Most ovarian cysts are harmless, typically forming monthly when your ovaries release an egg at the start of the menstrual cycle. These “functional” cysts are part of your normal cycle and don’t cause symptoms or interfere with your fertility.
Sometimes cysts can form that do cause problems. At Eve Medical in Miami, Florida, our team of gynecology and women’s health specialists can diagnose your cysts and discuss treatment. Left untreated, bothersome cysts can cause pelvic pain and negatively affect your fertility.
Ovarian cysts are so common that nearly every woman who produces an egg develops one. Some women develop cysts large enough to produce symptoms that require treatment. Keep reading to learn when ovarian cysts are a concern.
When they interfere with fertility
As mentioned before, most ovarian cysts don’t cause problems getting pregnant. However, some cysts are linked to reduced fertility. Cysts that are associated with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are linked to fertility problems and can make it more difficult to get pregnant.
Ovarian cysts associated with PCOS can cause irregular ovulation, and without regular ovulation, pregnancy cannot occur.
Endometriomas are cysts that form on the ovaries. This occurs when endometrial tissue grows in the ovaries. Normally endometrial tissue is part of the lining of the uterus, but when it grows outside of the uterus in areas such as the ovaries, it can cause problems.
Treating these underlying conditions can improve your chances of getting pregnant.
When they cause pelvic pain
Ovarian cysts that grow large can cause significant pelvic pain. It may feel like a dull, ache, or a sharp pain. These types of cysts can also cause pain during and after sex. Any time you experience persistent or recurrent pelvic pain, it’s wise to discuss it with a women’s health specialist.
When they cause heavy bleeding
Certain ovarian cysts not only cause irregular periods, but they’re also linked to abnormally heavy menses. An excessively heavy menstrual flow is a cause for concern. If you’re needing to change your tampon or sanitary napkin every 1 to 2 hours, and you’re having to wake up several times during the night to change your tampon or pad, you’re likely experiencing abnormally heavy periods.
Rarely, ovarian cysts are cancerous
In rare instances, ovarian cysts can develop into cancer. Your risk is higher if you develop cysts after going through menopause. Out of the three types of ovarian cells, most ovarian cancers arise from epithelial cells. Tell our team if you have a family history of ovarian cancer, or other risk factors, including having children later or never being pregnant.
Be vigilant for symptoms
Regardless of your age and whether you have been diagnosed with ovarian cysts, you should be aware of symptoms that could suggest the presence of or changes to an ovarian cyst. Schedule a visit with us if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Severe pelvic pain
- Sharp, sudden pelvic pain
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after menopause
- Bloating in the lower abdominal region
- Frequent urination
Sudden, acute pain accompanied by shortness of breath or vertigo may suggest a ruptured cyst or a twisted ovary. Get medical assistance immediately if you encounter these symptoms. If bleeding occurs after menopause, it may be an indication that something serious is going on.
Treat underlying issues
Endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) increase the likelihood of developing ovarian cysts and fertility issues. Endometriosis or PCOS treatment helps to restore fertility and relieve related symptoms. Endometriosis can also be treated with in-office endometrial ablation, which involves the removal of the uterine lining.
Check for cysts throughout pregnancy
If you have large cysts and become pregnant, we may recommend ultrasound monitoring. Large cysts may rupture and cause problems.
Remove troublesome cysts
Our team may propose minimally invasive surgical removal if your cysts are large or causing symptoms. We may also suggest cyst removal if they persist after menopause.
It’s important to get to the bottom of things if you have gynecological changes or symptoms that are out of the norm for you. Schedule a visit with an Eve Medical provider today by calling or requesting an appointment online.