Q: Evening Dr Ketch. I hope you’re good. I.am only 18. I have been having abdominal pains and I was told that I have ovarian cyst. I am on medication but they said if it doesn’t work then I’ll have to undergo an operation. I am scared because they told me I have less chances of conceiving. Could this be true?? (I’ve never had an abortion before). Please help!
A: Thanks for writing in, dear.
Ovaries are small bean-shaped organs on either side of your womb. Every month, your ovaries develop sacs called follicles from where eggs are released monthly and female sex hormones produced. After the egg is released every month, the sac disintegrates. But sometimes, the egg is not released and the sac remains or the egg is released and the sac does not disintegrate. This follicle becomes the fluid-filled cyst sac. Usually this is not a problem as it could form during every menstrual cycle and usually resolves on its own. These cysts are called the functional cysts. However, these cysts could get very big and in some instances become twisted or they could rupture causing problems. This latter type is called pathological cyst.
Examples of pathological cysts occur in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and endometriosis. In the former, small cysts appear all over the surface of the ovary and is also associated with irregular menstruation and high hormonal levels. In endometriosis, the tissues of the uterus (womb) are found outside of the uterus. These two pathological cysts are associated with fertility problems. Functional cysts are hardly associated with fertility issues except they become extremely large.
Treatment depends on your particular situation. You could get away with no surgery and no pills, if your doctor orders serial scans to continually observe the size of the cysts and sees a reduction in size. Otherwise, the other treatment options are the use of birth control pills to prevent the development of more cysts in future menstrual cycles and surgery as the final option.
Have a chat with your doctor and share your worries about these treatment procedures. He/she will guide you through this.
All the best!