Q: How Are Ovarian Cysts Diagnosed And Treated
A: Sometimes, cysts can be detected during a routine pelvic exam or when youre being examined for symptoms. Your doctor may order a pelvic ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis. And one or more blood tests may be done to pinpoint the cause of a cyst.
Ovarian cysts dont always require treatment. For premenopausal women, cysts usually go away on their own within a month or two. Thats typically not true in postmenopausal women; ovarian cysts tend to hang around longer in this group.
If a cyst is painful, large, or suspicious for cancer, treatment usually means removal.
Ovarian cysts cant be biopsied like you can biopsy skin or the cervix, Chu explained. You have to surgically remove them either by cystectomy or oophorectomy .
If a cyst isnt causing problems, monitoring any symptoms and repeating ultrasounds is a common approach.
The most important take-away message about ovarian cysts is to not panic, Chu said. Management of cysts really depends on a persons age and how a cyst looks. A lot of cysts can be followed with scans to make sure they are going away or not growing.
If you are concerned after receiving a diagnosis of an ovarian cyst or are having unusual symptoms that are worrisome, it is a good idea to see a specialist.;
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The Ovaries Are Not Directly Attached To The Fallopian Tubes
Drawings of the ovaries often make it appear that they are stuck to the top of the fallopian tubes, but this isnt actually an accurate representation of what your anatomy looks like. In reality, the ovaries are connected to the fallopian tubes by small, fingerlike projections called fimbriae. These fimbriae bridge the gap between the ovaries and the openings of the fallopian tubes.
Its important to note that not all of the fimbriae are long enough to touch the fallopian tubes. On each side, the longest of the fimbriae is called the ovarian fimbria. Only the ovarian fimbria is actually long enough to connect the ovary to the fallopian tube. You could say, then, that the ovaries are hanging onto the fallopian tubes by a single thread!;
Effects Of Aging On The Female Reproductive System
, MD, Medical University of South Carolina
Around menopause, changes in the genital organs occur rapidly. Menstrual cycles stop, and the ovaries stop producing estrogen. After menopause, the tissues of the labia minora , clitoris, vagina, and urethra thin . This thinning can result in chronic irritation, dryness, and a discharge from the vagina. Vaginal infections are more likely to develop. Also after menopause, the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries become smaller.
With aging, there is a decrease in the amount of muscle and connective tissue, including that in muscles, ligaments, and other tissues that support the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. As a result, the affected organs may sag or drop down , sometimes causing a feeling of pelvic pressure or fullness, difficulty urinating, loss of control of urination or bowel movements , or pain during sexual intercourse. Women who have had many children are more likely to have such problems.
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When To See A Doctor
The issue of ovary pain after menopause is unpleasant and should be treated quickly to remove the symptoms. Therefore, consult an expert if the pain sensations are severe and have a lasting character. Even if the pain wasnt caused due to the end of menopause, you should define the truth. Perhaps you suffer from some serious disease.
Women should pass a physical exam. Your doctor will also ask a number of questions. These may be:
- Where do you feel the pain?
- When did it start?
- How frequent your pain sensations are?
- Does any physical activity somehow affect your pain?
- What is the degree of pain? .
- Does the pain affect your daily routine and how?
Memorize this list and try to answer it beforehand. Thus, youll save a lot of time and will quickly provide the answers when your doctor will ask them. The diagnostic tests commonly include ultrasound and similar types of imaging.
Confirming That The Menopause Has Taken Place
Its not always easy to confirm that the menopause has actually happened. Of course, irregular periods and the occasional hot flush are a sign that changes are taking place, but identifying the time of the actual menopause is not so simple, especially if you are taking the Pill or have started Hormone Replacement Therapy for the relief of peri-menopausal symptoms.
The question may seem irrelevant, but it is helpful to know the date of your last period, not only so that you can respond to symptoms in the most appropriate way, but also for contraceptive purposes. A truly menopausal woman will be infertile and will have no need of contraception. However, most doctors advise menopausal women under 50 to continue with their contraception for two years after their last period and for one year if they are over 50.
Most doctors will evaluate a womans menopausal status according to her symptoms , pattern of periods, and medical record. It is possible to take a blood test to measure levels of a reproductive hormone known as FSH. However, while elevated FSH levels may be a sign of the menopause, the test is not always accurate and results cant be guaranteed. Measurement of FSH is not required to diagnose perimenopause or menopause in women aged over 45 years.
This is also the case in those rare instances of premature ovarian Insufficiency, when the hormonal system fails at an early age and the ovaries lose their normal function.
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How Long Does Perimenopause Last
The length of each stage of the menopause transition can vary for each individual. The average length of perimenopause is about four years. Some women may only be in this stage for a few months, while others will be in this transition phase for more than four years. If you have gone more than 12 months without having a period, you are no longer perimenopausal. However, if there are medications or medical conditions that may affect periods, it can be more difficult to know the specific stage of the menopause transition.
Importance Of Health History
A womens history can give clues as to the nature of an ovarian mass. Some factors are protective against cancer: pregnancy and childbirth in a womans 20s, use of birth control pills, and a history of tubal ligation or hysterectomy. A strong family history of cancers of the breast, ovary, colon, or endometrium may be part of a hereditary cancer syndrome; however, only five to 10 percent of ovarian cancers are related to heredity.
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Can Menopause Cause Depression
Your body goes through a lot of changes during menopause. There are extreme shifts in your hormone levels, you may not be sleeping well because of hot flashes and you may be experiencing mood swings. Anxiety and fear could also be at play during this time. All of these factors can lead to depression.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of depression, talk to your healthcare provider. During your conversation, your provider will tell you about different types of treatment and check to make sure there isnt another medical condition causing your depression. Thyroid problems can sometimes be the cause of depression.
Risk Reducer: ‘the Pill’
Ovarian cancer is also less common in women who have taken birth control pills. Women who have used the pill for at least five years have about half the risk of women who never took the pill. Like pregnancy, birth control pills prevent ovulation. Some researchers think ovulating less often may protect against ovarian cancer.
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Can Menopause Affect Sleep
Some women may experience trouble sleeping through the night and insomnia during menopause. Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. This can be a normal side effect of menopause itself, or it could be due to another symptom of menopause. Hot flashes are a common culprit of sleepless nights during menopause.
If hot flashes keep you awake at night, try:
- Staying cool at night by wearing loose clothing.
- Keeping your bedroom well-ventilated.
Avoiding certain foods and behaviors that trigger your hot flashes. If spicy food typically sets off a hot flash, avoid eating anything spicy before bed.
Some Women Can Feel Ovulation Happening In Their Ovaries
Do you ever get a slight twinge on one side of your pelvis or abdomen during the middle of your menstrual cycle? You might be feeling your ovaries in action. Ovulation pain, or mittelschmerz, affects about 1 in 5 women. The name mittelschmerz is German for middle pain, which is doubly appropriate, given that it occurs both in the middle of your body and the middle of your cycle.
Most people do not get severe ovulation pain. It usually lasts less than 48 hours and goes away on its own without the use of medication. The pain may be sharp and sudden, or dull and achy. Many women say it feels similar to their menstrual cramps. You might notice that the pain occurs on the same side every month or that it switches sides. Most likely, your pain corresponds to the side that is releasing the egg that month.
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Types Of Ovarian Cancer
The vast majority of ovarian cancers are epithelial ovarian carcinomas. These are malignant tumors that form from cells on the surface of the ovary. Some epithelial tumors are not clearly cancerous. These are known as tumors of low malignant potential . LMP tumors grow more slowly and are less dangerous than other forms of ovarian cancer.
What Women Should Know About Their Ovaries
The ovaries are egg-producing glands that are part of the female reproductive system. The ovaries are about the size and shape of an almond and sit just above the fallopian tubesone ovary on each side of the uterus.
In a fertile person, every month during ovulation, either the right or left ovary produces a mature egg for fertilization. Typically, a single egg is released at a time, but in some cases, more than one egg can be released, resulting in the conception of multiples .
Will I Start Menopause If I Have A Hysterectomy
During a hysterectomy, your uterus is removed. You wont have a period after this procedure. However, if you kept your ovaries removal of your ovaries is called an oophorectomy you may not have symptoms of menopause right away. If your ovaries are also removed, you will have symptoms of menopause immediately.
Are There Nonhormonal Options For The Management Of Menopausal Symptoms
Hormone therapy may not be the right choice for you. Some medical conditions may prevent you from safely being able to use hormone therapy or you may choose not to use that form of treatment for your own personal reasons. Changes to your lifestyle may help you relieve many of your symptoms without need for hormonal intervention.
Lifestyle changes may include:
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Signs And Symptoms Of Ovarian Cysts
Often, ovarian cysts dont cause any symptoms. In fact, it may not be known an ovarian cyst is present until its discovered by your doctor during a routine pelvic exam. In some cases, some or all of the following symptoms may be experienced:
- Pressure, swelling or pain in the abdomen or pelvic area
- Dull ache in the lower back and thighs
- Pain during your period or during sex
- Breast tenderness
- Problems emptying your bladder completely
- Nausea or vomiting
If you have any of the symptoms below, see your doctor or gynecologist as soon as possible. These symptoms can be a sign of ovarian cancer:
- Pain with fever and vomiting
- Sudden, severe abdominal pain
What Is The Normal Size Of A Uterus
The usual normal size of a uterus;is about seven centimeters long and four centimeters thick . For the size of to be determined, three dimensions have to be considered:
Often, the hormonal conditions and current age of a woman will influence the size of her uterus. Prior to attaining puberty, many girls will have a uterus that is 3.5 cm x 1 cm .
After puberty, there are likely to be hormonal changes taking place in her body, at which point her uterus will become pear shaped. At this time, the uterine size;will be approximately;7.6cm x 4.5cm x 3cm .
With time, the volume is bound to keep changing depending on her menstrual cycle, and it may therefore range between 75cc and 200cc.
What is the normal uterine size in mm?
Research has shown that in reproductive women, the size is 86.6 mm x 49.6 mm x 40.6 mm overall
Generally speaking, the standard measurements should be around the size of her fist, and it should weigh between 100 and 200 grams. When you become pregnant, the uterus is forced to undergo drastic change so that it can accommodate the growing baby.
After Treatment: Early Menopause
When women have both ovaries removed, they can no longer produce their own estrogen. This triggers menopause, no matter how young the patient. The drop in hormone levels can also raise the risk for certain medical conditions, including osteoporosis. It’s vital that women have regular follow-up care after being treated for ovarian cancer.
What Is Premature Menopause
Menopause, when it occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, is considered “natural” and is a normal part of aging. But, some women can experience menopause early, either as a result of a surgical intervention or damage to the ovaries . Menopause that occurs before the age of 45, regardless of the cause, is called early menopause. Menopause that occurs at 40 or younger is considered premature menopause.
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What Causes Ovary Pain After Menopause
All women get used to a certain pain in the ovary area while they have periods. All of them experience pain to a definite extent. Its a natural response of the body. When a woman has a period, the uterine muscles contract to start the menstrual cycle. Prostaglandins are specific lipids that make blood vessels constrict and thus, lead to pain. Ovary pain after menopause is quite similar and may be severe or moderate.
Nonetheless, periods end during menopause and never come again. Similar to menstruation painful sensations confuse many women. They ask Why do I have pain in my left ovary? It happens because of the lack of estrogen in your body. Among other causes are:
- Chronic constipation;
- Pelvic inflammatory illnesses.
Thus, you may have left ovary pain or right ovary pain, as well as pain in both sides. Another reason why women may feel pain is more severe. It may be cancer. If its so, you may experience certain symptoms. Among such are bloating in the abdomen, frequent urination, problems with digestion, constipation, lowered appetite, constant hunger, rapid weight gain or loss, etc. If you feel at least some of these symptoms and their severity is durable, turn to a doctor.
Mind that some other conditions may cause pain. At times, ovary pain after menopause is not caused because of this stage. Some women simply have digestive ailments, such as food poisoning, a stomach virus, or irritable bowel syndrome. Among other factors are:
What Causes Ovarian Cancer
When cells multiply and divide in an unregulated way, it is referred to as cancer. When this is found in the ovary, it is ovarian cancer. The exact reason this happens is unclear. These risks can increase the chance of getting the symptoms of ovarian cancer after menopause.
Your Family History
Those who have relatives whove had breast or ovarian cancer are at a higher risk of getting ovarian cancer than other women. Genetic testing can be done to screen out genes associated with the risk.
Many cases of ovarian cancer happen after a woman goes through menopause. This can be especially true for those over 63 but is less common before 40.
Those who have had a pregnancy or more that went full-term are at a lower risk. This is especially true for those that were pregnant before 26 and your risk decreases the more pregnancies you have. Breastfeeding will also decrease your risk.
If you have used the pill for a minimum of three months, your risk may be reduced. The longer youve been on the pill, the lower the risk can be. Risk is decreased further if the birth control has been the Depo-shot and its been used for more than three years.
Fertility Treatment or Infertility
If a woman has been diagnosed with breast cancer, she has an increased risk of getting diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This is why those who test positive for BRCA2 or the BRCA1 gene may decide on oophorectomy for preventative measures.
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What Is Surgical Menopause
Menopause means the final menstrual period. The average age of menopause is around 51 years, but most women will start to notice menopausal symptoms from around 47 years.; This may be noticed as the onset of hot flushes, night sweats or vaginal dryness or a change in menstrual periods to more infrequent and sometimes heavier menstrual bleeding . Removal of both ovaries before the normal menopause is called surgical menopause.