Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with fluid that develop inside or on the surface of the ovary. Many women experience ovarian cysts without even knowing it since the cysts are relatively harmless, small, and go away on their own within a few months. In severe cases, cysts can enlarge and painfully twist your ovaries, decreasing or stopping blood flow. Cysts can also rupture and cause internal bleeding.
In Newton and Walpole, Massachusetts, our OB/GYN physicians at Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN have years of experience diagnosing and treating ovarian cysts, from mild to severe.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts
A large ovarian cyst can cause symptoms, such as:
- Abdominal swelling or bloating
- Mild to moderate pelvic pain in the lower abdomen
An ovarian cyst is more likely to cause pain if it:
- Becomes large
- Breaks open
- Interferes with blood supply to the ovary
- Is bumped during sexual intercourse
- Is twisted or causes twisting (torsion) of the ovary
Risk Factors for Ovarian Cysts
Risk factors for ovarian cysts include:
- Pelvic infection
- History of ovarian cysts
- Hormonal problems and imbalance
Types of Ovarian Cysts
Follicles are cyst-like structures that your ovaries grow every month. The follicles produce progesterone and estrogen hormones and release an egg during ovulation. A follicular cyst occurs when the ovary follicle can’t release an egg. Instead, it grows into a cyst. Follicular cysts are usually larger and can be painful.
Corpus Luteum Cysts
Diagnosing Ovarian Cysts
Your OB/GYN physician may find an ovarian cyst during a pelvic exam or when you have an ultrasound test for another reason.
If you have a suspected ovarian cyst, your doctor may order a pelvic ultrasound, a specific blood test, a laparoscopy, or other methods to confirm the diagnosis.
Other imaging tests that may be done when needed include
- CT scan
- Doppler flow studies
Another ultrasound may be ordered for you in 6 to 8 weeks to make sure the ovarian cyst is gone. If not, there are treatment options available.
Treatment for Ovarian Cysts
Treatments for ovarian cysts depend on their size, placement, cause, and severity. Treatment options may include the following:
- Careful monitoring. Cysts can clear up on their own in many mild cases.
- Medication. Hormonal contraceptives help to prevent future cysts but do not decrease the size of current cysts.
- Surgery. Some complex ovarian cysts do not go away on their own or are increasing in size, and need to be surgically removed. They are removable without removing the ovary.
Treatment for Ovarian Cysts at Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN
Genetic Testing FAQs
To help you assess whether you may benefit from hereditary cancer testing, you need to discuss your risk of cancer with your healthcare professional and ask for further evaluation.
Genetic tests are performed on a sample of blood, hair, skin, amniotic fluid (if you are pregnant), or other tissue. The sample is then sent to a lab that specializes in genetic testing. The technicians look for specific changes in chromosomes, DNA, or proteins, depending on the suspected disorder. The lab returns the test results to the doctor who requested the test. It may take several weeks or longer to get the test results.
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are required to pay for both genetic counseling and breast and gynecological cancer testing (e.g., Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) testing) for women who meet certain criteria. For these patients, insurance companies must cover the entire cost of genetic counseling and breast and gynecological cancer testing with no out-of-pocket costs to the individual.