How To Treat Ovarian Cysts

Published on 08/05/22

The ovaries are located in the lower abdomen on both sides of the uterus. Each woman is born with two ovaries, which play a major part in the female reproductive system. One of the important roles the ovaries have is producing the hormones progesterone and estrogen. These hormones play a crucial part in the body being able to produce eggs during the monthly cycle, as well as regulate fertility. 

At times a fluid-filled sac, or cyst, develops on one of the ovaries. This is not uncommon for most women. Many of them will develop at least one cyst during their lifetime. In a lot of cases, women will have zero idea that they’ve even developed a cyst because there is no symptom present. 

However, there are other times when this is not the case. There are many types of ovarian cysts. Depending on the type of cyst, age of the patient and symptoms; the doctor will consider a proper treatment plan. 

Types Of Ovarian Cysts

Follicle Cyst

A type of functional cyst, the most common type of ovarian cyst. The follicle cyst is when an egg grows in a sac called a follicle during the menstrual cycle. This sac is located inside the ovaries and in most cases, breaks open to release an egg for fertilization. However, if the follicle doesn’t break the fluid on the inside of the sac can form a cyst. 

 

Corpus Luteum Cysts

Normally when a follicle sac releases an egg, it dissolves. If the follicle doesn’t dissolve but the opening seal closes, this can cause additional fluid build up inside the sac which we call a corpus luteum cyst.

Cystadenomas

These cysts are growths that are noncancerous and develop on the outside of the ovaries. 

Endometriomas

These cysts are a result of the tissue that normally grows inside the uterus to develop on the outside of the uterus which then attaches to the ovaries. 

Dermoid Cysts

These cysts are sac-like growths. They can be made up of fat, hair, and other tissue and grow on the ovaries. 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common condition some women develop. This condition is known to be when the ovaries contain a larger number of small cysts which, in turn, causes the ovaries to enlarge. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can be a difficult diagnosis and if left untreated, has been known to cause infertility. 

 

Treatments For Ovarian Cysts

It is very often that most ovarian cysts disappear on their own in a few months without the need for treatment. 

The need for treatment will depend on a few factors:

  • The appearance of the cyst
  • The size of the cyst
  • If you’ve had or going through menopause. This could mean a higher risk for ovarian cancer.

 

If your doctor notices your cysts growing larger or if it doesn’t seem to be going away on its own – they may recommend treatments that could shrink or remove the cyst entirely.

Some of the suggested treatments could be: 

  • Laparoscopy – for small cysts: if cancer has been ruled out through imaging tests of the cyst, then your healthcare provider can perform a surgery called laparoscopy. This procedure removes the cyst by making a small incision near the navel and inserting an instrument to help remove the cyst. 
  • Laparotomy – for large cysts: similar to laparoscopy, if the large cyst can be ruled out as cancer through biopsy, your healthcare provider can perform a surgery called a laparotomy. This is a way to surgically remove a large cyst through a larger incision in the abdomen. If the cyst is cancerous, then a hysterectomy may be performed. This is the removal of both the ovaries and the uterus. 
  • Birth Control Pills – oral contraceptives are known to stop ovulation which helps to prevent the development of new cysts. They are also known to help reduce risk of ovarian cancer.

 

Ovarian Cyst Prevention

There’s not much we can do in the way of ovarian cyst prevention. Cysts cannot be prevented, however, early detection can help with symptoms and also help to indicate if there is a more serious problem such as cancer. Routine gynecological exams are meant to help detect issues like cysts and indicate if there is a problem with the correct diagnosis from your doctor. 

 

Alert your doctor if you start to experience symptoms such as

  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal fullness
  • Continual pelvic pain
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Unexplained weight loss

 

In most ovarian cyst cases, it’s ‘watchful waiting’ that is the first step to treatment. This means there is no diagnosis done for immediate treatment. But, the doctor may schedule an ultrasound scan a couple of weeks or months later to check if the cyst has disappeared. 

For women in menopause, the doctor may advise blood tests and ultrasounds every 4 months for up to a year. This is a preventative measure to help women at this stage, who are at higher risk for ovarian cancer, fight the future possibility with early detection. 

 

If the ultrasounds show that the cyst has disappeared then treatment and further tests are not normally necessary. If the cyst remains, surgery may be recommended. 

If surgery is necessary, the recovery time varies. After a laparotomy or laparoscopy, resuming normal activities could take up to 12 weeks. There might be pain in the abdomen immediately after surgery but that should improve in a few days. 

If a cyst was removed, it will be sent off for testing and results should take a few weeks. Once the results are in, you and your doctor will discuss if further testing and treatment is necessary. 

 

If during your recovery you start to experience any of the following, contact your healthcare provider: 

 

  • Severe pain
  • High temperature or fever
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Dark or smelly vaginal discharge

 

This could be an indication of an infection.

What Is The Long-Term For Women With Ovarian Cysts

For most women who are perimenopausal and have ovarian cysts, the outlook is good! The majority of cysts will disappear within a few months with no treatment necessary. However, take note that it is also possible that recurring ovarian cysts can happen to both premenopausal women and women with hormone imbalances.  You will find this is common with women who have endometriosis and PCOS. Some of which, if left untreated, can cause a decrease in fertility or complete infertility. This is not the case with all ovarian cysts, fertility is not affected with cystadenomas, dermoids and functional cysts. 

 

To combat these effects, their doctor can shrink or remove the cysts that do not shrink or disappear. This can help with lowering the risk of ovarian cancer in women. With the watchful eye approach, the doctor can effectively diagnose and develop treatments for any woman who is dealing with ovarian cysts. Menopausal or otherwise. 

 

If You Think You’re Dealing With An Ovarian Cyst, Call The Doctors At Rosh MFM

Most women develop ovarian cysts during their lives, but may not be aware of it before the cyst disappears on its own.

Some ovarian cysts don’t resolve on their own. They grow large enough to cause pain or they may be associated with a condition like polycystic ovary syndrome or ovarian cancer. The doctors at Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine have extensive experience diagnosing ovarian cysts and determining the best treatment. If you have pelvic pain, please don’t wait to call their office in the Midtown East area of New York City, or schedule an appointment online.