Ask Dr. Johnson Topic of the Day: Ovarian Cyst

It is often a very frustrating topic for me. The typical patient that I see with this issue is a young woman (usually in her mid 20s or early 30s) that presents with complaints of pelvic pain. Her pain typically happens for a day or two out of the month and it is excruciating. She went to the ER during the last pain episode and the ER doctor told her that she has “cysts on her ovaries.” She wants the cyst removed now! (I have issues with the lack of explanation by the doctor to the patient, but this is my own beef)

Makes me want to scream, but I hold it in………..woooo sah!

Ladies, please listen! Mostly Every woman of reproductive age (meaning before menopause) has a cyst at some point during their lifetime. Every time you ovulate (release an egg) a cyst is formed and ruptures. If you time an ultrasound at the right time of the month you will see a cyst in any woman. These cysts are physiological, meaning they are functional and are not a problem. For a small minority of women, this physiologic cyst rupture can cause pain. For these women, the treatment is to prevent ovulation. You do this with birth control (hormones).

With that being said, there are cysts that are not physiologic that can cause pain. Usually, these cysts are larger and the pain that is experienced is consistent and not cyclical. When this is the case, surgical intervention is often necessary (this is a minority of the cases). I will go deeper into this topic if there is interest, I will wait and see some of the questions. As always, I try to keep it short and sweet to start off, so that I don’t overwhelm you all with too many details. The purpose of the topics is to educate, but more importantly a way to springboard discussion.

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