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Added August 01, 2013

Ovarian Cysts

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What are ovarian cysts?

Ovarian cysts are bubble-like growths in the ovariesthe part of the body that produces and releases eggs. These cysts can be filled with fluid, blood, or other material.

Most ovarian cysts are common and harmless. Many go away on their own or get smaller within two or three menstrual cycles. Sometimes, if they're large, they may disrupt normal cycles, delaying bleeding and causing heavier bleeding than normal.

But other ovarian cysts are more serious and need attention. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), for instance, an endocrine disorder, causes the ovaries to function in unpredictable ways. With PCOS, "follicle cysts" form in the ovaries, and inhibit the release of eggs. When women with PCOS menstruate, they may experience heavy bleeding since the endometrium is often thickened. Women with PCOS often have an elevated testosterone level, which is indicated by increased hair growth on the face and chest.

Most ovarian cysts won't produce symptoms unless they become ruptured or twistedthen you'll feel intense abdominal pain and nausea. Another symptom or sign to watch for is an irregular menstrual cycle. If you're irregular, it might be worth an exam to discover why.

How do you get ovarian cysts?

Often young and obese women suffer from PCOS. Otherwise, there isn't really conclusive evidence on how and why women get cysts. But there is some indication that a high fat diet and large amounts of caffeine contribute to their development and/or growth.

How do you treat ovarian cysts?

Any cyst should be checked by a doctor. Even though most ovarian cysts aren't usually cancerous, you shouldn't take the chance. Pelvic exams help doctors see if you have cysts at all. If, after an exam, your doctor suspects cysts, he/she may recommend other tests such as:

  • Ultrasoundwhere sound waves are used (externally) to obtain a picture of your reproductive organs and the cysts can be identified and measured
  • Laparoscopywhere a lighted tube is inserted into your body so the doctor can see inside
  • Blood test

There are several ways to treat ovarian cysts:

  • Birth control pills help regulate ovulation and help shrink cysts
  • Surgery may be required for large cysts. The type of operation depends on when the cyst is found, its size, type and a woman's age
  • Hormone therapy can help with PCOS
  • Dietary changes (like a low fat diet, and little to no caffeine) sometimes help cysts shrink
  • Exercise

How can you avoid ovarian cysts?

There's been some evidence that foods high in saturated fat (like fried foods, cheeses, and fatty meats) contribute to the development of cysts. Avoiding these foods has been very helpful for some women. Also, caffeine is a stimulant and some doctors believe it stimulates the growth of ovarian cysts. Cutting down on coffee and colas may help. Finally, oral contraceptives will prevent the more common functional cysts of ovulation from forming.

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comments so far
Posted January 25, 2014
I found out I have PCOS. It's not fun. I am scared because I don't know if I'll be able to have children and there are health risks like Heart Disease and Diabetes. Hopefully everything gets better though.
Posted July 03, 2013
i wrote it all down
Posted July 17, 2012
I had one a few years ago. The doctors didn't know what was going on. It took 5 doctors to diagnose me. I was diagnosed wrong four times. I lost ten pounds because it hurt so much to eat or drink anything. One of the five doctors was a obgyn and she didn't even touch me at all. Everytime my stomach hurts I have a panic attack thinking it's going to happen again. I think the worst part was when they told me that is this kept happing I would never beable to have a baby. It hurt so much. Worst pain ever. Its been compared to being in labor good news is its been a two years and I have been cleared.
Posted March 18, 2013
Posted March 08, 2012
Ive been hospitalized because of a cyst in my ovary... its so painful! ive never had such a pain like when a cyst ruptures. this is the reason why my periods are often irregular, because of cysts
Posted March 08, 2012
Ive been hospitalized because of a cyst in my ovary... its so painful! ive never had such a pain like when a cyst ruptures. this is the reason why my periods are often irregular, because of cysts
Posted November 20, 2011
I was diagnosed with pcos this summer in june. I'm not obese. Yes I'm slighty overweight according to my BMI. Part of pcos is difficulty losing weight. So if you aren't alone. Alot of people like to blame the person with pcos for having it. That simply isn't the case there is nothing you can do losing weight doesn't help even though doctors tell you it does and as far as eating healthy I always have because putting weight on is sooo easy to do when you have pcos.
Posted October 28, 2011
I've had 2 ovarian cysts in my lifetime. When I first started my period, I started getting unusual bleeding which lead me to the doctors, that's when I found out that I had a cyst. I started taking some pain medications and then they stopped hurting all together. My doctor believed that they disappeared on their own. Now, I have another one.. It's painful but I'm sure it's nothing to serious.
Posted January 22, 2012
when i was in 5th grade i got really sick so i ended up being sick one night realy bad. so my mom took me to the hospital and they found my 5cm cyst if you have never had one .....your very lucky they really hurt:(.
Posted August 14, 2011
A few years ago I went to the doctor and they found a cyst on my labia... It was really scary just hearing about it, but all I needed to do to get rid of that one was soak in a hot bath every night! I'm so glad it was benign!
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