Ovarian cysts are common, and according to research, about 7% of women across the globe suffer from an ovarian cyst at some point in life. The incidence of ovarian cysts in a European sample of postmenopausal women was 21.2%.
In most cases, a cyst presents as an ache, which can be sharp or dull in the lower abdomen. A feeling of fullness or heaviness accompanies pelvic pain.
What is a Septated Ovarian Cyst
A septated ovarian cyst is a growth located on the ovaries, made of solid, semi-solid, and liquid components. This type of cyst also has walls within it, dividing it into different parts. These cysts can be dangerous and are more likely to be cancerous than any other cyst.
Septated ovarian cysts are usually found during routine exams. Sometimes a woman will go to the doctor to get an exam done because she is experiencing the symptoms often associated with this type of cyst. Ultrasounds may be used to determine whether or not this kind of cyst exists and to determine the thickness of the walls within the cyst. Generally, the thicker the walls, the higher the chance the cyst is malignant.
Risk Factors for Septated Ovarian Cyst
The following are some risk factors that enhance the likelihood of a woman developing a septated ovarian cyst:
Women taking clomiphene are at a greater risk of developing ovarian cysts. Medical professional use clomiphene citrate to induce ovulation in infertile women. A randomized study suggested that ovarian cysts are common complications of the drug.
Endometriosis is known as excessive growth and inflammation of the uterine lining (endometrium). This condition can cause the growth of endometrial cells out of the uterus, thereby increasing the risk of ovarian cyst.
Pelvic Infection and Inflammation
Studies show that the prevalence of endometriotic ovarian cysts is high in women with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Severe infection of the pelvis may also contribute to ovarian cyst development.
Septated Ovarian Cyst vs. Complex Ovarian Cyst
Complex ovarian cysts are large growths with notable size. Compared to simple ovarian cysts (functional cysts), these cysts have a greater tendency to develop into cancer. A septated cyst can be of functional or a complex ovarian cyst type. Previously, septated cysts were considered complex ovarian cysts.
However, doctors now believe that a septated cyst is mostly benign. The main complex ovarian cysts are dermoid, endometrioma, and cystadenomas.
Symptoms of Septated Ovarian Cyst
There are several different symptoms that a woman may experience with this type of cyst and any other kind. These include:
Menstrual Cycle Abruptions
Her menstrual cycle may be irregular, heavy, or absent, pain in the pelvic region or lower back, and she may experience mood swings. According to a study, an ovarian cyst can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding in-between periods (spotting or heavy bleeding). Menstrual cycle abruptions can become more severe if the cyst starts producing sex hormones.
Septated ovarian cysts do not generally cause pain. However, sharp pain might be experienced in one area near the ovaries and may travel down into the upper thighs. Bursting of a cyst generally causes severe, sharp pain with a sudden onset.
Changes in mood and behavior are seen in women having ovarian cysts due to underlying polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The changes relate to mood mainly because of hormonal imbalances. Research suggests that in addition to mood swings, PCOS can contribute to developing anxiety disorders and depression.
Complications Arising From a Septated Cyst
A septated ovarian cyst must be taken care of as quickly as possible because of the complications that can occur with it. If the cyst becomes twisted, it may twist around the ovary and cut off the blood flow to that organ. A woman who is experiencing this will most likely need immediate surgery if the ovary is to be saved. Sometimes, the damaged ovary must be completely removed along with the cyst.
Septated ovarian cysts without projections (papillary) have a low risk of malignancy. In a detailed study, 1,319 patients with septated cysts were observed using sonography. Only one patient reported epithelial ovarian cancer.
The most commonly observed histopathological types of septated ovarian cysts include endometria, mucinous cystadenoma, and serous cystadenoma (complex ovarian cyst types). All but one patient developed ovarian neoplasia.
The most significant complication from a septated cyst is transforming into a malignant tumor, but it is rare.
How To Prevent a Septated Ovarian Cyst?
Most septated ovarian cysts develop silently and go unnoticed most of the time. Therefore, there is no definitive way to prevent them. An effective way to keep yourself safe is by getting regular pelvic exams to check for any ovarian changes. Be alert about the onset and duration of the menstrual cycle and report any symptoms to your doctor.
Fetal Ovarian Cysts
Fetal ovarian cysts can occur before (prenatal) and after birth (postnatal cysts). In a review, 16 cases presented with prenatal and postnatal ovarian cysts. The majority of these cysts resolve spontaneously within 12 months. Symptomatic ovarian cysts with diameters greater than five centimeters are treated with surgery.
Do Septated Cysts Go Away on Their Own
According to the study linked above with 1,319 participants, almost 39% of septated ovarian cysts resolved entirely on their own, while 61% persisted and needed to be treated medically. Out of the 1,756 ovarian cysts that persisted, 128 underwent surgical removal.
How Long Does a Septated Ovarian Cyst Take To Resolve Completely?
On average, a septated ovarian cyst takes around 12 months to resolve completely. Once diagnosed, your doctor will regularly check the condition of the cyst via frequent sonography. You should seek medical or surgical treatment if the cyst persists after the mean duration of 12 months.
Treatment for Septated Ovarian Cyst
Treatment will vary depending on the size of the cyst and its malignancy. Blood tests and a biopsy are generally done to determine whether or not the cyst is cancerous. If it is small enough, certain medications may be prescribed along with painkillers to keep it under control. At times, though, surgery is required to remove the septated cyst.
Women are often encouraged to see their gynecologist once a year for a checkup because it is much easier to treat these types of cysts if they are found while still in the early stage of development.
There is no known cause for this kind of cyst, but there are some factors that may contribute to them. These may be obesity, genetics, an increase and decrease in blood sugar levels, neglect, stress, smoking, and age. A weak immune system may also contribute to the development of these types of cysts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a septated ovarian cyst?
A septated ovarian cyst is a type of cyst that has an internal wall called a "septum," that separates the cyst into two or more sections. It is a type of functional cyst that is usually benign and non-cancerous, but it can cause pain and discomfort. The cyst is formed during ovulation when the egg is not released from the follicle and can reach up to several centimeters in size.
What are the symptoms of a septated ovarian cyst?
The most common symptom of a septated ovarian cyst is pelvic pain or discomfort, which can vary from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing feeling. Other symptoms may include bloating, irregular menstrual cycle, lower back pain, nausea and vomiting, and difficulty urinating.
How is a septated ovarian cyst diagnosed?
A septated ovarian cyst can be detected through an ultrasound, which can reveal the presence of the septum. Sometimes, a CT scan or MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor may also order blood tests to look for signs of infection or to rule out other possible causes of the pain.
How is a septated ovarian cyst treated?
The size and symptoms of the cyst determine the mode of treatment adopted. If the cyst is small and not causing any symptoms, your doctor may suggest simply monitoring it with regular ultrasounds. But if the cyst is large, your doctor may decide to recommend medications or surgery to remove it.
What are the risks of a septated ovarian cyst?
The most common risk associated with a septated ovarian cyst is that it could twist or rupture, causing internal bleeding and severe pain. In some cases, however, a septated ovarian cyst could become malignant and develop into ovarian cancer. It is essential to talk to your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing and to get regular ultrasounds to monitor the cyst.