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  • Dr, Tuesday Pearson

Understanding Ovarian Cysts: Causes, Types, and Symptoms



Ovarian cysts are not to be taken lightly, but trying to understand them can cause confusion and concern. However, this comprehensive guide will dive into the world of ovarian cysts to help you understand their causes, types, and symptoms. We want you to be able to navigate your gynecological health with confidence and make informed decisions.


What Are Ovarian Cysts?


Ovarian cysts are sacs or pockets filled with fluid that can grow on or within the ovaries. Those are found in a woman’s pelvic region and are where reproductive organs exist. These cysts can come in different sizes and types, but it’s no big deal regarding women’s reproductive hygiene.


Most of them don’t cause any symptoms and are benign. However, some can create pain or discomfort during a menstrual cycle. When categorized, they have two types: functional cysts (follicular or corpus luteum) and pathological cysts (the result of medical conditions like endometriosis or polycystic syndrome). Even though many live alone, watching for them is essential if they become large enough to cause suspicion. Regular appointments with your doctor are crucial so they can detect and manage anything early on.


How Are Ovarian Cysts and Pregnancy Connected?


Interconnected implications can occur between pregnancy and complex ovarian cysts. For a start, fertility and ovarian cysts are interlinked. Large functional cysts or endometriomas may disturb the ordinary ovulation process, resulting in difficulty in becoming pregnant. As a solution, couples may have to avail of fertility treatments like ovarian cyst surgery to address these issues related to the cysts and maximize the chances of getting pregnant.


The risk posed by ovarian cysts during pregnancy is relatively low, as they tend to have no significant effect on the mother or the growing fetus. However, larger cysts can create discomfort and pressure as pregnancy advances. Although rare, some cases of ovary twisting, known as ovarian torsion, can cause severe pain and require urgent medical attention.


Functional cysts may appear during the first months of pregnancy, often originating from the corpus luteum cyst that occurs after an egg is discharged. These growths are usually benign and disappear naturally as the pregnancy progresses. Nonetheless, they are crucial in the initial stages of pregnancy as they generate progesterone until the placenta assumes this responsibility.


Do people with PCOS have ovarian cysts?


The formation of ovarian cysts is frequent among individuals with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). This condition is typified by fluctuating hormone levels, particularly an excess of male hormones and disrupted ovulation cycles. As a result, the ovaries can develop multiple, diminutive sacs filled with fluid known as "cysts." These benign cysts are a distinguishing marker of PCOS.


PCOS is known to cause ovarian cysts, but it's worth pointing out that they are not the same as other types, functional or pathological. While PCOS cysts are usually small and amount to quite a few all at once, these other cysts can be different in shape or size and lead to various symptoms.


Ovarian Cysts After Menopause


Ovarian cysts become less common after menopause; when a woman's ovaries naturally cease their reproductive function, they can still develop as long as the ovaries are present. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can vary in type and size, and they might remain part of a woman's gynecological landscape even in postmenopausal years.


Most postmenopausal ovarian cysts are benign. However, it is crucial to take any new or unusual symptoms seriously. If you experience persistent pelvic pain or discomfort in the lower back or notice changes in urinary or bowel habits, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider. Dismissing these symptoms could be detrimental as they may indicate underlying gynecological issues requiring evaluation and appropriate me­dical attention, including the possibility of ovarian cysts.


List Of Foods To Avoid With Ovarian Cysts


Fried Foods


One of the first foods on our list to avoid if you have ovarian cysts is eating a lot of fried food, such as deep-fried chicken, French fries, etc. This is because eating many fried foods might result in rapid weight gain. These foods are cooked in synthetic refined vegetable oils and contain hormone-disrupting chemicals.


Alcohol


Intoxicants, such as alcohol, should be avoided when dealing with ovarian cysts. They disrupt our body's hormonal balance, boosting estrogen levels and causing ovarian cysts to grow. When trying ways to decrease ovarian cysts, you should abstain from alcohol.


Dark Meats


Avoid eating dark meats such as beef, hog, and lamb. If you can't avoid these, try to limit your food. It turns out that this food is linked to the development of ovarian cysts and worsens existing cysts! Dark meats are also high in fat, which is another reason to avoid them.


Refined Foods Rich in Sugar


Refined sugar is one of the worst causes of ovarian cysts. The following foods are rich in sugar:

  • Processed fruit juices

  • Soft drinks

  • Biscuits

  • Cakes

  • Pastries

  • Candy

Eating this food can cause a significant hormone deficiency, leading to new ovaries, the formation of cysts, or irritation of existing ovaries.


Foods Containing Saturated Fat


Saturated fat is a type of fat that is harmful when consumed in excess. It may increase blood cholesterol.

  • The following foods are high in fat:

  • Dairy products such as cheese, butter and sugar

  • Leaves such as beef, pork, and lamb

  • Food and desserts

  • Junk food


Caffeinated Beverages


Caffeine can cause dehydration and be painful. If you are prone to ovarian cysts, please avoid caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee, sodas, soft drinks, etc. They are prone to causing new ovarian cysts and worsening existing ones.


Simple Carbohydrates


Simple carbohydrates have a high glycemic index and are rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, resulting in a spike in blood glucose and the need for substantial amounts of insulin to be produced.


FAQs


How fast do ovarian cysts grow?


The cyst fills with fluid and overgrows. Solid (i.e., non-cystic) ovarian tumors usually develop slowly over several months. Cystic tumors can increase over weeks or months.


Can ovarian cysts cause weight gain?


The rule of thumb is that ovarian cysts are usually asymptomatic and harmless. Ovarian cysts can cause bloating but are not associated with weight gain. However, the frequent occurrence of ovarian cysts may be a symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome, which may cause weight gain.


Can ovarian cysts cause infertility?


Although most cysts do not cause infertility symptoms, you may experience pain and discomfort if the cyst ruptures. If you have been diagnosed with an ovarian cyst bloating and are trying to get pregnant, it is essential to know that ovarian cysts do not usually cause pregnancy problems.


Are ovarian cysts genetic?


Although scientists aren't sure, your cosmetics may increase your ability to develop functional ovarian cysts. It is known that some conditions that cause certain types of ovarian cysts may have a genetic link. For example, endometriosis is thought to have a genetic link.


The Bottom Line


Taking control of your reproductive health starts with understanding ovarian cysts. They can occur in various ways, varying in type and symptoms. But most are benign. Awareness of it and catching it early can help increase overall well-being. The secret to staying healthy is keeping track of it with check-ups and openly telling your healthcare provider how you feel.


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