Most women with ovarian cysts don’t experience any symptoms; for others, these cysts can cause abdominal bloating, pain, and cramping. Here we will provide more information about these cysts and go through different types of ovarian cyst treatments.
There are different types of ovarian cysts, and although every woman’s symptoms might be different, there are some common ones to look for.
Every month, a follicle develops on one of the ovaries as part of the process of ovulation. When the egg is released, the follicle shrinks and the ovary returns to normal. If the follicle continues to grow after the egg is released or without releasing the egg, it causes what is known as a functional cyst. There are two different types of functional cysts that you could experience.
- Follicular cysts — These occur around the midpoint of your cycle, when the follicle grows in anticipation of releasing an egg. This type of cyst begins when the follicle doesn’t rupture (as it normally should) and release its egg. The follicle continues to grow and causes a cyst.
- Corpus luteum cyst — During your cycle, the follicle releases an egg and your body begins producing additional hormones in preparation for conception. At this point, the follicle transforms into the corpus luteum. If fluid begins to accumulate inside of the follicle, it forms a corpus luteum cyst.
There are other ovarian cysts that are not related to your normal menstrual cycle. These cysts include:
- Cystadenomas — These cysts develop on the surface of one of your ovaries and are filled with a watery fluid or mucus.
- Endometriomas — These cysts develop when uterine cells grow outside the uterus (endometriosis) and attach to the ovary, forming an abnormal growth of tissue.
- Dermoid cysts — Also referred to as teratomas, these odd cysts are formed from embryonic cells and can contain hair, skin, and teeth.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — These cysts develop as a result of a hormonal imbalance and prevent ovulation.
Cysts that form outside the context of a normal menstrual cycle tend to cause more pain. Your doctor can discover these kinds of cysts with a pelvic exam. If left untreated, they can rupture or lead to complications such as painful twisting of the ovary (ovarian torsion).
The symptoms of ovarian cysts vary depending on their type and size, and from woman to woman. The most common symptoms include:
- lower abdominal pain that can be sharp or dull, occurring around ovulation
- cramping on one side of the pelvic area
- discomfort with bowel movements
- menstrual irregularities
- pain with sexual intercourse
If you experience sudden, severe pain or nausea and vomiting with abdominal pain, seek medical attention.
When an ovarian cyst ruptures, it can cause pain that ranges from mild to moderate or even severe. Bleeding may also accompany a ruptured ovarian cyst.
If you are diagnosed with a ruptured ovarian cyst that is not complicated, you can most likely continue your care at home. If your cyst causes heavy bleeding, sharp pains, or surgery is required, you may need to be hospitalized for a day or more until bleeding stops.
Your ovarian cyst treatment at home may include prescribed pain medication, and your doctor might tell you to limit strenuous physical exercise until you have a follow-up evaluation. But how long does ruptured ovarian cyst pain last? There is no simple answer to this question.
Your doctor may tell you to rest for a few days to allow the area to heal. However, ruptured ovarian cyst recovery time and pain will depend on your level of activity, work and home obligations, and your own pain tolerance.
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If you experience increased pain, fever, or chills, these may be signs of an infection, and you will need to contact your doctor for further evaluation.
The treatment for ovarian cysts varies, depending on the type of cyst. Many ovarian cysts resolve on their own after a few menstrual cycles and require no additional treatment. Additional treatment may be necessary to get rid of ovarian cysts that return, persist, or rupture.
Your doctor may prescribe oral contraceptives to prevent ovulation. With the lack of hormonal changes and follicular development that are normally experienced during your cycle, the ovary can rest and heal.
The hormones from the pills won’t heal the cysts but can prevent new ones.
If an ovarian cyst does not go away on its own or it ruptures, you might need surgery. The follow-up care for ovarian cysts might include an ultrasound, blood work, or additional studies. If you’re trying to get pregnant and have endometriosis or PCOS, your doctor might prescribe additional medications or suggest other procedures to increase your chances.
How long does it take for an ovarian cyst to go away?
Functional cysts will go away on their own and can take several cycles to heal. Other cysts that are not related to your menstrual cycle may not resolve without additional treatment. These treatments can include medication or surgical removal.
There are things that you can do for ovarian cyst treatment at home after consultation with a doctor! Some of these include over-the-counter pain relievers and dietary changes.
These treatments will not prevent a cyst from occurring, but they can alleviate some of the symptoms and make you more comfortable while you heal.
Only a medical professional can provide an accurate diagnosis. Make sure you schedule regular gynecological exams, and if you think that you are experiencing symptoms associated with ovarian cysts, contact your doctor.