A follicular cyst begins when the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) in a normal ovarian cycle stimulates the egg to be released, fails to occur. The follicle therefore doesn’t rupture or release its egg, but instead turns into a cyst. As follicular cysts are a natural occurring, it does not cause pain and normally disappear by itself.
When the LH surge occurs and the egg is released, the remaining ruptured follicle usually starts to secrete large volumes of estrogen and progesterone. As a result, this follicle becomes the ‘white body’ known as corpus luteum. Sometimes the opening left in the follicle by the egg becomes sealed off. Then fluid accumulates inside the ‘white body,’ resulting in a cyst. Although this type of cyst deteriorates by itself, it has the potential to grow, bleed in its capsule and sometimes, twist the ovary.
The other types of ovarian cysts are: Endometriomas, Cystadenomas, Dermoid cysts and Polycyst Ovaries. Endometriomas cysts form in women who have endometriosis. This problem occurs when tissue that looks and acts like the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. The tissue may attach to the ovary and form a growth. These cysts can be painful during sex and during your period. Cystadenomas forms from the cells on the outer surface of the ovary. They are often filled with a watery fluid or a thick, sticky gel. They can become large and cause pain. Dermoid cysts contain many types of cells. They may be filled with hair, teeth, and other tissues that become part of the cyst. They can grow large and cause pain. Polycystic ovaries are caused when eggs mature within the sacs but are not released. The cycle then repeats. The sacs continue to grow and many cysts may form.
Some cysts do not cause symptoms but still you should look for ovarian cyst symptoms periodically. Many others can cause pressure, swelling or pain in the abdomen; dull ache in the lower back and thighs; problems passing urine completely; pelvic pain; pain during sex; weight gain; pain during your period; abnormal bleeding; nausea or vomiting and breast tenderness. If one has problems like pain with fever and vomiting; sudden, severe abdominal pain or faintness, dizziness, or weakness, immediate help is needed.
Most doctors often diagnose ovarian cysts during routine pelvic examination. The doctors may feel the swelling of a cyst on the ovary. Once the cyst is found, ultrasound tests are carried out for the doctor to pin point the size, shape, the location and mass – if it is fluid filled, solid or mixed. Hormone levels may be checked to see whether there are hormone related problems. A blood test also is carried out to find if the cyst is cancerous.
If you have a cyst, you are invariably asked to wait and have a second exam after 1 month to 3 months. In this case, your doctor will repeat the tests to find if the cyst has changed in size. Then your doctor recommends suitable treatments like watchful waiting, surgery, laparoscopy or laparotomy.