Ovarian Cyst Treatment/Removal


After finding out I needed to undergo surgery (for my
ovarian cyst), I was too afraid…I wasn’t emotionally
ready…

 

by Ruzzel Bonus
(read more)

So what is an ovarian cyst?

A cyst is a sac or pocket filled with fluid. Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with fluid, found within or on the surface of the ovary.

Which type of ovary cyst do I have?

They are many types of ovarian cysts, which can be broadly divided into

  • functional cysts
  • abnormal (non-functional) cysts

What are functional ovarian cysts?

Functional cysts, which are the most common type of ovarian cysts, are formed during your normal menstrual cycles and typically do not cause noticable symptoms. There are 2 types of functional ovarian cysts:

  • follicular cyst
  • corpus luteum cyst

Functional cysts, such as a corpus luteum cyst, are usually non-cancerous and harmless. They rarely cause you any symptoms and often the cysts disappear on their own after 2 or 3 cycles.

What are non-functional ovarian cysts (abnormal ovarian cysts)?

These ovarian cysts are not related to your normal menstrual cycles. Some of the common ovarian cysts are:

Dermoid cysts and cystadenomas can grow and become large over time. This can cause the ovary to move out of its usual position in the pelvis, increasing the chance of painful twisting of your ovary, called ovarian torsion.

What ovarian cyst symptoms will I have?

Most women with ovarian cysts do not feel any symptoms, especially in their early stage when the ovarian cysts are still small. Sometimes the cysts can even become very large without causing any symptoms. Most symptoms of ovarian cysts are not specific and some of them are:

  • Pressure, swelling, or pain in the abdomen
  • Pain during your period
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sex
  • A dull ache in the lower back and thighs
  • Problems passing urine completely
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abnormal bleeding

How do I know if I have ovarian cysts?

Most of the time, ovarian cyst symptoms go unnoticed and will most women will only be aware of the existence of ovarian cysts when they go for their routine pelvic examination. In some cases, the formation of the ovarian cyst causes abdominal pain. It is at that time where your doctor may feel the swelling of ovarian cysts.

An ultrasound pelvic exam is the most common investigation, where ultrasonic sound waves are used to scan your internal organs to confirm whether you have ovarian cysts.

What urgent symptoms should I look out for if I have ovarian cysts?

You should seek medical advice and treatment from your doctor right away if you have ovarian cysts and experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain with fever and vomiting
  • Sudden, severe abdominal pain
  • Faintness, dizziness, or weakness

What is the optimal treatment for ovarian cysts?

Watchful Waiting

Your doctor may ask you to wait and have a second examination within a few months to check if the cyst or cysts has changed in size, or presented any new symptoms. This is a common treatment option for women who:

  • Are in their childbearing years
  • Have no symptoms
  • Have functional cysts

Birth Control Pills as Treatment

If you keep forming functional cysts, your doctor may prescribe birth control pills to stop you from ovulating. If you don’t ovulate, risk of forming ovarian cysts drops significantly…

Surgical Treatment

Your doctor may advise ovarian cyst removal if you are postmenopausal, or if your cyst in ovary presents the following symptoms:

  • Causes pain
  • Gets larger
  • Looks odd on the ultrasound scan
  • Doesn’t go away after several menstrual cycles

What type of surgery treatment should I consider?

Cystectomy

This is the most common procedure done where the ovarian cyst is surgically removed without removing your ovary. This is usually done for women who are still in their reproductive years.

Oophorectomy

In certain circumstances, your doctor may suggest removing the affected ovary (ie the ovary with the cyst) and leaving the other intact in a procedure known as oophorectomy.

How will my surgery treatment be performed?

There are 2 methods which your doctor can perform the cystectomy or oophorectomy:

Laparoscopy (key-hole surgery)

This method of ovarian cyst removal surgery is commonly done if your ovarian cyst is small and looks benign (non-cancerous) on the ultrasound scan.

While you are under general anaesthesia, a very small cut is made above or below your navel to introduce a small instrument that acts like a telescope into your abdomen. The ovarian cyst is removed using small scissors that are inserted through 1 or 2 small cuts on your abdomen.

Laparotomy

This method is chosen if the cyst is large and may present a risk of ovarian cancer. The doctor may then recommend removal to mitigate or manage the risk of ovarian cancer for you.

While you are under general anaesthesia, larger incisions are made on your abdomen to remove the cyst. The cyst is then tested for cancer. If it is cancerous, your doctor may need to take out the ovary and other tissues, like the uterus.

Still concerned about your ovarian cyst?

Read the case study below.

Case Study


After finding out I needed to undergo surgery (for my ovarian cyst), I was too afraid…
I wasn’t emotionally ready…

 

by Ruzzel Bonus

Ms Ruzzel was experiencing severe lower abdominal cramps during her period for many months. During her period, she needed to take pain medications just to get through her day. At times, she was in such pain that she could not even go to work.

When her menstrual pain was not relieved by the oral pain medications after several months, she decided to go for a thorough medical check-up and underwent a pelvic ultrasound scan.

She was shocked when her gynae told her there was a 6 cm ovarian cyst on her pelvic scan. She was told that she needed surgery for her ovarian cyst.

She was too afraid of the plan to undergo surgery, so she decided to “ignore” the advice. She continued to endure her painful period every month until….

She noticed that she started to have an irregular heavy period.

So she saw us and told us about her ovarian cyst.

We reviewed her menstrual condition, repeated a pelvic ultrasound scan and confirmed that there was an ovarian cyst in the left ovary. We advised that she needed surgery to remove her ovarian cyst.

“After finding out I needed to undergo surgery (for my ovarian cyst), I was too afraid … I wasn’t emotionally ready…”  Ms Ruzzel explained.

Sensing that she was not ready emotionally for the surgery, we took pains to explain to her about the surgery and the recovery process after surgery.

“Dr.Tan was patient and really took his time to answer all of my concerns. He explained all the details about the surgery and even asked me to contact one of his patients that went through the same procedure. Dr. Tan has been very patient with me because I never felt rushed during my consultation time unlike if you visit other doctors.” recalled Ms Ruzzel.  

She eventually agreed to undergo laparoscopic surgery to remove her ovarian cysts. After her surgery, Ms Ruzzel’s menstrual period became regular like before. She was relieved of her menstrual pain. She was overjoyed that she did not have to take pain medication during her period any more!

“After the surgery, I realized that over-thinking about the surgery was more stressful for me than the procedure itself. I now have the peace of mind knowing that my ovarian cyst has been removed,” recalled Ms Ruzzel.

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