The types of ovarian cysts in women over the age of 50 are exactly the same as the types of ovarian cysts in women under the age of 50. The profound difference is that post-menopausal women are significantly more susceptible to developing a cancerous cyst. Your doctor may have shared with you the term for your condition described below.
Most ovarian cyst cancers are diagnosed in women over 60 years of age. In women over 80 years with ovarian cysts, 90% will be diagnosed with a malignant tumor. With this age group as with every other, the key to survival is early detection. A malignant ovarian cyst found in the early stages can often be successfully treated and survival rates are good. If you are over 50, keep up on regular pelvic examinations for early detection of cancerous cysts.
Types of ovarian cysts are:
Epithelial: developed from tubal tissue this category encapsulates several sub-category of cyst which may be benign or malignant.
Follicular: a fluid filled sac and the most common type of ovarian cyst.
Theca Lutein: excessive stimulation caused by high levels of certain hormones leads to this cyst type.
Corpus Luteum: asymptomatic and found on only one side of the ovaries. The result of a follicle releasing the egg but failing to break down and disappear. This is classed as a functional cyst.
Dermoid: The strangest cyst it can contain elements of eyes, teeth, skin and hair.
The causes of ovarian cysts after menopause are different, not due to eggs not being released, and treatment approaches will therefore be different. The cyst of a pre-menopausal woman may resolve itself or be treated with hormones and disappear. This is not the case post menopause.
Post menopausal cysts will generally not clear independently and cannot be treated with hormones. Total removal is the preferred option to eliminate the likelihood of the cyst developing a malignancy. The risk of ovarian cancer in women over 50 years is significantly higher and most doctors will recommend treatment.
Whereas the majority of cysts in pre-menopausal women can be left to resolve on their own. This is the most significant distinction for women over 50 – not the types of ovarian cysts but the treatment options and prognosis.
So although the types of ovarian cysts are the same in all women regardless of age, the behaviour and development of the cyst in post menopausal women is significantly different. An entirely different treatment approach is therefore required.
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