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HARLEY STREET CLINIC

25 Harley street
London W1G 8QW

OPERATING THEATRE & IN-PATIENT205 – 209 Great Portland Street
W1W 5AH

+44(0)2033030316

Ovarian Cysts

WHAT IS AN OVARIAN CYST

Ovarian cysts are sacs of fluid which develop in the ovary.These can occur on one or both sides.They can sometimes contain solid components. Most ovarian cysts are benign, some cysts which form in the ovary can be malignant (cancerous).

WHAT ARE GENERAL TYPES OF OVARIAN CYSTS

FUNCTIONAL CYSTS

It is commonly referred to as “ovulation cysts”.The most common type of ovarian cyst is the “functional” cyst. They arise from the natural ovulatory function of the ovaries.Sometimes, “functional” cysts can grow to be quite large and can become quite painful. If they rupture, the pain is acute and severe. Women with a growing functional cyst may notice changes in their menstrual cycle: menstrual bleeding may occur early or late, or may be unusually heavy or disorganised.

DERMOID CYSTS OF THE OVARY
It is also known as benign cystic teratomas.
The dermoid cyst is unique because it grows tissues which belong in other organs.
Commonly, for example, a dermoid cyst will contain hair, teeth, or fragments of bone. It may contain glandular tissue (e.g., thyroid tissue) which produces hormones. Usually, these solid components are encased in a thick capsule filled with an oily or cheesy liquid.
Dermoid cysts can be tiny, or grow to be huge.
15% of cases will be found in both ovaries.
They are particularly prone to torsion. Torsion is extremely painful, and usually will result in an emergency surgery.
Endometriomas (chocolate cyst)
An endometrioma is a type of endometriosis, a condition in which the lining of the uterus (womb) flows backwards through the fallopian tubes and deposits in the pelvis. When this tissue deposits on the ovary, an endometrioma can form. It can be filled with old thick blood, similar in consistency to chocolate syrup—hence the name “chocolate cyst”.
They are particularly prone to torsion. Torsion is extremely painful, and usually will result in an emergency surgery.
Endometriomas (chocolate cyst)
POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS)
OVARIAN CANCER
FUNCTIONAL CYSTS OF THE OVARY

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF OVARIAN CYSTS

  • Many ovarian cysts—can be completely asymptomatic
  • Can cause pain or pressure or heaviness.
  • Can cause pain or pressure or heaviness.
  • Pelvic pain, constant, dull aching that may radiate to the lower back and thighs
  • Pain during bowel movements or pressure on the bowels
  • Pelvic pain shortly before or after beginning a menstrual period
  • Pelvic pain with intercourse (dyspareunia) or during movement

A ruptured cyst may cause acute and severe pain. Certain ovarian cysts produce hormones which can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding. Chronic complaints of bloating and vague urinary symptoms are also common.Painful ovulation is known as mittleshmerz and is one of the more common reasons for women to come to us. If you suffer from recurrent mittleshmerz, effective treatments are readily available.

CAN IT BE OVARIAN CANCER

Traditionally, ovarian cancer has been regarded as a “silent killer”.Most women with ovarian cancer are first diagnosed when they already have advanced-stage disease. Unfortunately, this means that the prognosis of ovarian cancer is often not as favourable as many other types of cancer.

SYMPTOMS OF OVARIAN CANCER

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Pelvic and/or abdominal pain
  • Feeling full quickly after eating
  • Urinary urgency and/or frequency

TREATMENT OF OVARIAN CYSTS

Treatment depends on the type and size of the cyst, woman’s age and symptoms.
FUNCTIONAL CYST
  • They often don’t need treatment
  • Follow-up pelvic ultrasounds are recommended to make sure that the cyst has gotten smaller
  • Birth control pills may reduce the chance of new cysts developing in future menstrual cycles
OTHER CYSTS
  • If it gets larger or if it doesn’t look like a functional cyst on the ultrasound, an operation may be required
  • If the cyst is small and if it looks benign on the ultrasound, it can be removed without removing the ovary
  • If the cyst looks too big or if it looks suspicious in any way, the doctor will probably remove the cyst or possibly the entire affected ovary and fallopian tube. The cyst can be tested to find out if it is cancer
  • If the cystic mass is cancerous, the doctor may need to remove both of the ovaries, the uterus, a fold of fatty tissue called the omentum and some lymph nodes (hysterectomy)
  • Surgery is also recommended when a cystic mass develops on the ovaries after menopause as there is a higher risk of cancer in women who are postmenopausal
If you think you might have an ovarian cyst, we encourage you to call us as soon as possible