ovaries.
- Pain during intercourse
- Sudden pelvic pain, accompanied with vomiting induced nausea and fever
- Dull ache in the lower back region is also a symptom of a cyst
- Pain and discomfort during urination and bowel movements
Treating Ovarian Tumors
Surgical removal of the cyst is very essential to avoid complications. Treatment for ovarian cysts totally depends on the size and nature (whether it is benign or malignant). Before administering treatment, the doctor will conduct tests like a manual pelvic exam, trans vaginal ultrasound and an MRI scan to diagnose the exact condition of the cyst.
Once the diagnosis is done, the doctor may prescribe oral contraceptives (or birth control pills) as a treatment method. If the cyst increases in size, then the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the infected part and prevent it from affecting other organs. In severe cases, where the cyst is malignant and has turned into cancer, then the patient may have to undergo hysterectomy where the affected ovaries and uterus is completely removed.
A complex ovarian cyst is a life-threatening condition, if not diagnosed and treated on time. In some instances, unhealthy growth of tumors can also lead to cancer. So if you experience extreme pain in the abdominal and pelvic region, visit a gynecologist immediately.