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Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled pockets called sacs that can form in the ovaries. They are very common and can affect women of any age, although they are more frequent in women of childbearing age because they are linked to ovulation. Often a cyst develops and disappears without the woman even knowing that she had one. Cysts in pre-menopausal women can produce symptoms similar to those for ovarian cancer but are not known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Thankfully the vast majority of ovarian cysts are benign and resolve spontaneously within 3 to 4 months. These are sometimes diagnosed coincidently when undergoing an investigation such as an ultrasound, CT or MRI scan for another complaint.

Some cysts will however cause some pelvic pain acute or chronic, usually one sided. They can also cause deep pain during intercourse. The best way to make a diagnosis is by booking a vaginal ultrasound.

In a case where surgery is required, Dr Johnston or Dr Morgan can perform this by a laparoscopic ‘Keyhole” approach in the majority of circumstances. It is especially important choosing your surgeon carefully, especially where future fertility is of high importance.

We appreciate that many women worry about ovarian cancer however the risk of this in the general population is low, approximately 1 in 65 (versus a risk of 1 in 10 for breast cancer for example). Occasionally if there is a real concern that an ovarian cyst may be suspicious or ovarian cancer, our team at NMWHC can facilitate rapid referral to a Gynae-oncologist (gynaecological cancer expert). Some women do carry cancer genes, the commonest being BRCA1 & 2 and this greatly increases a women’s risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer. Many of these patients choose to have their fallopian tubes and ovaries removed in risk reducing surgery.

Ovarian Cysts.