Ovarian cysts are very common, but we often aren’t even aware that they are there. Most ovarian cysts form and then disappear, without causing any problems, but sometimes a cyst grows too large, bursts, or in rare cases, develops into ovarian cancer.
When an ovarian cyst starts causing symptoms, they can include bloating, discomfort during sex, frequent urination, or difficulty emptying your bowels. You might also notice that your periods have changed, becoming lighter, heavier or more irregular, and you could experience some pelvic pain. This could be anything from a dull, heavy ache to a sudden sharp pain. It is important to consult a doctor if you experience these kinds of symptoms, as they might be more than just a minor sickness or period pain. You might have an ovarian cyst.
If your gynaecologist suspects that your symptoms might be caused by ovarian cysts, you will probably need to have an ultrasound scan to confirm the diagnosis. The scan will usually have to be conducted vaginally, which means that a small probe will have to be placed inside your vagina in order to get a clear picture of the ovaries. You might also need to have a blood test if there is a chance that the cyst could be cancerous.
The results of these tests can help your doctor to decide on the right course of treatment. If the cyst is very large, if you are experiencing severe symptoms, or if there is a high risk of ovarian cancer, your gynaecologist may want to remove it surgically. However, in most cases, this won’t be necessary. Your doctor may simply want to keep an eye on the cyst to make sure that it disappears on its own. You might also need to come back for regular scans and blood tests to check for signs of ovarian cancer, if you are at a higher risk because you have been through the menopause.