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Ovarian cysts can be as huge as these ones. They can be in one or both ovaries.

Ovarian cysts: What about them?

Since we looked at managing your ovarian cancer, it becomes prudent to look at other ovarian abnormal growths – known as ovarian cysts.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled growths on or in the ovary, which may occur during typical ovulation.

Most cysts in the ovaries are harmless, benign growths that rarely become cancerous. There are various types of cysts: functional, dermoid, endometrioma, cystadenoma or the ones that are part of the notorious disorder known as a polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

They are usually more common in young women than in menopausal women.

Twisting (torsion), rupturing, or bleeding are common complications of ovarian cysts.

Irregular periods, increased upper body fat, family history and having cysts previously are some of the risk factors for developing the cysts.
In most cases, ovarian cysts cause no symptoms. We incidentally find them during other gynecologic or abdominal examinations. However, symptomatic ovarian cysts can cause a sudden severe stabbing pain on the right or left side of the lower abdomen following a rupture, bleed or twisting.
At times, symptoms can be insidious, non-specific like the feeling of heaviness or pressure in the abdomen. Rarely, abnormal bleeding, pain with intercourse or bowel movements, fever and nausea can occur.

Ovarian cysts can be as huge as these ones. They can be in one or both ovaries.
Ovarian cysts can be as huge as these ones. They can be in one or both ovaries.

Apart from those diagnosed clinically, ultrasonography, CT, or MRI scan are diagnosing aids. In a few cysts, you can have blood tests done, as long-lasting or large cysts may become cancerous – a biopsy will also be paramount.

Treatment depends on the type and why it started. Close to 90% of ovarian cysts in young women are noncancerous and need little or no therapy. Functional cysts warrant no treatment: you may be prescribed birth control pills such that the conventional periods start and the functional cysts occur less often. Pain can be relieved through a pain reliever. A few cysts may need surgical removal.

As we conclude, it is paramount to tell your clinician about any relative with ovarian cancer, have regular gynecologic reviews as you age, and most importantly, don’t panic, if you have an ovarian cyst. Much as close to 90% of them aren’t cancerous, they all need to be checked by a clinician.

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MBChB (MUK), Graduate Fellow, Department of Physiology, Makerere University Founder and Content Creator Peer reviewer, Associate Editor

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