Is ovarian cyst similar to fibroid? No. It is not. Though it occurs in the same section of a woman’s reproductive system, it is two totally different thing. Ovarian Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form in or on the ovaries. One type of cysts – a functional cyst – occurs quite often. Usually, ovarian cysts do not cause symptoms and go away fairly quickly without any treatment. But in some cases, large cysts may cause pelvic pain, frequent urination, and other symptoms. In that case, you should consult a doctor who will recommend appropriate treatment.

Other types of ovarian cysts can represent tumors in the ovary. They can be benign or malignant. A doctor can diagnose this type of cysts with an ultrasound, and blood tests can be done to tell if the cyst is malignant. Such cysts are treated by surgery.

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Most ovarian cysts are never noticed and resolve without women ever realizing that they are there. When a cyst causes symptoms, pain in the abdomen or pelvis is the most common one. The pain can be caused from:

  • rupture of the cyst,
  • rapid growth and stretching,
  • bleeding into the cyst, or
  • twisting of the cyst around its blood supply (known as torsion).

If the cyst has reached a large size, other symptoms may arise as a result of pressure or distortion of adjacent anatomical structures. These other symptoms can include

  • abdominal fullness, expansion of the abdomen, or bloating,
  • low back pain
  • indigestion
  • feeling full after eating only a small amount (early satiety),
  • urinary urgency
  • difficulty with emptying the bladder completely,
  • feeling an urge to defecate
  • having difficult bowel movements, or
  • pain with sexual intercourse.

There are many causes of ovarian cysts, and most ovarian cysts are not cancerous. Sometimes ovarian cysts may be noticed by a doctor during a bimanual examination of the pelvis. If a cyst is suspected based upon symptoms or physical examination, imaging techniques are used. Most cysts are diagnosed by ultrasound, which is the best imaging technique for detecting them. Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce an image of structures within the body. Ultrasound imaging is painless and harmless. Transvaginal ultrasound is a diagnostic tool to better visualize the ovaries using a thin ultrasound probe inside the vagina. Other than that cysts can also be detected with other imaging methods, such as CT scan or MRI.

What about treatment? Well now, the ideal treatment of ovarian cysts depends on the likely cause of the cysts and whether or not it is producing symptoms. The woman’s age, the size of the cyst, and the cyst’s appearance on ultrasound help determine the treatment. Cysts that are functional are usually observed with frequent monitoring unless they rupture and cause significant bleeding, in which case, surgical treatment is required. Benign and malignant tumors require operation.

Treatment can consist of simple observation, or it can involve evaluating blood tests to help determine the potential for cancer but ovarian cancer is rare in women younger than age 40. After age 40, an ovarian cyst has a higher chance of being cancerous than before age 40, although most ovarian cysts are still benign even after age 40.

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