Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian Cysts

What are Ovarian Cysts ?

The ovaries are two small organs located on either side of the uterus (womb) in the lower abdomen. They make hormones, including oestrogen, which stimulate the growth and release of a tiny egg each month, and which also prepare the lining of the uterus to receive the egg if it is fertilised. Every month, the ovaries release an egg, which makes its way down the fallopian tube potentially to be fertilised. This cycle of egg release is called ovulation. There are several different types of ovarian cyst. The most common is a functional cyst, which forms during ovulation. That formation happens when either the egg is not released from the ovary as it should be, or the sac (follicle) in which the egg forms does not dissolve after the egg is released.

What are the Other types of Ovarian cysts?

Other types of Ovarian cysts include:

Polycystic ovaries : In polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the follicles in which the eggs normally mature fail to open and cysts form.
Endometriomas : In women with endometriosis, tissue from the lining of the uterus grows in other areas of the body. This includes the ovaries. Endometriosis can be very painful and can affect fertility.
Cystadenomas : These cysts form from cells on the surface of the ovary. They are often fluid-filled.
Dermoid cysts : This type of cyst contains tissue similar to that in other parts of the body. That includes skin, hair, and teeth.

Symptoms of ovarian cysts include:

Pain or persistent bloating in the abdomen Difficulty urinating, or frequent need to urinate Dull ache in the lower back Pain during sexual intercourse Painful menstruation and abnormal bleeding Weight gain Nausea or vomiting Loss of appetite, feeling full quickly

How are ovarian cysts and tumours treated?

Surgery is an option if the cyst doesn’t go away, grows, or causes you pain. There are two types of surgery: Laparoscopy uses a very small incision and a tiny, illuminated telescope-like instrument. The instrument is inserted into the abdomen to remove the cyst. This technique works for smaller cysts Laparotomy involves a bigger incision in the stomach. Doctors prefer this technique for larger cysts and ovarian tumours. If the growth is cancerous, the surgeon will remove as much of the tumour as possible. This is called debulking. Depending on how far the cancer has spread, the surgeon may also remove the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, omentum (fatty tissue covering the intestines) and nearby lymph nodes Other treatments for cancerous ovarian tumours include: Chemotherapy — drugs given through a vein (IV), by mouth, or directly into the abdomen to kill cancer cells. Because they kill normal cells as well as cancerous ones, chemotherapy medications can have side-effects, including nausea and vomiting, hair loss, kidney damage, and increased risk of infection. Most of these side-effects should settle once the treatment is finished Radiotherapy — high-energy X-rays that kill or shrink cancer cells. Radiotherapy is either delivered from outside the body, or placed inside the body near the site of the tumour. This treatment also can cause side-effects, including red skin, nausea, diarrhoea, and fatigue. Radiotherapy is not often used for ovarian cancer