40’s Women Common Conditions – Ovarian Cysts
Many women have ovarian cysts at some time in their lives. A cyst is a fluid-filled sac, and can be located anywhere in the body. Most ovarian cysts produce little or no discomfort and are harmless and the majority will disappear within a few months.
Types of ovarian cysts
On the ovary, different types of cysts can form. The most common type of ovarian cyst is called a functional cyst, which often forms during the normal menstrual cycle. Each month, a woman’s ovaries grow tiny cysts that hold the eggs. When an egg is mature, the sac breaks open to release the egg, so it can travel through the fallopian tube for fertilization. The the sac dissolves.
In one type of functional cyst, called a follicular cyst, the sac doesn’t break open to release the egg and may continue to grow. This type of cyst usually disappears within one to three months.
A corpus luteum cyst, another type of functional cyst, forms if the sac doesn’t dissolve. Instead, the sac seals off after the egg is released. Fluid then builds up inside it. This type of cyst usually goes away on its own after a few weeks. However it can grow to almost four inches and may bleed or twist the ovary and cause pain. These cysts are almost never associated with cancer.
Ovarian Cysts Symptoms
- menstrual irregularities
- pelvic pain
- pelvic pain shortly before a period or just before it ends
- pain during sex
- nausea, vomiting or breast tenderness
- a feeling of fullness in the abdomen
- a feeling of pressure on the rectum or bladder
Preventing Ovarian Cysts
One should be alert to monthly changes in the menstrual pattern and should schedule regular pelvic examinations with a doctor, if possible.
Screening for ovarian cysts
A vaginal ultrasound and a laparoscopy are the two common methods. If one is at high risk for ovarian cancer, the doctor may test the CA125 in the blood to determine if the cyst could be cancerous. Elevated CA125 levels could indicate endometriosis, fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Treatments for ovarian cysts
Regular monitoring with ultrasound if the cyst is simple and fluid-filled and there are no symptoms. Birth control pills may be prescribed to reduce the chance of new cysts developing.
For large cysts, or cysts that cause pain and other symptoms, the doctor may institute surgery to remove the cyst leaving the uterus intact or removing one ovary to maintain fertility. If the cyst is cancerous, the doctor may advise hysterectomy or removing both ovaries.
Dong Quai, a natural herbal remedy, can help relieve the symptoms of ovarian cysts.