Learning to live with an ovarian cyst

Not exactly an unfamiliar term to most, but one that many women remain unfamiliar with, ovarian cysts…

Learning to live with an ovarian cyst
Foto: Flickr

Not exactly an unfamiliar term to most, but one that many women remain unfamiliar with, ovarian cysts are a regular health concern shared by millions. It is common for a woman to develop these types of cysts at some point during her life, especially during the reproductive years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most American women in premenopsaual years will develop some form of cyst on their ovaries, while approximately 15% of postmenopausal women will develop a cyst.

These types of cysts are similar to a blister in that they are often small sacs of fluid on the ovaries. However, there are times when the composition of a cyst consists of other matter such as semi-solid material or are gaseous. Liquid cysts are rarely cancerous but a cyst that is made of a mixed or solid substance should be evaluated.

In order to be considered a cyst, the growth is normally two centimeters or more. It is possible for ovarian cysts to remain small, about the size of a pea, or grow to become larger cysts the size of an orange. It is also possible, but very rare, that a cyst will grow so large as to make a women look pregnant. Women can have one or more cysts at a time, on one or on both of her ovaries.

There are numerous natural reasons for your body to develop an ovarian cyst. The most common type of ovarian cyst is harmless and called functional cysts, which are the type that develop during the menstrual cycle. Other, less common types of cysts include:

For most, ovarian cysts are a benign, or a harmless growth. They generally do not cause pain or discomfort and normally disappear themselves over time. These cysts can be considered a hazard when it has ruptured. When this occurs, it is important to get to your doctor as soon as possible as this may be the signal of something much more significant.

If you have experienced pelvic pain or discomfort including in your back and thighs, irregular periods, abdominal heaviness, nausea or vomiting, or pressure against your bladder or rectum, you may have symptoms of a large ovarian cyst. If this occurs, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible.