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Complex Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are relatively common among women. Most are harmless and do not require any treatment. Complex ovarian cysts, on the other hand, are less common and more worrisome. Complex ovarian cysts are so-called because unlike their simple counterparts, they have both solid and liquid components. Complex ovarian cysts can be broken down into three common types: dermoid cysts, endometrioma, and cystadenomas.

The cells that produce human eggs, otherwise know as ova can begin to form what is known as a dermoid cyst. The cells within the ova are the basic building blocks of every type of tissue that grows within the human body. This is why hair, skin and even teeth tissue can be found within dermoid cysts. While generally no cause for concern due to their low chance of becoming cancerous they can still be very painful as they grow, possibly twisting the ovaries.

Some women with endometriosis can develop a form of complex ovarian cyst known as endometrioma. The effect of such a cyst is a growth of uterine cells outside of the uterus which usually clings to an ovary and grows over the course of several menstrual cycles. Endometrioma can grow in size to that comparable with a grapefruit. They may be caused in part by genetics. Symptoms include pain before and after menstruating, pain during intercourse, fatigue, pain upon voiding, pain with bowel movements, and menstrual periods that are irregular.

Cystadenomas are a complex ovarian cyst affecting ovarian tissue. . Liquid-filled cystadenomas can cause pain if the ovaries become twisted from their development. There are two types of cystadenomas. Serous cystadenomas contain a thin liquid and can grow to 2-6 inches in diameter. In comparison, the liquid in a mucinous cystadenoma is sticky and gelatinous. Mucinous cystadenomas may grow as large as 6-12 inches in diameter.

While complex ovarian cysts frequently cause pain and other obvious signs as they develop in size, such symptoms can be similar to those of endometriosis or an ectopic pregnancy. Women who suffer from complex ovarian cysts frequently feel discomfort in the pelvis around their periods and during sexual activity. In addition, they may have menstrual problems including abnormal bleeding or cessation of menstruation. Complex ovarian cysts may also cause symptoms similar to those experienced during pregnancy, including breast tenderness, vomiting and nausea.

A pelvic examination is needed to diagnose ovarian cysts. Pelvic ultrasounds can help to confirm these diagnoses. Doctors will often order pregnancy tests to rule out pregnancy, and will even order blood tests. Women who are diagnosed with complex ovarian cysts should be certain to get in touch with their physicians immediately any time they suffer intense pelvic or abdominal pain.

When ovarian cysts are found to be complex, these cysts must be evaluated for cancer. Although not all complex ovarian cysts are cancerous, doctors must rule this out through a series of tests. Often medical professionals take the individual’s age and symptoms into account when making their final diagnosis.


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July 29th, 2008 by Rhia