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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board

Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Board Index

Hi Veronica,

I know you must be relieved to find that you don't have cancer, though cysts can still cause a lot of problems, even though they are not as serious.

Ovarian cysts are very common in women of childbearing years. Every month when you ovulate, there is a small fluid-filled bubble on your ovaries that contains the egg. When the egg is released, usually that bubble will collapse and shrink, but occasionally they don't and they continue to grow. These lingering fluid-filled cysts are called functional cysts. They can become very large and cause a lot of different symptoms, such as pain in the abdomen and even up into the shoulder, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abnormal periods, nausea, etc. In most cases, these cysts will resolve within a few months on their own. If they don't, then there are medications which can be given or surgery can be performed to either remove just the cyst or to remove the entire ovary.

Sometimes cysts display "abnormal" characteristics such as walls within the cysts or solid components. These are called complex cysts. They can be more troublesome and in rare cases can be cancerous. They also may take longer to resolve or disappear.

Ruptured cysts can cause severe pain, fever, and vomiting. If this occurs, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

Ovarian cysts can occur at any time, though they may not cause the same problems each time. There may be times you don't even know that you have a cyst and there may be times that a very small cyst causes a lot of pain and other symptoms. It does seem that some women are more prone to cysts. There is even a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome in which a woman might have many cysts form each month.

If you're not happy with your doctor, I encourage you to get a second opinion. However, I doubt that you have anything to be concerned about.

By the way, I was diagnosed with several ovarian cysts in 2005 and continued to have problems until last year, when I had both ovaries removed because of a solid, complex cyst (tumor) on my left ovary and a functional cyst on my right ovary. (I had a previous hysterectomy in 2002.) The complex cyst had caused me a lot of pain and I actually had all of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, including a 25 weight loss. It's been a relief not to have to worry about all of that anymore.

Good luck with everything. I hope you get some relief soon.

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