Complex Ovarian Cysts: What You Should Know

What Is A Complex Ovarian Cyst?

A complex ovary cyst (CO) is a type of ovarian tumor that grows out of control. These tumors have many different types and sizes. They include small, medium, large, and giant CO’s. Some of these tumors may not even grow very far from their original location. Other times they can reach up to your lungs or other organs in your body!

The most common type of CO is called a small CO. Smaller than average size.

This type of CO usually starts growing within the ovaries before they ever become enlarged. However, some tumors start growing in the abdomen or pelvis first, then spread into the ovaries. There are several reasons why these tumors might do this, but it all comes down to how aggressive they are when they’re young and how much energy they have left once they’ve grown to full size.

Another type of CO is called a medium CO. Medium sized CO’s tend to start growing in the ovaries after they’ve reached their adult size.

They’ll often continue to grow until they’re over half way through their growth cycle, at which point they stop growing and begin dying off. Most medium sized CO’s will eventually die out naturally without treatment if no further intervention is done. Sometimes surgery may be needed to remove them completely.

A large CO is the type most people know about. These are very fast growing tumors that can grow to an immense size over a short period of time.

Large CO’s will often extend themselves into other organs in the body and spread further than most other types of tumors. Most types of large CO’s will die off on their own even if left untreated, but this can take a long time. A human can live with untreated large CO for years before finally dying from it.

A giant CO is the largest type of ovarian tumor. It can often grow to an immense size over a short period of time and typically only occurs in older women.

These tumors are almost always fatal without medical treatment because they grow so large so quicky that other organs begin to shut down due to lack of blood flow. If a giant CO isn’t removed from the body within a few weeks, it’s likely that person will die even after the tumor is removed. Some types of giant CO’s can even spread to other people in close contact with the carrier.

What Are The Symptoms Of Complex Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian tumors don’t always cause symptoms right away. If surgery or treatment is needed, but symptoms don’t show up until later, it may be too late to save a person’s life. The only way to know for sure if you have a complex ovarian cyst is to see a medical professional. That being said, there are some common symptoms that often occur with CO’s.

Ovarian tumors can cause many symptoms. Some are serious and some are very minor.

It all depends on the type of cyst, where it’s located in the body, and the person who has it. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

Back Pain

Lower Back Pain – This is one of the most common symptoms of a large complex ovarian cyst. A cyst can put a lot of pressure on other organs in the lower abdomen.

If they’re large enough, they can even push on nearby muscles which causes severe pain.

Upper Back Pain – If a cyst starts to grow into the upper abdomen, but not into the ribs, it can sometimes push on nearby muscles which can cause sharp pains in the upper back.

Pain When Urinating – A cyst that pushes on the bladder can cause pain when urinating. This is one of those symptoms that isn’t always present, especially if the cyst isn’t that big or it’s been a while since the person had urinary pain.

Unusual Vaginal Discharge – This symptom will most likely only show up in women who haven’t had sexual experiences yet. A small cyst might sometimes press on the cervix and cause a watery discharge.

This is a sign of precancerous cells that could turn into cervical cancer if not treated. This is a very serious symptom and requires immediate medical treatment.

Abdominal Swelling – This symptom is most common with large or giant complex ovarian cysts. The cyst can grow to be several feet in diameter and almost always pushes on nearby organs.

Swelling in the abdomen is often visible to the naked eye as the skin will extend a couple inches outward from the body.

Bloating – This is less common than other symptoms, but it can happen. A cyst will fill up with fluid as it grows in size and this often gets trapped in the body.

It can cause significant swelling in the face and neck which sometimes makes it very difficult to breath.

What Are The Treatment Options?

There are several treatment options for ovarian cysts. The type of treatment will vary based on the cyst, where it’s located, and how fast it’s growing. The rule of thumb is if a cyst is very small or not causing any symptoms, surgery is usually not needed right away. These cysts can be monitored with regular check-ups to see if they’re growing. If they are, surgery will be recommended to remove the tumor before it becomes life threatening.

Surgery is always an option for ovarian cysts. Some are easier to remove than others, but it all depends on the type of cyst and where it’s located in the body.

Cysts closer to the surface can usually be scraped off with a razor or your average scalpel. If the cyst has grown into nearby organs, it might require a more involved surgery to remove them while causing minimal damage to nearby important structures such as the bladder or intestines.

Ovarian cysts have a knack for growing back. Sometimes the tumor will still be attached to the epithelial cells on the inside of the ovary and when it’s removed, the cells will also be damaged and die.

This means that even if all traces of the tumor are gone, those cells can still grow back and form a new tumor. Some women will have to have a second surgery months or years after the original one to remove any new cysts that have grown.

Hormone Suppression Treatment

Another way of treating ovarian cysts is through hormonal manipulation. This treatment is usually reserved for women who have many small cysts all over their ovaries or for those who are going through menopause and experiencing perimenopausal symptoms.

Basically this works by over-riding the hormones naturally produced by the body. The ovaries don’t know what to do with no hormones, so they stop producing all together which halts cyst growth.

This is done through a combination of birth control pills and other hormones that can be administered in a variety of ways including daily pills, injections, or even a vaginal ring. This is not to be confused with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which is entirely different.

Hormone replacement therapy attempts to treat the symptoms of menopause by replacing the hormones that the body is no longer producing all together.

It should also be noted that using hormonal manipulation as a treatment option for ovarian cysts does have some risks. It can increase your risk for blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.

It can also increase your risk for developing certain types of cancer including uterine and colon cancer. These risks increase depending on how long you stay on the treatment and which hormones you’re taking.

Ovarian Cyst Removal Or Cryotherapy

Removing an ovarian cyst or treating it with cryotherapy is another common treatment option. This usually involves an incision being made in the abdominal area to expose the ovaries.

The cyst is then drained of fluid and frozen with cryo-cannulas. This is a long needle that has been exposed to liquid nitrogen. As the needle penetrates the skin, the cyst begins to freeze and collapse in on itself. The problem with this procedure is there’s no way of knowing if all of the ovarian tissue has been frozen. If any small bits remain unfrozen, they could grow into an ovarian cyst in the future.

Ovarian cysts are fairly common and don’t always pose a serious health threat. Most of the time, they’re benign and don’t require treatment at all.

If you have an ovarian cyst that’s causing you pain or discomfort, you should speak to your doctor about it. They can examine and test the cyst to see if it’s benign or not. If it is, there’s no reason to operate or give you any unnecessary treatments. If it’s not, they can treat it and prevent it from coming back.

Ovarian cysts can appear for a variety of reasons, some of which are harmless and pose no serious threat to your health. Other times, there are more serious reasons why a person could develop this condition.

If you have any sudden pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis area, you should seek medical attention immediately. There is also a rare type of ovarian cyst called an Endometrioma. This type of cyst can cause extreme pain during a women’s menstrual cycle. If you’re suddenly experiencing more pain than expected, or bleeding longer than normal, seek immediate medical attention.

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the type of cyst you have and what the cause is. In some cases, doctors may recommend surgery.

This should only be done by a professional and not at home. There are some simple treatments that can be done at home including lifestyle changes and taking medication. If you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort associated with an ovarian cyst, you should seek medical attention right away.

Ovarian Cyst Symptoms & Signs

Most ovarian cysts are not cancerous, but they can still be extremely painful. There are a few symptoms and signs that you can look for if you believe you have an ovarian cyst.

These include:

One or both ovaries feel different in texture than the other ovary or the opposite pelvic region

A sudden, sharp pain on only one side of the lower abdomen

Pain that gets worse when you’re sitting, lying down, or standing up

Pain that gets worse when you’re having your period

Severe pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting

Lower back pain that is severe or does not go away

Pain during or after sexual activity

Periods that are shorter or longer than normal (heavy bleeding, lighter than normal bleeding, or bleeding in between periods)

A mass or bulge that can be felt on the outside of your abdomen

Minor symptoms and signs include:

Discomfort in the lower abdomen or pelvis

Lower back pain

Tenderness of the pelvic region

Pain when passing urine or having a bowel movement

Pelvic or low abdominal pressure

Changes in sexual desire

Ovarian Cyst Causes

Ovarian cysts are caused by a buildup of fluid, tissue, or an entire ovary on one or both of your ovaries. Most of the time, the cause of an ovarian cyst is not known, however, there are some risk factors that can increase your chances of developing them.

Sources & references used in this article:

Surgical indications in antenatally diagnosed ovarian cysts by ML Brandt, FI Luks, D Filiatrault, L Garel… – Journal of pediatric …, 1991 – Elsevier

Management of prenatal ovarian cysts by T Shimada, K Miura, H Gotoh, D Nakayama… – Early human …, 2008 – Elsevier

Sonographic morphology of the normal menstrual cycle by DA Hall, LE Hann, JT Ferrucci Jr, EB Black… – Radiology, 1979 –

Minilaparotomy for the ambulatory management of ovarian cysts by M Flynn, JM Niloff – American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 1995 – Elsevier

Laparoscopic management of organic ovarian cysts: is there a place for frozen section diagnosis? by C Chapron, JB Dubulsson, O Kadoch… – Human …, 1998 –