Did you know that ovarian cysts are extremely common? In fact, almost every woman who menstruates gets at least one cyst every month as part of her cycle. Most of the time these cysts resolve, and you never even know they were there.
It’s a different story, however, if the cyst doesn’t disappear or if problematic types of cysts form. Knowing the warning signs for ovarian cysts is important so you can get the care you need.
At Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC and our entire care team understand the ins and outs of women’s health — including spotting and caring for ovarian cysts. We offer comprehensive women’s health services to ensure your optimal health.
Our team has curated this guide to help you better understand ovarian cysts and what you can do about them. Read on to learn more!
What is an ovarian cyst?
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form in or on your ovaries. Most women develop functional cysts as part of the normal menstrual cycle when the follicles responsible for releasing eggs produce hormones. These cysts aren’t usually symptomatic and typically resolve on their own.
There are other ovarian cysts not related to your period. These types of cysts may or may not cause problematic symptoms. For example, dermoid cysts, which form from embryonic cells, can grow quite large, causing the ovary to move out of position. And polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which multiple cysts exist, negatively impacting fertility and your overall health.
What are the signs of an ovarian cyst?
Since it’s possible to have ovarian cysts without obvious symptoms, ovarian cysts are most commonly diagnosed during your regular pelvic examination. Maintaining regular exams with Rickie can help catch problematic cysts early, making treatment easier and more likely to succeed.
Here are the top seven signs to be on the lookout for when it comes to ovarian cysts:
Bloating or pressure in your lower abdomen could indicate an ovarian cyst. The bloating or pressure sensation can come and go.
2. Pain on one side
As a cyst grows larger and larger, it can create quite a bit of discomfort — especially on the side where the affected ovary is located.
3. Pain during sex
Problematic cysts can cause pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse. Other problems, such as an STD, inflammation, or prolapse, can also make sex painful. Be sure to share your symptoms with Rickie during your visit to ensure an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.
4. Bathroom troubles
If you’re noticing unexplained changes in your bowel movements or with urination, an ovarian cyst could be the cause. Some women notice an increase in the urge to urinate, while others notice problems emptying their bowels.
5. Unusual pain during your period
Many women experience cramping or discomfort when their period arrives, but if you notice unusual pain, a cyst could be the problem.
6. Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Ovarian cysts can lead to unexpected vaginal spotting or bleeding between periods. If you have irregular bleeding, a cyst could be the cause.
7. Dull pain in your back and thighs
If you’re experiencing a dull ache or pain in your lower back and thighs that can’t be explained by other causes, it’s time to schedule an appointment at Alpenglow Gynecology to rule out ovarian cysts.
Sometimes an ovarian cyst ruptures or twists the ovary, causing serious complications. If you experience the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:
- Abdominal pain accompanied by fever and vomiting
- Severe abdominal pain that appears suddenly
- Abdominal pain accompanied by dizziness, weakness, or fainting
- Unexplained heavy bleeding with abdominal pain
- Rapid breathing accompanied by abdominal pain
What can I do about ovarian cysts?
Treatment for ovarian cysts depends on your symptoms and the nature of the cyst itself. Most of the time, ovarian cysts go away on their own without causing any lasting problems. Rickie and the team at Alpenglow Gynecology accurately diagnose ovarian cysts to determine what type of treatment, if any, is right for you.
Treatment options may include:
- Monitoring to ensure the cyst resolves
- Medication such as hormone-based birth control
- Surgery to remove problematic cysts
How can I learn more about ovarian cysts?
The best way to learn more about ovarian cysts and what you can do about them is to discuss your questions and concerns with a trained medical professional. At Alpenglow Gynecology, our caring providers have extensive knowledge and experience with women’s health, including ovarian cysts.
If you want to learn more about ovarian cysts, contact our Littleton office or book an appointment online now!