1. What is exactly an ovarian cyst?
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled, sac-like structure found within an ovary. They are most often benign in nature.
2. Why are ovarian cysts formed?
Ovarian cysts are caused due to different reasons. One of the most common cysts (follicular) is formed from retained fluid in an unruptured egg. Cysts may also be formed due to infection, endometriosis or malignancies.
3. Can ovarian cyst formation be prevented?
Though most ovarian cysts cannot be prevented from forming, the recurrence of endometriosis-related cysts may be reduced with appropriate medicines.
4. Do all cysts need an operation?
Most cysts do not need an operation. The need for operation would depend on the age of the woman, size of the cyst, symptoms produced, sonographic features and the chances of associated cancer.
5. How will I know I have an ovarian cyst?
Often cysts do not cause symptoms. At other times they may present with features of fullness in the abdomen, painful periods and abnormal bleeding, sudden severe pain with a vomiting sensation, bloating and flatulence etc An ultrasonography examination (preferably from the vaginal route) is the best way to diagnose ovarian cysts.
6. When will an ovarian cyst be suspected to be due to cancer?
Ovarian cysts occurring at a later stage in life, having specific sonographic features, (solid areas, septae, fluid in abdomen) and a raised blood CA (non-specific cancer marker) level.
7. Can ovarian cysts recur after an operation?
Some cysts like those arising from endometriosis may recur with time. Follicular cysts commonly recur but seldom need an operation.
8. What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
It is a genetically determined hormonal imbalance in women of the reproductive age group. It may present as excessive weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, increased body and facial hair or with complaints of sub fertility. Besides hormonal irregularities detected in blood tests, an abdominal sonography may reveal small peripheral cysts in the ovary. These cysts are not cancerous and do not need an operation for removal. See Section on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
9. What are chocolate cysts?
Chocolate cysts are localized collections of tarred blood in the ovary, which over time assumes the appearance of melted chocolate. These cysts are a part of the disease process called endometriosis and are often associated with symptoms of pain and sub fertility. See Section on Endometriosis
10. Is laparoscopy surgery appropriate for ovarian cysts?
Laparoscopic surgery is ideal for the removal of most cysts. However in cases where surgical difficulties are encountered or malignancy is suspected reversion to the open surgery route may be done. See Section on Laparoscopy