If you’re still menstruating, and we were to perform an ultrasound on your ovaries, the odds are good that we would find a cyst or two. Most of these cysts occur naturally, as part of ovulation, and they’re what we refer to as functional cysts, which typically disappear on their own. There are instances, however, when cysts can become problematic or be related to a larger problem.
To help you understand when ovarian cysts can benefit from treatment, the team of women's health experts here at Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology pulled together five examples in which cysts can become problematic.
1. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
With PCOS, your ovaries produce too many androgens, the hormones that are associated with male characteristics. While you can have PCOS without cysts, most women do develop these fluid-filled sacs on their ovaries, which are the result of failed egg maturation and ovulation.
These cysts then continue to produce androgens, which can lead to a host of symptoms that can have a serious impact on your quality of life, such as weight gain, body hair, infertility, and acne.
2. Follicle cysts
Each month during your reproductive years, an egg is released by your ovaries and grows in a follicle. This egg is then released by the follicle for fertilization. If the sac doesn’t break open to release the egg, a cyst can form on your ovary.
Follicle cysts aren’t necessarily dangerous, but if a cysts grows too large, you may experience pelvic and/or abdominal pain, bloating, and pain during intercourse, to name three of the more common symptoms.
3. Corpus luteum cysts
Under normal circumstances, the follicle sac that releases your egg dissolves after ovulation. If the sac doesn’t go away and seals itself off, a cyst can form. Like the follicle cysts we just described above, corpus luteum cysts often resolve on their own, but when they don’t, the cyst can grow, creating the same symptoms we describe above for follicle cysts.
4. Ruptured cyst
If you have a cyst that ruptures, this qualifies as a medical emergency, and you should seek treatment straight away.
Symptoms of a ruptured cyst include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tenderness in your abdomen
These symptoms can come on quickly, and the pain is often more than enough to get you to seek medical help.
5. Cysts after menopause
Most ovarian cysts are associated with ovulation, so any cysts that develop after you’ve transitioned through menopause are cause for concern, and we should investigate further.
We want to reiterate that ovarian cysts are most often benign and don’t pose any issues. Should you develop problematic ovarian cysts, however, we’re here to help, and we offer treatment options that range from hormonal medications to minimally invasive surgery.
If you suspect you may have an ovarian cyst that’s causing problems, your first step is to make an appointment at our office in Colorado Springs, Colorado, so that we can properly diagnose the issue. To get started, simply click here.