The most precious and invaluable gift from God to us is our body. The human body is nothing short of a miraculous machine that could have been created only by the Almighty himself. All the organs work in perfect harmony with each other. In times of malfunction, there are noticeable signals given off which set the alarms ringing. Every disease that surfaces has visible indications. Such is the beauty of His love: there are always warning signs to help us get our health back on track.
The female body is very different from the male counterpart. To ensure that the womb is fertile, the uterus sheds monthly to replenish and restore vitality. Many women silently bear the painful abdominal cramping during this process. So much so, that the indication of stomach cramps is readily linked to menstrual cramping. While for some lucky women the pain is a numb throb for others it is similar to the continuous stabbing of hot knives at the abdomen. A similar discomfort is also experienced during the ovulation stage. Pelvic discomfort is such a common occurrence that most women brush it off as familiar cramping or ignore its presence completely. Although this may be true in most cases, there are special situations wherein sharp pelvic pain is a manifestation of a serious problem. Pelvic pain is an indicator of irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis and ovarian cysts.
Ovarian cysts: What are they?
Mayo Clinic explains ovarian cysts as sacs or pockets filled with fluid either on the surface of the ovary or inside it. Every woman possesses a pair of ovaries, each the size of an almond. The ovaries are situated on either sides of the uterus. Ova or eggs develop monthly and mature into ovaries. These are shed during the menstrual cycle when not fertilized. The formation of cysts in the ovaries is common in many women. Some women live their entire lives without realizing its presence and others experience crippling pain. the majority of the cysts which appear and then dissolve on their own over a period of a few months. However, there are those that rupture and lead to complications.
Ovarian cysts can occur in women of any age. During fertile years, the phenomenon of menstruation sets in multiple hormonal changes triggering cyst formation. Women who consume hormone balancing medication are at a higher risk of developing cysts. These medications include oral contraceptives, fertility treatments to facilitate conception or hormone replacement therapy. Formation of cysts is highly likely during pelvic infections, endometriosis and pregnancy.
As mentioned above, most women develop cysts which disappear with time. Those which persist and rupture or create ovarian torsion can have severe consequences. Rupture of ovaries is natural during the onset of menstruation. Lysis of the ovaries is the method adopted to expel the egg from the ovaries to reach the fallopian tubes. Monthly ruptures of this nature do not cause a severe symptom but the small complaints of abdominal pain. Pain increases in several manifolds when a cyst of a larger size, ruptures.
Ovarian torsion occurs when the cyst grows at an alarming rate to an extent that it weighs the ovary down. It is a serious medical condition which leads to the twisting of fallopian tubes under the weight of the growing cyst. In severe cases, blood supply to the reproductive system is completely cut off and when left untreated can lead to infertility.
Six common symptoms of ovarian cysts
Swelling and Bloating: A common symptom of ovarian cysts is prolonged bloating. While it is common to feel bloated when you eat something wrong, any non-food related swelling is a sign of ovarian cysts.
Radiating pain: It is easy to detect something amiss with the body if the epicenter of pain is the region afflicted. Ovarian cysts, apart from causing abdominal pain, can also induce tenderness in the breast and persistent ache in the lower back and thighs, according to Office on Women’s Health.
Pelvic pain: Cysts which are small are innocuous and do not cause any pain. The larger ones are problematic. A trademark symptom of ovarian cyst is severe pelvic pain around the region where the ovaries are located (on the sides).
Heavy abdomen and fullness: Large ovarian cysts tend to increase the pressure in the abdomen region. Increased pressure can make your abdomen and pelvic area feel heavy and full. You may experience an involuntary swelling and tightness in the region as well. The heaviness does not alleviate even when the bowels are emptied.
Vaginal complications: Although not common, vaginal problems are linked to ovarian cysts. These include severe pain during intercourse, menstruation and increased flow of menstrual blood.
Problems with bowel movement and urination: Women who have ovarian cysts frequently urinate and constantly feel like their bladder is not completely emptied. Constipation is also a common symptom.
When to see a doctor?
Pay a visit to a gynecologist if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms. Ovarian cysts can lead to a medical emergency when: Your breathing spikes – Abdominal pain becomes severe – You start to feel lightheaded, weak or faint – Pain in the abdomen is accompanied by nausea and fever
These symptoms indicate the rupture of an ovarian cyst. Ovarian cysts are not dangerous if they do not swell or create ovarian torsion, but at the same time, should not be ignored as they can lead to cancer when left untreated. Cancer risk increases with age and women who are past the menopause age are more susceptible. Ovarian cysts can’t be avoided till the time you continue to ovulate. Those who are prone to develop recurrent cysts are prescribed birth control to arrest ovulation.
Ovarian cysts are a condition that every woman should look out for. Share this article among friends and family to help them identify symptoms before it gets worse!