Most women develop ovarian cysts but they never know it because the cysts naturally go away without treatment. But when a cyst continues to grow, you can end up with pelvic pain that won’t improve without expert care from Noreen Kamal-Mostafavi, MD, in Staten Island, New York. Dr. Kamal-Mostafavi creates individualized treatment plans for each woman to relieve her symptoms and shrink ovarian cysts. If you need help with pelvic pain or other symptoms, call the office or schedule an appointment online.
Ovarian Cysts Q&A
What causes an ovarian cyst?
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops in your ovaries during your monthly cycles. Your ovaries contain follicles and each follicle holds an immature egg. Every month, numerous eggs start to mature. Normally, only one egg fully matures, then that egg is released during ovulation.
Any of these follicles can develop into one of the two most common types of ovarian cysts:
The follicles containing eggs that started to mature but failed to normally break down, dissolve, and disappear. When this happens, they can accumulate fluid and turn into a follicular cyst.
Corpus luteum cysts
The follicle that releases a mature egg normally shrinks to form the corpus luteum, a group of cells that temporarily release hormones if you become pregnant. If the follicle doesn’t shrink, it may turn into a cyst called a corpus luteum cyst.
What symptoms develop due to ovarian cysts?
Small ovarian cysts seldom cause symptoms, but as the cyst grows, you may experience:
- Pelvic pain
- Pressure or bloating in your lower abdomen
- Painful intercourse
- Pain during your period
- Abnormal menstrual bleeding
- Lower back ache
- Unexplained weight gain
Though it’s not common, a large ovarian cyst can rupture or twist the ovary, a medical emergency that causes sudden, severe pain. You may also develop a fever, vomiting, and dizziness.
Can I have ovarian cysts and not have PCOS?
Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are separate conditions. It is possible to have ovarian cysts and not have PCOS. Women with PCOS may or may not have ovarian cysts, but they always have high levels of male hormones, a problem that doesn’t affect women who only have cysts.
How are ovarian cysts treated?
Dr. Kamal-Mostafavi diagnoses ovarian cysts using ultrasound, which produces an image showing the shape, size, and location of any cysts. If your cysts are small and don’t cause symptoms, she may monitor the cysts to see if they resolve on their own or keep growing larger.
When your ovarian cysts are large enough to cause symptoms and need treatment, you may receive:
Hormonal contraceptives such as birth control pills may stop cysts from recurring, but they won’t help an existing cyst. Dr. Kamal-Mostafavi may prescribe another medication like Lupron® to relieve your pain and shrink the cyst.
When your cyst keeps growing or your symptoms are severe, Dr. Kamal-Mostafavi may recommend a cystectomy, a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure to remove the cyst. She often performs a robotic-assisted laparoscopy using the da Vinci® surgical system.
If you develop persistent pelvic pain or abnormal menstrual bleeding, call Noreen Kamal-Mostafavi, MD, or book an appointment online.