An ovarian cystis a sac filled with fluid or other tissue that forms in or on the surface of an ovary. They are very common and can occur during reproductive years and even after menopause. Mostly they are benign (noncancerous) and do not cause any symptoms. Majority of them even disappear on their own without any treatment.
Cysts and Their Types:
The cysts can vary from simple follicular / hemorrhagic cyst (fluid/blood filled), polycystic ovarian syndrome PCOS (multiple small cysts in the ovaries), endometriosis(chocolate cysts), dermoid cysts(can contain various body tissues like skin hair) to rarely precancerous or cancerous cysts. Some of these cysts can even occur during pregnancy.
How can Ovarian Cysts be treated?
The treatment options depend upon your age, desire to have children, any family history of breast or ovarian cancer, the cyst size, type of cyst and symptoms.
If the cyst is small in size and not causing any symptoms, you will be asked to wait and a repeat ultrasound will be done to see whether the cyst has changed in size or appearance.
Mostly the functional cysts disappear in a few months. At times birth control pills may be advised to prevent ovulation and decrease the formation of new cysts.
However, if the cyst is very large, does not disappear, increasing in size, causes symptoms, undergoes torsion or there is suspicion of cancer then surgery is required.
Removal of Cysts through Surgery:
Mostly the cyst is removed from the ovary (cystectomy). However, in some cases the entire ovary may have to be removed (oophorectomy) has to be done. If the cyst seems benign, then it is removed laparoscopically (keyhole minimally invasive surgery).
The faster recovery time, relatively small amount of postoperative pain, short convalescent period and hence hospitalization, better cosmetic results, ability to resume normal activities in a shorter time after the operation are some of the advantages of laparoscopic surgery. However, if their suspicion of cancer then open surgery (by keeping an incision in the abdomen) can be done. Thus one should discuss all the available treatment options for ovarian cysts with your gynecologist considering your age and future desire for fertility.