ovarian cyst symptoms

8 Types of Changes That Ovarian Cysts Can Cause – Signs and Symptoms

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.

7. Infertility

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.

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dermoid ovarian cyst recurrence cases teratoma

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.

dermoid ovarian cyst prevention

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.

dermoid ovarian cyst prevention

 

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