An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid that develops on an ovary, an organ located on each side of the uterus. This ovaries are responsible for producing mature eggs each month.
Some ovarian cysts don’t cause any noticeable symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, they may include:
Cysts may develop for many reasons. One of the most common cysts is called a functional cyst. A functional cyst may be a follicular cyst, which holds an egg, or it can be a corpus luteum cyst, which produces hormones during the menstrual cycle.
Other types of cysts that may develop on the ovary include:
Ovarian cysts are rarely cancerous.
Dr. Slaughter may suspect a cyst based on the results of a pelvic exam and/or a description of the patient’s symptoms. If Dr. Slaughter suspects a cyst has formed, she will order tests to determine its type, including a pelvic ultrasound, laparoscopy, and pregnancy test. She may also order blood work to rule out a cancerous growth.
Many ovarian cysts will go away on their own over time. If the patient isn’t experiencing severe symptoms, she may opt for watchful waiting. Dr. Slaughter will reevaluate the cyst at regular intervals to ensure that it isn’t growing or changing.
In cases where patients are at risk of developing more cysts, Dr. Slaughter may recommend birth control pills to alter the hormones that created the cyst. This can reduce the chances of the patient developing additional cysts in the future.
In cases where cysts are large, growing, or causing serious symptoms, Dr. Slaughter may recommend surgery to remove the cyst from the ovary.
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