Do you feel frequent urges to urinate and a persistent pain in the lower abdomen? You might be having ovarian dermoid cysts. Read on to learn their signs and symptoms. Also, know what natural, as well as other treatments, can help.
What Are Ovarian Dermoid Cysts?
In most women of child bearing age, it is common to have cysts in the ovaries. A majority of the time these cysts are harmless and pose no problems. Dermoid cysts are a common type of ovarian cysts that typically affect women in their 30s. They are a mass of non-cancerous tissues that are most commonly found on the skin surface or just below it. Rarely, a dermoid cyst may be present in the ovaries, brain, nasal sinuses and spinal cord. They appear like a sac filled with fluids, and may also contain other structures like hair and skin glands.
Usually, these tumors are harmless. Nonetheless, they may cause significant health problems in females when they affect the ovaries. In this article, we will be focusing on the ovarian dermoid cysts.
The ovarian mature cystic teratomas, another name for dermoid cysts, are common. In the women of childbearing age, up to 70% of the non-cancerous tumors is a dermoid cyst. Likewise, the incidence is nearly 20% in the case of post-menopausal women.
Simple Ovarian Cysts and Ovarian Dermoid Cysts Are Not The Same
Simple ovarian cysts occur as fluid-filled sacs that normally go away after a few periods. On the other hand, ovarian dermoids are complex cysts that contain a solid material or even blood inside the sacs.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Dermoid Cysts?
“You may have ovarian dermoid cysts but may not know it for years.”
Though a common occurrence in the adolescents and young women, many cases go unnoticed due to the lack of specific signs and symptoms. Interestingly, you may discover you have ovarian dermoid cysts while undergoing imaging tests for other conditions. Studies report as many as 60% of the cases do not present any symptoms at the time of diagnosis. Also, most of the symptoms occur due to the pressure exerted by the cysts on the nearby organs such as the urinary bladder, and complications such as rupture of the cysts.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of ovarian dermoid cysts you should not ignore.
- Heaviness and dull pain in the lower abdomen.
- Less commonly, irregular or missed periods.
- Pain and discomfort during sex.
- Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss.
- Need to urinate more frequently than normal. In most cases, the increased need to pass urine results after the cyst has become large enough to press the urinary bladder. Moreover, some patients may report burning sensations while passing urine.
- Severe nausea and vomiting due to ovarian torsion, a condition in which the cyst twists the ovaries and impairs the blood supply. It can also lead to an increased body temperature.
- Severe pain if the cyst breaks.
If the severe pain persists and is accompanied by fever, consult your doctor immediately.
Are Ovarian Dermoid Cysts Cancerous?
While there is a chance that ovarian dermoid cysts can become cancerous, the chances are extremely rare. According to many studies, only 0.17–2% of the dermoid cysts can actually turn into cancer. Compared to the young women, postmenopausal women who have ovarian dermoid cysts are more likely to get ovarian cancer.
Are Your At Risk of Getting Ovarian Dermoid Cysts?
Ovarian dermoid cysts occurs most commonly in the women of ages 15-40 years. Though a small number of postmenopausal women may also get these tumors. There is no known cause for the development or growth of ovarian dermoid cysts. They arise from the normal functions of the ovaries and menstrual cycle.
How Are Ovarian Dermoid Cysts Diagnosed?
When you visit a doctor after you experience the symptoms of dermoid cysts, they will first conduct a pelvic examination. If they find a palpable mass, they will most probably recommend further imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. Most commonly, the doctor uses a trans-vaginal ultrasound to get an elaborate information about the size, location, and shape of the cyst. If necessary, they may ask you to go for an MRI or CT scan.
If they suspect ovarian cancer, they will order a blood test to determine the level of cancer antigen 125 (CA-125). The levels of CA-125 is usually high in the patients who have ovarian cancer.
Treatments For Ovarian Dermoid Cysts: What Are Your Options?
Both conventional and natural remedies can provide the desired relief if you have dermoid cysts of the ovaries. Nonetheless, the results may vary. Consequently, what works for others may not work for you. In any case, the treatments may be broadly classified into:
Surgical Management of ovarian dermoid cysts
Surgeries to remove the cysts form the mainstay of the treatment. Your doctor may use one of the following two surgical approaches.
- This is the most widely used surgical approach to remove the cysts. During this surgery, the doctor inserts a lighted tube called laparoscope into your belly (through a small cut above or below the navel). Then, views the pelvic area and removes the cysts. Laparoscopy is particularly more beneficial if you small and non-cancerous cysts. Other advantages include less blood loss during the surgery, reduced pain (after the surgery) and fewer days of stay at the hospital.
- If the cyst is large and the doctor suspects cancer, they may use laparotomy. In this method, the cut in the abdomen is larger and thus allows a better view of the cysts. Then, the doctor removes the cysts and send a sample to the laboratory for further investigation. Unlike laparoscopy, this method results in few events of cyst recurrence.
Note: Both these surgeries are carried out after making you unconscious, that is, under the influence of a general anesthetic. Sometimes, you may need to get your ovaries removed surgically.
Will The Surgeries For Ovarian Dermoid Cysts Affect Your Fertility?
Although most dermoid cysts can exist with no problem. There are instances where the cysts can be quite large in size and there may be concerns of rupture which can cause the contents of the cysts to leak into the ovaries and affect surrounds organs. In cases of such instances, the doctor may suggest surgery as on option which may involve removing an ovary. For many women who are faced with the decision of whether to have an ovary that can lead to questions about its impact on fertility.
Will the surgery for ovarian dermoid cyst affect fertility? The short answer is, maybe.
If you lose both ovaries, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get pregnant naturally. In such cases, your doctor may consider other options. For example, transplanting of ovarian tissues and preserving the egg cells.
A surgery that removes only a single ovary or cysts reduces your fertility. But a complete loss of fertility is less likely. Make sure to have an open and candid discussion about the risks and all possible options with your doctor before any surgery.
Natural Remedies to Prevent & Manage Ovarian Dermoid Cysts
It is no new thing that every natural substance has a healing power. Be it the herbs, minerals or just a casual stroll down the green lane, everything in nature is healthy. The key lies in finding the right one and using it correctly.
By the same token, many herbs and household substances can provide the much-needed relief when you have ovarian dermoid cysts. Given below are some simple yet effective natural remedies for treating the painful cysts.
- Apply heat on the painful areas. This is an effective pain relief measure that has been in practice since time immemorial. The changes in the sensation of temperature can temporarily divert your mind as well as provide a very quick pain relief. Still thinking if it will work? Do not think, do this instead. Put a hot water bag over the painful abdominal areas and feel the warmth for at least 15 minutes. Since this natural remedy uses no medicines, you can repeat it every time you have the pain.
- Take chamomile tea. Two to three cups of chamomile tea each day can be an effective natural pain reliever. The chemicals in the chamomile are known to have a calming effect on the excited nerves. Moreover, a regular intake may also increase blood flow to the pelvic area. The combined effect is that you can expect to feel relaxed with every cup you take. If you are conscious about the sugar intake, replace sugar with honey.
- Drink diluted apple cider vinegar regularly. This common culinary staple can work wonders when you have ovarian dermoid cysts. Not to forget that potassium deficiency may also result in ovarian cysts. For this reason, it can be a great source of relief. How to use it? Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and take a glass or two daily.
- Add ginger to your life. Ginger, the common spice in the kitchen, is also a powerful anti-inflammatory herb. Not only it reduces the pain, but also helps to balance your hormones. In our Asana by LadiesBalance, we’ve included a potent form of ginger, galangal extract used commonly in Ayurvedic medicine to support cleansing of the blood. Thus, a ginger tea could be a great addition to your cyst-fighting natural arsenal. Don’t like tea? Take this instead. Cut a small piece (about two inches) and blend it with half a glass of apple juice and three-fourths of a pineapple, your remedy is ready!
- Almonds are great as well. Almonds are loaded with the goodness of many nutrients. For example, B-vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, healthy fats and the list goes Thus, consider taking roasted almonds to get relief from the cramps. Bonus, it will boost your brain health too.
- Increase your fluid intake. Keeping your body well hydrated is of paramount importance when you are fighting with the pain of ovarian dermoid cysts. When you take sufficient water, it helps to clean your internal system by removing the toxins. As a result, you can expect a speedy recovery. Moreover, it is also good for your overall health. Don’t love the taste of water? Consider adding a dash of lemon juice to improve taste and support cleansing of waste and germs from the body.
What you should know about natural remedies for ovarian dermoid cysts
Unlike surgery, you cannot expect to see an overnight result with the foods or other natural remedies. But it does not take away the fact that they can provide the relief. The key lies in being patient and finding which remedy works the best for you. Remember not to substitute your prescription medicines with the natural remedies. Instead, make a better decision about what you eat so that your medicines can show their full potential.
We want to hear from you? Have you ever been diagnosed with ovarian dermoid cysts? What conventional or natural remedy have you used to manage the condition? Let us know in the comment box below.
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- Sinha, Abha., et al. “Ovarian Mature Cystic Teratoma: Challenges of Surgical Management” Obstetrics and Gynecology International 2016; 2016: 2390178.
- O’Neill, Kathleen E., et al. “The Approach to Ovarian Dermoids in Adolescents and Young Women” J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2011 Jun; 24(3): 176–180.
- PY, Laberge., et al. “”Short-term morbidity and long-term recurrence rate of ovarian dermoid cysts treated by laparoscopy versus laparotomy.” J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2006 Sep;28(9):789-93.