Ovarian cysts are common and most women will have at least one during their life. In most cases they do not display any symptoms and are discovered only during routine physical exams and ultrasounds. In most cases, it is nothing to worry about but in rare cases it can lead to complications and hence it is best to get an ovarian cysts checked out by a doctor.
Ovarian cysts usually affect women in their child bearing years. They can be described as fluid-filled sacs that develop in either of the ovaries. In an ultrasound image, these can look like small bubbles. Problems usually arise when these cysts grow larger or rupture.
In such cases, you may experience symptoms that include:
If the doctor suspects ovarian cysts, an ultrasound is usually used to confirm the diagnosis. A pelvic ultrasound or a sonograph as it is also known is a non-invasive imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the body’s internal structure. In some cases, an endovaginal ultrasound may also be required. This involves inserting a covered wand or probe into the vagina through which a clearer image of the ovaries can be seen.
If the cyst does not trigger any of the above symptoms, it usually does not require treatment. Instead a pelvic ultrasound may be scheduled after a month to check on the size of the cyst. In most cases, these cysts resolve themselves within a month or two. In the case of larger cysts, a biopsy may be required to rule out the chances of the cysts being cancerous. Birth control pills may be prescribed to address the pain associated with this condition. These pills are also used to stop ovulation and reduce the risk of developing further cysts.
Surgery is considered only if the cyst grows in size or continues to pain. In such cases, surgery can be of two kinds: laparoscopy or laparotomy. Laparoscopy involves the removal of cysts through a telescope like an instrument that is inserted through a small incision made in the abdomen. This is usually used to remove small cysts. Larger cysts and ovarian tumours are treated with a laparotomy. This involves making a bigger incision in the stomach and may also involve the removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus depending on the tumour.