If you’re perimenopausal, you may be part of the 8% of women who suffer from ovarian cysts, small, fluid-filled sacs that grow either on your ovary or within it. The word “growth” is often cause for concern, but fortunately, ovarian cysts are most often noncancerous.
Nevertheless, it’s important to know what the symptoms are that indicate you may have ovarian cysts, and what to expect if you receive this diagnosis.
Fortunately, Dr. Kevin Hooker has helped many women struggling with ovarian cysts by offering education, empathy, and treatment. As an experienced expert in providing a wide range of obstetrics and gynecologic care, you’re in the most competent, caring hands at Lake Havasu OB/GYN Care.
As we noted earlier, the group of women that’s most prone to ovarian cysts are those who are perimenopausal — women who are about a decade or less away from reaching menopause.
Your menstrual cycle is the culprit when it comes to ovarian cysts forming. Prior to ovulation — when your ovary releases an egg — it’s protected by a follicle which contains fluid that protects your egg while it grows.
The follicle typically pops when your egg is released, but occasionally a follicle fails to release an egg or doesn’t empty its fluid and recede after the egg is released. When this occurs, it’s possible for the follicle to swell and transform into a cyst.
Fortunately, most ovarian cysts are small and cause no discernible symptoms, but some can cause discomfort, including:
If a cyst is larger, you may feel a dull ache or sharp pain below your navel, on your right or left side, and intensified bloating and a feeling of abdominal heaviness.
Identifying ovarian cysts early, before they become problematic, is another reason to be mindful about getting regular pelvic exams. If Dr. Hooker observes any ovarian cysts, he may do a pregnancy test, blood tests, and a pelvic ultrasound to learn more. Laparoscopy is also a possibility. The information he gathers helps him create a customized treatment plan for you.
Even though most ovarian cysts are harmless and aren’t likely to alter your life much, complications can occur that may lead to fertility problems, painful ovarian twisting known as ovarian torsion, and rupture. Any sudden onset of pelvic pain, vomiting, or running a fever should prompt a call to our office so you can be seen by Dr. Hooker quickly.
The answer to this question depends on your symptoms and the severity of your cysts. Some ovarian cysts actually do go away on their own, while others require more intervention, and some necessitate surgery.
For small cysts that have emerged recently, Dr. Hooker is a proponent of the “watch and wait” approach, where he monitors you carefully over time to note whether your cysts are growing or not.
Sometimes, oral contraception and other contraceptives containing hormones are recommended because they’ve been discovered to thwart the growth of future cysts, but these medications can’t make existing cysts become smaller.
If your cyst has grown or become painful, Dr. Hooker typically suggests a minimally invasive surgical procedure where he removes the cyst or cysts quickly and safely. These procedures are done right at nearby Havasu Regional Medical Center.
Minimally invasive procedures require only small “keyhole” incisions, and are associated with faster healing and less pain, bleeding, and scarring as compared to traditional surgery. This means there’s little downtime after surgery, so you can return to your busy life quickly.
Don’t hesitate to call our office at 928-683-1668 if you suspect that you may have an ovarian cyst, and don’t skip those all-important pelvic exams. You can also schedule an appointment using our convenient online booking tool.