The ovaries are the small, almond shaped organs, found one on each side of the uterus in the female body. Here, the ova (eggs) develop and mature and are released during the monthly menstrual cycles of a healthy female.
Ovarian cysts are semi-solid or liquid filled sacs that form on or inside the ovaries. These are of many types, many of which are normal and totally harmless. Generally, they are divided into two types. Functional Ovarian Cysts - those that develop during the menstrual cycle and are harmless and short lived, and; Pathological Ovarian Cysts - which are the result of abnormal cell growth and can cause harm. Most ovarian cysts are non-cancerous, although some can be, especially those forming during the menopause period.
While the exact causes are not known, symptoms may include: pelvic pain; frequent need to urinate; improper bowel movement; irregular menstrual cycles and infertility.
Whether it needs to be treated at all depends on the types of symptoms the patient has; the size of the cysts and also if the patient is going through her menopause
Functional Ovarian Cysts generally do not need any treatment. Hormonal medication can be prescribed stopping ovulation and preventing further cyst formation. This, however, will not remove any existing ones nor reduce their size, and surgery may be necessary.
Surgery is considered when it does not look like a functional one, is large and growing, causes pain and has continued through multiple menstrual cycles. This can either be just removing the cyst or depending on the condition, removing the affected ovary, leaving only the healthy one. Surgery is also sometimes recommended for after menopause cases.
If, however, cancerous growth is suspected, a specialist may be referred to. And, if detected, then chemotherapy, radiation therapy or the total removal of fallopian tubes, the ovaries and the uterus may be necessary. But, this is an extreme situation and not common.
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