Ovarian Cysts: Normal or a Problem?
Most Ovarian Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that develop in a woman's ovaries as a normal part of a women’s menstrual cycle. During childbearing years a women produces a single egg once a month in a small sac called a follicle. The release of estrogen signals the sac to rupture and release the egg into the fallopian tube where it travels to the uterus. If the egg is fertilized, it implants on the uterine wall; unfertilized eggs are expelled with the uterine lining during menstruation. If the follicle fails to rupture and release the egg, fluid remains in the sac and a follicular cyst may form. Another type of cyst (corpus luteum cyst) can form even if the egg is released; this type of cyst contains a small amount of blood. Small cysts of either type—less than one half an inch—are common, produce no symptoms, and disappear on their own in a few weeks. A large cyst may cause pressure, bloating, pelvic pain, pain during intercourse if bumped, a increased desire to urinate, or a late period. Sudden and severe pelvic pain, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, may be a sign of twisting of the ovary and reducing its blood supply or the rupture of a cyst and internal bleeding. If benign, the pain will improve dramatically within 45 minutes.
NOTE: the use of oral contraception decreases risk because it prevents the ovaries from producing an egg during ovulation.
Signs & Symptoms
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