If you have symptoms of an ovarian cyst after you reach menopause, you should schedule an appointment at our women’s health clinic. While these are often harmless, they can cause serious symptoms, complications, and may even point to cancer. In this article, we’re going to discuss ovarian cysts after menopause and some things you need to know to stay healthy.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries. About 7% of women will experience an ovarian cyst in their lifetime. They come in many different forms. They are more common before menopause when the ovaries are more active. There are a couple of different functional ovarian cysts associated with the menstrual cycle for pre-menopausal women that often go away on their own and don’t cause any symptoms.
However, after menopause, it’s less likely that you will experience ovarian cysts, and frequently these are different from the functional cysts you may have experienced in your pre-menopausal years. This is because the ovaries stop releasing eggs and produce less estrogen and progesterone, meaning they’re less active after menopause. Therefore, if you think you might have an ovarian cyst after menopause, it’s important to discuss it with one of our treatment providers.
While ovarian cysts are less common after menopause, they can still develop as long as you have your ovaries. Ovarian cysts can cause many different symptoms, including:
If you’re experiencing these common symptoms of ovarian cysts, it’s important to make an appointment with our women’s health care providers for diagnosis and treatment.
In some cases, ovarian cysts can cause complications. For instance, they can increase the risk of ovarian torsion, which is where the ovary begins to twist and may cut off blood flow to the area. Ovarian cysts can also rupture, which can cause dangerous internal bleeding. Some symptoms you need immediate medical care for an ovarian cyst include:
If you’re a post-menopausal women, there are several things you should know about ovarian cysts after menopause. Of course, everyone is different, so it’s important to talk to the providers at our women’s health clinic about your specific circumstances. However, we have some general information to help you if you think you may have an ovarian cyst after menopause.
One important reason to seek treatment from our women’s health care providers if you suspect you have an ovarian cyst is that cysts are more likely to be cancerous if you experience them after menopause. While most ovarian cysts after menopause are benign, there is a higher risk for ovarian cancer as we age. Therefore, we recommend getting care if you think you might have an ovarian cyst. While a suspected ovarian cyst is no reason to panic, it is something you should take seriously and visit our women’s health clinic to help rule out malignant cysts.
If you think you have an ovarian cyst and you’ve already gone through menopause, there are several ways our providers may diagnose you. Understanding what to expect can help you feel more prepared and at ease before and during your appointment.
Our women’s health care professionals may conduct a pelvic exam to look for signs of the cyst. Often, the doctor can feel the cyst during an exam, and it also allows them to examine the vagina, cervix, and uterus for signs of other causes of your symptoms.
Another way your provider may diagnose an ovarian cyst is with imaging. This is frequently through ultrasound to look at the ovaries for signs of cysts.
Our team may also recommend a blood test to look for higher levels of cancer antigen 125 (CA125), which could be a sign of ovarian cancer. However, keep in mind other conditions can also raise CA125, like pelvic infections, fibroids, and endometriosis.
After diagnosis, we can discuss different treatment options based on our findings. In many cases, we may recommend monitoring the cyst for changes. If the cyst is small and benign, we may not need to remove it or do anything further. These cysts often go away on their own. However, our women’s health clinic may recommend regular monitoring to see if the cyst changes in size or appearance.
For larger cysts, cysts that cause you symptoms, or cysts that may be cancerous, our team may recommend surgically removing them. There are several approaches to this. One is to simply remove the cyst from the ovary. Another option is an oophorectomy, where the surgeon removes the affected ovary. In some cases, you may also need a hysterectomy.
Ovarian cysts can happen to anyone. However, there are some things that can increase the risk of developing an ovarian cyst that you should be aware of. These include:
If you experience these conditions, talk to our women’s health care providers about your risks for ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer, as well as what to do if you think you have an ovarian cyst.
There are several types of ovarian cysts you can develop. We mentioned functional cysts in an earlier section, which are associated with your menstrual cycle before menopause. After menopause, ovarian cysts typically fall into one of three categories:
Whether you’re experiencing symptoms of an ovarian cyst or want to discuss options for maintaining a healthy lifestyle after menopause, our professionals at HerKare are here to help. We are a women’s health clinic managed by women for women to help you address and improve your overall wellbeing. Our team offers quality, compassionate health care at every stage of life, pre-menopause to post-menopause. Schedule an appointment at one of our clinics today!