Having large ovarian cysts can be extremely painful for women. They can occur in many women but are more likely in women that have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) or who are on medication to stimulate their ovaries such as people having fertility treatments.
Here are some of the options if you have an ovarian cyst.
Wait and see
In some cases, ovarian cysts will naturally decrease in size over time. Some gynaecologists recommend waiting to see if the ovarian cyst is stable in size, or growing or shrinking, over time. This can be done via non-intrusive ultrasounds and can be a good option for a cyst that is not causing major issues.
There are a few medication options for controlling cysts, including birth control pills which can control the amount of ovarian stimulation. This is obviously not a great option for people who are trying to conceive a baby, but sometimes spending a few cycles on a birth control pill can allow the cyst to shrink. This may allow the ovary to function without pain once the patient stops using the birth control pill.
Surgery to remove an ovarian cyst in usually done by laparoscopically, which makes it a relatively simple operation to recover from. The gynaecologist inserts a thin tube with a camera and laser into the abdomen via the belly button. This allows the gynaecologist to delicately slice and remove the cyst and cauterise the wounds to minimise any bleeding. This technique allows a very precise cutting technique which maximises the chance of the ovary continuing to function successfully, as the blood flow to the ovary is not affected. Even if the ovary does need to be removed or is affected, patients can generally conceive at a similar rate to women with two ovaries.
In some clients who have had recurrent issues with ovarian cysts and severe pain, it may be useful to remove the entire ovary. This can operation is known as an oophorectomy, and it can stop the cysts from recurring. Removal of both ovaries will trigger menopause in women who have not yet hit menopause, so is only done in severe cases where there is no future interest in conception.
If you are having issues with ovarian cyst pain it is a good idea to go to an experienced gynaecologist or laparoscopic surgeries service to get the issue officially diagnosed. The gynaecologist can then work out the best way to treat the cysts, considering your medical history and future conception plans.