It feels like a knife stabbing you in the abdomen over and over again. It’s one of the worst pains you’ve ever felt and it may have led you to get help in the emergency room. Pain from an ovarian cyst is real, serious and frightening, but you may feel that the providers you’ve seen haven’t taken you seriously. Even thinking about the possibility of having this pain again makes you feel incredibly anxious and you want to do something to make sure you never experience it again.
What is an Ovarian Cyst?
Most women don’t even realize they have an ovarian cyst until it ruptures and they feel a sudden stabbing pain in their lower right or left abdomen (on the side they ovulated). While not all women with ovarian cysts are able to feel them, those who do are in extreme pain when the cysts rupture. Pain from an ovarian cyst feels almost like a period pain, but a thousand times worse – like something is very, very wrong. The good news (if there is any in this situation) is that pain is the most problematic symptom of ovarian cysts.
Ovarian cysts are actually a normal part of your reproductive cycle. Ovulation is what we call the process of your ovaries releasing an egg each month. Sometimes during ovulation, the egg does not release the way it should and it develops into a cyst. These cysts usually last from one to three months and aren’t painful or harmful for most women.
Your Ovarian Cyst Diagnosis
While it is extremely rare for a cyst to be cancerous, some very large cysts can be problematic and cause serious problems like ovarian torsion. Even if you don’t have complications from an ovarian cyst, its presence can cause severe pain that makes it impossible to function. If you are having severe pain from ovarian cysts, it’s important to talk to a specialist.
Your gynecological specialist will want to first rule out other conditions that can cause severe abdominal pain like pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis or adhesions from prior surgeries. Your doctor will probably do a vaginal exam and perform an ultrasound of your abdomen so that he or she can visualize the cysts.
Treating Ovarian Cysts
If you have recurrent ovarian cysts, hormonal birth control like the pill, ring, shot or IUD may help control your cysts and pain because they prevent ovulation. Some women find that taking an anti-inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen or Aleve reduces their ovarian cyst pain enough to make it manageable. However, other women have ovarian cyst pain that is so severe, they opt for surgery to remove the cysts.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of women with ovarian cysts have surgery to remove them. Your doctor may recommend surgical removal if your ovarian cysts persist through several menstrual cycles, if they get larger or look unusual.
Surgery for Ovarian Cysts
The type of surgery that is right for your ovarian cysts depends on your symptoms, your conditions, and your doctor’s preferences. Most women undergoing surgery for ovarian cysts will be candidates for laparoscopy. Laparoscopy for ovarian cysts is a minimally invasive surgery that requires only a small cut near your belly button. Your surgeon will use a small camera and tool to locate the cyst inside your abdomen and remove it.
At MIRI Women’s Health, our highly trained and specialized doctors and staff offer you better solutions and care. Our approach to gynecologic surgery, including surgical removal of ovarian cysts, begins with the MIRI Patient Experience, which includes personalized plans from initial consultation to follow-up care. With the latest in advanced minimally invasive techniques, alongside our added touch of care and sensitivity, you truly have a place where you can finally find the solution to your symptoms, and get the attention you deserve.
Please call 844.243.9010 to set up a consultation, or fill out the form to the right to be contacted by one of our patient coordinators.