Ovarian cysts are a very common women's health condition. In fact, as many as 18% of women have them at some point in their lives.
There’s a chance you may develop an ovarian cyst and there’s so much misinformation out there about what they are and how they may affect you.
For those reasons, Susan Crockett, MD, and our team of care providers at Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, would like to tell you more about them.
Here, we explore some of the myths and facts about ovarian cysts.
Fact: Cysts rarely contain cancerous cells
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop in the ovary. Most form during monthly ovulation, when your ovaries release eggs. Typically, they are benign.
There are several types of ovarian cysts, but malignant cysts are rare, especially in premenopausal women.
Fact: Although women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) do develop many small cysts in their ovaries, most ovarian cysts are not related to PCOS. Indeed, most women with ovarian cysts do not have PCOS.
Ovarian cysts are sometimes related to endometriosis, but having an ovarian cyst does not necessarily mean you have endometriosis.
Fact: Most women with ovarian cysts don't know they have them because they cause no symptoms. And among women with symptoms, intense pain is uncommon. More often, you may feel bloating or swelling on one side of your belly. Other possible symptoms include:
Fact: Many women with ovarian cysts do not require surgery. Often, the cysts go away on their own.
If your cyst is causing symptoms, we may recommend medication to manage the symptoms. Many women receive relief from ovarian cyst symptoms by using over-the-counter pain medication or hormonal birth control.
Hormonal birth control can help prevent more ovarian cysts from developing in the future.
You may need surgery if the cyst gets larger or causes difficult-to-manage symptoms, or if we suspect it may be cancerous.
Fact: This is definitely not true. Although most ovarian cysts are benign, we want to keep an eye on them. Cysts can grow larger, and when they do, symptoms may increase. Also, we want to make sure your symptoms are not caused by other conditions.
Infrequently, an ovarian cyst may burst. This can cause sudden pain, heavy bleeding, fever, and even vomiting. Call us right away if this happens to you, especially if you know you have an ovarian cyst.
Postmenopausal women with ovarian cysts do have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, so it's especially important for them to see their provider regularly.
If you're experiencing any gynecological symptoms or if it's time for your annual well-woman visit, we're here for you. Contact us today at our San Antonio, Texas, office to schedule an appointment.