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Ovarian Cysts- Causes, Types, Symptoms and Treatments | 02nd July, 2015


Ovarian cyst is a collection of fluids surrounded by a slender wall within the ovary. Ovarian cysts raise concern among many women, especially in childbearing age.The causes may be as a result of the following factors;
Primary factors:
These include;
Genetic predisposition: 
Genetic predisposition is often considered to be the primary cause of ovarian cysts as research has shown that the genetic pattern of women who suffer from this chronic condition is far different compared to women who have never suffered from ovarian cysts or PCOS. PCOS women are often predisposed to abnormal metabolism and the dysfunctions of cell activity. However, this should not be a death warrant as many times the genetic characteristics can be modified with the help of environmental factors and proper lifestyle related changes.
Poor dietary choices:
Different types of foods including refined carbohydrates, acidic foods and foods which contain high levels of toxins and hormone like substances can trigger hormonal imbalance and can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to ovarian cysts. Similarly a diet rich in sugar and low on fresh vegetables can make the task of flushing out toxins difficult, thereby aggravating your ovarian cyst condition.
Weak immune system:
Poor dietary choices, stress and sleep deprivation can lead to a weakened immune system. A weakened immune system cannot defend the body against ovarian cyst formation.
Insulin resistance:
High level of insulin can stimulate ovarian androgen production, which leads to the production of male hormones. This reduces the serum sex-hormone binding globulin or SHGB. The SHBG can in turn aggravate your ovarian cyst condition to quite an extent.
Failed ovulation process:
When the ovaries fail to release an egg on a monthly basis due to certain metabolic disorders and because progesterone is not produced it can trigger the formation of ovarian cysts as the immature follicles develop into cysts.
Besides the above primary factors, toxins in the liver and blood and even environmental toxins can increase the chances of ovarian cyst formation. The only way to effectively treat and prevent ovarian cysts is by using a multidimensional holistic approach.
There are various types of ovarian cysts, such as dermoid cysts and endometrioma cysts. However, functional cysts are the most common type. The two types of functional cysts include follicle and corpus luteum cysts.
Follicle Cyst
During a womans menstrual cycle, an egg grows in a sac called a follicle. This sac is located inside the ovaries. In most cases, this follicle or sac breaks open and releases an egg. But if the follicle doesn’t break open, the fluid inside the follicle can form a cyst on the ovary.
Corpus Luteum Cysts
Follicle sacs typically dissolve after releasing an egg. But if the sac does not dissolve and the opening of the follicle seals, additional fluid can develop inside the sac and this accumulation of fluid causes a corpus luteum cyst.
Other types of ovarian cysts include:
Dermoid cysts: sac-like growths on the ovaries that can contain hair, fat, and other tissue
cystadenomas: non-cancerous growths that can develop on the outer surface of the ovaries.
Endometriomas: tissues that normally grow inside the uterus can develop outside the uterus and attach to the ovaries, resulting in a cyst
Some women develop a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome. This condition means the ovaries contain a large number of small cysts. It can cause the ovaries to enlarge, and if left untreated, polycystic ovaries can cause infertility.
Often times, ovarian cysts do not cause any symptoms. However, symptoms can appear as the cyst grows. Symptoms may include:
i.  Abdominal bloating or swelling
ii. Painful bowel movements
iii. Pelvic pain before or during the Menstrual cycle
iv. Painful intercourse
v. Pain in the lower back or thighs
vi. Breast tenderness
vii. Nausea and vomiting
Severe symptoms of an ovarian cyst that require immediate medical attention include:
i. severe or sharp pelvic pain
ii. fever
iii. faintness or dizziness
iv. rapid breathing
These symptoms can indicate a ruptured cyst or an ovarian torsion. Both complications can have serious consequences if not treated early.
Ovarian cysts cannot be prevented. However, routine gynecologic examinations can detect ovarian cysts early. Benign ovarian cysts do not become cancerous. However, symptoms of ovarian cancer can mimic symptoms of an ovarian cyst. Thus, it is important to visit your doctor and receive a correct diagnosis. Alert your doctor to symptoms that may indicate a problem, such as:
i.. changes in your menstrual cycle
ii. ongoing pelvic pain
iii. loss of appetite
iv. unexplained weight loss
v. abdominal fullness
Your doctor may recommend treatment to shrink or remove the cyst if it does not go away on its own or if it grows larger.
Birth Control Pills
If you have recurrent ovarian cysts, your doctor can prescribe oral contraceptives to stop ovulation and prevent the development of new cysts. Oral contraceptives can also reduce your risk of ovarian cancer. The risk of ovarian cancer is higher in postmenopausal women.
If your cyst is small and results from an imaging test rule out cancer, your doctor can perform a laparoscopy to surgically remove the cyst. The procedure involves your doctor making a tiny incision near your navel and then inserting a small instrument into your abdomen to remove the cyst.
If you have a large cyst, your doctor can surgically remove the cyst through a large incision in your abdomen. They will conduct an immediate biopsy, and if they determine that the cyst is cancerous, they may perform a hysterectomy to remove your ovaries and uterus.
Jennifer adu-Gyamfi/ghanahospitals.org

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