Women of child bearing age are prone to the development of ovarian cysts. The accumulation of fluids, semi solid substances or gaseous materials, in small closed sac like structures inside the ovaries, leads to the formation of ovarian cysts , that may require surgical intervention.
Even though a majority of these cysts are typically harmless and non cancerous, the pain and bleeding caused by their presence, may lead to a lot of discomfort in female patients during their reproductive years.
As per the reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, ovarian cysts are commonly found in pre menopausal women, though over 14.8 % of the post menopausal women have also been diagnosed with the disease.
Ovarian cysts vary in size and may be pea sized or larger than a well formed orange. Sometimes, certain patients may end up looking pregnant, due to the formation of very large cysts. Sometimes the ovarian cysts are extremely small and can be observed only under a microscope; in other cases they may be large enough to displace organs from their normal positions.
These cysts, which are larger than 5cm in diameter, have to be removed through surgery and other advanced methods of treatment. The causes of ovarian cysts can be understood through an insight into their various types of ovarian cysts and their formations.
Types of Ovarian Cysts Causes
An ovarian cyst is generally caused by the formation of fluids, in a sac that is formed on the tissues of the ovaries. These cysts have a distinct capsular portion, that forms the outer wall called the cyst wall.
These structural growths on the nearby tissues of the ovary may contain pus; these are then categorized as abscesses which are different from the cysts. The formation of solid sacs in the ovaries gives rise to tumors which may or may not be benign or non cancerous in nature.
Functional Ovarian Cysts
These are typically harmless cysts that are formed regularly during the menstrual cycle and are the most common type of ovarian cysts found in women. They are short lived and do not pose serious medical problems.
There are two main types of functional cysts:
Among the most common types of functional ovarian cysts are the follicular cysts, which are formed in the following manner. The ovaries are important reproductive organs in females which are responsible for the release of an unfertilized egg in every menstrual cycle.
The male sperm may fertilize the released egg on the way to the womb or inside the uterus. The development of the egg , takes place inside a follicle that contains a fluid that is formed to protect the egg while it develops. When the egg is ready to be released, the follicle bursts, releases the fluid and shrinks, while the egg starts its journey towards the uterus.
In certain cases, the follicles fail to shed off all the fluid after the release of the egg and develop into an ovarian cyst. In other cases, the follicles may fail to release the egg, swell up with the fluid and form a larger ovarian cyst. These ovarian cysts are not very harmful and they disappear in a few weeks without any medical treatment or intervention.
Luteal Ovarian Cysts
The Luteal ovarian cysts are slightly more complicated and can cause pain and internal bleeding. These are a less common type of functional ovarian cysts. After the release of the egg, the corpus luteum in the follicle may fill up with blood and grow into a cyst.
These cysts also manage to disappear on their own in a few weeks, but in certain cases they may rupture and cause discomfort, pain and bleeding.
The pathological cysts develop in the ovaries of women under 30 years of age and may be benign and harmless or diagnosed as cancerous. If the cysts are found to be malignant, then it is important to go through a rigorous treatment procedure for the eradication of the same.
The causes connected to the formation of these pathological cysts are as follows:
These benign tumors are caused due to the abnormal development of the totipotential germ cells, which are primary oocytes capable of making eggs. The dermoid cells contain mature tissues of hair, teeth, bone and skin along with various other kinds of tissues that forms a tumorous growth. Dermoid cysts have to be removed through surgical procedures.
These ovarian cysts are found commonly in females aged over 40 years and generally develop from the tissues and cells that form the outer lining or covering of the ovaries. Some of these cysts may get filled up with a watery fluid while others may contain a thick mucous like substance.
The cyst adenomas get attached to the ovary through a stalk like structure which grows rapidly on the outer regions of the organ. These cysts need to be removed surgically though are generally non cancerous.
Some of the other conditions that cause ovarian cysts:
The process of endometriosis consists of the formation of the lining of the uterus on the external surface of the uterus.
The endometrial lining develops on the inside wall of the uterus to prepare the womb for the growth of the fertilized egg. If the egg remains unfertilized, then the lining is shed off during the periods. If the condition of endometriosis develops in certain patients in their pre menopausal years, then it may lead to the development of ovarian cysts.
Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
In certain cases, harmless and small cysts start developing on the ovaries due to hormonal imbalance. The presence of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), can lead to the development of ovarian cysts.
Ovarian cysts can be detected through the appearance of certain symptoms such as pain and unexplained vaginal bleeding. Certain other conditions such as ovarian cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy have certain symptoms that are common to those of ovarian cysts.
It is important to consult a gynecologist at the earliest to facilitate timely diagnosis and treatment of these cysts, which may develop complications if left unattended.
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