Ovarian Cysts Specialist
Ovarian cysts can develop for different reasons, and while some can be benign, others can cause serious medical issues. At Northwest Women’s Center, women from throughout Houston, TX benefit from state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques and advanced ovarian cyst treatments to ensure they get the most appropriate care for their needs.
Ovarian Cysts Q & A
What causes ovarian cysts?
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that’s typically benign. Ovarian cysts are sacs that form on the ovaries, and they can be divided into different types:
- Functional cysts occur as part of the normal menstrual cycle, and they’re very common. In fact, most women will have at least one functional cyst at some point in her lifetime, and in most cases, there will be no symptoms. These functional cysts form when something minor occurs that interferes with the normal release of the egg and typically resolve on their own within a few menstrual cycles.
- Endometriomas that form in women who have endometriosis, a painful condition that develops when the uterine lining tissue (the endometrium) grows outside the uterus. Endometriomas may cause few or no symptoms, but they can grow to be very large. In some cases, they can cause the ovary to become twisted, resulting in severe pain and requiring emergency treatment to prevent more serious complications.
- Dermoid cysts form during egg development and may contain irritants derived from egg cells.
- Cystadenomas are cysts that contain a mucousy liquid.
Small, asymptomatic cysts typically require no treatment, but their growth may be monitored.
What symptoms are associated with ovarian cysts?
Many cysts cause no symptoms, but when symptoms do occur, they can include:
- abdominal pain or cramping or pelvic pain or pressure
- painful periods, as well as pain just before a period
- pain during intercourse
- painful bowel movements
- urinary incontinence or increased urge to urinate more frequently
- breast tenderness
How are ovarian cysts diagnosed?
Ovarian cysts may be identified during a digital pelvic exam (an exam using the fingers), and they’re usually confirmed using an ultrasound which may be performed transvaginally using a special wand-shaped ultrasound device.
How are ovarian cysts treated?
Asymptomatic cysts including functional cysts typically do not require treatment, but their growth may be monitored. Some symptomatic cysts may be treated with hormone medicines including birth control pills or with surgery to remove the cyst. In very severe cases such as when the ovary has become twisted, the entire ovary may need to be removed.