Ovarian Cysts

What are Ovarian Cysts?

In many cases having an ovarian cyst is normal. The cysts in the ovary come from the roughly 150 follicles (fluid sacs) inside the ovary that develop each month. Normally, only one of these follicles develops fully and releases an egg at the time of ovulation. The mature follicle becomes what doctors call the corpus luteum. It lasts until menstruation when it gradually diminishes. If a follicle fails to fully discharge the egg, it can become a cyst that can grow, put pressure on the surrounding tissue and, in some cases, burst and bleed. Functional cysts are normal and follow the menstrual cycle. Non-functional cysts are a result of problems in ovulation and are not considered normal.

What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?

While functional cysts come and go with the menstrual cycle, non-functional cysts on the ovaries persist and can cause symptoms related to it. One such symptom is pain in the pelvis that usually occurs on the side of the cyst. It is generally a dull pain that can suddenly become extremely sharp and overwhelming in its strength. This happens when the cyst bursts, releasing fluid and blood into the pelvic cavity. The pain can be brief, lasting only a few minutes, or can last up to several days. Bleeding or spotting may occur with these cysts. In some cases, the doctor will detect an elevated testosterone level but this is not consistent.

What are the causes of ovarian cysts?

Doctors don’t know the exact cause of ovarian cysts. They are felt by some doctors to be related to emotional trauma or to chronic ongoing stress. Problems with hormone imbalances involving the hypothalamus and/or the pituitary gland may cause these cysts to proliferate. Dominance of estrogen is also believed to be a contributing factor. Remember, estrogen dominance doesn’t have to be related to internally-derived estrogen. Xenohormones contribute to estrogen by providing the body with excess estrogen from external sources like beef containing hormones and chemicals like dioxin.

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