Ovarian cysts do more than cause pain and discomfort. They can also cause changes in your body. Some of the changes that they cause are easily visible. Some are not. Some can occur at the same time while others occur on their own.
It’s true that there are women with cysts in their ovaries who never experience any of these changes. However, it pays to know about these ovarian cyst symptoms as it can come in handy in helping in the early detection of ovarian cysts. This will eventually help to reduce the risks of ovarian cyst complications.
Causes of ovarian cyst induced changes
Most of the changes that ovarian cysts cause have to do with the increasing size of a cyst in a woman’s body, where the cyst grows so large that it pushes against tissues and adjacent organs to such an extent that the effect of this pushing and shoving becomes visible.
However, some of the changes caused by ovarian cysts have to do with their effect on the hormonal balance in a woman’s body. For example, Hopkins Medicine blames the unusual hair growth symptom of ovarian cysts on the increased production of masculinizing hormones -triggered by ovarian cysts.
1. Increase in urination frequency
This is a symptom of ovarian cysts that occurs when a large cyst presses against the bladder. It has two effects: it reduces the holding capacity of the bladder and also makes it impossible for one to completely empty her bladder.
By reducing the bladder’s capacity, ovarian cysts guarantee that your bladder will fill up quickly. And by inhibiting the bladder-emptying process, it further accelerates the bladder-filling process since even after going to the loo, there will always be less space left in your bladder. All this adds up to a continuous need to empty your bladder at smaller and smaller intervals. The growth of the cyst only makes things worse.
2. Excessive bleeding during menstruation
Women with ovarian cysts sometimes experience heavier-than-normal bleeding during their periods. And sometimes, it’s not just heavier. The bleeding sometimes goes on for a longer period than what one is used to.
Since the menstrual cycle is a process that is largely controlled by hormones, and since hormones produced by the ovaries play a significant process in controlling this process, these changes can be blamed on the hormonal-imbalance effect that ovarian cysts have on the female body
3. Irregular bleeding
Some women experience changes in the timing department of their menstrual cycles. Some experience their periods earlier while for others, their periods take longer than necessary. There are also times when ovarian cysts can cause unexpected light vaginal spotting. This can be very frustrating because you may never know when the bleeding will start.
4. Unexplained weight gain
This is a symptom of ovarian cysts that may be blamed on the hormonal imbalance that comes with the onset of ovarian cysts. However, there are cases where the increase in weight is caused by the sheer weight of the cystic mass growing in the ovaries. Cases of extremely large cysts are a good example.
5. Difficulty getting pregnant
Normally, ovarian cysts don’t interfere with a woman’s ability to get pregnant. The growth of the cyst and the onset of ovarian cyst complications can however make conception difficult. This is so especially in cases where ovarian torsion and ovarian cyst rupture occur.
Ovarian torsion is a condition that is characterized by the twisting of ovarian cysts. This twisting can restrict blood supply to the ovaries, something that may lead to death of ovarian tissues. If this condition leads to the destruction of an ovary, a woman will only have one ovary to rely on. This can reduce the chances of conception.
Ovarian cyst rupture on the other hand has several effects. In the case of an endometrioid cyst, a cyst burst will release the contents of the cyst. This will then cause endometrial tissues to start developing on different parts of the female reproductive system. It can lead to scarring of the uterus, blockage of the fallopian tube and many other complications that can make fertilization difficult.
A cyst burst can also lead to damage of the ovaries. And even if it doesn’t do so directly, it can expose the ovaries to the risks that come with surgery, something that can lead to conception complications.
6. Painful periods
WebMD explains the why some women experience painful periods. According to an article reviewed by Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, the pain usually occurs as a result of uterine contractions. These contractions cause the uterine muscles to press against blood vessels, cutting off blood supply to some muscles. This is what causes the pain.
Now, not all women experience painful periods. But given that on ovarian cyst is an unwanted mass that takes up space in the reproductive system, it is easy to see why the effects of uterine contractions can cause more pain. With cysts taking up space, even the slightest contractions of the uterine walls can cut off blood supply to the uterine muscles. A woman who wouldn’t have experienced the pain therefore experiences it because of the “congestion” caused by ovarian cysts.
It is possible for ovarian cysts to cause permanent infertility in women. It maybe as a result of the effect of a necessary – to remove the cyst and prevent further complications – surgical procedure . It can also be as a direct consequence of ovarian cyst complications.
The rupture of an endometrioid ovarian cyst can lead to the total blockage of the fallopian tubes. It can also lead to infections that may end up causing irreparable damage to the female reproductive system. And in cases where cysts develop on both ovaries, ovarian torsion can cause the destruction of both ovaries, leading to permanent infertility.
These are extremely rare ovarian cyst complications. But that is not to say that they cannot develop.
8. Increased hair growth
The hair growth usually occurs in the face, although other parts of the body aren’t immune to this ovarian cyst symptom. As mentioned above, Hopkins Medicine attributes this change to an increase in the production of masculinizing hormones – an effect of the presence of cysts in the ovaries.
Want to learn more about ovarian cysts? Grab this