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How do I Treat a Large Ovarian Cyst?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Ovarian cysts are common in women of child-bearing age and do not generally cause any symptoms. These cysts can be caused by conditions such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome, but often no cause is found. Most cysts are small and do not cause any problems, although a large cyst may form that can put pressure on surrounding tissues and cause a lot of pain. Treatment options for a large ovarian cyst may include the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications, hormonal therapies, or even surgery.

Doctors will often monitor a large ovarian cyst without providing any other treatment unless the pain becomes extremely troubling or other health issues develop as a result of the cyst. This is particularly true if the patient is attempting to maintain fertility. Ultrasound is often used to monitor the size of the cyst and to make sure the ovary does not become twisted by the cyst.

If pain becomes an issue due to the large ovarian cyst, the doctor may recommend the usage of over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These medications should be taken at the first sign of pain, as they may not provide adequate pain relief once the pain becomes severe. If these medications do not help with the pain, the doctor may prescribe stronger pain medications such as hydrocodone. This type of medication is a narcotic, so care should be taken when driving or performing any activity that requires complete mental focus.

Heat or ice therapy may provide some degree of pain relief when treating discomfort caused by a large ovarian cyst. Some patients prefer heat therapy, while others prefer to use ice. Both methods have roughly the same pain relieving effects, so it is a matter of personal preference.

Hormone therapy is sometimes used to to prevent or relieve symptoms from a large ovarian cyst. These hormones are typically administered in the form of birth control pills. In this case, the birth control pills are not only used to prevent pregnancy but also to regulate the patient's menstrual cycle and restore hormonal balance.

A large ovarian cyst can sometimes cause such excruciating pain or excessive bleeding during the menstrual cycle that the patient does not respond to medications. In these cases, surgical intervention may become necessary. Surgery may be performed to remove the cyst itself, or the ovary itself may have to be removed if structural damage has been done to the ovary. If there are other reproductive system disorders present as well, the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries may have to be removed in a surgical procedure known as a hysterectomy.

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Discussion Comments

By umbra21 — On Jan 15, 2015

@Ana1234 - Also be sure to tell your doctor, if you're suffering from ovarian cyst symptoms, that you're prone to them because the first thing most doctors will do if you tell them you have abdominal pain, is to press down to try and find lumps or other problems. That's not necessarily going to burst a cyst unless it's already vulnerable, but it's not that much harder to just get an ultrasound instead.

By Ana1234 — On Jan 14, 2015

@clintflint - Apparently the bleeding is one of the more dangerous aspects of a large cyst. I went to the doctor once with what I thought might be a hernia or something, since it was quite severe pain in my lower stomach and she pressed very hard to try and find it, which hurt even more.

Apparently what happened was that she burst the cyst, which luckily wasn't that big and just stopped bleeding on its own. But when I talked about it with a different doctor he said that a ruptured ovarian cyst can be a medical emergency and that's he's had to rush women to the hospital and into surgery to stop the bleeding.

The one thing I was glad to get out of the experience was that I think I would recognize the position and type of pain now in case it ever happens again.

By clintflint — On Jan 13, 2015

One of my friends had to have an ovarian cyst removed a few years ago. I'm actually not sure how the doctor discovered it, but apparently it had grown to the size of an apple and the doctors were worried that it would burst and the bleeding wouldn't stop without quick intervention.

She was worried that she wouldn't be able to have kids, or that it would be difficult to have them after that, but she's had one since then and as far as I know didn't have any problems.

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