Ovarian Cysts – Diagnosis
Pelvic examination The first thing your doctor will do to diagnose whether or not you have ovarian cysts will be to give you a combined internal and external pelvic examination. To do this, he or she will insert two fingers into your vagina and use the other hand to press on the outside of your lower abdomen. In this way, he or she can feel whether or not your ovaries and uterus are the right size and free of cysts or fibroids.
Ultrasound scan If, as a result of the pelvic examination, your doctor suspects you have ovarian cysts, he or she will refer you to a gynecologist for a pelvic ultrasound scan. By passing an ultrasound device over your abdomen or inserting it into your vagina, your doctor can find out where your cysts are, how many you have, and whether they’re filled with fluid or more solid matter (and so more likely to be cancerous).
As functional cysts are more likely than not to disappear of their own accord, your doctor will probably at first ask you to come back for a follow-up scan in a few months. This could show that your body has reabsorbed your cysts and they have gone. However, if the cysts persist, your doctor will probably suggest treatment that suppresses ovulation. If your cysts are abnormal, he or she will probably suggest surgery.
The contraceptive pill Cysts form as a result of your body’s natural process of ovulation. If you can prevent ovulation, such as by taking the Pill, your body won’t form cysts. However, bear in mind that temporary cessation of your cycle in this way wont’ fix the root of the problem.
Surgery Abnormal cysts may develop into ovarian cancer, so your doctor will probably advise a laparoscopy to remove them. A laparoscopy is performed in the hospital under general anaesthetic. The cyst isn’t cut away, but instead a doctor collapses it by suctioning out from it any fluid or solid mass. Find a gynecologist whose aim to to remove your cyst but not your ovary. If your cyst is very large, the partial or total removal of your ovary may be unavoidable. Unfortunately, the chances are that no one will know until the surgery is taking place. For this reason, make your wish to save your ovary (if at all possible) clear to your surgeon before surgery begins.
Ovarian Cancer: Symptoms
One in 67 women in the USA suffers from ovarian cancer, making it the fifth most common cancer among women. Being aware of early warning signs can help early detection and improve your chances of a full recovery. If you experience nay of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately:
• General abdominal or pelvic discomfort and/or pain (gas, indigestion, nausea, pressure, swelling, bloating, cramps)
• Constant diarrhea and/or constipation
• Urinary frequency or urgency
• Loss of appetite
• Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
• Pain during intercourse
• Irregular periods or abnormal bleeding from your vagina
• Overwhelming fatigue
• Lower back pain
Be aware that symptoms of ovarian cancer can be similar to those of digestive disorders. However, with a digestive disorder your symptoms will come and go, whereas with ovarian cancer they will be unrelenting, worsening over time.