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What causes ovarian cysts? What are the symptoms?

Goficure - Blog Page - What causes ovarian cysts? What are the symptoms? (Blog Post) Last Updated March 11, 2024

Overview

Ovarian cysts, also known as follicular cysts are sacs filled with fluid that form inside the ovary. They are common and generally form during ovulation. Most of the time, they are harmless and do not cause any discomfort. In very rare cases, there is a 1% chance that some type of cysts can get cancerous.

The ovarian cysts are more common in women who have a regular menstrual cycle and have not yet undergone menopause. Smaller cysts usually do not have any symptoms and you may not be even aware of their presence. Larger cysts can cause symptoms like pelvic pain, irregular periods, or a feeling of fullness.

What causes ovarian cysts?

Ovarian cysts are more common during puberty and childbearing years. Some of the common causes of developing ovarian cysts are:

Ovulation

Cysts, especially functional ovarian cysts develop during ovulation when the follicles grow but don’t break to release the eggs. If the follicles fail to release the eggs, the fluid stays within the follicle and forms cysts.

Fertility drugs

Fertility drugs can induce the development of multiple follicles causing cysts in the ovaries.

Endometriosis

In the advanced stage of endometriosis, blood-filled cysts can develop in the ovaries.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Severe pelvic infections that have spread into the ovaries can cause the formation of pus-filled cysts.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS can occur due to hormonal changes. Several, small egg follicles that did not mature during ovulation can develop into harmless cysts.

Abnormal cell production

Growth of abnormal cells in the ovary may cause dermoid or cystadenoma cysts.

Pregnancy

Some people may develop cysts during early pregnancy. These are harmless cysts and do not cause any harm to the baby. These cysts normally do not cause any discomfort or pain and go away on their own. However, if they are large and cause symptoms, they may need to be removed.

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What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?

Small ovarian cysts usually do not cause any symptoms. Cysts that grow in size later can cause problems.

Most often you may not be aware of having cysts. But, if you are having symptoms, they may include:

  • Pelvic pain that may come and go
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Dull pain in the back or thighs
  • Intermittent sharp or dull pain in the abdomen
  • A feeling of fullness or bloating
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Painful sex
  • Period cramps
  • Heavy or light periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Difficulty in getting pregnant (though ovarian cysts generally do not affect fertility)
  • Breast tenderness
  • Weight gain
  • Feeling the need to urinate or have bowel movements frequently
  • In rare cases, abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Constipation

Pain is generally caused if the cyst:

  • Breaks out
  • Bleeds
  • Grows in size
  • It is twisted or causes torsion or twists the ovary
  • Restricts blood supply to the ovary

In some cases, the cyst may rupture. You may feel some pain or discomfort or may not feel any symptoms.

If the cyst ruptures, you may feel some symptoms like:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Sudden, sharp pain in the lower back and abdomen
  • A continuous feeling of bloating

Symptoms that need emergency medical help

Sometimes, if a cyst ruptures, it may escalate and become a matter of concern. Seek immediate medical care if you are experiencing symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Throwing up
  • Sudden, intense pain in the abdomen
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Feeling extremely weak
  • Rapid breathing

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Final words

Ovarian cyst treatment may differ from person to person. It depends on the symptoms, type of cyst, age, and overall health condition. Based on the symptoms, your doctor may want to wait and recommend tests to re-examine the cyst.

You may be asked to do some follow-up tests to see whether the cysts are gone or are growing. The doctor may prescribe medications to provide relief to the symptoms.

Surgery is recommended if the cysts are:

  • Growing in size
  • Have become very large
  • Causing pain and pressure
  • Showing signs of cancer
  • Causing fertility problems

Dos
  • Ensure regular exercise
  • Wash fruits and vegetables properly to free them from environmental toxins
  • Hot fomentation for pain relief
Don'ts
  • Consume excessive soda and refined sugar
  • Drink alcohol
  • Ignore symptoms of pain or discomfort

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