The ovaries are an essential component of a woman’s reproductive system. They lie on each side of the uterus and produce oestrogen and other hormones that are related to menstruation and pregnancy. In a monthly process called ovulation, follicles on the ovaries release a mature egg which travels down the fallopian tube, where it may or may not be fertilised by a sperm.
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on the ovaries. Cysts are fairly common in menstruating women.
There are many types of ovarian cysts of which most are benign but with some that can become cancerous.
This is the most common type of cyst. A functional cyst can form either when the follicle fails to release the egg or fails to dissolve after releasing the egg.
Cells on the outside surface of the ovary form cysts, typically filled with fluid. A Dermoid ovarian cyst are cysts that are composed of other types of tissue such as hair, skin, and teeth.
The endometrium, which normally lines the uterus, can grow abnormally on other organs and tissues including the ovaries. This disease is called endometriosis.
Many times, ovarian cysts and masses have no symptoms at all with patients frequently not knowing they have a cyst or tumour until your next pelvic screenination. Where symptoms are experienced we recommend that you make an appointment with your gynaecologist @ London Obs & Gynae Clinic to have anscreenination.
Where a cyst or mass has progressed to a point where it is causing symptoms, it needs to be evaluated.
While cysts and masses are not uncommon, it is important to have them screenined by your London Obs & Gynae Consultant which can be done usually during a pelvic screenination.
This can help the doctor determine the size and find the precise location of the mass.
This can provide a highly detailed image of your body to show the extent to which the tumour has spread.
During this procedure, a thin, flexible, lighted tube is inserted through an incision in your abdomen. It can give the surgeon a better look at the mass, and can also be used to take a biopsy or remove the mass altogether.
Your gynaecologist can test your blood for various hormones that indicate the presence of cancer. The blood can also be tested for a protein called CA-125, which is commonly elevated in women with ovarian cancer.
Most ovarian cysts tend to resolve on their own and don’t cause any long-term harm. If your symptoms aren’t bothering you and if you are pre-menopausal, your London Obs & Gynae Consultant may recommend a plan of “watchful waiting”. A follow-up screen may be recommended so that your doctor can check on the progress of the cyst.
Other Treatments for Benign Cysts
Hormonal birth control pills prevent ovulation, which decreases the chances that new cysts will develop. Birth control pills have also been shown to relieve pain associated with cysts.
This is a surgical procedure which uses a laparoscope to remove cysts through a small abdominal incision.
This is a more invasive surgical procedure in which the surgeon makes a larger incision in the abdomen to remove larger cysts and tumours, and any other tissue onto which the masses have spread. Our surgeon takes out as much of the tumour as possible, which may mean the removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, or other tissues.
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