I Think I Have an Ovarian Cyst, Now What?

Cysts and masses can be hard to spot, so let’s review when it’s time to visit your OB/GYN.
ovarian4-min

Sometimes it can be challenging to determine when to visit your doctor—we’ve all been there, especially when it comes to hidden threats like ovarian cysts and masses. How are you supposed to know if you have one? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer, but we do know early detection is key in preventing cyst growth and ovarian cancer. Let’s review some of the signs and ways you can protect yourself.

 

What is a Cyst? 

It’s a sac that fills with fluid and forms inside your ovary. Your period cycle causes most cysts to form. Functional cysts are the most common type. The two types of functional cysts are follicular and corpus luteum. Other types of cysts are dermoid, cystadenomas, and endometriomas, but these are not affected by your period functions and are less common. 

 

Signs and Symptoms 

Most of the time there are very few indicators that you have a cyst. In fact, most of the time, cysts go away on their own. The following are warning signs to be aware of in case something more is going on: 

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Issues with urination, involving not being able to go or going too often 
  • Pain in lower back
  • Pain during sex
  • Painful periods
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Feeling full too quickly or not eating 

 

What Does a Cyst Feel Like? 

This depends on whether or not the cyst has ruptured or is bleeding, both of which can cause severe pain. 

If you’re experiencing extreme abdominal pain or pelvic pain, along with fever or vomiting, you may have a cyst.

 

Visit Your OB/GYN

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN right away. A gynecologist is the best specialist to contact if you have questions about potential cysts, masses, or tumors. 

Your doctor will first administer a pelvic exam and if anything appears abnormal, they will continue to run tests, such as:

  • Checking your hormone levels.
  • Completing an ultrasound to get a better view of the ovaries.
  • Running imaging tests.
  • Performing a laparoscopy, a type of surgical procedure.
  • Your doctor will walk you through each of these steps, if necessary. 

 

Are There Ways to Monitor Cysts or Masses? 

The best way to proactively monitor growth in your ovaries is to schedule routine pelvic exams with your OB/GYN. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a yearly exam is recommended for women 21 and up to protect overall wellness. 

 

Treatments

If a cancerous or harmful tumor is spotted, your OB/GYN may choose one of the following forms of treatment: surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or possible radiation therapy to help fight or remove the disease.

No two diseases are the same, so each patient’s treatment will look different. That’s why it’s imperative to schedule an appointment with your doctor if you have questions or are experiencing symptoms. Don’t put off your next OB/GYN checkup; early detection is necessary to spot a growth in your reproductive organs and prevent harm. 

 

Still have questions about potential cysts and masses? Contact Carrie Snyder, the Beebe Women's Health Nurse Navigator, at (844) 316-3330, or email womenshealth@beebehealthcare.org.