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Ovarian Cysts

From the GYN Diagnosis Articles List

Hysterectomy for CystsWhen should I consider having a hysterectomy for ovarian cyst concerns?


Most ovarian cysts are harmless and resolve on their own. Depending on symptoms, initial treatment may only require a watch and wait approach. In other cases, symptoms and pain may require medical or pharmaceutical intervention. Cysts in menopausal women may be treated more quickly and aggressively because they may have a higher malignant risk.

A functional cyst forms on the surface of the ovary during the normal monthly menstrual cycle. At the time of ovulation, the cyst opens and releases the maturing egg. If the cyst does not open to release the egg, it can fill with fluid forming a follicular cyst. A corpus luteum cyst can occur if the egg has been released but the cyst closes again.

Complex ovarian cysts may require an oophorectomy (removal of the ovary) because the ovary can be damaged either by the cyst or from the surgery to remove the cyst. Complex cysts include dermoid cysts, cystadenoma, and endometriomas. These types of cysts are normally benign.

In some cases, surgery may be required to treat a cyst. In general, the uterus does not play a part in the formation of cysts or the treatment of them. Thus, even if surgery is required, a hysterectomy is usually not necessary to treat ovarian cysts. There can be exceptions, however, including the case of cancer or when both ovaries have been destroyed.

If there is a cancer concern, or you are menopausal, your doctor may be more likely to recommend an oophorectomy. Depending on your risk factors, removal of both ovaries may be also be suggested. Cancer concerns may also dictate the removal of the uterus to minimize cancer spreading to that organ.

If both ovaries will be removed, a hysterectomy may also be recommended. The hormones produced by the ovaries allow the endometrium to thicken and shed each month. Without the ovaries to produce the necessary hormones, the endometrium can thicken without shedding creating an endometrial cancer risk. In lieu of a concurrent hysterectomy, women may be able to use both estrogen and progesterone replacement therapy, cycling the progesterone to force a period. Women who choose this option must be diligent with their hormone therapy and annual or bi-annual medical exams.

Before consenting to a hysterectomy to resolve ovarian cyst concerns, the HysterSisters strongly recommend a second opinion. If there is a cancer concern, consult with a gynecological oncologist. There are a wide variety of options for treating ovarian cysts that do not necessitate a hysterectomy.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

06-11-2013 - 10:20 AM


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