Your ovaries are vital to both your reproductive system and to your overall health. These small almond-shaped organs are responsible for producing two important hormones, estrogen and progesterone, which start your development into womanhood and maintain important functions in your body as an adult.
They also produce eggs for fertilization to start the process of having a child.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on ovaries and are often harmless, but can become dangerous and lead to life-threatening complications.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of ovarian cysts, an ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis so we can move forward with treatment. Let’s examine what ovarian cysts are, how ultrasound detects them, and what treatment methods are available.
Women in the Lake Mary, Florida, area dealing with the symptoms of ovarian cysts or other reproductive conditions can get help from Dr. Christopher Quinsey and our experienced medical team.
We have decades of experience helping women with their unique needs, including in-office ultrasounds and procedures for a variety of conditions.
Understanding ovarian cysts
You have ovaries on both sides of your uterus, and during your childbearing years, you’re likely to have cysts on them at some point. Often, you don’t even know they’re there.
These cysts, called functional cysts, are small and often go away on their own, but larger cysts can cause unpleasant symptoms like bloating, pelvic pain, and a feeling of heaviness in your abdomen.
If you experience more severe symptoms like severe pelvic pain, fever, or vomiting, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Larger fluid-filled sacs on your ovaries, like dermoid cysts or cystadenomas can move an ovary out of position, leading to a condition called ovarian torsion. This causes the ovary to twist, which can cut off the blood flow to your fallopian tubes.
Another reproductive condition known as endometriosis can result in endometriomas. Large ovarian cysts also run the risk of rupturing, which can lead to severe pain and internal bleeding.
How an ultrasound detects cysts
To confirm the cysts on your ovaries, we insert a device called a transducer inside your vagina. The device emits soundwaves that bounce off of your organs and tissues to create an image.
This imaging can show evidence of cysts and whether the cysts are fluid-filled or solid. Dr. Quinsey uses this information to determine the best treatment.
How we treat an ovarian cyst depends on its size and type. There are a few options:
Watchful waiting method
This is a common method for smaller cysts, because they often go away on their own. You get periodic screenings so Dr. Quinsey can check the progress of your cyst, and if it goes away or there are no symptoms, no other treatment is necessary.
Hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills, can prevent recurring cysts. But they’re less effective for shrinking existing cysts.
If you have a larger cyst, Dr. Quinsey may recommend surgical removal. He can remove the cyst from the ovary in a procedure called ovarian cystectomy, or he can remove the affected ovary in a procedure called oophorectomy.
In the case of ovarian cancer, he may recommend hysterectomy, in which the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes are removed.
Most often, the cysts are small and harmless, but if you’re experiencing symptoms, you need to get help. Make an appointment with Dr. Quinsey today to learn if you need an ultrasound and further treatment.