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An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms on or within the ovary. These cysts can vary in size and appearance and may develop for various reasons. Most ovarian cysts are benign (noncancerous) and often resolve on their own without treatment. However, in some cases, ovarian cysts can cause symptoms or complications, requiring medical attention.

Key characteristics and information about ovarian cysts include:

Symptoms

Many ovarian cysts do not cause symptoms and are discovered incidentally during a pelvic exam or imaging study. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Pelvic pain or a dull ache, often on one side of the lower abdomen.
  • Bloating or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen.
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle, including irregular periods.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Increased frequency of urination.
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss.

Diagnosis

Ovarian cysts are typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests, such as transvaginal ultrasound or pelvic MRI. Blood tests may also be conducted to assess certain hormones or tumor markers.

Types Of Ovarian Cysts

There are several types of ovarian cysts, with the most common being:

Functional Cysts

These are the most common type and are related to the normal menstrual cycle. There are two subtypes:

    1. Follicular Cysts: Form when a follicle (a fluid-filled sac that houses an egg) does not release an egg during ovulation and continues to grow.
    2. Corpus Luteum Cysts: Occur when the corpus luteum, a structure formed after the release of an egg during ovulation, does not dissolve as expected.
Dermoid Cysts

Contain tissues like hair, skin, or teeth because they develop from cells present in the ovaries from birth.

Cystadenomas

Form from ovarian tissue and are filled with a watery or mucous-like fluid.

Endometriomas:

Develop as a result of endometriosis and are filled with old blood.

Treatment

Treatment for ovarian cysts depends on several factors, including the type and size of the cyst, the patient's age, and the presence of symptoms. Common treatment options include:

    1. Watchful Waiting: If the cyst is small, painless, and does not cause symptoms, a healthcare provider may recommend periodic monitoring to see if it resolves on its own.
    2. Medications: Hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills) may be prescribed to prevent new cysts from forming and reduce the risk of complications.
    3. Surgery: If a cyst is large, persists, causes severe pain, or appears suspicious for cancer, surgery may be recommended. Surgical options include cystectomy (removing the cyst while preserving the ovary) or oophorectomy (removing the entire ovary).

Most ovarian cysts, especially functional cysts, are not associated with cancer. However, it's essential to consult a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and management if you experience symptoms or have concerns about ovarian cysts.

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