Wed | Nov 13, 2019

Ovarian Cysts: Dangerous or not

Published:Monday | April 22, 2019 | 12:17 AM

Ovarian Cysts are common, especially among women who menstruate. The fluid-filled sacs within the ovaries are usually not a cause for concern. However, there are times when one needs to become mindful of them. Gynaecologist Dr Kiri-an Bridgewater is speaks on the matter.

“Most women will develop several ovarian cysts in their lifetime. But most of them will not cause any symptoms and they will go away on their own,” the medical expert explained.

There are varied types of the abscess, with follicular and haemorrhagic being the most popular. The other types include dermoid cysts and endometriomas.

As the doctor clarified, the best examination for identifying an ovarian cyst is a bimanual examination. It’s an inspection of both the vagina and abdomen simultaneously. However, when these cysts are large enough, about the size of an orange, they can be felt on examining the abdomen alone. If at this point your doctor suspects that you have an ovarian cyst, a pelvic ultrasound is normally requested to confirm and ascertain more details about the condition.

WHEN DOES THE CYSTS BECOME DANGEROUS

Large cysts are red flags, which signal that your health may be in jeopardy. That’s because they can twist on their blood supply, subsequently causing the ovary to die. This is a very painful condition, called ovarian torsion. If and when the sac ruptures, internal bleeding in the abdomen is likely to ensue. This, too, can also be dangerous.

The signs to look out for are abdominal bloating or distention, dull abdominal pain, and backache or pain during sexual intercourse.

Can ovarian cysts lead to cancer? Is a frequently asked question that Dr Bridgewater was eager to answer.

“Most ovarian cysts will not lead to cancer, though this is seen particularly in pre-pubertal girls and post-menopausal women with ovarian cysts. This is why it is very important that these patients see a gynaecologist as soon as possible and are investigated to ensure that there is no cancer present,” she stated.

She continued: “Additionally, women with endometriomas (an affliction where endometrial tissues grow in and around the ovaries), as a result of endometriosis, are also at an increased risk of ovarian cancer if the situation is not addressed.”

SURGERY YES OR NO

Not all cysts require surgery for removal. For those that do, they have to contain cancerous features or solid parts within them, do not go away after several menstrual cycles, are too large, or twists on its blood supply.

The doctor explained that oral contraceptive pills can prevent the growth of cysts, but warns that there are several factors to be considered before starting this medication.

She said:“I urge any woman with an ovarian cyst to speak to a gynaecologist to ensure the proper work up is done before they attempt to do anything else. This way appropriate plan treat the cyst can be identified and prevent any further cysts from forming.”

rocheda.bartley@gleanerjm.com