Treatment For Ovarian Cysts
How Cysts Are Treated

Ovary Cysts Pictures of ovarian cysts

picture of laparoscopy surgery
Ovarian Cyst Treatment


• Treatment in Younger Women
• Treatment in Older Women
• Surgery For Ovary Cysts

Main Topic:   Guide To Ovarian Cysts

The treatment for ovarian cysts depends on your age:

Treatment In Younger Women

If you are premenopausal (still have periods), then usually no immediate treatment will be offered, unless the cyst is abnormally large or is causing pain. Your doctor will recommend a wait and see approach. If the cyst persists after two menstrual cycles, your doctor will probably prescribe birth control pills to see if that works.

Persistent functional cysts can be left in place or removed surgically. You doctor will consider the size of the cyst, extent of symptoms as well as your age and future childbearing plans. Your ovaries are essential for fertility so doctors are reluctant to operate on them without very good cause.

Treatment In Older Women

If you are postmenopausal, your doctor is more likely to recommend surgical removal because you have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. However most doctors are comfortable with leaving small cysts in place, providing your CA125 blood test comes back clear. This blood test checks for a tumor marker called CA 125. This marker is present in about 85 percent of gynecological cancers including ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Although an abnormally elevated level will point to cancer, it does not prove it. Other factors can cause elevated levels such as uterine fibroids, PID and pregnancy.

Dermoid Cysts: Although dermoid cysts are considered harmless, dermoid cysts are usually surgically removed.

Ovarian Cystadenomas: As some ovarian cystadenomas can become cancerous, they are usually surgically removed as a precaution.


Surgery For Ovarian Cysts

1. Ovarian Cystectomy

An ovarian cystectomy is the most common procedure for removing non-cancerous cysts. Performed by laparoscopy (key-hole surgery), the incision is minimal and the cyst is removed leaving the ovaries in tact. During surgery the doctor will examine the liver, ovaries and other organs to ensure they look normal. Once the cyst is located, care is taken to cut it away, hopefully without spilling it's contents into the abdomen where it could cause further damage.  

Some hospitals now offer robotic assisted ovarian cystectomies, using the da Vinci Surgical System.

Occasionally if the cyst is very large or cancerous, the doctor will perform a laparotomy. This is where he makes a larger incision on the abdomen to create better access and visibility of the affected area.

2. Oophorectomy

In some circumstances, your doctor may suggest removing the affected ovary and leaving the other intact in a procedure known as oophorectomy. You can still get pregnant if one ovary remains in tact.

3. Hysterectomy

If a cyst is cancerous, your doctor will likely advise a total hysterectomy. Read about the signs of ovarian cancer.

Related Questions

Risk factors: Does the coil increase the risk of ovarian cysts?

For more on cysts, see the following:

Natural treatment for ovarian cysts: Lifestyle advice.
Ovarian cysts during pregnancy: Treatment guidance.
Symptoms of ovary cysts: Known the signs!

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