The ovaries are one important part of the female reproductive system. The female body has two ovaries, each of which is situated on the two sides of the uterus in the lower abdomen. The ovaries are responsible for producing eggs and essential female hormones, estrogen and progesterone.
The ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop in the ovaries. These cysts are commonly observed in pregnant women. Usually, they are painless and harmless, but sometimes they can be life-threatening. Ovarian cysts occur as a part of the menstrual cycle and are not noticeable.
If the cysts are small, they do not cause severe problems, but the main problem arises when the size keeps growing. The ovarian cysts, generally harmless, may become cancerous with time.
The ovarian cysts are usually of two types:
- Follicle cyst
- Corpus luteum cyst
The ovarian cysts, which are a part of the monthly cycle, are functional.
- Follicle cysts: The ovaries are responsible for releasing one egg each month from the follicles. If the eggs fail to break the follicle and come out, it leads to follicle cysts which usually lasts for 1 to 3 months.
- Corpus luteum cysts: After the egg is released, the sacs shrink in size to prepare for another egg. On closing back, the fluid gets filled inside and the cyst is formed. This cyst goes after a few weeks but can lead to excessive pain and bleeding.
Another condition is polycystic ovary syndrome, in which a lot of cysts are produced. The non-functional cysts can be very harmful and even cancerous making it hard to conceive.
Harmless ovarian cysts do not show symptoms. But the symptoms can become prominent with growth. The symptoms may include
- Painful intercourse
- Abdominal bleeding
- Painful bowel movement
- Sharp pelvic pain
- Excessive menstrual cramps
These symptoms can also be a sign of ovarian torsion or ruptured cyst, both of which are serious
The doctor on diagnosing the condition will recommend treatment to either shrink or surgically remove the cyst. This usually depends on the size of the cyst.
- Birth control pills help to prevent ovulation thereby lessening the risk of cyst development.
- Laparoscopy is done to remove the cyst surgically.
- Laparotomy is the surgical removal of large cysts via a large incision in the abdomen.