A slight stinging sensation in the abdomen or severe pain and cramps – the ovarian cyst can express itself in different ways. Find out about causes and symptoms here and learn more about complications and therapies.
What is a cyst on the ovary?
Many women do not even know that they have one or more ovarian cysts, because in fact they often resolve on their own and do not cause any symptoms. So-called ovarian cysts are a cavity that forms on the ovaries. This cavity can be filled with tissue or with liquid. The size can be very different. Some cysts are only a few millimeters in size, while others grow to several centimeters. Even large cysts don’t have to cause discomfort. They are particularly common during menopause or puberty. It can be assumed that strong hormonal fluctuations in your body are the trigger in this case. Sometimes the egg does not jump either, but develops into a cyst. A distinction is made between:
- Congenital cyst on the ovary: The ovaries have different gland cells. These are the gonads in which the sex hormones are produced. Even in an embryo, it can happen that these cells become clogged and the fluid builds up. This is how cysts develop. However, this form of ovarian cyst is rare.
- Ovarian cyst: The variant that is not innate, on the other hand, is much more common. It depends on your cycle, but it can also arise if you are undergoing hormone therapy. There are different cysts here. The follicular cyst is an egg in your ovaries that has not cracked, but filled with fluid and developed into a cyst. The corpus luteum cyst, on the other hand, is normally formed to keep a possible pregnancy stable.
What are the symptoms?
You don’t even notice many cysts on the ovary. They come and go throughout your cycle. You may or may not feel a pull. However, when the cyst on the ovary reaches a certain size, it can cause discomfort. Then pain often occurs. The reason for this is that the cyst presses into the tissue or maybe even restricts other organs from working, such as the bladder. This manifests itself in the form of back pain, strong urination, or abdominal pain. You may also feel pain during intercourse. Usually these only occur on one side.
DANGER: One of the complications that can arise with an ovarian cyst is stem twist. Many cysts have a stalk that connects them to the tissue. One wrong move can be enough and the stem will twist. As a result, the tissue can no longer be supplied with blood and inflammation occurs. It becomes difficult when this inflammation spreads, which can happen very quickly. So if you suddenly feel severe pain, feel sick or even vomit, this can be an indication of a twisting of the stem. You should see a doctor right away.
A cyst on the ovary can burst. At first, that sounds worse than it is, maybe you only notice it through an uncomfortable pull. However, there is a possibility that blood vessels will also be affected when they burst and bleeding will occur in your abdomen. If the hemorrhage is major, your circulation can collapse. Here, too, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Important: Menstrual cycle disorders are also possible. Perhaps you have an intermenstrual period or your cycle is very long. Especially when you currently want to have children, this can also affect the psyche. It is therefore imperative that your gynecologist clarify whether an ovarian cyst is the cause. For example, polycystic ovarian syndrome can develop, which makes it much more difficult to get pregnant.
How can the ovarian cyst be treated?
If you have the feeling that you have a cyst on your ovary, if you experience pain or if your cycle is irregular, your gynecologist is the right contact. He will do an ultrasound scan and check your ovaries. Usually it is very easy to see here whether a cyst is present. In a few cases it may be necessary to have a laparoscopy. This involves removing the cyst so that the tissue can be checked. In most cases, however, treatment can also be carried out without surgery. Depending on how big the cyst is and whether you have any symptoms, it is likely that nothing will be done at first. Instead, it is waited and checked whether the cyst regresses in the course of the cycle. If this is not the case, medication can be used. The first choice is often the birth control pill, as this can inhibit the growth of the cysts. Sometimes gynecologists also work with heat.
Good to know: If you have frequent problems with cysts on the ovary, your gynecologist can also carry out a complete cycle monitoring and use a hormone status to check whether there are any abnormalities.
Ovarian cysts are often harmless
In most cases, a cyst on the ovary is harmless and not even painful. However, a visit to the doctor is recommended if you develop menstrual cycle disorders or if you experience symptoms such as abdominal pulling, sharp pain, dizziness, and nausea.