Removal of Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are diagnosed either during an examination, from an ultrasound report or they may be identified if they cause symptoms.

Symptoms include pelvic pain, irregular menstrual cycles, bladder or bowel symptoms, bloating or pain with intercourse.  Often the symptoms can be vague.

Southern Health Centre’s specialists will determine the most appropriate treatment method based on various factors.

The age of the patient plays an important role.  Cysts in young women (aged 20s and 30s) are usually benign.  However unfortunately some atypical circumstances exist and therefore every case needs to be individualized.  Cysts in women who are in their 40s or older become more worrisome.

Other factors include features on an ultrasound.  Worrisome features on an ultrasound include cysts with inner divisions or compartments, cysts that occur on both ovaries, and associated free fluid in the pelvis.

Additionally, a family history of ovarian cancer or bowel/breast cancer is an aspect that contributes to determining to what extent one should worry about a cyst.

An important blood test, often ordered by the doctor is a CA-125 which is a tumor marker linked to ovarian cancer.  If the level is elevated it can indicate that the cyst is a cancer.  However the test is not perfect and on some occasions an elevated result can be incorrect.  Also a normal result does not necessarily guarantee that a cyst is benign.

Removal of the cyst(s) is generally recommended when it is causing pain.  If it is suspected that the cyst may be cancerous, the only definitive way to tell is to have it removed and analyzed by a pathologist.

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