Complex Ovarian Cyst

What Are Complex Ovarian Cysts?

Before addressing complex ovarian cysts, their causes and treatment, it may be helpful to look at ovarian cysts in general, as there are a number of different types. First of all, a cyst is a fluid filled sac. Cysts may be present in many places in the body. Most cysts are harmless, and most go undetected. Some become large enough to cause discomfort or other problems, and while cysts are generally benign, in rare cases they can be malignant. Ovarian cysts are simply cysts which attach to the surface of one of the ovaries in the female.


Various Types Of Cysts - The different kinds of ovarian cysts exhibit different characteristics, and at times differing symptoms. Those that grow outside the ovaries are called Cystadenomas. Dermoid cysts grow from non-uterine cells, while a Follicular cyst occurs when an egg for some reason is not released from the follicles. If bleeding occurs from a cyst it is called a Hemorrhagic cyst. There are several other types as well, some of which contain fluid only, others which contain both fluid and mucous. Of interest here is the complex ovarian cyst, which includes solid materials as well as fluids. Cysts usually occur singly, but occasionally occur in multiples.

Many ovarian cysts remain small and are never detected nor cause any particular problem. Some however can grow quite large, even to the extent of twisting around an ovary, which is not a large organ. The result can be one of excruciating pain. Complex ovarian cysts have a tendency to grow quite large, cause significant problems and complications in the ovary, and most often are removed through laparoscopic surgery. If left unattended, these types of cysts can in some instances prove to be fatal.


Three Types - There are three different types of complex ovarian cysts. Dermoid cysts, which are produced from the same cells that make up the human egg, Endometrioma, which is a cyst growing outside the uterus, and Cystadenomas, which contain liquid and mucus and are generally quite painful. All three types can create significant problems, and need to be dealt with as soon as their presence is suspected.

Causes Are Uncertain - There does not appear to be any single cause of complex ovarian cysts, or is it understood why most women experience the less serious forms of cysts, and only a relatively few have to deal with one of the rare complex forms. Genetics may play a role, though this remains to be proven. A weakened immune system, obesity, and unhealthy lifestyle are possible causes, as is improper treatment of one of the other types of cysts.

Symptoms - There are many symptoms that can be experienced, the most common being menstrual irregularities and pelvic pain, usually felt as a dull ache. Such pain may be experienced just before or just following a period, or during sexual intercourse. An enlarged cyst will often cause a feeling of fullness in the abdomen, or a feeling of pressure on the bladder. In some case there will be a creamy discharge from the vagina, having the appearance of egg white. This discharge may last for days or weeks. Spasmodic abdominal pain is yet another symptom. If any of these symptoms are experienced a doctor should be consulted with immediately, in order that a diagnosis can be made and treatment initiated. The diagnosis will normally involve not only a physical examination, but an ultrasound, a pregnancy test, and blood tests. Given the potential seriousness of a complex ovarian cyst, treatment is very likely to be near term surgery. If there is a silver lining in all this, it is usually that the presence of a complex ovarian cyst will usually be felt before it can cause serious harm. The danger lies in ignoring, or not understanding the symptoms.