We want all you readers to be as well-informed as you can be when it comes to your health and body, so that’s why today, we’re giving you the lowdown on ovarian cysts.
As you have probably already guessed, ovarian cysts have to do with the ovaries. But what exactly are they? Well, the cysts themselves are sacs of fluid which form on a woman’s ovaries.
Cysts come in different types and can happen for a number of different reasons. The most common kind of cyst is called a “follicular cyst.” That happens when an egg isn’t released from within the follicle (a sac of fluid).
Another type of cyst is called a “corpus luteum cyst.” Basically after your ovary releases an egg, it results in this bit of tissue (aka corpus luteum). In some cases, it doesn’t break down like it should and instead becomes a cyst. Other causes for ovarian cysts could be another condition, like polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis.
On the whole, ovarian cysts are actually pretty common and you may not even realize that you have one until something happens, like it ruptures and you start to feel pain. You could also be affected if the cyst causes “torsion” to occur, which means it causes the ovary to twist. Blood can no longer reach the ovary and it can result in intense pain in your abdomen that needs to be addressed by a doctor immediately.
While you may not know you have one, your doctor may be able to find an ovarian cyst during a pelvic exam. A pelvic ultrasound can also check for ovarian cysts.
A lot of times, an ovarian cyst will just go away on its own. Your doctor may monitor the cyst to make sure that it’s getting smaller and you also may need to make some lifestyle tweaks for a bit (like abstaining from exercise) to prevent any complications from arising (like torsion).
If the ovarian cyst isn’t going away, is getting bigger or hurts you, there are also options for it to be surgically removed. Some women are prescribed birth control pills to help prevent new cysts from forming.
In some cases, an ovarian cyst could contain tumors (both cancerous and non-cancerous). Before you stress out too much though about possibly having cancer, know that the Center For Young Women’s Health notes that it’s pretty rare for a cyst to be cancerous. Still, it’s just another reason to make sure you are getting regular check ups to be safe.
While you may not always have symptoms, there are a few things like instances of pelvic pain, irregularities in your period and a need to urinate often, which could be evidence of an ovarian cyst. As always, if anything feels off with your body, make sure you discuss it with your doctor so that she can be proactive about figuring out what’s up, whether it is an ovarian cyst or maybe something else.
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