Ovary Pain & Cysts: What You Need to Know
Posted byAimee McNew, MNT
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled pouches that form on or in the ovary. Women of reproductive age will most commonly experience this condition. Cysts can vary in size and number, and in many cases, will resolve on their own. However, in women who are prone to repeated cysts, they may be the cause of ovary pain and infertility.1
Common Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts
Many cysts on the ovaries are small and won’t produce noticeable symptoms. When symptoms do occur, the most common include:
- Ovary pain that feels like a dull ache in the pelvic area.
- Pelvic pain before the beginning or end of your period.
- Pain during intercourse or bowel movements.
- A feeling of fullness in your abdomen.
- Pressure that interrupts normal urination.
- Nausea, vomiting or breast tenderness.3
Serious stabbing pains that result when cysts bleed or rupture or pain accompanied by fever or vomiting requires emergency medical attention.3
If cysts are asymptomatic, they may only be discovered during a routine exam. If symptoms of cysts are present, they may be discovered sooner.1
Ovarian cysts are typically diagnosed in one of three ways:
- Transvaginal ultrasound. Most women associate an ultrasound with a wand that is moved across the lower abdomen during pregnancy. Because ovarian cysts are much smaller, a closer view is required for detection. A long, thin wand is inserted in the vagina, producing a close-up view of the uterus and ovaries. Cysts can be measured and photographed to help determine a course of treatment.
- Blood tests. Used primarily in women who are past reproductive age, a test known as CA125 can be indicative of the type of cyst present, i.e. if it is benign or malignant. This test is not effective in women who are not yet menopausal.
- Laparoscopy This minor outpatient surgery involves the insertion of a tiny tube with a camera through a small slit in the lower abdomen to get a closer view of the ovaries.1
Once cysts are discovered, there are a few primary methods of treatment.
If a woman struggles with frequent and recurring cysts, hormonal birth control may be prescribed to control the development of new cysts.2 This will not remove existing cysts but may help prevent repeated formation of new ones.
Ovarian cysts that cause symptoms or are problematic may be surgically removed, but this method is largely dependent on where the cyst is located in the ovary, the woman’s age and her reproductive goals. At times, one or both ovaries may need to be removed.
While there are no official ways to prevent ovarian cysts from developing, regular pelvic exams can help to ensure that cysts are caught early, offering more treatment options.3
1“Ovarian Cysts.” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. July 2015. Accessed January 3, 2017. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Ovarian-Cysts.
2“Ovarian Cysts: Diagnosis and Treatments.” Medical News Today. September 7, 2015. Accessed January 3, 2017. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/179031.php?page=2.
3“Prevention.” Mayo Clinic Staff. August 13, 2014. Accessed January 3, 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ovarian-cysts/basics/prevention/con-20019937.
- Posted by Aimee McNew, MNT
- On April 3, 2017