A cyst is a closed sac-like structure that is not a normal part of the tissue where it is found. Cysts are common and can occur anywhere in the body in people of any age. Cysts usually contain a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance. Cysts vary in size; they may be detectable only under a microscope or they can grow so large that they displace normal organs and tissues. The outer wall of a cyst is called the capsule.
What causes most ovarian cysts?
The most common types of ovarian cysts are called functional cysts, which result from a collection of fluid forming around a developing egg. Every woman who is ovulating will form a small amount of fluid around the developing egg each month. The combination of the egg, the special fluid-producing cells, and the fluid is called a follicle and is normally about the size of a pea. For unknown reasons, the cells that surround the egg occasionally form too much fluid, and this straw colored fluid expands the ovary from within. If the collection of fluid gets to be larger than a normal follicle, about three-quarters of an inch in diameter, a follicular cyst is said to be present. If fluid continues to be formed, the ovary is stretched as if a balloon was being filled up with water.
The most common is called a follicular cyst. This can develop if a follicle does not release an egg, or if the follicle does not shed its fluid after the egg is released. Instead, the follicle continues to fill with fluid and turns into a cyst. Follicular cysts can grow up to five or six centimetres wide. Usually only one cyst appears at a time, and it normally goes away without treatment after a few weeks.
Many cysts may be cutaneous, that is they are in the skin and appear as a small, semi hard ball which in time, tends to come to a yellowish head like a pimple. Their treatment is easy in these cases.
Frequent causes of ovarian cysts occur when luteinizing hormones surge and an egg is release. When the egg is released, estrogen and progesterone are created by the ruptured follicle to prepare for the hypothetical conception. When the egg is sealed off, fluid accumulates inside the follicle and becomes what is called a corpus luteum. The corpus luteum will then expand and at that point becomes a cyst.
Ovarian Cyst Signs & Symptoms
Certain symptoms will help to diagnose an ovarian cyst, though experiencing these ovarian cyst symptoms are not necessarily confirmation of the presence of an ovarian cyst. A symptom experienced by itself is not cause for immediate alarm, but medical attention should be sought quickly when a combination of two or more are recognized.
Menstrual irregularities, such as painful periods and abnormal bleeding may be an indication of ovarian cysts, especially if there is no prior history of irregularities. This could also mean a longer or shorter than usual menstrual period, an absent menstruation, or an irregular menstruation. Spotting or light bleeding can occur when symptoms of ovarian symptoms manifest. Unexplained weight gain may be another symptom of ovarian cysts.
Symptoms similar to those of pregnancy, like nausea, vomiting, and tenderness of the breasts, are common symptoms of ovarian cysts. It is worth mentioning that other symptoms can distinguish between pregnancy and ovarian cysts. Infertility, for example, is itself a common symptom of ovarian cysts.
It is possible for cysts to disappear by themselves after one or two months without any external action. For pre-menopausal women, surgery would not be the first decision in terms of a remedy. Sometimes and because of the cyst, an ovary may even twist around inside a woman’s body, which then blocks the blood supply or can cause the cyst to rupture in the ovary. These are emergency medical instances that usually require immediate surgical operation. Because of this, if a cyst appears benign under a sonogram and does not cause discomfort to the patient then observation for about two months is the management technique. If after treatment the cyst is still present and is also causing serious pain to the sufferer, then surgery will be necessary.