What Are the Symptoms of an Ovarian Cyst?
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can develop on one or both ovaries, which are part of the female reproductive system and located on either side of the uterus. Ovarian cysts are very common and most don’t produce any noticeable symptoms. In fact, many cysts shrink and disappear on their own in a few months. However, if an ovarian cyst is large enough, it may cause one or more of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal bloating and discomfort
- Pain during sex
- Unusual pelvic pain before or during menstruation
- Difficult bowel movements
- Pain around the thighs and lower back
- Nausea and vomiting
Ovarian cysts are usually harmless, but severe complications can occur if a large cyst ruptures or causes an ovary to twist around a ligament (ovarian torsion). Be sure to seek immediate medical care if you experience a sudden and severe pain in your pelvic area or have symptoms that are accompanied by fever, dizziness, or breathlessness. It’s also a good idea to seek care even if your symptoms aren’t severe, as ovarian cysts can sometimes become cancerous.
What Causes Ovarian Cysts?
The majority of ovarian cysts develop as a result of your normal menstrual cycle. These are called functional cysts. During ovulation, ovaries grow hormone-producing follicles that release an egg. Most follicles then go away, but some may continue to grow and turn into a cyst.
Less commonly, ovarian cysts may develop from embryonic cells (dermoid cysts), endometrial cells (endometriosis), or the surface of the ovary (cystadenomas). These types of cysts are more likely to cause symptoms and require treatment.
How Are Ovarian Cysts Treated?
If you have a symptomatic ovarian cyst, your ideal course of treatment will depend on your age, the severity of your symptoms, and the type of cyst you have. If ultrasound imaging indicates that your cyst is small and does not appear to be growing, a “watch and wait” approach may be taken. If you frequently develop cysts that cause bothersome symptoms before disappearing, taking hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills) can help prevent them from developing. Occasionally, surgery may be recommended to remove a cyst that continues to grow and disrupts the ovaries.
Our Approach to Ovarian Cyst Treatment
Tufts Medical Center Community Care is a multispecialty medical group that includes a growing team of renowned obstetricians, gynecologists, and surgeons. Serving communities throughout north suburban Boston, our women’s health specialists provide a full spectrum of care to women with ovarian cysts and many other health concerns. From performing ultrasound imaging to prescribing medication or performing surgery, our practice can provide the advanced diagnostic and treatment services you need and deserve.
Contact Tufts Medical Center Community Care to learn more about our gynecology services or to schedule an appointment. You can also quickly reserve an appointment using our online system. With multiple easily accessible locations and better-than-average appointment availability, we make it simple to speak with an experienced women’s health care specialist close to home.