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Recurrence After Dermoid Ovarian Cyst Removal: This Woman’s Cysts Returned 3 Times After Surgery

After having an encounter with ovarian cysts and then getting rid of them, especially through as drastic a measure as surgery, the last thing you want to hear is your doctor telling you that the cysts in your ovaries are back.

It’s traumatizing because of the hell that ovarian cyst symptoms can put you through. It is frightening because of the numerous risks that come with cyst removal through surgery. And it’s a nightmare because you have to go through all of it again without knowing whether or not it would be the last time.

But sometimes, it happens.

When you least expect it, you learn that you have ovarian cysts. You then suffer through the symptoms of the ovarian cysts, brave the doctor appointments, shoulder the costs of the treatments, deal with the inconveniences of having interrupted schedules, and spend endless nights and days trying to get rid of the cysts in your ovaries.

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And then you finally do manage to cure them. Thinking that you are clear, you go on with your day-to-day life. Only to find out later that there are other cysts growing in your ovaries. And that you will have to go through the entire process again.

It is frustrating. It is tiring. It is annoying. It is frightening. And it is all the bad things you couldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

But that is life. And it is something that happened to a girl who hadn’t yet clocked 20 years. Her case was documented in BioMed Central.

The story of the 16 year old girl with dermoid cysts in her ovaries

At 16 years of age, the girl went to see a doctor. For two weeks straight, she had been experiencing pain in the lower part of her abdomen – a common symptom of ovarian cysts.

The doctors examined her and found out that that she had a dermoid ovarian cyst in her right ovary. Surgery was recommended. They performed it and the cyst was successfully removed.

A month or so after surgery, she was feeling better. The abdominal pains were gone and recovery from surgery was great. Further pelvic exams didn’t show any signs of growing dermoid cysts. And so she resumed her life. Happy that the nasty cysts were finally out of her ovary.

A year after ovarian cyst removal through surgery

But a year later, they were back. This time round it wasn’t abdominal pains that took her to the hospital. It was abnormal menstrual periods. For two months, she had been experiencing excessive bleeding. And there were no signs of the bleeding stopping.

Upon examination, doctors discovered that a cystic growth in her ovaries was to blame for her problems. They again recommended surgery. It was performed. And it was successful.

3 years later, ovarian cyst symptoms of abdominal pain and excessive bleeding start

3 years went by and everything was perfect. But by the time she turned 20, the well-known symptoms of ovarian cysts had started again. This time it was both the abdominal pain and the excessive bleeding. She had been suffering from them for about 7 months before finally deciding to visit a doctor.

This time round, doctors had worse news. They had found ovarian cysts in both her ovaries. And not just that. They had were also suspecting that one of those cysts was cancerous (malignant). Now double ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer!?

Two dermoid ovarian cysts in her ovaries

During surgery, the doctors confirmed their suspicions. She had two cysts ovarian cysts, one in each of her ovaries. Both of the cystic growths were dermoid cysts (mature cystic teratomas).

The only good news was that the doctors’ suspicions of ovarian cancer were wrong. Both the cysts in her ovaries were benign –noncancerous. Which wasn’t really good news, but more of a relief for the 20 year old girl.

15 months later, no cysts had yet formed in her ovaries. There were also none of the symptoms of dermoid ovarian cysts. She seemed fine. Everything seemed right. Fingers crossed.

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What is the Likelihood of Dermoid Ovarian Cysts Returning? Answers

Dermoid cysts, also known as ovarian teratomas, can grow back after removal. It doesn’t really matter what type of surgery you opt for. These cystic growths can return to haunt you later on. But the question is: what are the chances of the cysts growing in your ovaries?

The risks of dermoid cyst recurrence

While there is a possibility of suffering a second or third round of dermoid cyst attack, studies show that the chances of this happening are very slim. This files this ovarian cyst complication under yes-it-is-possible-but-unlikely.

This case report in BioMed Central states that the risk of recurrence of ovarian teratomas, another name for dermoid ovarian cysts, is 4.2%. This is quite low. And possibly a good reason for women who have successfully gotten rid of their cysts not to worry.

Can birth control pills help to lower the chances of dermoid cysts coming back?

No they can’t.

Birth control pills usually come in handy in the management of ovarian cysts because they can stop ovulation. Since some cysts usually form in the course of a woman’s menstrual cycle, it is believed that stopping ovulation can be a good way of preventing ovarian cysts from developing in the female reproductive system.

However, various studies show that while most doctors advocate for birth control pills as a way to manage the growth and symptoms of ovarian cysts, these pills rarely have an effect on the rate of growth of cysts on ovaries. They are also not effective in shrinking ovarian cysts.

Birth control pills have no chance of success against dermoid ovarian cysts

Leading medical publications point out that birth control pills can be effective in preventing the growth of new ovarian cysts. Well, not really prevent, but more of reduce the risks of new ovarian cysts developing.

And while this may be true, it doesn’t really help when it comes to preventing new dermoid ovarian cysts from developing in a woman’s ovaries.

Why? Because birth control pills may only work on ovarian cysts that develop in the course of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Those that come about when something goes wrong during ovulation or immediately after. These cysts are called functional cysts – they are so called because their development is dependent on the functioning of the female reproductive system.

Dermoid cysts don’t grow because of menstruation, ovulation or any of the activities that go on in the female reproductive system. They develop when a germ cell gets trapped in the ovaries. This is something that has nothing to do with the hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle.

What this means is that birth control pills don’t really have a chance when it comes to preventing the formation of dermoid ovarian cysts.

Preventing dermoid ovarian cyst return – what may work

We are what we eat. And we are how we live.

Lifestyle choices and eating habits play a large role in determining how well our bodies function. Better lifestyle choices and healthy diets can therefore help to reduce the risks of dermoid ovarian cyst formation.

Doctors don’t really know what causes dermoid ovarian cysts to form – what causes that germ cell to develop in the ovaries in the first place. They therefore cannot prescribe a pill or any medication that works with certainty.

Surgery is effective when it comes to removing dermoid ovarian cysts – don’t let me get started on why surgical removal of ovarian cysts is a bad idea. Surgical removal of dermoid ovarian cysts doesn’t however reduce the risks of another cyst forming. Why? Because it doesn’t deal with the root cause of the problem.

When it comes to reducing the risks of demoid cysts returning, your best chance seems to lie with working with your body. It lies with giving your body the best tools to fight against the development of abnormal growths in the ovaries. Relying on natural methods of preventing ovarian cysts seems to be the only winning bet. And it is the only one worth making.

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ovarian teratoma cysts on ovaries

Do dermoid cysts have to be removed?

Dermoid cysts are unwanted growths in the ovary. They contain things like teeth, skin, hair and even pieces of organs that are sometimes functional. Question is, is the surgical removal of dermoid ovarian cysts necessary? Is it a must? Is it worth the trouble?

If only surgical removal were free of health risks

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It might have been a no-brainer if it were possible to get rid of the cysts without surgery. Of course they are abnormal growths. And who knows what they can do when left alone?

But intrusive surgery, however minimal it may be, is all there is.  And cutting up and opening up a human being carries a number of risks. There is the pain associated with the surgery, the medications, the risks of infection and even the possibility of accidents that can end up messing with the way your body functions.

An alternative to dermoid ovarian cyst removal

something to kow about dermoid ovarian cyst removal through surgery

Once you realize that you have a dermoid ovarian cyst, removal of the cyst through surgery should therefore not be the first step. Why? Because surgery is no joke. And sometimes the risks involved are not worth it – not because your health doesn’t matter but because there might be a better way. A hassle-free way that may guarantee your health while  also shielding your reproductive system from the potential dangers of surgery – like damage to your organs.

The wait and see approach to treating dermoid ovarian cysts

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It’s really not a treatment. It isn’t a cure. But it is an approach that has proven effective in helping women with ovarian cysts to keep their sanity and preserve their health.

This approach of managing dermoid ovarian cysts involves letting the cysts be and then watching them to see what happens. It is a strategy that has proven to be effective time and time again because it is rooted on solid scientific/medical dermoid ovarian cyst research studies.

Why the wait-and-see dermoid cyst treatment works

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Dermoid cysts are usually small. They also have super-slow growth rates which means that over the years, they rarely grow to worrisome sizes. It is because of these characteristics that most women with dermoid ovarian cysts rarely realize that they have them. And what is even better is that the cysts on ovaries have a habit of being reluctant when it comes to causing ovarian cyst symptoms.

All this usually adds up to dermoid ovarian cysts being cystic growths that are too small to interfere with the functioning of the female reproductive system.

Which brings us to the main question: why intervene and put your reproductive health at risk when your reproductive system has no quarrels with the cysts? Why put your body under the stress of surgery when you aren’t suffering from any ovarian cyst symptoms.

A fool-proof alternative to surgical removal of dermoid ovarian cysts

something to kow about dermoid ovarian cyst removal through surgery

Leading medical practitioners advice that under these circumstances, you should leave the dermoid cysts alone.

Of course there is always a chance that they may develop into large cysts. That is why your doctor will be there to monitor ovarian teratoma’s growth.

With the average size of dermoid ovarian cysts being less than 4 inches (10cm) and their  average growth rate at 1-2mm a year, you have little to worry about under these circumstances. Especially if you take time to eat healthy and reduce exposure to risk factors associated with the occurrence of ovarian cysts.

natural prevention cure for cancerous dermoid cysts

Dermoid ovarian cyst complications and surgical intervention

something to kow about dermoid ovarian cyst removal through surgery

Dermoid ovarian cyst complications? The chances of that happening are slim. Ovarian cyst rupture has a less than 1% chance of taking place, ovarian torsion usually occurs in 3-11% of ovarian teratoma cases, and infections occur in less than 1% of reported dermoid cyst in ovary cases. The risks of the dermoid cyst turning malignant is also small.

But this does not mean that complications don’t happen.

Dermoid cysts sometimes grow into large cysts. They sometimes rupture, be it because of overgrowing their enclosure or physical trauma. They also sometimes lead to infections of the reproductive system. And they sometimes contain traces of cancerous cells.

When this happens, surgery may be necessary. In some cases, especially when the symptoms of dermoid cysts become severe, immediate medical attention is a must.

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ovarian teratoma and conception pregnancy complications

Can a dermoid ovarian cyst cause infertility?

Dermoid cysts sometimes grow in the ovaries. And given that ovaries play a central role when it comes to conception, the question that every woman with the cysts asks is: can dermoid ovarian cysts affect their ability to get pregnant? And, do they affect pregnancy?

Normal dermoid ovarian cysts and infertility

Do dermoid ovarian cysts cause infertility?

Dermoid cysts are usually small. They also grow slowly. This makes for cystic growths whose presence is rarely noticed by the female reproductive system. It is for this reason that these cysts on ovaries tend to be asymptomatic – rarely cause ovarian cyst symptoms – and are often discovered incidentally.

Given the fact that they are usually too small to bother the functioning of a woman’s reproductive system, there is really no reason to assume that they can cause infertility or make it harder for a woman to get pregnant.

According to Mayo Clinic, in an article by Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D., ” … dermoid cysts aren’t associated with infertility.” The only exception provided being cases where the cysts on ovaries become very large.

In a study reported in the American Academy of Family Physicians, 32% of the women in the study managed to get pregnant in spite of having dermoid cysts in their ovaries. A significant number of women with dermoid cysts in their ovaries were also able to give birth in this study.

Therefore, normal dermoid cysts that don’t have accelerated growth, that don’t develop complications, and which are not cancerous – and therefore don’t require surgery – are not detrimental so far as getting pregnant is concerned.

Large dermoid cysts and getting pregnant

 

Can large ovarian cysts cause infertility?

There are times when dermoid ovarian cysts grow faster than usual. They can therefore become too large to go unnoticed. This will give rise to some of the symptoms generally associated with ovarian cysts. A woman with large dermoid cysts is therefore likely to experience most of  the symptoms of ovarian cysts like heaviness, abdominal/pelvic pain, breast tenderness and an increase in the frequency of the need to urinate.

But that is not all that a large dermoid cyst can do to the human body. When the cysts becomes too large, they affect the functioning of the reproductive system. They can form physical barriers that make it impossible for fertilization to take place or they can affect the functioning of the ovaries and sometimes even the entire female reproductive system.

Take the case of a 57 year old woman whose case was reported in the Journal of Medical Case Reports. She had a large ovarian cyst, but she didn’t know. And even when the cystic growth grew to such an extent that it caused her to have difficulty breathing and even increased her weight, she didn’t suspect a thing. It was only after paying a visit to the doctor that she realized the source of her discomfort and the damage that the large cyst had done. According to LiveScience, the ovarian cyst “… was so big that it had shoved her uterus to the side, squished her abdominal contents and extended all the way up to her diaphragm.”

Her’s was an extreme case. And the cyst on her ovary wasn’t a dermoid cyst. And her’s is also an extreme and extra-rare case of large ovarian cysts. But it gives you a sense of the damage that ovarian cysts, including dermoid cysts, can do to the human body when they grow out of control.

 

Dermoid ovarian torsion and infertility

ovarian teratoma and pregnancy

Ovarian torsion, which is a fancy word for the twisting of the ovaries, is the most common complication in women with dermoid cysts. So, can it affect the ability of a woman to conceive?

What ovarian torsion does is that it restricts blood flow to the ovaries. This means that at the onset of this complication, oxygen and nutrient supply to ovarian tissues is usually limited. Over time, this can lead to damaged ovarian tissues. It can also cause a woman’s ovary to completely die.

Ovaries produce the eggs that are needed for conception. They are also responsible for the production of pregnancy hormones. Therefore, if you have a damaged ovary in your reproductive system, the chances of getting pregnant will significantly reduce. This complication will cause difficulty in getting pregnant.

Dermoid ovarian cyst rupture and infertility

ovarian teratoma and pregnancy

There is a 1-4% risk of a dermoid ovarian cyst rupturing. This is a serious condition that usually demands immediate medical attention because in addition to the severe abdominal and pelvic pain that results from the cyst burst, there is also an increased risk of infection. This usually occurs because of the fluid that is released into the female reproductive system after the rupture.

This infection can lead to many complications. Some of them can cause getting pregnant problems. For example, if the infection causes scarring, it may end up blocking the fallopian tubes. This may make it impossible for conception to occur. Scarring may also lead to pregnancy complications. An ectopic pregnancy is one of these.

Dermoid cysts, ovarian cancer and infertility

ovarian teratoma and pregnancy

If traces of cancerous cells are detected in a dermoid ovarian cyst, removal of the cyst on ovary may be necessary. And to avoid the spread of the cancer, doctors may also decide to remove the ovaries.

If the surgical removal of a woman’s ovary is necessary to avoid the spread of cancer cells, then this will reduce her chances of getting pregnant. If both ovaries are removed, then this may lead to permanent infertility.

This does not however mean that every case of dermoid ovarian cyst malignancy needs to end with the infertility. It is possible to remove dermoid cysts that show signs of cancer without damaging the ovaries.

Surgical removal of dermoid ovarian cysts and infertility

 

This may be necessary in cases where the ovarian teratoma is growing out of control. It may also be necessary in order to prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the female reproductive system. Some of the rare complications of dermoid ovarian cysts may also make this necessary.

Whichever the case, surgical removal of the cystic growths puts your fertility at risk.

Doubled risk of infertility because of dermoid cysts

Dermoid ovarian cysts have a tendency of growing in both ovaries – at least in 10-15% of the cases. This puts both ovaries at risk when any of the above complications arise.

Answer to: Can a dermoid cyst cause infertility?

ovarian teratoma and pregnancy

The answer is: yes it can.

But this is not always the case.

It only does so when it grows to such an extent that it starts interfering with the functioning of the female reproductive system. Or when complications arise.

Most ovarian teratomas (dermoid cysts) are small in size. The risks of complications arising because of the cysts are slim. Therefore, if you have dermoid ovarian cysts, the odds are in your favor.There is a good chance that you can still get pregnant.

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