Having irregular periods and abdominal pain?

April 27, 2021

While there is no one specific cause that leads to an ovarian cyst turning dangerous for health, lifestyle factors may play a role in adding to risk…

Every woman is familiar with the stomach pain that comes with their monthly periods as the uterus contracts and relaxes to release blood and tissue. However, if you are suffering from unusual abdominal pain and lower back pain combined with irregular periods, be warned, this is a red flag that could indicate the development of ovarian cysts. Dr Shafalika SB, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur explains all about ovarian cysts in detail.

What Are Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts form in or around the ovaries. They are actually very common and mostly form naturally around the time of ovulation. Though in many cases ovarian cysts does not show any symptoms, if the cysts are larger, women may experience severe abdomen pain and lower back pain.

Ovarian cysts can be of different sizes. These develop on the inner walls of the ovaries and are commonly found in all age group of women. In most cases, ovarian cysts do not present any discomfort or pain and may disappear in few months without any treatment. However, in some women they may not go away and starts to grow and becomes bigger over time. This is a cause of concern.  

Causes of Ovarian Cysts?

Different types of cysts can develop in the ovaries. The most common ovarian cysts are called functional cysts, these could either be a follicular cyst (when a cyst forms in one of the follicles during a menstrual cycle because the egg from the follicle hasn’t been released properly or the follicle hasn’t ruptured properly) and the other is a corpus luteum cyst (which is when fluid accumulates inside a follicle and continues to grow).  

The other types of cysts that could develop are called cystadenomas or dermoid cysts, which could grow to an extremely large size and disrupt the position of the ovary which can lead to a painful condition called ovarian torsion. If the cyst ruptures, this could also lead to further complications.

The other common type is endometriotic /chocolate cysts which are extremely painful cycles & also cause severe pain before & after menstrual cycles. They also are the most important cause of infertility.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

Often ovarian cysts do not cause any pain. However, if the cysts start growing then the person may experience the following symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Pain while doing any kind of bowel movements
  • Pain during menstrual cycle in the pelvic
  • Difficulty in having an intercourse
  • Constant pain in thighs or lower back
  • Tenderness in the breast

It is important to know that ovarian cysts can sometime burst and lead to severe complications.

Who are more susceptible to develop ovarian cysts?

  • The ones more prone to having ovarian cysts can be:  
  • Those taking the fertility drug  
  • The chances are higher during pregnancy  
  • In those with a severe pelvic infection 
  • Those with the case history of having ovarian cysts 
  • When to worry? 

    If you are experiencing symptoms such as unexplainable changes in the period's cycles, sudden and extreme pain in the abdomen along with fever and painful bowel movement, it is suggested to visit your gynaecologist and get checked for ovarian cysts. Typically, the older you get, the higher is the risk of these ovarian cysts turning cancerous.  

    It is advised that women pay attention to their overall and gynaecological health at an early age. Keeping the hormonal levels stable and balanced by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding unhealthy habits such as a processed-food diet, smoking, and over-consumption of alcohol. For women who are undergoing infertility treatments, discuss with your doctor for the best medications for you as certain medicines can increase the formation of ovarian cysts.

    - By Dr Shafalika SB, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur.

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