Ovarian cysts: Common? Preventable?

What Causes Ovarian Cysts?  |  The new time

The Gynecologic Oncology Institute investigative team thought this was a good answer to a common question.  See the link below for the original post.  We focus on ovarian masses, including benign cysts, endometriomas and ovarian cancer.  Surgery is most often not necessary but when it is we provide the newest form of robotic surgery and Dr. Steven Vasilev MD is a renowned expert, even in advanced cases.

“Dear Dr,

I recently learned about ovarian cysts and how they burst. What is the main cause of ovarian cysts? What are the symptoms of a ruptured ovarian cyst and how to fix them? Can that be avoided?


Dear Susan,

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that are present above the surface or in the ovary. The majority of women will develop ovarian cysts one or more times in their reproductive years if they are formed during ovulation. But they disappear spontaneously and do not cause a problem.

Ovarian cysts can form due to hormonal issues or medication used to induce ovulation. They can be linked to abnormal thyroid function. They can form due to endometriosis, a condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (POCS) is a condition in which multiple cysts are formed in a woman’s ovary due to high levels of male hormones. An ovarian cyst can develop early in pregnancy to aid the pregnancy through placenta formation. It can later subside or remain if it needs to be surgically removed. Pelvic infections can spread to the fallopian tubes and ovaries and lead to the formation of cysts.

In most cases, the ovarian cyst does not cause symptoms and is diagnosed with a different problem on routine ultrasound. Sometimes it can cause pain in the lower abdomen or back and / or painful intercourse. Urinary or intestinal disorders can occur depending on the location and size of the cyst. This can lead to menstrual irregularities or abnormal bleeding patterns. Ovarian cysts do not usually affect fertility unless it is caused by endometriosis or POCS.

A cyst can tear or become twisted and cause severe abdominal pain, with or without nausea and vomiting, and even shock. In rare cases, a cyst can be cancerous. Ovarian cysts that appear in women going through menopause are more likely to be malignant. A cyst rupture can occur due to fluctuations in hormone levels. Large cysts can burst from sexual intercourse.

Ovarian cysts can be detected by pelvic exam and ultrasound. Having a biopsy performed can help determine the exact nature of the cyst and whether it is benign or malignant.

Ovarian cysts cannot be completely prevented in a menstruating woman. However, if the cysts are recurrent and problematic, hormonal pills (oral contraceptives) can be used to regulate menstruation and minimize the risk of cyst formation. Weight loss with obesity, measures to avoid stress are things that can help regulate hormone imbalance and thus indirectly prevent cyst formation.

Small cysts are best left untouched. Regular follow-up exams can help determine whether or not they have subsided. Recurrent or persistent small cysts can be treated with hormones. Large cysts that are causing symptoms are removed by surgery. Torsion and rupture are emergencies that require urgent surgical intervention.

If there is a malignant cyst-like tumor, it will need to be surgically removed. When it has progressed, conservative surgery with or without chemotherapy is another measure to treat ovarian cancer.

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“I help and guide women to defeat gynecologic cancers and advanced pelvic conditions such as endometriosis, using a unique combination of minimally invasive robotic surgery, precision medicine therapies and complementary holistic natural support towards thriving in survivorship." Dr. Vasilev is the only physician quadruple board certified in Ob-Gyn, Gynecologic Oncology and Integrative & Holistic Medicine in the United States. He is an accomplished advanced robotic surgeon and serves as Medical Director of Integrative Medicine and Integrative Gynecologic Oncology at Providence Saint John's Health Center, Professor at John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California and is Clinical Professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He is former faculty and professor at UC Irvine, UCLA, USC and City of Hope. He is an active member of multiple medical societies and has been nationally listed in "Best Doctors" for 18 years.